The Best And Worst Dads In Science Fiction

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JorElKentGiven 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…

AdamaWilliam 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.

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Book Review: Fringe: Sins Of The Father Just Makes You Miss The Long Gone Series

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fringeFringe is gone, that’s just a hard fact of life that I’m going to have to accept. Luckily, I’ve had a couple of years to get used to this, which is more than enough time to marathon the entire series, a couple of times, just in case you’re wondering. And if you’re also a fan, it’s good to resign yourself to this, because these Fringe novelizations—they’re really tie in novels, full of cursory stories from the lives of the main characters—just aren’t cutting it.

We’re on the third, Fringe: Sins of the Father, which just came out. The first, The Zodiac Paradox, follows a young Walter Bishop and William Bell as they romp through the Bay Area in the late 1960s and match wits with the Zodiac Killer (not joking). Book two, The Burning Man, follows a young Olivia and her first experiences with Walter’s drug Cortexiphan. This latest installment, as you may guess from this pattern, tells of the adventures of Peter Bishop as he bounces around the globe, pulling scams, and trying to stay one step ahead of vengeful loan shark Big Eddie. While this is a part of Peter’s life we don’t have much insight into, and an area of interest, the book doesn’t have much to recommend it.


Mad Science Is The Best Science: Our 14 Favorite Crackpot Geniuses

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WalterDr. Walter Bishop (Fringe)
By most, if not all definitions, Fringe’s Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) is a mad scientist. He experimented with sensory deprivation and LSD, spent decades in a mental institution, and even had pieces of his brain cut out at his own request. Oh, and he managed to tear a hole between two universes and generally disrupt the very fabric of reality as we know it. If that doesn’t earn him a place at the all-star table, I don’t know what does.

Walter has something that sets him apart from many of his mad kin, especially those who fall in the evil camp. Over the five years where Walter, his son Peter (Joshua Jackson), and FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) ran all over the globe, hopping dimensions left and right, saving the world more times than you can count, the elderly scientist formed the emotional core of the series. At times driven, power hungry, and neck-deep in a serious god complex, he is also fragile, sweet, loving, and afraid. The notion that he may be responsible for the end of multiple worlds, that he was once so blinded by ambition that he performed medical experiments on terrified children, absolutely haunts him. How do you cope with the fact that you may be responsible for the end of existence? That’s not an easy one to wrap your mind around, no matter how brilliant or crazy you may be.

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Almost Human Creator J.H. Wyman Talks The Future, Hope, And His Five-Year-Plan

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almost human
Though Fringe is dead and gone, showrunner and writer J.H. Wyman wasted no time getting back on Fox with Almost Human, yet another sci-fi themed police procedural. The genre leanings and the general cop-talk are about the only thing the two shows have in common, at least on a surface level. One has a ton of monsters, weird science, and alternate universes, while the other is set in the future and imagines a realistic progression of technology. Wyman recently sat down with Collider and discussed, among other things, his idea for the setting, his vision for the future, similarities between Almost Human and Fringe, and his plan for the show.


A Giant Freakin’ Thanksgiving 2013

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Brent’s Thankful For…

AHumanAlmost Human
Fringe may be dead and buried, but showrunner J.H. Wyman wasted no time getting back on the broadcasting horse with his new robo-buddy-cop series Almost Human. On the surface these two shows have little in common aside from their procedural nature and sci-fi leanings, but the two are similar in the way they approach the well-worn tropes of a cop drama and use speculative fiction to turn them on their head. We’re only three episodes into our relationship with Almost Human, and I don’t want to jump the gun, but guys, this could be the one. There’s a grim future, mismatched partners who push each other, sex ‘bots, mysterious criminal networks, and action. What else can you ask for? This year we’re definitely thankful that there’s good, gritty sci-fi on TV, and that we get to see Karl Urban (Dredd) on a weekly basis.

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So Now What? Five Streaming Shows To Soothe Your Doctor Who Withdrawals

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Today Doctor Who fans all over the world finally got to see the much-ballyhooed 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. Since I’m writing this some time before I finally sat down to watch it, I’ve got no idea what surprises the special has to offer, aside from the ones already revealed. I’m going to guess it will probably have plenty of thrills, possibly some chills. I’m pretty much certain it will make us laugh, quite likely everytime David Tennant and Matt Smith are onscreen together. I will probably get a little choked up somewhere toward the end of it.

But after all these months of anticipation, there’s bound to be a sense of anti-climactic frustration. Now that we’ve seen The Day of the Doctor, the wait for the Christmas special — and with it, a new Doctor — has begun. So now what? I know several Who noobies who have been frantically marathoning their way through at least the modern episodes of the show so they’d be caught up in time for the special. If that’s you, or if you’re just a loyal fan looking for a new bit of entertainment (or an old one to revisit), here are several excellent choices to fill your eyeholes with. And they’re all available streaming online, because that’s just how much we love you.


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