Motherly instinct: A Sci-Fi lullaby.

Whoever you are in life or whatever your success level is in your current standing there is almost no doubt where the credit goes to for your degree of accomplishment. For the most part, mothers are the critical staple of our existences and how we come to digest the world around us once we leave their comfort zone of nurturing. They give us life, love and life lessons.

In ‘Motherly Instinct: A Sci-Fi Lullaby’ we will examine some of television’s notable matriarchs within the realm of old-time sci-fi/fantasy entertainment on the small screen. These extraordinary mothers, for the most part, are steady as a rock and hold their own in the face of adversity and adventure.

So let’s take a look at a sampling of ten motherly mainstays that have taken nurturing to a whole new phase in sci-fi and fantasy escapism, okay?

“Remember my cosmic kiddies…eat right, take your vitamins and get plenty of sleep. And don’t talk to any “alien”-ated strangers on the way to the Jupiter 2!”

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

Maureen Robinson from LOST IN SPACE: Maureen Robinson is the mother of Judy, Penny and Will and affectionate wife of Professor John Robinson. She has an educational background in biochemistry and no doubt is resourceful in what she does as both a mother and professional scientist. Maureen is attractive, sensible and one of the most dependable housewives in the entire galaxy. When the men folk are away she steps up her duties as guardian and rational keeper of the castle. Maureen Robinson can be firm and her confrontations with alien life forms prevent her shivering in her apron.  Certainly Maureen wears her pants more manly than the weak-kneed and conniving Dr. Zachary Smith!

Sarah Connor from TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES: Butt-kicking Sarah Connor emerged from the big screen’s profitable Terminator movie series and got her own short-lived 2008 Fox TV series ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’. Sarah is the gun-toting and militaristic mother of her son, John Connor, whom she must protect from a Terminator killing machine named Cromartie. In both film and television versions, Sarah was athletic, feisty, determined and brooding. Her gung ho disposition was necessary as she was in defense of her and John’s endangered livelihood against the sinister Cromartie. The explosive Sarah was a futuristic mom that you did not want to tangle with at all.

Lwaxana Troi from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: Lwaxana Troi was the Betazoid mother of USS Enterprise’s counselor Deanna Troi (she’s half-human from her deceased Starfleet officer Lt. Ian Andrew Troi). The importance to recognise Lwaxana as a significant sci-fi mother is rather self-explanatory as she produced a capable and intelligent exotic beauty in Troi. Troi’s advanced degree in psychology and her uncanny ability to sense emotions (and blessed with limited telepathic powers) was beneficial to her leader Captain Jean-Luc Picard and fellow crew members. Also, it helps that Lwaxana Troi was played by the late Star Trek ‘first lady’, Majel Barrett, wife of the classic science fiction series Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Martha Kent from SMALLVILLE: True, we realise that Clark Kent’s biological Kryptonian mother was Lara Lor-Van. However, we certainly cannot discount the upbringing methods of Clark/Superman’s earthling mother Martha. Although not her child by blood, Martha (along with her husband, Jonathan) took in the abandoned planetary pipsqueak upon discovering him in the wheat fields of rural Kansas. Martha offered guidance, security and countless loving to the super-powered infant that would eventually turn into the Man of Steel, protector of the universe.

Morticia Addams from THE ADDAMS FAMILY: Ah, who could resist that horror-oriented honeybun Morticia Addams on the 60’s ghoulish fantasy sitcom ‘The Addams Family’? Morticia was the shapely, all-black garb-wearing mother to portly Pugsly and pony-tailed Wednesday. She was mysterious and morbidly sexy and drove her hubby Gomez mad! Sure, Morticia was an unconventional mama to say the least but hey…it’s not easy pulling off the task of being gory and gorgeous at the same time!  

Carolyn Muir from THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR: Widowed mother and writer Carolyn Muir resided at the cosy cottage in Maine with her adorable children Candace (‘Candy’) and Jonathan in the late 60s whimsical fantasy sitcom ‘The Ghost And Mrs. Muir’. However, the motherly Carolyn and her kiddies (along with housekeeper Martha Grant and dog, Scruffy) got more than they bargained for when it is revealed that their cottage had been inhabited by an unlikely visitor—the former cottage owner Daniel Gregg, a 19th century sea captain retuning in the form of a poltergeist figurehead. Carolyn was very patient and tolerant and showed motherly restraint towards her kiddies and more important…to the childish and moodiness of the ghostly Gregg.

Donna Garland from OUT OF THIS WORLD: This late 80s syndicated sci-fi situation comedy featured Donna Garland as the mother of 13-year old daughter Evie, a Californian teen that had inherited the gift of alien powers from her father Troy, an extra-terrestrial from the planet Antareus that Donna had married previously. After giving birth to Evie, Troy had to return to his planet leaving Donna to rear the power-prone Evie as she develops her alien-induced abilities. Donna originally ran a private school for capable children then later on ran for mayor and was elected to her community’s high office. But the skillful achievement of Donna was being the supportive single mother of her sassy sci-fi charge Evie as she dealt with her teenage offspring’s growing pains.

Samantha Stephens from BEWITCHED: The bewitching beauty on this long-running 60’s ABC comedy showcased Connecticut suburban mother and wife Samantha Stephens and her weekly exploits of hocus-pocus hilarity. Together, Samantha and her mortal hubby Darrin (or as mother-in-law Endora would sarcastically dub him as ‘Durwood’) would conceive daughter, Tabitha, and in later seasons, add son, Adam, into their family. The combination of Samantha’s endearing twitchy nose and her amazing witchcraft skills made her one of the most transfixing and adorable magical mothers on prime time television.

Endora Dobson from BEWITCHED: Yes SFCrowsnest readers…I am doing a 2-for-1 sale on adding two ‘Bewitched’ Mommy Dearests. First, we have recognized the motherly impact of Samantha Stephens (see above paragraph). Now, let’s focus on the woman that gave birth to winsome witch Sam…her mother Endora. Endora was an intrusive, droll and spiteful soul. She constantly annoyed Samantha whenever she would pop up out of nowhere and definitely was the obligatory mother-in-law from hell for poor Darren (for whom she would purposely mangle the guy’s name). Endora was cranky and can be vindictive with her casting unsuspecting spells on Durwood…er, I mean Darrin. Endora could be a softy at times especially when she spoiled her grandchildren, Tabitha and Adam. Devilish and delightful, Endora was the wicked witch worth our undivided attention.

Jane Jetson from THE JETSONS/Wilma Flintstone from THE FLINTSTONES: Sorry, but I had to combine these extremely likeable Hanna-Barbera sci-fi/fantasy animated mothers because they seem almost interchangeable. Both resilient moms were redheads and married to doltish husbands. Both women were sensible and reasonable ladies that were the real backbone in their households. Jane was the futuristic mother to Judy and Elroy living in the space-aged community of Orbit City. Wilma was the prehistoric mother to Pebbles as she resided in the caveman region of Bedrock. Cool and collective, Judy and Wilma were comforting motherly stalwarts to their young ones. Advisedly, some human moms should take notes on child-raising from these couple of cartoonish cuties from the Housework Haven of Hanna-Barbera’s entertaining stable.

Well folks…guess we hit the MOTHER-load, correct?



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.

6 thoughts on “Motherly instinct: A Sci-Fi lullaby.

  • Once again you have enlightened us with some great nostalgic characters and shows. What fun it is to take yet another walk down memory lane. Nice article!

  • Hello Frank

    Years ago, on one of my research things and picking up the original ‘Bewitched’ novelisation, I discovered what Endora’s surname was.


    • Hey Geoff,

      You are the equivalent of an old DALLAS rerun in that you left the readers hanging like a teasing cliffhanger! (smile) As Geoff properly stated, BEWITCHED’s beloved mother-in-law from hell Endora did have a surname but it was never mentioned on the long-running 60’s ABC television series at all. However, as Geoff correctly indicated Endora did have a full name in the BEWITCHED novels as Endora Dobson. So Geoff…is your “discovery” of Endora’s name in agreement with my submission of Dobson? LOL

  • Hello Frank

    I wasn’t teasing. Look at your article above. I added the detail in the edit but felt I ought to say something here. Was there more than one ‘Bewitched’ novel??

    Got an idea for one of your Top 10s. I presume you know how to contact me??


    • Geoff:

      I stand corrected…you’re not a tease or comparable to a cliffhanger after all! (smile) Folks, Geoff has revealed BEWITCHED’s Endora’s surname as “Dobson” so he did deliver the goods to the SF Crowsnest readers! Nice job, G and much obliged to the trivial footnote about Endora!!


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