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.
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)
Live from Destination Star Trek. In two panels presented at Destination Star Trek in Birmingham, UK, we present the History of the Future as we explore influences such as World War II, Horatio Hornblower, and Moby-Dick.
Looking back on DS9 at Destination Star Trek 2018. We are joined by stars of the show—Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig, Nicole de Boer, Jeffrey Combs, and Chase Masterson—as well as showrunner Ira Steven Behr to look back on Deep Space Nine’s legacy after a quarter century. We also attend the red-carpet premiere of the new documentary What We Left Behind.
Mental Health, Part II: From The Next Generation to Enterprise. We conclude our discussion of mental health in Star Trek with a look at The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Mental Health, Part I: Discovery and TOS. We look at mental health in The Original Series and Discovery, and open their hailing frequencies to listeners who share how Star Trek has helped them through difficult times.
2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. We look at the ties that bind these two mystical, complex, and sometimes problematic films, as well as how 2001 influenced Trek’s reinvention for cinema.
Hawkeye Pierce, Milo Minderbinder, and Nog. We look at how a pair of MASH episodes and the novel Catch-22 inspired the writers of Deep Space Nine.
John Carpenter’s Christine and Voyager’s “Alice.” We look at the 1983 cult classic movie and the Stephen King novel that inspired it, alongside the sixth-season Voyager episode that borrows its central premise.
Untimely Ends for Star Trek’s Redshirts. We look at how the deaths of junior crewmen have been handled throughout the franchise’s history, with reference to John Scalzi’s novel Redshirts.
Star Trek Beyond in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Trek.fm hosts past and present gather for a roundtable discussion recorded during a live London performance of the third Kelvin Timeline film.
The Holodeck and Video Games. We look at gaming culture in Star Trek and what the fantasy lives of our favorite characters—played out in those magical rooms—tell us about them as people.