Father's Day is just around the corner, so here's a Top 10 tribute to dear old Dad:
10) Joseph Adama - Caprica
We've only just been introduced to this man through the recent direct-to-DVD release of Caprica, but already I like him. Here's a guy who, in the wake of family tragedy, does his best to reconnect with his son, teach the boy pride in his heritage, and is wise enough to know that sometimes the dead should stay buried. Looking forward to the new series actually hitting the air so we can become more familiar with him.
9) Darth Vader - Star Wars
Okay, so Vader was an absentee father for all of Luke's life up until the original trilogy when he then focusses on trying to kill the little do-gooder, and actually succeeds in hacking off his hand. But you have to give the Sith Lord a little credit: after all, he did offer Luke a share in the run of the Empire if he'd agree to help his pop knock off the Emperor. And in the end, he did turn back to the good side and destroy Palpatine, sustaining ultimately fatal injuries in the process, in order to save his son.
8) Mr Incredible - The Incredibles
Bob Parr puts up with a lousy job and holds back his super abilities in order to live by the rules and create a normal life for his kids. And when things go south and it's time for the family members to start using their powers, Mr Incredible is still there to take care of them, even as he leads them as the world's newest super hero team.
7) David Dunn - Unbreakable
Unlike Mr Incredible, David Dunn takes a while to figure out the extent of his powers. When he's not trying to come to grips with the reality of what he is, this otherwise normal guy is also trying to rebuild a shattered marriage and maintain a relationship with his emotionally fragile son. It's Dunn's life of realistic challenges, especially those with his non-powered son that earn him a higher spot on the list.
6) John Crichton - Farscape
We don't see a lot of Crichton in the role of father, except in the series-closing TV movie, but what we do see is pretty impressive. For years, Crichton's been holding out on revealing the secrets of making wormholes, but finally, in an effort to put an end to the war that will most certainly threaten the life of his son, he unveils the terrible truth to everyone, at the cost of perhaps not only killing his enemies, but also himself, his son, his wife and friends, and perhaps even the galaxy. All to teach the bad guys a lesson that will make them back down so the universe will be safe for his son to grow up in.
5) Admiral William Adama - Battlestar Galactica
Bill and Apollo begin the series with a pretty wide gulf between them. But despite this initial uneasiness, despite having been something of an absentee father (and one who pushed his boys to follow his career path), and despite occasional philosophical differences that cause Apollo to follow Rosalin when she splits the fleet or to leave the military for politics, Adama still loves his son and lets him know it now and again. He even takes on a father role to Starbuck, endangering the fleet by staying in one location to search for her when she crashes during combat and much later by providing her with a ship and crew to follow her hunch about the road to Earth. The "Old Man" may be tough (tough enough to step into a boxing ring and hold his own), but he loves his kids.
4) Ben Sisko - Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Sisko's a single father who does a great job raising his son while holding down a demanding and dangerous career as a Starfleet officer, developing a relationship with a woman, and finding time to keep up with his kick-ass cooking. Oh, and did we mention that even though he leaves his son, new wife and unborn child in the end, it's to go off and become a god? Jake Sisko is a kid who's gonna win every time that he gets into a "my dad could beat up your dad" spat with another kid.
3) Mr Weasely - Harry Potter
Here's a guy who holds down a job as a mid-level bureaucrat in the Ministry of Magic and is still able to find time to take care of his large and rambunctious family. When the chips are down, Weasely is also ready to put his life in jeopardy by joining a group of wizards taking a stand against the seemingly unstoppable Voldemort. He isn't rich, he isn't the most powerful wizard to stalk the land, and in playing a solid beta role in his group of heroic wizards he won't ever get renown despite his hard work, but Weasely shows up none the less and gives it his all because he wants his kids to have a good world where they can be happy and safe and have opportunities, and because he knows what's right.
2) Charles Halloway - Something Wicked This Way Comes
The father in this Bradbury novel doesn't have any special abilities or hold a position of authority. He's just smart and determined and loves his son enough to face down the forces of evil when a dark carnival comes to town and tries to take the boy away.
1) Saul Weintraub - Hyperion
Saul loves his daughter Rachel so much that when the Shrike gives her Merlin's sickness, forcing her to age backward day-by-day from her mid-twenties and forget each day that's just passed, he crosses the length of humanity's territory searching for a cure. The humble scholar uses every trick he can to badger authorities into letting him join the Hyperion pilgrimage. He carries on raising the girl after his wife dies, and finds the strength to lie to her every day about where her mother is so she won't be sad, even as he still mourns her. Saul defies an otherworldly voice that continues to order him to sacrifice his daughter. He loves her enough to give in to Rachel's request that he allow her to be sacrificed. And, in the end, he loves her so much that when, despite his advanced age and the strangeness of a new world ahead, an opportunity comes to raise her from infancy again, he immediately takes it. Saul Weintraub is a man that the other great fathers on this list could look up to.