The 00's

The 10's

Single Dads On Demand

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Will there ever be an end to Single Dads on -- whatever you'd call this thing that used to be TV? Hardly.

The demand for more stories and more drama and more comedy in the endless horizon of entertainment points to the continuation of this peculiar genre.

Stay tuned. The decade's barely begun!


First, the Questionable Show of the 10's...


Life Unexpected Mid-season 2010

Life Unexpected

DAD: Nate "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha) / Single

DAD'S JOB: Bartender

KIDS: Lux (Britt Robertson) (15)

WHERE'S MOM?: Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby) Gave up Lux for adoption as a baby.

STAND-IN "MOM": N/A

Formerly called "Parental Discretion Advised" - more TV Single Dad rules limits-testing for the new decade: Mom is around but the daughter doesn't live with her. Mom has joint custody but the daughter lives with Dad.

Let's hear how The CW describes the show:

After spending all of her 15 years bouncing from one foster family to another in Portland, Oregon, Lux (Britt Robertson, "Swingtown") has decided it's time to take control of her life and become an emancipated minor. Her journey through the legal maze leads Lux to her biological father, 30-something Nate "Baze" Bazile (Kristoffer Polaha, "Mad Men"), who owns a bar, lives like an aging frat-boy with two slacker roommates, and is astonished to learn that he has a teenage daughter. Lux is equally astonished when Baze reveals that her mother is Cate Cassidy (Shiri Appleby, "E.R."), a star on the local "Morning Madness" radio show, along with her on-air partner and real-life boyfriend, Ryan Thomas (Kerr Smith, "Eli Stone"). Lux has been listening to Cate's voice on the radio as long as she can remember, so she feels an instant connection with the mom she's never met. Baze takes Lux to meet Cate, who is shocked and saddened to learn that Lux has grown up in foster care, but thrilled to finally meet her beautiful daughter. When a judge decides that Lux isn't ready for emancipation and unexpectedly grants temporary joint custody to Baze and Cate, they agree to try to get past the awkwardness and make a belated attempt to give Lux the family she deserves.

LIFE UNEXPECTED is produced by Mojo Films in association with CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Liz Tigelaar ("Brothers and Sisters," "What About Brian") and Gary Fleder ("October Road"). Gary Fleder directed the pilot.


Next, the Hall of Fame Shows of the 10's...


Sons of Tucson 2010

Sons of Tucson

FOX

DAD: Ron Snuffkin (Tyler Labine) / Single

DAD'S JOB: Sporting Goods Clerk

KIDS: Brandon (Troy Gentile) (13), Gary (Frank Dolce)(11), and Robby Gunderson (Davis Cleveland)(8)

WHERE'S MOM?: Mom's dead. Real Dad is in jail.

STAND-IN "MOM": Ron Snuffkin - hired by the boys to be the parent.

This is a return to the Fr. Murphy style of "Dad for Hire" plots of the 70's. Imagine a Malcolm in the Middle-type cast of boys without parents, who concoct a scheme to avoid foster care. They hire store clerk Ron Snuffkin, using their bio dad's ill-gotten assets to pay Ron to pose as their dad while their REAL dad is serving 25 years in prison.

If this were a movie, Ron would be played by Jack Black. On a television budget, though, we had to settle for the quite adequate talents of Mr. Tyler Labine.

Show was funny, but the ratings weren't there. I'd blame poor promotion and a bouncing schedule. Never really had a chance, so it was gone after six episodes.

Here was the Fox publicity machine's take on the show:

SONS OF TUCSON is a family comedy about three brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison. What begins as a business relationship evolves into something more complex and compelling: a family unlike any we've ever seen. The three brothers find their dad-for-hire, RON SNUFFKIN (Tyler Labine, "Reaper"), at the local sporting good store. Ron will be forced to draw on a wide array of skills and a vast bag of tricks as he steps into the patriarch role to take care of the boys of the Gunderson family. ROBBY GUNDERSON (Davis Cleveland, "How I Met Your Mother"), 8, is a loose cannon who doesn't respond well to authority; GARY GUNDERSON (Frank Dolce, "Doubt"), 11, is a bright and street-savvy leader who is every bit the con man his father is; and BRANDON GUNDERSON (Troy Gentile, "Entourage"), 13, is a gentle free spirit who simply goes along for the ride. MAGGIE MORALES (Natalie Martinez, "Saints & Sinners"), Robby's second-grade teacher and the object of Ron's affection, might just be the only stable figure in the lives of this quirky quartet. While SONS OF TUCSON is grounded in the day-to-day challenges of a single-parent home, nothing in the Gunderson household is quite what it seems. An ongoing chess match between Ron and the boys will keep both parties on their toes, as neither side can afford to give up too much power or independence.

Louie 2010-

Louis

DAD: Louis (Louis CK) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Stand-up comedian

KIDS: Lilly(Hadley Delany) 10, Jane(Ursula Parker) 7

WHERE'S MOM?: Ex-wife Janet (Susan Kelechi Watson), lives nearby

STAND-IN "MOM": N/A

Originally supposed to premiere in April of 2010, the FX Network decided to hold off until summer with an entire season's worth of shows.

Yet another "let's give a comedian a show" series. I hoped it would rise above the boilerplate, and it did. Louie is perhaps one of the greatest TV Dads in television history, passing along subtle nuggets to his children for them to be kind, not greedy, honest, and not cynical.

With Mom nearby, this show may flunk the Mindy McConnell Occupancy Rule. It's not clear how the custody arrangement works, so this show remains in the "Maybe" pile.

Blue Bloods 2010 -

Blue Bloods

DAD #1: Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) / Unknown

DAD'S JOB: Current NYC Chief of Police

KIDS: Danny (Donnie Wahlberg), Erin (Bridget Moynahan), Jamie (Will Estes)

WHERE'S MOM #1?: Unknown

DAD #2: Henry Reagan (Len Cariou) / Unknown

DAD #2'S JOB: Former NYC Chief of Police

KIDS: Frank (Tom Selleck)

WHERE'S MOM #2?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Erin (Bridget Moynahan), Only Daughter

Bring every New York City cop cliché you can think of to the next writers' meeting for this show - it's breaking no ground, and you can probably write the first four weeks of shows in your head.

Frank Reagan is the Chief of Police, and he's from a cop family, and so of course his sons are NYC cops too. And his put-upon but tough-as-nails daughter Erin (Erin - really? Is her middle name B'gorrah?) is an Assistant District Attorney. It's not enough that Frank is the Chief of Police - - his own dad, Henry, is the former Chief of Police. And of course there's going to be a lot of charges of corruption from Henry's days as Chief, and of course Erin is going to have to be part of the investigation.

Every year, CBS builds a showboat series, loads it up with the biggest cast names it can find, and launches it into the abyss of low ratings. This could be a one-season series, so watch fast!

$#*! My Dad Says 2010 -

$#*! My Dad Says

DAD: Ed Goodson (William Shatner) / Widower, maybe

DAD'S JOB: Doctor

KIDS: Henry Bennett (Ryan Devlin), Vince Bennett (Will Sasso)

WHERE'S MOM?: Dead, maybe

STAND-IN "MOM": Kathleen Bennett (Nicole Sullivan), Daughter-in-Law

The CBS advertising department must be having late-night sessions trying to come up with a style guide for discussing this show. I've heard the title as everything from "Bleep My Dad Says" to "Stuff My Dad Says" to the thing you can't say on television My Dad Says.

Having seen the preview, Shatner's character is awfully reminiscent of Stacy Keach's Ken Titus character of a decade ago. The writing seems sturdy enough, but I don't know how far they can grow the series with only one strong character.

No explanation yet as to why sons Henry and Vince Bennett have a different last name than Dad Goodson.

Of course, this show is based on the Twitter feed by Justin Halpern of nearly the same name.

Raising Hope 2010

Raising Hope

DAD: Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) / Single

DAD'S JOB: unknown

KIDS: Hope (infant)

WHERE'S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Maw-Maw (Cloris Leachman) Grandmother

Jimmy Chance is a complete screw-up, but he's trying to raise his infant daughter, Hope, with the help of his family. Should be a funny show, considering that the writer is Greg Garica - the creator of My Name is Earl.

Falling Skies TNT 2011 -

Falling Skies

DAD: Tom Mason (Noah Wylie) / Widower

DAD'S JOB: Former Boston U. history professor, now co-leader of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia

KIDS: Ben (18)(missing), Hal (Drew Roy)(16), Matt (Maxim Knight)(7)

WHERE'S MOM?: Killed by aliens

STAND-IN "MOM": Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) The Last Pediatrician on Earth

TNT somehow managed to revamp Independence Day into a TV series, set the show outside of Boston, replace Wil Smith with Noah Wylie, and still were able to make it all fascinating.

Professor Tom Mason's knowledge of American Revolutionary War tactics helps to fend off the continuing onslaught of the giant cricket-shaped alien creatures scrabbling all over Middlesex County. Tom's eldest son, Ben, may be a prisoner of the aliens, and Tom spends most of his days searching for his lost child (when he's not busy ducking the space monster Death Beams).

The show has touches of V, Jericho, The Rifleman, and The Guns of Will Sonnett. Surprisingly good writing and an excellent cast make this series appear to have a chance at a multi-year run. Hopefully the 2nd Massachusetts will be able to retake Watertown Square someday.

A tip of the Sebastian Cabot Memorial Bowler to Friend of the Site Jordan Rich, who spotted this series early on. Many thanks, Jordan!

Game of Thrones HBO 2011 -

Game of Thrones

DAD: Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) / Widower

DAD'S JOB: Lord of Casterly Rock and Hand of the King

KIDS: Jaime, Cersei and Tyrion.

WHERE'S MOM?: Died giving birth to Tyrion

STAND-IN "MOM": None

George R. R. Martin's swords-and-dragons epic quickly became one of the most popular series HBO ever produced. The sprawling series linked the stories of almost twenty regular characters, so of course there would be at least one TV Single Dad in the mix.

Lord Tywin Lannister may possibly earn the prize of spawning the most miserable collection of evil offspring in the history of television. Incestuous Jaime and treacherous Cersei are the secret parents of Lord Tywin's nasty grandson, King Joffrey. Dimunitive Tyrion tries to avoid direct physical confrontation, but isn't above laying waste to whole armies with medieval versions of napalm. Tywin himself is quite a mean piece of work, having been party to assassinating dozens of perceived enemies of the House of Lannister. Bloodbaths every episode, but raucous family interactions at the same time.

Owing to the murderous atmosphere of the series, there may be further suddenly-single dads entering the mix. We'll just have to sort them out as the series progresses.

Suburgatory 2011

Suburgatory

DAD: George Altman (Jeremy Sisto) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Unknown

KIDS: Tessa (Jane Levy) (15)

WHERE'S MOM?: "Pulled a Kramer vs. Kramer before Tessa was potty trained."

STAND-IN "MOM": Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines) Next-door neighbor

Alert Viewers will recognize the tell-tale signs of TV Single Dad Plot Formula #1: "Dad, mourning the loss of recently departed Mom, tosses the kid(s) in a pickup truck /airplane / boat and moves to a completely different locale, usually with an exotic climate." This time around, Dad and Daughter are city folks, and the exotic land is Suburbia. Think Who's The Boss?, only no Judith Light family.

I know ABC/Disney has a robust publicity staff, but do they have to use a 1978 cultural reference such as "Kramer vs. Kramer" to explain the series?

ABC describes the situation thus: "Single father George only wants the best for his sixteen-year-old daughter Tessa. So when he finds a box of condoms on her nightstand, he moves them out of their apartment in New York City to a house in the suburbs. But all Tessa sees is the horror of over-manicured lawns and plastic Franken-moms. Being in the 'burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been."

"Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa's Mom pulled a Kramer vs. Kramer before Tessa was potty trained. So far, George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he's feeling a little out of his league. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free Red Bull-chugging kids, but little by little, she and her dad begin finding a way to survive on the clean streets of the 'burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine they're really not half bad. "

Secret Circle 2011

Secret Circle

DAD: Charles Meade (Gale Harold) / Single?

DAD'S JOB: Warlock

KIDS: Diana Meade (Shelly Hennig) (15)

WHERE'S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Unknown

Do you really need anything more than "It's TWILIGHT, except it's with witches instead of vampires" as an explanation?

The CW press release goes like this: "Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl - until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington - the town her mother left so many years before - where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they've been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them - until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it's not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother's childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don't yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana's father and Faye's mother - and that Cassie's mother's death might not have been an accident."

Allen Gregory 2011

Allen Gregory

FOX

DAD: Richard Gregory (French Stewart) / in a relationship

DAD'S JOB: Unknown

KIDS: Allen Gregory (Jonah Hill) (7) Julie (Joy Osmanski) adopted sister (5)

WHERE'S MOM?:Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Jeremy (Nat Faxon) Richard's life partner

Somewhere at a pitch meeting at FOX Television, a network bigwig named Peter Chermin leaned forward and said, "Hey - why don't we make a Family Guy spinoff with Stewie? Wouldn't that be an absolute riot?" It was almost a great idea, until someone pointed out they'd have to pay Seth MacFarlane even *more* royalty money. So, they went with Plan B: Chemin would act as Executive Producer, and they'd use a similar idea from a pitch session with actor Jonah Hill as the new Stewie character. Stewie became "Allen Gregory," the erudite, precocious 7-year-old son of a gay TV Single Dad who is forced to attend (gasp!) public school. So the series premiered, and then folded up shop in just one season. Bye, Allen Gregory!

This is how FOX promoted the series: ALLEN GREGORY is a new animated comedy series that tells the story of one of the most pretentious 7-year-olds of our time. When he looks in the mirror, ALLEN GREGORY DE LONGPRE (Jonah Hill, "Superbad," "Get Him to the Greek") doesn't see a child. He sees a young man who is intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, artistic and romantic - characteristics he inherited from his doting father, RICHARD (French Stewart, "Private Practice," "3rd Rock from the Sun"). The pair share an extraordinary father-son bond - a bond that is sometimes annoyingly interrupted by Richard's life partner, JEREMY (Nat Faxon, THE CLEVELAND SHOW, "Reno 911!"), for whom Allen Gregory has minimal respect, if any at all. They live together in a stunning architectural loft, along with JULIE (Joy Osmanski, "Grey's Anatomy"), Allen Gregory's adopted Cambodian sister.

Although Allen Gregory has allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloe Sevigny, he's about to embark on his greatest challenge yet: leaving the safety of his father's homeschooling and attending elementary school with children his own age. His journey will be a struggle, not only with the other kids at school, but with the faculty as well. Whether it's the all-out rivalry with GINA WINTHROP (guest voice Leslie Mann, "Funny People"), his by-the-book second grade teacher; his unique relationship with JUDITH GOTTLIEB (guest voice Renée Taylor, "How I Met Your Mother"), his 68-year-old principal; or his desperate desire to be best friends with JOEL ZADAK (guest voice Jake Johnson, "Get Him to the Greek"), the school's popular stud, Allen Gregory has his work cut out for him. With the help of his trusty friend and assistant, PATRICK VANDERWEEL (Cristina Pucelli, "Finley the Fire Engine"); and the support of SUPERINTENDENT STEWART ROSSMYRE (Will Forte, "Saturday Night Live"), who believes the De Longpres are a tremendous asset to the school, Allen Gregory won't have to get his hands too dirty. ALLEN GREGORY is about an outsider. And while he may put on a tough exterior, deep down, all Allen Gregory wants is to fit in. Well, that, and for Julie to run away and never be seen or heard from again. And Jeremy too.

Touch Mid-Season 2012

Touch

FOX

DAD: Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) / Widower

DAD'S JOB: former news reporter

KIDS: Jake (David Mazouz) (11)

WHERE'S MOM?: Died in the WTC on 9/11

STAND-IN "MOM": Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), social worker

Stories with plots centered around mysterious number sequences seem to keep popping up on TV Single Dad series. Numb3rs and LOST are two that come to mind. Here's a third series.

Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) is a widower with a mute, autistic son, Jake. Mr. Bohm lost his wife during the attack on the World Trade Center, and since then has struggled with maintaining a home for his son. Jake is obsessed with a string of numbers, and writes them everywhere. The numbers intrigue a college professor (played by Danny Glover) who says that the numbers have special meaning about the ultimate nature of the Universe. Quirky, scary things happen, Danny Glover's character gets killed off, and Kiefer has to simultaneously track down and avoid all the myriad folks who have developed a sudden interest in his son's supernatural insights. Creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky. Not altogether ooky, though.

Goodwin Games 2012

Goodwin Games

DAD: Bejamin Goodwin (Beau Bridges) / Dead

DAD'S JOB: Currently a corpse

KIDS: Henry (Scott Foley) (30-ish), Chloe (Becki Newton) (20-ish), Jimmy (Jake Lacy)(20-ish)

WHERE'S MOM?: Dead

STAND-IN "MOM": April (Melissa Tang), Dad's attorney

It's as though the producers of "How I Met Your Mother" (who came up with this series) stopped by the website and asked, "How can we stretch the limits of the TV Single Dad show?" Their answer was to make Dad a dead guy, and have the adult children move back to the departed Pop's mansion.

The plot is simple enough: Rich dad Beau Bridges leaves a bunch of pre-recorded messages for his spoiled kids, offering the promise of a $20 million inheritence if the grown-up brats change their selfish ways.

Dreadful ratings and bad reviews put Dad Goodwin back in his grave after just seven episodes. Sorry, Goodwins!

Guys with Kids 2012

Guys With Kids

DAD: Chris (Jesse Bradford) / Single

DAD'S JOB: Unknown

KIDS: Unknown (baby)

WHERE'S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Unknown

Producer Jimmy Fallon seems to have found a screenplay tutorial program on his MacBook and accidentally pitched the template to NBC. Of course, the network promptly ordered up an entire season of shows.

Truly a show on auto-pilot. I'd say this is the most horrendous, mortifying rehash of every "Mr. Mom" stereotype ever plopped onto a broadcast schedule. There are "Using the Baby to Pick up Hot Girls" jokes, there are "Babies that Smell Bad are Funny" gags, and there is the "Let's Put Anthony Anderson in Another Sitcom and Maybe This Time it Won't Get Canceled" cliche.

Despite being co-produced by Fallon and Lorne Michaels, the series crawled to a cancellation in February. On the fortunate side, there were so few episodes it probably won't show up anywhere but the back catalog of Netflix.

The Crazy Ones 2013

CrazyOnes

CBS

DAD: Simon Roberts (Robin Williams) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Advertising Executive

KIDS: Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) (30s)

WHERE'S MOM?: Divorced - away

STAND-IN "MOM": Unknown

Imagine Don Draper played by Robin Williams. Now imagine a grown-up Sally Draper as played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Make it a comedy version of Mad Men set in the present-day and you've got "The Crazy Ones."

Every few years, CBS tries putting a big name, fading movie star into a TV Single Dad "revival" series. They attempted these maneuvers with Richard Dreyfuss, William Shatner, and Alfred Molina - - and now it's Robin Williams's turn at bat. Hasn't been a successful strategy for almost two decades, but the CBS people keep hoping. And failing. CBS shuttered the series after a season.

Reckless Midseason 2014

CBS

DAD: Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Stereotypical Southern Prosecutor

KIDS: 2 unknowns

WHERE'S MOM?: Divorced - away

STAND-IN "MOM": (Anna Wood) - Yankee Defense attorney

If you Google "Reckless" + "Sultry," you'll get nothing but hits for this South Carolina-based nighttime soap opera. It was picked up extremely late in the season, and the news about the show is murky. CBS wanted a Spanish moss-festooned legal drama that was like a Southern version of "The Good Wife," but they still seem to be retooling and recasting the show. The prosecutor, Cam, is supposed to be the divorced father of two, but it's possible the kids may be jettisoned before the series premieres. Stay tuned - - this show may be found guilty of Improper Use of a TV Single Dad tag.


Sean Saves the World 2013

Sean Saves the World

NBC

DAD: Sean Harrison(Sean Hayes) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Corporate Underling

KIDS: Ellie (Samantha Isler) (13)

WHERE'S MOM?: Divorced - away

STAND-IN "MOM": Grandma (Linda Lavin)

Looks like a by-the-book TV Single Dad show, except Dad isn't fabulously wealthy. Rather, he's a salaried assistant to a pompous boss, and trying to manage his time between his daughter and his obnoxious overlord. Yes, the scripts write themselves, but after six decades of these kinds of shows, it's exactly what the audience is expecting.


Eighteen episodes were ordered for the show, but the show was canceled with only fifteen produced episodes.

Believe 2014

Believe

NBC

DAD: Tate (Jake McLaughlin) / Unknown Marital Status

DAD'S JOB: Caretaker

KIDS: Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) 8

WHERE'S MOM?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Grandma

J.J. Abrams boils up another version of the Fox series "Touch," except this time the kid is telekinetic and stuff. The guardian Tate is chosen by a group of "Believers" in Bo's superpowers, so expect a lot of situations where Bo is getting kidnapped by government agents and the like. Didn't last a dozen episodes before disappearing from the schedule. So much for super powers.

Growing Up Fisher 2014

Growing Up Fisher

NBC

DAD: Mel Fisher (J.K. Simmons) / Getting Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Blind Guy

KIDS: Henry (11)

WHERE'S MOM?: Getting Divorced

STAND-IN "MOM": Joyce Fisher () Non-custodial mom

Phew - - this rides the line. Initially called "Family Guide," Mom and Dad are getting divorced, son wants to live with Dad because Dad's blind and son Henry wants to keep being his father's "eyes". Parker Posey was originally cast to play Mom, but there was a last-minute substitution as the show went to series. Didn't matter though - - the series died after ten episodes.


Back in the Game 2013

Back in the Game

ABC

DAD: Terry Gannon Sr. (James Caan) / Widower

DAD'S JOB: Reitred Baseball Player

KIDS: Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson)(30-ish single mom)

WHERE'S MOM?: Dead

STAND-IN "MOM": unknown

Single mom Terry Gannon Jr. (yes, she's named after her father) moves in with Daddy because... something about not being able to coach Little League. Doesn't matter - - it's all a pretense to get baseball expert Grandpa to help out with raising the grandson and the kid's Bad News Bears type team, and in the process help Junior get her confidence back. This would have made a good in-flight movie, but it didn't make it to Christmas as a TV series.


Seth MacFarlane's Dads 2013

Dads

FOX

DAD #1: David (Peter Riegert) / Divorced

DAD #1's JOB: Unemployed

KIDS #1: Eli(Seth Green)(30-ish)

WHERE'S MOM #1?: Unknown

DAD #2: Crawford (Martin Mull) / Divorced

DAD #2's JOB: Failed financial consultant

KIDS #2: Warner(Giovanni Ribisi)(30-ish)

WHERE'S MOM #2?: Unknown

STAND-IN "MOM": Veronica (Brenda Song) Admin Assistant to the sons

Not to be confused with the NBC show of the same name from the late 70's, this "Dads" show is the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane. Imagine the plot of The Odd Couple, except Oscar and Felix moved into the respective homes of their sons. This may possibly flunk the Grandpa Munster Test, it's never quite clear about the financial relationships between the fathers and sons. Didn't feel like it was going to last too long, and it didn't - - off the air the following May.

Gang Related 2014

Gang Related

FOX

DAD: Javier Acosta (Cliff Curtis) / Guardian

DAD'S JOB: Drug Kingpin of La Familia Sud

KIDS: Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez) (20-something) Orphaned son-turned-cop

WHERE'S MOM?: Dead. So is Dad.

STAND-IN "MOM": Unknown

So the Los Angeles gang from Columbia has been raising orphan boy Ryan Lopez for decades in order that he could become an undercover drug enforcement cop on the LAPD. Sounds totally reasonable. Will Ryan be loyal to the gang and his adoptive kingpin Dad, or will he uphold the law? Yawn. Does anyone expect to see a second season of this show?

Gotham 2014

Gotham

FOX

DAD: Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) / Bachelor

DAD'S JOB: Stately Wayne Manor Butler

KIDS: Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) (10)

WHERE'S MOM?: Murdered by thugs - so was Dad

STAND-IN "MOM": Detective Lt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie)

The prequel story for a famous TV Single Dad. I guess they couldn't name this one "How I Met Your Robin."

This is before Batman, before all the villains, even before the Batcave. This is future Commissioner Gordon's story, but I'm sure we're going to have lots and lots of Bruce Wayne moments as the series unfolds. History teaches us that for every Smallville, there's a Wonder Woman reboot. Hopefully, they'll be able to maintain the quality writing of the first season. Good luck, Gotham City!

In case you're trying to place David Mazouz, he's the hyper-intuitive kid from the old Fox TV Single Dad series Touch.

Empire 2014

Empire

FOX

DAD: Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) / Divorced

DAD'S JOB: Hip-Hop Producer

KIDS: 3 sons

WHERE'S MOM?: Divorced - just getting out of jail

STAND-IN "MOM": Cookie (Tarajl P. Henson) - ex-con Mom

Quick summary: imagine Bonanza, except Ben Cartwright is a hip-hop record producer, and his sons are hip hop singers. Oh, and Mom is a jailbird who wants Ben's money. Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) wrote this series, so expect Fox to spend a lot of time and money trying to get people to watch. Seemed a bit overwrought from the pilot. I would not have been surprised if it followed the lead of other highly promoted TV Single Dad shows and gave up the ghost after a half season, but it's been a sneak hit of the 2014-15 mid-season.

The Flash 2014

The Flash

The CW

DAD: Henry Allen(John Wesley Shipp) / Widower

DAD'S JOB: Wrongly-convicted murderer

KIDS: Barry "The Flash" Allen (Grant Gustin)(20-ish)

WHERE'S MOM?: Murdered

STAND-IN "MOM": Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), surrogate dad

Retconned for the new kids. Barry Allen gets zapped by a particle accelerator while trying to prove his dad was innocent of Mom's murder. Woosh! Suddenly he's the fastest man on the planet. This comes as quite a surprise to foster dad Joe West, who teams up with The Flash to fight crime and stuff.

In a nice bit of casting, The Flash's bio-dad is played by John Wesley Shipp, the actor who played The Flash in the old 1990 CBS series. That wasn't a TV Single Dad show, though.