The 2020’s

A Plague of New Shows

Apps, streaming services, miniseries - - everything becomes asynchronous and portable. Still, the TV Single Dad remains a reliable genre.

With housebound COVID plague avoiders looking for entertainment at the beginning of the decade, many struggling streaming shows got a new lease on production life, as viewers discovered new series in the backwaters of Amazon Prime and Netflix. The call for more episodes shows hope for the genre, as writers find more stories to tell with single dads.

First, the Questionable Show of the 2020s...

  • Ted Lasso

    Aired: 2020-2023 (Apple TV)Ted Lasso

    QUESTIONABLE DAD: Ted Lasso (Jason Sudekis) / Divorced

    DAD’S JOB: Coach of English Premier League AFC Richmond

    KIDS: Henry Lasso (Gus Turner)(10)

    WHERE’S MOM?: Asked for divorce, went home to America

    STAND-IN “MOM”: No need – mom has custody.

    Ted Lasso is an American football coach who led his Wichita State Shockers football time to an NCAA Division II championship. He is hired to coach AFC Richmond, a pro soccer team in Surrey, UK.

    He seems like he’d be a great dad, except his son lives in Kansas while he’s in England, so he flunks the Mindy McConnell Occupancy Act.

  • Wolf Like Me

    Aired: 2022- Peacock Wolf Like Me

    DAD: Gary (Josh Gad) / Widower

    DAD’S JOB: Office job

    KIDS: Emma (Ariel Donoghue) / 11

    WHERE’S MOM?: Died of cancer, years ago.

    STAND-IN “MOM”: Mary (Isla Fisher)/ Girlfriend

    Great premise: Widower Gary meets Mary, a woman with a secret – – she turns into a werewolf every full Moon.

    Unfortunately the producers decided to hurry things along and have them move in together and have another kid. Violates several TV Single Dad rules. Still a fun, quirky show worth watching.

Next, the Hall of Fame Shows:

  • The Mandalorian

    Aired: 2019- (Apple TV)The Mandalorian

    DAD: Din Djarin, The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) / Single

    DAD’S JOB: Bounty Hunter

    KIDS: Grogu (50), “The Child”

    WHERE’S MOM?: A mystery

    STAND-IN “MOM”: The Force? / Luke Skywalker

    Although the title character gets his bounty of Grogu in the first season, he’s not charged with being The Child’s guardian until the end of Season 1, which is why this show is listed under the 2020s page.

    An unfortunate plot turn at the end of Season 2 meant that a Mike Brady Clock started on Mando, as he began Season 3 without Grogu as a dependent. But, Season 3 brought Grogu back with his guardian Din Djarin, so it looks like they’ll have many TV Single Dad adventures together.

  • Shrinking

    Aired: 2023- (Apple TV)Shrinking

    DAD: Jimmy (Jason Segel) / Widowed

    DAD’S JOB: Therapist

    KIDS: Alice (Lukita Maxwell)(15) Daughter

    WHERE’S MOM?: Died – may be Jimmy’s fault

    STAND-IN “MOM”: Paul (Harrison Ford) / Jimmy’s boss, probaby Alice’s grandfather

    This show is on rails for being the typical TV Single Dad show: it’s got the grieving dad (“after what happened to your mother!”), the angry teenaged daughter who can’t talk to her dad (“after what happened to Mom!”), the understanding (yet as yet unacknowledged) Grandfather who has a close relationship with the daughter, and all the predictable possibilities that come prepackaged with a premise like this.

  • Strange New Worlds

    Aired: 2022- (Paramount Plus)Strange New Worlds

    DAD: Dr. Joseph M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokan) / Unknown Marital Status

    DAD’S JOB: Chief Medical Officer, USS Enterprise

    KIDS: Rukiya (Lukita Maxwell)(10/17) Daughter

    WHERE’S MOM?: “Debra” – unknown status

    STAND-IN “MOM”: Nobody

    Bringing back a legacy character from Star Trek TOS was a great idea, as viewers get more background to a “background” character, Dr. M’Benga.

    Famous mostly for slapping the heck out of Mister Spock in the TOS days, Dr. M’Benga’s family life emerges a bit on the newer series. M’Benga has a daughter, Rukiya, who suffers from cygnokemia. M’Benga can’t cure her, so he stores her in a kind of stasis, using the Sickbay medical transporter buffer.

    The Mike Brady Clock was activated for this character when a sentient non-corporeal lifeform living in a nebula cured Rukiya’s cygnokemia, but required her to also live a non-corporeal life. The Mindy McConnell Occupancy Act wound up in play, as the daughter stayed in the nebula, while Dad left to boldy go, etc.