My 6 Favorite Parent-Child TV Relationships – Part II

Stargate SG-1, Sanford and Son, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Cosby Show, Star Trek: Deep space 9, Family Ties

Last week, I listed my 6 favorite Parent-Child TV Relationships from shows currently airing or in hiatus. This week I would like to list my favorites from programs no longer airing new episodes. This list was a little harder to pin down than the list from last week. However, I was able to come up with some very enjoyable parent-child relationships.

Worf and Alexander – Star Trek: The Next Generation
 

Worf and Alexander - Star Trek: The Next Generation

While many people focus on the relationship between Dr. Crusher and her son Wesley, my favorite parent-child relationship on this show was Worf and Alexander. The result of a brief relationship Worf had with K’Ehleyr during her visit to the Enterprise, Worf did not even know he was a dad until she and Alexander showed up during a later episode. When she was then killed, Worf became an instant father to a boy he did not know. He ended up sending him to live with the human parents that raised him after he was orphaned, but Alexander later returned when they were unable to control him.

Once Alexander began living on the Enterprise with Worf, their complicated relationship really took off. Worf’s expectations for Alexander to follow him and become a warrior were thwarted by the fact Alexander’s mother had not taught him traditional Klingon beliefs. As time passed, Worf softened his expectations for his son and Alexander began to adopt Klingon values and the two of them came to an understanding. This process was interesting to watch.

Elyse, Steven and Alex – Family Ties
 

Alex, Steven, Elyse, Mallory and Jennifer - Family Ties

This program from the 1980s was a situation comedy that explored the family dynamic of a couple that had been hippies in the 1960s and were now raising their own family. In true twist of fate manner, their children did not reflect their liberal values, and in particular, their oldest son, Alex, played so wonderfully by a young Michael J. Fox, was an arch conservative.

I think that the contrast between Alex and his parents helped the show to explore the nature of the parent-child relationship, and in particular, examine what it means when there is such a stark difference between the generations. And, further, it also was able to explore how people cope when someone they love dearly rejects all that is important to them. Besides leading to funny situations, it also leads to many opportunities to explore the true nature of our relationships.

Commander Sisko and Jake – Star Trek: Deep Space 9
 

Quark, Odo, Dax, Kira, O'Brien, Jake, Benjamin, Bashir - Star Trek: Deep Space 9

This member of the Star Trek franchise is generally known to be the darkest of all Trek. And yet it had its funny and heartwarming moments. In fact, Commander Sisko, the officer assigned to lead the space station, was a single dad of a young son, having been widowed during the battle with the Borg at Wolf 359. In contrast to Worf and Alexander, who had a very abrasive relationship in the beginning, Jake and his dad were always close. Having his son there brought out a softer side to the battle ready commander.

Probably to give Jake someone to hang around with, Rom, Quark’s brother, also had a son, Nog, and the two boys spent many an hour making mischief as they grew up together on Deep Space 9. This allowed for an exploration of human values seen through the eyes of an alien, and also gave us more insight into the Ferengi way of life.

Samantha and Jacob – Stargate SG-1
 

Sam and Jacob - Stargate SG-1

Most of the main characters on this show had no family due to tragic circumstances. Samantha Carter had lost her mother in a car accident when she was young girl. Her dad was introduced to the viewing audience early on and portrayed a tense relationship. Jacob wanted Sam to be an astronaut, and pulled strings to get her into the program, and her rejection of that help led to further estrangement, until he revealed he was dying of cancer. In true sci-fi fashion, he ended up being implanted with a Tok’ra symbiote and became a recurring character fighting the Goa’uld. It was during this time that their relationship really grew and developed.

Watching them grow closer over the next few years, and in particular watching Jacob learn more about her work and appreciating her as a brilliant scientist was very touching. When the people in charge of the show decided to kill off the character, it came after a major triumph for the Allied forces against their common enemy in which Sam and her dad played a major role.

Fred and Lamont – Sanford and Son
 

Fred and Lamont - Sanford and Son

This show portrayed the relationship between an irascible father and his long suffering son. Fred, the dad, frequently used the “I’m having the big one” act to keep his son in line and close by. His son, Lamont, longed to be living his own life, but could not seem to leave his dad. They insulted each other on a regular basis, but it was clear there was a deep abiding love for each other.

This show is yet another example of a single dad raising his son after the death of his wife. In fact, when faking a heart attack, he would usually call out to his dead wife by saying something like “Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you.” He clearly missed her very much, and likely this affected his relationship with his son and was at least partially responsible for his need to keep him from leaving.

The Huxtables – The Cosby Show
 

Denise, Claire, Theo, Vanessa, Cliff and Rudy - The Cosby Show

When this program first aired, it quickly became appointment TV for our entire family. Cliff, the dad, had a unique relationship with all of his children. He could be silly and playful, but at the same time, strict and unyielding. In my opinion, this show set a new standard for family relationships and parenting.

Claire, the mother, was also a strong influence on this show. She typically was one step ahead of the children and whatever scheme or mischief they were up to. Once revealed, she was always ready with an appropriate punishment. At the same time, she was also a steady presence and good shoulder to cry on when the world came crashing down.

So, there is my list – do you have any shows you would like to add? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.