Fatherly advice: a Sci-Fi perspective!

Now how can this author pen a column about Science Fiction mothers entitled ‘Motherly Instinct: A Sci-Fi Lullaby’ (September 18, 2012) and not pay any recognition to fathers in this same genre? Well, in fairness let’s give some attention to the breadwinners in the world of sci-fi television, shall we?

In ‘Fatherly Advice: A Sci-Fi Perspective’, we will delve into the ten selections of TV dads and determine their credibility as the head of their household in the sci-fi/fantasy universe, okay?

So let’s examine the ten Daddy Dearest candidates from the science fiction/fantasy realm:

Frank’s top TEN father figures in TV science fiction/fantasy are:

Lt. Commander Worf from STAR TREK: NEXT GENERATION: No doubt that the gruff and no nonsense Worf was not what you would call the ‘nurturing type’ when it came to being caretaker to the adventurous Alexander. Plain and simple…Alexander presented a challenge to Worf’s awkward foray into fatherhood. The reality is that Worf didn’t even know that Alexander existed until his adolescence years. Still, with his duties on board the Enterprise as a decorated officer, Worf had to serve his boss, Jean Luc Picard, effectively and keep a parental eye on his inquisitive offspring. Worf would not be doing the space-aged re-make of ‘Father Knows Best’ any time soon but he adored his youngster despite his Klingon indifference.

Bender – what a dad!

Professor John Robinson from LOST IN SPACE: ‘Lost In Space’s Professor John Robinson (father to Judy, Penny and Will) ruled the Jupiter II with a flexible fist that incorporated firmness, compassion, courage and understanding. Professor Robinson was intelligent, athletic (the man could fight and hold his own) and analytical in his thinking when danger faced his beloved clan. It is too bad that John Robinson’s heroics often took a backseat to the campy carousing of the Dr. Smith-Robot-Will dynamic. NOTE: To appreciate Professor John Robinson’s episodic muster, I recommend the installment ‘The Anti-Matter Man’ that highlights his importance.

Jor-El of SMALLVILLE: This selection is rather self-explanatory — he is the biological father of the Man of Steel for goodness sakes! Jor-El is obviously a caring and conscientious father as he shipped his only beloved infant son to Earth in the wake of his planet Krypton’s demise. This is the ultimate sacrifice to protect and still oversee the maturity of your child’s well-being despite the unknown risks of launching your son to an unknown venue and entrusting his care in the hands of strange earthlings. His son may have proved to be the invincible savior on Earth but diligent daddy Jor-El is indeed the original Superman.

Jonathan Kent of SMALLVILLE: Jor-El (see above) may have been the man that conceived the future Superman for the Earth to cherish but it was Kansas-based farmer Jonathan Kent that was responsible for Clark Kent’s upbringing and overall moral compass that shaped him to become the Man of Steel and live up to the legendary hype as the greatest iconic super-hero that existed. Jonathan was the ultimate earthling dad that prepared a young Clark for his destined role as a protector of the planet whose superpowers were aimed responsibly at benefiting mankind. Idealistic and full of conviction, Jonathan picked up the slack where an absent Jor-El could not fill the bill.

Sarek of STAR TREK: Vulcan Sarek is the accomplished father of ‘Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. As first played by actor Mark Lenard in the episode ‘Journey To Babel’, Sarek was a well-rounded man whose significant titles included such as Vulcan ambassador to the United Federation of Planets and being an astrophysicist. Sarek (it was revealed that he had another son Sybok before Spock came along) was an individual capable of expressing a sensitive side — something of an oddity for Vulcans. He was estranged from Spock regarding his son’s Starfleet Academy affiliation for nearly two decades but the father-son tandem came together through reconciliation. Sarek was the ultimate over-achiever and the creator of Mr. Logic himself…the incomparable Mr. Spock.

Bender from FUTURAMA: Futurama’s robotic rogue Bender Bending Rodriguez (Bender) has been known to sew his oats with both mechanical and human honeys about town. The caddish Bender, in all his foul beer-guzzling and cigar-smoking glory, finally impregnated one of his fem-bot floozies that resulted in the birth of his son Ben. It is no wonder that Bender has not fathered an army of other Bens throughout the course of his carnal career! Watch your washing machines, vending machines, cheerleaders, strippers, computers, printers or any other female-oriented object as Latin loverboy Bender is on the prowl.

Adama from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Caprica native Commander Adama fathered children Apollo (Galactica fighter pilot), Athena (Galactica fighter pilot/teacher) and younger deceased fighter pilot son Zac (killed in a Cylon attack along with Adama’s wife Ila). In fact, Adama was considered a father figure to others under his command including the hotshot orphaned Starbuck and his Battlestar Galactica crew. Although stern and disciplined, Adama (as played by former Bonanza patriarch Lorne Greene) was the revered and respected leader of both his military vessel and the Twelve Colonies region.

George Jetson from THE JETSONS: George Jetson was the typical animated science fiction father in that he was an industrious individual living in a futuristic techno-territory of Orbit City. As a father, George was slightly goofy but nevertheless attentive to his tykes Judy and Elroy. Between balancing his domestic duties as a dad to his children at the Skypad Apartments and catering to the demands of his boss Cosmo G. Spacely at Spacely Space Sprockets, George was a walking wonderment of a befuddled guy devoted to his personal and professional existences.

Rick Marshall from LAND OF THE LOST: Father Rick Marshall had the daunting task of protecting his kids Will and Holly from the ominous prehistoric forces that overwhelmed them in the Sid and Marty Krofft-produced live action sci-fi/fantasy primitive kiddie fare ‘Land Of The Lost’. Week after week, Rick managed to safeguard his children from the dangerous world of corrosive cavemen, primates and dinosaurs — all looking to take a stab at our vulnerable Marshall clan in the middle of an alternate universe chaos courtesy of a waterfall-designed portal. Rick was the resilient father that shared an exciting yet threatening adventure with Will and Holly as he teaches them the essential skills of survival.

Ted Lawson from SMALL WONDER: United Robotronics research engineer Ted Lawson was the father of 12 year-old son Jamie and ‘adopted’ 10 year-old daughter Victoria (‘Vicki’) — ctually a robot known as a Voice Input Child Indicant. Ted’s invention of Vicki started out as a means to assist physically-challenged children but soon the cute little human-looking android became an instrumental part of the Lawsons’ family unit. Ted was loving, resourceful, attentive and always on guard to protect Vicki’s secret from a curious world that included the neighboring and insufferable Brindles (Brindle patriarch Brandon was Ted’s clueless boss at work).


Frank Ochieng has contributed film reviews to SF Crowsnest off and on since 2003. He has been published in other various movie site venues throughout the years. Ochieng has been part of The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and had written film reviews for The Boston Banner newspaper (USA) and frequently is a media/entertainment panelist on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM on "The Jordan Rich Show" in Boston, Massachusetts/USA.