Loads between Damon and Elena, but a particularly mean one happens in the first season finale when Damon, thinking he's talking to Elena, wonders when she started thinking he's worth saving. He then kisses her cheek and when he starts to pull away, the two kiss passionately, but are interrupted by Jenna. It's only when 'Elena' stabs John that we realize it wasn't Elena, but her doppelganger Katherine.
And the show teases Bonnie/Jeremy, until they get together for real, of all things she is surprised that he's all grown up, and he's fascinated by her magic.
Caroline and Tyler were teased a lot.
Caroline and Klaus also got their fair share of this trope.
The series repeatedly establishes on more occasions that can be counted that Xena and Gabrielle are each others' most important person, they owe each other their lives in more ways than one, they would die and go to Tartarus and fight all the monsters the universe can throw at them to protect each other, and they share a connection that literally transcends time and space. By the final seasons it seems the writers threw up their hands and go "Yeah, we know and you know they're in love, but we can't actually say it so we'll do everything we can otherwise."
In "A Comedy of Eros," Gabrielle is hit by Cupid's arrow, which causes her to fall in love with the next person she sees. She almost lays eyes on Xena but at the last minute, Joxer gets in between them. The sad fact is, Joxer didn't need Cupid's arrow to fall for her. He felt that way genuinely, so he is left in the lurch when she's "cured" and thinks there was nothing between them. There would be plenty of ship teases between Joxer and Gabrielle after that.
One semi-persistent tease was Xena and Ares.
After Paul Gross learned of Due South slash fanfiction, he started turning the Ho Yay between Ray K and Fraser Up to Eleven. They finish the series riding into the sunset together. Case closed.
In The Guardian's first season, Lulu was torn between protagonist Nick Fallin and her fiance, Brian. (Nick and the viewers knew Brian was a jerk, but Lulu didn't.) The preview for the finale showed Lulu telling Nick saying "We called it off...the wedding." Good news for shippers, right? Might have been, if the context in the actual episode hadn't been as follows:
Lulu: ...So we called it off. Nick: I think that's good. That's good. Lulu: No. We called off the big wedding and...we went to Atlantic City and got married.
Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies seems fond of writing kisses between the Doctor and his companion solely so they can be shown in trailers, with two season openers including this. Both kisses were for Applied Phlebotinum reasons; in season two another character had taken over Rose's body, and the kiss in season three was explained by the Doctor as a "genetic transfer" to help Martha (whom he had only just met) get the attention of the Judoon by showing non-human traces on their scanner.
Rose was the subject of relentless teasing with the Doctor, to the point that it seriously annoyed fans who preferred the original series' No Hugging, No Kissing policy. Even discounting all the myriad examples, her kisses with the Doctor in the season one finale (which again was for Phlebotinum reasons) and season four finale (actually with a human copy of the Doctor; long story) were the most dramatic and received the most attention out of all the others.
Speaking of kissing, Captain Jack Harkness has the distinction of being the first person in the new series to kiss the Doctor, and later appearances subtlely and not-so-subtlely hint that he's in love with him.
Romana might have been invented solely to tease the audience. She was another Time Lord of comparable age, at the time Tom Baker was the youngest actor to have played the Doctor, they had brilliant on-screen chemistry (Baker even ended up marrying Lalla Ward, who played Romana II), but the writers just would not go the extra distance.
The season three finale was basically a relentless stream of Foe Yay teasing between the Doctor and the Master, ranging from the Master's orgasmic "I like it when you use my name" to the Doctor cradling the Master in his arms, sobbing, as he begs him not to die.
"The End of Time" took all that Ship Tease and just lit it on fire. "I wonder what I'd be without you." Awwww.
While definitely less blatant, Doctor/Master teasing is hardly a new phenomenon. "A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about", anyone?
River and the Eleventh Doctor flirt constantly and kiss four times (although only one of these was for purely romantic reasons, the others being an assassination attempt, rectifying the assassination attempt by healing the Doctor, and to restart time.
Clara Oswald and the Eleventh Doctor have bucket loads of Ship Tease. From accidental hugging, to the Doctor calling Clara "perfect" to a Cyber-converted Dector confessing his love to her to to this.
First Doctor companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright are obviously very close but nothing ever explicitly comes from it, at least in the show itself (most Expanded Universe stuff suggests that they eventually got married). Particularly painful teasing includes the scene in "The Romans" where Barbara checks out his Gorgeous Period Dress, talks about how splendid he looks, and then we get a scene of her doing his hair. There's also this◊ from "The Keys of Marinus".
Steven gets two non-explicit Girls of the Week - one in the second half of "The Ark" and one in "The Savages" - whose relationships with him are handled in this way. There's also a lot between him and Dodo, such as how the citizens of "The Ark" tell legends about them being a "young couple", Dodo's extreme jealousy when Steven plays piano for an attractive female bar singer in "The Gunfighters", and the way Steven embraces her before leaving the TARDIS team in "The Savages".
The Sarah Jane Adventures teases in the direction of Rani and Clyde. In "The Vault of Secrets", they have the following conversation while holding hands:
Clyde: Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference. Look, I know Sarah Jane doesn't believe in fate, but I reckon that Time and the Universe...They're not random. Everything's sort of tied together by these invisible strings. Like your mum joining BURPSS, or Ocean Waters having that disk thing. Rani: You mean if something's gonna happen, it's gonna happen? [They notice they're holding hands and let go]
And in The Empty Planet, Rani and Clyde are the only two ones left in the whole wide world. Clyde muses that perhaps, the one who stole away all humanity wanted the human race to start again; and as they're the only ones left, they've got the roles of Adam and Eve in that plan. Rani doesn't like the idea. At the end of the episode, when the human race is back again, they say that they'll never be alone - they've always got each other.
The last story, "The Man Who Never Was", is basically an hour of ship tease, as we first learn that Luke refers to them by their Shipping Portmanteau (a habit Sky seems to pick up) and then they have to pose as a married couple.
Some fans theorize that Peter Petrelli saving Claire in Heroes was set up so as to appear to be a ship in the making by a particularly creative writer, but then she was revealed to be his niece. Though this revelation hasn't stopped some of the shippers...
Or the actors, who have allegedly started dating. But then, they presumably aren't uncle and niece.
The latest season definitely seems to be trying to foster this ship. Don't worry about it; if you ignored ships between relatives in this show, you'd have nothing left.
Starting in Season Three, you can add Juliet into the mix.
Our good friend Joss Whedon employed the crueler variety in the last season of Angel, when after three years' worth of teasing, Fred and Wesley finally hook up...only for Fred to be killed and replaced with a demonic entity in the very next episode. But this is Joss. Sex and relationships only lead to suffering.
There was some definite ship tease between Spike and Illyria during the Hell part of After the Fall, but since the "Only Human" arc they have lessened.
Fred and Angel also had a little tease in a season 4 episode. They kiss to conceal their identities from Jasmine's spies. When they break apart, Fred asks "do you think they bought it?" and Angel replies "I did" but then quickly coughs and they separate.
He learned to do this on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Xander/Willow ship was hinted at from day one. But then in Season Two, Xander was paired up with Cordelia (taking everyone by surprise, but none more so than Xander and Cordelia), and Willow got together with Oz. The Xander/Willow ship seemed dead...only to rise again in Season 3, where Xander and Willow had to deal with a sudden mutual attraction that eventually destroyed the Xander/Cordelia relationship, and inflicted serious damage on the Willow/Oz one. Joss twisted the dagger with the very next episode, which depicted an Alternate Universe where Xander and Willow were together...as vampires.
Shortly after that, he began teasing us with the prospect of pairing up Cordelia with new arrival Wesley. They shared a kiss in the season finale...which was so awkward that it obliterated half a season of mutual infatuation in a single moment.
And then Willow was made into a lesbian, thus negating any meaningful relationship with any male character. And then her girlfriend Tara got killed off, leading to Willow going evil and eventually trying to destroy the world — and who delivers the Cooldown Hug that eventually snaps her out of this? Xander.
In season 6, the episode "Tabula Rasa" goes crazy ship teasing Giles/Anya
"Band Candy" ship teased Giles and Joyce, while simultaneously bringing the actual chances of the ship occurring down several notches.
The season 7 episode "Dirty Girls" teased at Faith and Spike. At the time, Joss was trying to get a Faith spinoff off the ground, and apparently intended to have Spike on it.
In the season 8 comics, issue 28, Buffy comes to the conclusion she may have romantic feelings for Xander, goes to tell him, but catches him kissing Dawn.
Every episode with Faith and Angel(us) in it teases us quite a lot. First, her coming on to him, and then him pretending to be on her side, and then her practically idolising Angel "he's the only person who never gave up on me". Meanwhile, Angelus intends to turn her, makes her a giant welcome sign, and saves her from the Beastmaster for no apparent reason.
Giles and Ethan were written, acted and shown as unofficial lovers with enough Foe Yay between them that many fans didn't even realise at first that it was subtext. Whenever the two meet its always about why Giles left Ethan not why he doesn't mess around with dark magic anymore.
Started early on The Big Bang Theory between Leonard and Penny and ran with it. It started with Leonard crushing hard on the oblivious Girl Next Door and most of the series has been about her figuring out her feelings for him in return. In the first season she first showed some interest in return by kissing him when drunk and he proved to be Above the Influence. Once his feelings were made clear in the first season finale it upgraded from mere Ship Tease to Unresolved Sexual Tension throughout the second season, and Penny started to fall for him in return was made obvious in the lead up to the second season finale. They get together in the third season opener.
Although there was a lot of teasing involving Howard and Raj being mistaken for (and acting like) a couple in the early seasons, it seemed to pick up quite a bit more after Howard became involved in a relationship with a woman.
An early Farscape episode has D'Argo hallucinating that Zhaan is his long-dead wife, and making out with her, with Zhaan obliging to protect his fragile mental state. Lots of speculation followed that the writers were building to the two getting together, especially when the makeout session appeared in the opening credits for a while. Nothing ever happened.
Also, some of the very early episodes hint that Zhaan and Crichton would hook up, which was abandoned pretty quickly in favor of Crichton and Aeryn.
"Don't Ever Change", the last pre-strike episode of House, seemed to be taking a nearly unholy glee in teasing as many shippers as possible. In one episode, they managed to tease 13/Cuddy, Wilson/Cuddy, House/Cuddy, House/13, 13/Cameron, and House/Wilson. There's really no explanation other than that the writers, faced with the strike, decided to go out having as much fun as possible.
Wait a second, this isn't just about the sex. You like her personality. You like that she's conniving. You like that she has no regard for consequences. You like that she can humiliate someone if it serves—[his eyes widen, long pause] Oh my God! You're sleeping with me!
The writers have been doing this with House/Cuddy for ages. By season three it was pretty clear that he has strong feelings for her, but whenever they seem to bring it to a point where it could lead anywhere they drop it and ignore it for a few weeks, before starting it up again.
In season 6, the House/Wilson text has ceased to be anything even close to "sub," and entered a whole new realm of Ho Yay shipper baiting. While it's obviously there just for laughs, it's also clear that the writers are aware of the slasher-base, and have decided to take the "married couple routine" one step further. In one scene, Wilson publicly got down on his knees and proposed to House. It was completely part of a ruse and not real at all, but still, damn. Talk about a big shiny present for the House/Wilson shippers.
In Greek, the main ship is Cappie/Casey. So in one promo when Cappie wants to talk about dating with Casey, squees are heard far and wide. Then the ep airs, and Cappie tells Casey he's dating her arch-rival (and ZBZ little) Rebecca. Hilarity Ensues.
The Shake It Up episode "Add It Up" brings a ship tease for the Ty/Tinka pairing. However, it's never mentioned again.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager has a huge following of Ricky/Amy, likely because they have a baby together. The writers picked up on it, and seem to adore teasing it/smashing it/teasing it again as much as they can. There have been quite a few previews with various characters saying "Do you still have feelings for Ricky?" to Amy or vice versa before fade to black. When the episode is actually shown, Ricky or Amy follows the question with a fierce NO!
There was also the episode of their son's first birthday party, where Amy ended up spending the night at Ricky's apartment. It's vague enough that she could have just spent the night....or she could have spent the night.
In a Season 3 episode, they pretend to be married.
Many seem to not care the situation in which Justin and Alex are situated and still believe they will probably kiss or get together at one point. There were so many questions from the fans, regarding their relationship, to the point where the creators of the show got used to them. In a live chat show, Word of God's reaction was something like this:
Todd J. Greenwald: Oh my gosh, we got a Jalex question.
Fan: Are Justin and Alex going to end up together?
Kamen Rider Den-O featured the time-traveling hero Ryotaro and his tsundere sidekick Hana. Over the course of the series, Ryotaro threw a lot of "my god, you're so sexy" looks at her, resulting in some pretty early shipping for the two. The finale revealing she was his niece from a destroyed future timelinesank the ship pretty fast, but to this day, people still wonder whether the show writers did that on purpose or whether the actor just couldn't stop himself from drooling over his fellow actress long enough to actually act.
The fact that Toei included Ship Teases like this in Kamen Rider Kabuto and practically every episode of Mahou Sentai Magiranger hints at the former though. Kamen Rider Double introduced Ship Tease between Wakana and Philip early on in the series, despite it being fairly obvious he would turn out to be her brother.
Kamen Rider Fourze started to have this for Ryusei and Tomoko during and after the Cygnus Zodiart arc. To teh point that he was the most upset that she has disappeared.
To be fair to Magiranger, everyone is related to begin with, so it's sort of unavoidable.
Anyone who watches Dengeki Sentai Changeman should know that episode 19 is a huge tease between Tsurugi Hiryuu and Sayaka Nagisa, starting from him being the only one to trust her after one failure nearly killed everyone, to Sayaka crying over Tsurugi looking like dying due to yet another error of her calculations, then topped off with the end of the episode where both of them are in the room kissing shaking hands with Sayaka being thankful for Tsurugi's continual trust on her.
Shinkenger also hinted at the possibility of something developing between Chiaki and Kotoha. Sadly, nothing had come of it by the end of the series.
Boukenger appeared to have quite a bit of ship tease for Masumi and Natsuki, but Masumi's actor effectively sank the ship by stating in interviews that it was intended to be more like a parent/child relationship. Hasn't stopped the shippers though.
The Where Are They Now epilogue of Gosei Sentai Dairanger hints that Lin and Kou might have become a couple or married in the future. Fans are divided on this one since some shippers preferred the idea of Ryou/Lin, and Kou's age for most of the show (9-10 years old) would make a romance with Lin a reverse case of Wife Husbandry.
Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has this between Daigo and Amy, starting with episode #22. More on Amy's part, as she is conflicted about her feelings towards him (all played for laughs, of course). But there are instances where Daigo has come to Amy's aid in battle or when she is in trouble.
Engine Sentai Go-onger, which did not have a Pink or White Ranger, had ship tease between the Red and Silver Rangers, Sosuke and Miu, instead. Like with Chiaki and Kotoha above, nothing comes out of it.
Firefly continually teases both Simon/Kaylee and Mal/Inara. The latter's biggest moment is definitely at the end of "Our Mrs. Reynolds".
The comic spin off Better Days contains outright indications of Simon/Inara, although her comment about him being both a friend and a doctor when Mal tries to berate her for servicing crew indicates that the Ship Tease is really a cover for for her secret Ill Girl status, something she would need a doctor for.
While River/Jayne shipping is something of a Base Breaker among fans, there is little denying they have several... suspect moments, such as the "Copper for a kiss?" line, or their fight in the Big Damn Movie involving Jayne wrapping his arms around River and her grabbing his crotch.
A small, brief scene in "The Shepherd's Tale", where Jayne talks to Book about things that will make sure he doesn't go to hell, and then gestures to River, saying he's taking care of her and affectionally calling her "jelly-brain," and she seems more amused by it than anything.
A conversation in "Ariel" featured warm golden lighting, and an extremely intimate shot of the two subjects sitting quite near to each other. It's Simon and River. "Safe" has River feeding him berries with the exact same candle-lit dinner atmosphere. This was probably done to highlight their platonic closeness, but taken out of context... (That's before considering when River, in a period of less-than-total-lucidity, asked Shepherd to marry the two of them.)
Smallville does this with everybody. In Season One, when Lana is dating Whitney, they tease Clark/Lana on a weekly basis, throwing in Clark/Chloe as another teased ship starting at the end of the same season. They also teased Clark and Lois (before they became the Official Couple), Pete and Chloe, Clark and Lex, and Tess with, well, everyone, from Clark to Oliver to Major Zod to (most recently) Emil. Lionel and Martha. Jimmy and Kara. Lana and Bizarro. Even Lois and Jimmy.
Bones Season 3 is largely considered a tease for Booth/Brennan, well the whole show's purpose seems like a big tease for the OTP.
Bones/Angela, Booth/Angela, Bones/Zach, Zach/Jack(Hodgins), and Cam/Booth and Bones/Sully (even though most fans hated both official relationships, they had some shippers back in their day) have canon ship tease as well ("sweetie", Angela's near constant checking out/complimenting of Booth in the first few seasons, Zach looking very interested when told of Bones' grad advisor's relationship with her because she was "exceptional" and then saying something along the lines of "I'm exceptional too", and King of the Lab have all been cited as back up for their respective ships).
The Sarah Connor Chronicles has more than a few indications of this between John and Cameron, not the least of which is a scene at the end of "Vick's Chip" where John, leaning over Cameron while she is still deactivated, stops to affectionately stroke her hair.
There's also some Ship Teasing between Future!John Connor and Cameron, as well as some subtle indicators of Future!John and Allison. It does not help that Cameron and Allison look exactly alike, and that Cameron can apparently become Allison in personality...
In "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today", John and Cameron are shown lying side by side in bed. She tells John, outright, that she knows that "being John Connor can be lonely," and she's extremely scantily clad (deliberately, she sheds her jacket before going to see John). Possibly this was meant to say something about John Connor's willpower.
The exclusive WonderCon trailer is packed with this. Among the highlights are John getting extremely mad that Sarah suggests Cameron doesn't "love" him, as well as a scene where John is repairing Cameron's arm, and she holds his hand while doing so. Then there's the ending of the trailer, which shows John lying on top of Cameron in bed.
Cameron's little rant in "Samson and Delilah", which John didn't exactly deny at the time. There's been surprisingly little fallout from that.
There's a little bit of teasing with Derek and Cameron, such as the scene in "The Demon Hand" where he ends up staring at her for a prolonged time while she does a ballet dance, and in "To The Lighthouse," which has very suggestive shots of Derek shoving Cameron up against a wall in close proximity.
If you want to head into that territory, "Allision from Palmdale" has some teasing between Allison and Cameron.
Early episodes of Fringe tease the fans insanely with the possibility of Peter/Olivia. Though it can be argued that they just have really really really good character chemistry whenever they're onscreen together.
The out of left field ship tease of all ship teases happened in "Brown Betty." There is a scene with Astrid caring for a wound on Olivia's chest as Olivia describes the kind of man she is looking for. Obviously, the writers ship Oliva/Peter, but that doesn't mean that they don't mind playing with an out of continuity Astrid/Olivia moment.
And now they are obviously ship teasing Altlivia/Alt Lincoln Lee.
Pepper Dennis and Curtis Wilson on the tv show Pepper Dennis. It was mostly a tease for obvious reasons.
Queer as Folk is one big Stuart/Vince tease. They are obviously in love with each other, but what with Stuart's constant one-night-stands and Vince's reluctance to initiate anything, they remain in UST territory. They wind up together at the end of the series, but it is left ambiguous as to whether they are a romantic couple or not.
The first couple of seasons of Star Trek: Voyager appeared to be building up to a relationship between Captain Janeway and her second-in-command Chakotay, only for nothing to happen. According to the Word of God the whole issue was 'resolved' in the end-of-season episode "Resolutions", yet such hints continued throughout the series until the Last Minute Hookup between Chakotay and Seven of Nine.
B'Elanna fantasises having sex with Chakotay, but this is never followed up with B'Elanna/Tom becoming the Official Couple. Likewise Tom and Kes are shown to be married in a alternate future. And an alien-possessed Kes taunts Tuvok about having a sexual attraction to her in "Warlord".
The X-Files, despite having an onscreen chemistry that was practically explosive, the writers ignored the dramatic potential of a Mulder-Scully relationship until just prior to David Duchovny's departure (and, arguably, until long-time fans no longer really cared). The 2nd movie resorts to cheap Handwave and It's the Only Way plot twists to play this aspect of the series down.
Given that the pairing of Mulder and Scully as romantic partners was supposedly accidental, there is a surprising amount of sexual tension and ship-teasing the first and second seasons. Like the neck-inspection scene in "Ice", with sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a knife.
In the pilot episode, Scully goes to Mulder's motel room in the middle of the night, wearing a robe and not much else, and asks him to look at some marks that have appeared on her back. Then they seemingly have a slumber party. And this isn't deliberate?!
Scully's sister goes to Mulder's darkened apartment in "One Breath" (when Scully is comatose in hospital) and has a nice and tense conversation with him. Unsurprisingly, the writers later admitted that this was remnants of a possible relationship that had been nixed.
For being the remnants of a Mulder/Melissa relationship, that scene oddly seems to cast Melissa as a Shipper on Deck for Mulder/Scully. After chewing him out for being negative about her new-age ideas, she asks him why it's "so much easier for you to run around trying to get even than just expressing to her how you feel?" and that even if it didn't bring her back, "at least she'll know...and so will you." Though Mulder takes this to mean telling Dana that he feels it isn't her time to die, the way Melissa says it implies something different.
Chris Carter has said a good deal of that tension was more or less a happy accident, that came about mostly because Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny just have a crazy amount of natural chemistry. The writers took that and ran with it like a football.
There's also a good case for some shipteasing between Mulder and Krycek, particularly the kiss in "The Red And The Black"
Rodney McKay, whilst experiencing a second childhood, is distressed and calls only for John Sheppard in the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Shrine", despite the fact that Jennifer Keller, the woman he supposedly loves, is sitting right in front of him.
And before Atlantis, there was Stargate SG-1. Word of God says that the writers originally did not intend to create such a massive Ship Tease between Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter, but when they realized the fans were picking up on the impressive on-screen chemistry between Richard Dean Anderson and Amanda Tapping, they changed their minds.
When they saw how much fun the fandom and writers were having with the Jack/Sam ship, the actors playing Daniel Jackson and Janet Fraser decided to throw in as much ship tease they could wherever they could get away with, resulting in some big body-language teases, such as holding hands and intense Held Gaze scenes. The actors admitted that their actions often confused the writing staff, since it wasn't scripted, but that the directors were willing to leave the ship tease in.
Later in SG-1, General Landry and Dr. Lam are introduced in the same episode, and have quite a few scenes which seem to imply without explicitly stating that they have a prior relationship. Eventually it's revealed that he's actually her father.
Supposedly, the Powers That Be planned to have a relationship between Dr. Lam and Colonel Mitchell, so they get a few teasing scenes near the beginning of season 9. Cam and Sam also get teased a fair bit, like when they're stuck in an alternate dimension together and when Sam gets injured during an Ori attack and Cam takes care of her.
Crusher: Why didn't you ever tell me you were in love with me?
Very notably in the episode "The Naked Now", where a virus of sorts makes everyone act as if they are drunk, and Crusher and Picard are very obviously attracted to each other.
The implied shipping is effectively delivered in "All Good Things", the last episode of the series. It's the future, and it's revealed that Picard and Crusher not only had a relationship, they eventually married. And then divorced.
This trope is huge in the first season, almost to the point that Wesley being revealed as Picard's son would not have been completely unbelievable. (It's especially blatant in the pilot, where Beverly seems to react oddly to a mention of Picard not having children and Picard seems very interested on learning Wesley is her son.) A lot of the momentum was lost, however, when Crusher was Put On A Shuttlecraft in the second season.
Carly/Freddie have "iSpeed Date" and "iSaved Your Life" dedicated to it and constantly references to Freddie's crush on Carly.
The Sam/Freddie ship had the first Ship Tease with the episode "iKiss". It also had the Cliff Hanger episode "iOMG" which lead into a 4 episode story arc where they eventually broke up but continued to get teased.
Sam/Spencer had Sam come right out and tell everyone she had a crush on Spencer. And Spencer revel in that several episodes later.
In-universe, Carly had done some Ship Tease to Freddie, like asking Freddie if he wanted to taste her lip gloss, he closes his eyes.. she smooshes it onto her hand and rubs it in his face.
Sam provides an in-universe example in "iStart A Fan War": At one point, to Carly's and Freddie's chagrin, she tells their shippers, "It's true — Carly and Freddie are deeply in love" just so she can sit back and watch the Ship-to-Ship Combat with an amused smile, a popular motive ascribed to ship teasing writers.
Dan Schneider wrote iStart A Fan War and ended it with Carly delivering a blatant Author Tract against how much emphasis Shipping has in the fandom. After a storm of fan criticism he wrote a blog defending the episode and confirming the Author Tract. It also said that an upcoming episode had an unspecified something that would please people. Everyone assumed it would be ship-related, and thus was another blatant moment of Ship Tease right after denouncing the Shippers.
The unspecified something turned out to be a Cliff Hanger episode "iOMG" where Sam kisses Freddie and looks like the start of a Sam/Freddie/Carly love triangle. iStart A Fan War: Don't watch for Shipping. iOMG: Here is EVERYTHING THE SHIPPERS HAVE EVER WANTED, and you've got 6 months to argue before the next episode airs to resolve it.
The show managed to keep both sides teased and hooked for five years and all the way until the final episode, and even with the last episode to come, both ships and the possibility that neither ship would happen were legitimate.
That final episode ended with a Last Minute Kiss between Carly and Freddie, initiated by Carly, and celebrated by Freddie. Despite this seemingly obvious They Do ending, the writers knew they had an upcoming Spin-Off, named Sam & Cat, involving the now third wheel, and thus decided to keep teasing Sam/Freddie shippers in the hope they would keep watching the new show in the hope Freddie would come back to that show to sink Creddie and confirm Seddie.
Nickelodeon's other teen show True Jackson, VP teased the main ship True/Jimmy all throughout season one with no resolution or hookup until the next season.
Given that it was created by Joss Whedon, it was a given that Dollhouse would feature quite a bit of this. Probably the most notable example occurred between Topher and DeWitt in "Echoes", which had number of fans wanting them to drop everything and have sex right there. "Omega" even teases Topher/Echo.
This is made worse with the reveal that Adelle isn't above hiring Dolls for romantic assignments with herself, and is willing to look the other way when other Dollhouse employees do it too. This allows for an extraordinary amount of pairings to be explicitly shown onscreen without any baggage in future episodes.
The second season premiere ramps this up to a new level. In addition to the expected Ballard/Echo and Victor/Sierra, there's some gratuitous Whiskey/Echo and Ivy/Sierra, as well as a rather disturbing Topher/Claire scene.
Echo/Bennett and Caroline/Bennett are both heavily implied in different ways.
The sheer mass of awkward, adorable moments between Topher and Bennett threatened to shatter the world. One of the most awkward moments comes when Topher tries to use his Doll-stunning "disruptor" on Bennett, thinking she might be an Active. When she asks him why he thinks she would be one, he flubs out a response, and then she says that there's no way she's an Active, as Actives tend to be perfect and beautiful and....oh....
A later episode featured Topher and Bennett kissing, which had shippers exploding with glee right up until Saunders kills Bennett. Talk about your Moment Killer...
Cleverly used by the writers of How I Met Your Mother. Barney and Robin have had a huge fanbase since season one, and in the season three episode Sandcastles in the Sand Barney offers Robin comfort after a breakup and the two of them get cosy at the bar before Robin asks Barney to come back home with her. Cut to Robin's apartment where Barney asks if she's sure about this and she insists that it is, prompting him to ask "So should I just...put it in?" And it turns out he's talking about her second Robin Sparkles video. Cleverly done because they actually do hook up in that episode, but when it happens they don't build up to it, it just happens.
Lily and Barney have been teased on a recurring basis for a long time.
In fact, in Season 4, they re-tease Ted and Robin, ending in a "backup marriage" proposal. This is for a couple that the show already broke up.
Castle is one big, giant, delicious, awesome ship tease for Castle/Beckett.
So much so that the series, from 1x01 one doesn't have much else to offer. Makes it a rather boring show for people who don't ship, or don't want it to be immediately clear who ends up together.
Tina Fey has said that her 30 Rock character will never hook up with Jack, but she seems to be going out of her way to imply that they might.
Particularly in "The Problem Solvers."
We even had an episode entitled "Mrs. Donaghy" in which Liz and Jack are Accidental Marriage'd. It's done by the end of the episode. But serious trope-age here.
Skins does this quite a bit - most notably in the third series with the Cook/JJ ship. Teases (usually one or more in each episode) include Cook putting his hand on JJ's knee less then five minutes into the first episode, hugging JJ, kissing JJ's cheek twice, licking JJ's cheek, touching JJ's crotch while talking about the time they went to a brothel together, clinging to JJ while dancing, tickling JJ, doing a strange victory dance which consisted of grinding against JJ's thigh and not much else, pulling down JJ's pants (not seen, but described by another character) and grabbing JJ's head, pulling it into his lap and playing at 'JJ is giving me a blowjob'.
And somewhere around the middle of Katie's S4 episode, Katie/Effy teasing - which had been around as a kind of background for a while - suddenly kicked into overdrive.
LilyKat (the Actor Shipping version of Naomily) know about the shipping tendencies and are more than willing to play along. Particularly with the Lily's Perfect Date interview.
Mini and Franky repeatedly since the first episode of series 5. They took the teasing and ran with it in Grace's episode, when they are told to kiss in rehearsal for a play. The series finale will determine whether this is going to move beyond teasing.
In the second half of the season 9 opener of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Detective Alex Eames is promoted to captain and given the painful responsibility of firing her longtime partner Bobby Goren. Goren takes it well, which only fuels Eames's tearfulness, and the exit interview concludes with the only hug shared by the partners, as well as a remarkably lengthy kiss to Eames's cheek. After Goren leaves the room, Eames resigns, and both characters bow gracefully out of the show. As the relationship has been fraught with Unresolved Sexual Tension for years, it's clear that this is set up for the benefit of the shippers.
The characters return for the tenth and final season, in which Bobby is required to attend weekly counseling sessions with a psychiatrist. Said psychiatrist gives a nod to the Ship Tease in one episode by asking Bobby if he's in love with Alex (he denies it, a little too vehemently). In the series finale, Alex comments to Bobby that everyone wants to believe they can find true love. Later, she picks him up from his psychiatrist's office, smiling at him in a way that seems to indicate she's realized her own feelings for him. They drive away - still partners, still unconfirmed.
The West Wing had seven years of Ship Tease for Josh/Donna. It also teased C.J./Danny for quite some time before they finally got serious in the final season, and did a bit of Sam/Ainsley teasing as well.
On Stargate Universe, one of the Kino webisodes has a female soldier using the communication stones express an interest in Eli...while using Chloe's body. Just to make things worse, she is played by Chloe's actress (Elyse Levesque), while the normal convention has the character portrayed by whoever is using the body in question.
Rizzoli & Isles might as well be titled "How Can We Make Jane and Maura Look Like An Old Married Couple This Time?". Literally every single episode has at least one adorable scene that would make just as much sense if they were Happily Married, it's confirmed on numerous occasions that theirs' is the most important relationship in each of their lives (indeed it's heavily implied this is the only close relationship that Maura has ever had), and they repeatedly go out of their way to protect each other even if it means going against a value they hold dear.
Merlin does this for every combination imaginable. 1st season had the creators teasing Arthur/his sister Morgana, Gwen/Merlin, Gwen/Arthur, and always, ALWAYS ship teases Arthur/Merlin. They've even ship teased Morgana/Uther.
Trailers for season 4 are largely centered on the famous Love Triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot, with one scene depicting a Gwen/Lancelot kiss. It's shown completely out of context, and is currently fuelling most of the fandom debate.
Morgana/Merlin was teased throughout season 2 but was decidedly sunk when Merlin was forced to poison her.
Glee does this with every pairing you could conceive of — and some you couldn't — but fans are getting particularly invested in Kurt and his Sexy Mentor Blaine. Between the hand-holding, the casual touching, and the romantic duet, even NY Mag.com is saying "Make out, make out, make out already!"
Speaking of Kurt and Blaine - this is arguably the entire point of the otherwise completely plot-irrelevant "Baby, It's Cold Outside," in which Blaine contrives the Lame Excuse of "rehearsing for a Christmas performance" to eyesex Kurt whilst Kurt himself spends the song giving Blaine "come hither" eyes and playing hard to get.
And, at long last... Kurt and Blaine get their Relationship Upgrade in "Original Song", complete with a Love Epiphany (on Blaine's part), a Love Confession (ditto), an enormous, passionate smooch (which kicks the trope But Not Too Gay in the metaphorical groin while cackling with unholy glee), and another romantic duet ("Candles" by Hey Monday, which consists entirely of Kurt and Blaine gazing adoringly into each others' eyes and ignoring the rest of the world). And every Klaine shipper everywhere, plus the entire LGBT-friendly world, rejoiced in loud and squeeful fashion.
Alex and Kuru from The Elephant Princess spend plenty of time hugging, grabbing each other's hands, and in one case, Alex kisses him on the cheek.
Harry and Nikki in Silent Witness.One kiss in the tenth series and nothing other than cute hugs with hints of potenial since. Nikki even comments on it.
On Misfits, the b-plot of season 2 episode 3 (in which Nathan, under the influence of someone else's Love Potion-esque superpower, temporarily falls madly in love with Simon) was a clever way of lampshading the escalating levels of Ho Yay between the two characters, and appealing to the sizeable number of fans who ship them. In short, it gave the YaoiFangirls what they wanted without de-railing the plot or characters, and gave everyone else the opportunity to laugh their asses off at Nathan's outlandish seduction technique (which involved him gyrating around to George Michael's Careless Whisper in a highly misguided attempt at being alluring) and poor Simon's abject terror.
The teasing for this pairing started as early as the second episode. "Two babies? How do I get two babies? (looks at Rimmer's crotch)."
Maddigan's Quest gives us Timon and Garland, who spend the first few episodes irritating each other, the next half dancing round each other, and in the final episode, openly flirting which, considering the form Timon's in at the time, is a tiny bit disturbing before Timon is finally forced to return home (several hundred years into the future, with the implication that they'll never see each other again).
A Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode in which Lwaxana Troi gets a psychic illness that makes her project her affection towards Odo onto others, exists almost solely for this: We have Sisko/Dax, Bashir/Kira, Bareil/Dax, Jake/Kira, and Quark/Keiko.
All of the possible pairings between two members of the study group in Community have at one time or another been teased. Gets pretty crazy when even Abed/Pierce is given scene time with a montage of private moments set to music.
Jeff/Annie is at the start of Season Three, not even being teased. It's like a giant neon sign saying "these two will hook up some time this year". Geography Of Global Conflict has a big moment, but there was an earlier one where Jeff's dream sequence includes a line about finally sleeping with Annie. And then they didn't.
Of course, you'd assume that the Troy/Abed ship teasing would lessen once Troy and Britta got together (after they'd received their own teasing in Season 3). But no, if the first few episodes of Season 4 are anything to go by, the teasing has only gotten worse. "Conventions of Space and Time" takes a lot of the previous teasing Up to Eleven
Boy Meets World had a bunch of this between Corey and Topanga in the first two seasons before they get together for the first time in the season 3 premiere. These included the kiss against the lockers from her debut appearance in early season 1, and the "You are you and I am I" speech from late season 2.
Ted and Peggy in Just Cause. The writers stick them together for three episodes that make it look like they're starting a relationship, beginning with him teaching her how to rollerblade and ending with her inviting him to a Christmas party at her parents' house. It's later implied that they talk regularly, although not necessarily that they're dating, but they never interact on screen again for the rest of the series, before or after.
Don't forget in "The Song Remains the Same" when Castiel tells Lucifer: “You come near Sam Winchester and I'll kill you.”
The pairing Megstiel was largely ship teased since Castiel and Meg shared a steamy "pizza man" kiss in "Caged Heat" after Castiel watched porn.
The pairing was continuously ship teased into season 7 until it finally came to a head in "Goodbye Stranger" when Castiel admits to having a crush on her, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Meg dies, unbestknown to Castiel.
The writers of Victorious latched onto the popular Jade/Tori pairing. One acting exercising has the two of the two of them playing a married couple. Existing couple Jade and Beck broke up which enabled more teasing of Jade/Tori and Beck/Tori, Robbie/Cat shippers have been strung along, Robbie/Trina, Trina/Beck have been teased as well. One episode even had the Crack Pairing of Andre/Jade be canon by Andre for Jade.
Irene: I would have you right here, on this table, 'til you begged for mercy twice.
Theories of how Sherlock survived the Fall are shown as Fantasy Sequences in what is not so much Ship Teasing as Ship Trolling. Anderson's theory has him smash through a window, kiss Molly Hooper passionately, and vanish. A rival theory sits him giggling next to Moriarty - they stare into each other's eyes - they lean in... aaandFade to Black. Pity.
The True Blood writers are infamous for freaking out their viewers with as many crack pairings and strange ship teases as possible. Bonus points if it's sex dreams induced by drinking vampire blood.
We have Bill/Sam (played Up to Eleven in season three) and Jason/Hoyt (dream sequence sex scene in season four) as the prime examples. But there's a lot more than that. Season two had heavy undertones for Sam/Maryann and season four gravitated towards Steve McNewlin/Jason in the season finale.
Joey and Phoebe in Friends are teased a bit. In several instances, they favor each other over the other friends, and with the Monica/Chandler and Ross/Rachel deals, it makes sense for them to be together. At one point, Joey even proposes to Phoebe, but it turns out it's only because he thinks she's pregnant and doesn't want to do it alone. She still responds to his proposal enthusiastically. Phoebe only said she was pregnant to cover for Rachel, who really was pregnant. When Joey finds this out, he proposes to Rachel instead, who rejects him. Phoebe says she will "take him back." The ship was well and truly sunk when Phoebe met and married Mike Hannigan. Him and Phoebe did have two passionate kisses across the series though. The first was when Phoebe was pretending to be her twin sister Ursulanote Whom Joey had been seeing and was ditching him, Phoebe wanting to give Joey some closure in Ursula's place. The second was Phoebe's birthday where she laments that she hasn't had the perfect kiss yet.
Joey: You know, Monica and Chandler are married. Ross and Rachel are having a baby. Maye you and I should do something.
Phoebe: All in good time, my love. All in good time.
Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow were reportedly keen on the idea that Joey and Phoebe were having casual sex behind everyone's backs, but the writers vetoed the idea.
Producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman have said that they "always assumed Joey and Phoebe were having a secret affair". Which may count as Word of God.
The only time the writers didn't have Ross and Rachel in this trope is when they were actually dating, which was like a fifth of the series' run.
Chandler/Monica were teased mildly in early seasons, with them almost having sex in a flashback, Chandler describing her as the most beautiful women he's ever known-come-favourite person, offering a FallbackChildrenPact, and spending two episodes straight arguing that she should date him which led many fans to theorize he had some buried feelings for her. They also had crushes on each other in flashback episodes and confided secrets that even the other Friends didn't know. No one thought it was serious until they slept together in Season 5, fell in love and ended up Happily Married.
A lot of pairings had this at some point, mostly Played for Laughs. It helps that all the six friends, except Phoebe and Monica, have kissed each other (although the kisses between Ross/Chandler, Rachel/Monica and Ross/Monica happened off screen and the Joey/Monica one was only a fictional kiss in an Alternate Reality Episode).
Phil of the Future does this incessantly with Phil and Keely up until the very last possible moment, and it all serves to make their Big Damn Kiss that much more awesome when it finally happens.
Chicago Fire has been teasing the romantic pairing of Leslie Shay and Gabriela Dawson, the two paramedics, right from the get-go. It's to the point where the actresses, Lauren German and Monica Raymund, are Tumblr-infamous for sending ridiculously shippy tweets at each other and commenting on their sexual tension.
There have also been hints towards possible Nick and Sara - Word of God states that Sara's phonecall at the end of "You've Got Male" was originally intended to be to Nick, and they have had moments of reciprocated flirting. Likewise, Catherine and Warrick, to the point where Catherine is upset to learn of Warrick's marriage and even outright comments on losing the dream.
Grissom and Heather could also fall under this as it is never outright confirmed that anything happened between them. Heavily implied, yes, but always in a way that, taking Grissom as being Grissom, could have a perfectly innocent explanation.
There were hints here and there for Greg and Sara as well, especially during her time mentoring him in the fifth season. A notable example comes from the episode "4x4":
Greg: Sara, I just want you to know that when we were in the shower, I didn't see anything.
Sara: Really? Gosh, I saw everything.
Grissom and Sara themselves in the first season.
Sara: Do you want to sleep with me?
Gil: ...Did you just say what I think you said?
Although that was a Rule of Drama moment, as Sara was setting him up for her rationale for taking their current case personally, that if they slept together, then he would know how serious her nightmares were regarding the victim.
Arrow started teasing Felicity/Oliver pretty much immediately. Between her innuendo-laden speech, him comforting her after a particularly bad day, and the fact that they're both drop dead gorgeous...
Charmed had lots of Foe Yay between Prue and Cole and the episode "The Good, The Bad & The Cursed" gave them a bit of a tease (it probably helped that the actors dated on set). Cole also got teased with Paige as he kissed her while Phoebe was in her body and the episode "Sympathy For The Demon" teased them even further. According to Word of God, a Cole/Paige relationship was in the plans but Rose McGowan objected to it.
Mysterious Ways: Declan got plenty of Ship Tease with both his female sidekicks, but nothing ever came of it. It's heavily implied that both Peggy and Miranda have feelings for Declan, but it's unclear how he feels about them.