Given how much of an impact our fathers have on our lives — even if only by their absence — it’s no surprise that daddy issues extend all the way to the final frontier. So, we decided to take a closer look at some of science fiction’s most memorable dads, and the ways their teachings and legacies shaped their children.
As the bar against all others will be measured, we decided on a duo that represent both sides of the old “nature vs. nurture” debate: the Kryptonian Jor-El and the Kansasan Jonathan Kent. Jor-El gave Kal-El the genetic potential to do great things, and his final acts were to ensure his son’s survival even as his planet died. On the other hand, Jonathan Kent (along with Martha, of course) helped shape Clark into a true hero worthy of the name Superman. So, with Jor-El and Jonathan serving as two sides of our paternal ideal, here are our picks…
William Adama in Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica’s William Adama (Edward James Olmos) is a definite believer in tough love. This isn’t a man prone to expressing his feelings and emotions; it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have them, it’s just that he’s not entirely comfortable showing them off to those around him. You get that way when you’ve seen as many battles as he has, and watched many people die under your command. Though they have a relationship that can be quite contentious at times, the fact that Bill cares for his son Lee (Jamie Bamber) is never in question, and he never abandons him when the going gets tough.
In addition to being an actual, biological father, Adama also serves as a kind of father figure for the last remnants of humanity aboard the Galactica and the other ships in the armada. You can tell how he feels for them how much it pains him when something bad happens to one of the vessels under his protection.
If He Was Our Dad: Adama is the kind of father that you can certainly respect and be proud of. He has integrity, he’s a man of his word, and he has the courage to stand behind his convictions. That said, you can’t help but wish he was a little bit more open and available, both emotionally and from a practical standpoint.
Ideal Father’s Day Gift: Adama is the kind of guy who would appreciate a firm handshake, a stiff drink, and maybe a cigar. After that, he could always use a new model ship to build in his nonexistent down time.