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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Jun 20, 2018

Star Trek’s fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent.

“Other people have families,” Dr. McCoy lamented in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, apparently forgetting about his own daughter, Joanna. For a utopian vision of the future, Star Trek tends to offer a decidedly unflattering portrayal of fatherhood. Many of the central characters have markedly poor relationships with their own fathers and, in some cases, prove to be distinctly disappointing dads themselves.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett look at fatherhood as represented in Star Trek, considering both the best and worst examples from across the franchise. We celebrate the number-one dad in particular—Deep Space Nine’s Dad-in-Chief Benjamin Sisko—and question whether, in the pseudo-familial environment of a starship, the captain is forced to step into a fatherly or motherly role. We also comment on some of the worst dads in Starfleet and beyond, and wonder why a mature science fiction franchise developed so many daddy issues.

Intro (00:00:00)
Worf (00:04:51)
Sarek (00:13:35)
A Rogue’s Gallery of Guest Stars (00:24:02)
Gul Dukat (00:36:55)
From Badmirals to Dadmirals (00:43:30)
Staying Away (00:49:50)
Working Dads: Sisko and O’Brien (01:02:50)
Honorable Mentions (01:13:30)
Surrogate Fathers (01:33:20)
Final Thoughts (01:36:30)

Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett

Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)