I was given the latest season of Arrow, season 5, for Christmas, so I've been slowly enjoying it, and got to the last episode last night.
And it struck me how many characters have problematic relationships with their fathers. I've noticed it before in American TV and film, though it seems to be quite a rare thing in British TV and film, but in Arrow, there's a whole tangled web of difficult father/son and father/daughter relationships.
It starts with Oliver, of course. He became a vigilante in the first place because of his father's notebook, and feels guilty because his father killed himself so that Oliver would survive after their boat went down.
The main bad guy of the fifth season, Prometheus, is totally obsessed with making Oliver suffer because Oliver killed his father.
Then there's Thea and her relationship with Malcolm Merlyn, Talia and Nyssa al Ghul and their father Ras al Ghul, Felicity and her dad, and the Lance family. And Oliver is a dad himself, keeping well away from young son William to keep him safe.
And then there's Star Wars, with "Luke, I am your father...."
And over in the Trek universe, Spock and Sarek have huge problems with their relationship.
And in the Marvel universe, there's Tony Stark and his dad.
It's even in Princess Bride: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
When the Doctor Who TV movie was being made, one of the script ideas (that they thankfully rejected) had the Doctor going to find his father. I mean, he's hundreds of years old, and has never been interested in finding his father before....
It really does seem to be a thing that American writers have a particular interest in - and I'm sure there are lots more out there that I'm unaware of.
And yet, in Britain - nobody cared who James Bond's father was until Skyfall, the twenty-third film in the franchise!
Roj Blake's father is completely irrelevant to the action of Blake's Seven - and none of the other crew members have any problems with their fathers as far as I can remember either.
In the new Thunderbirds series, dad Jeff Tracy has disappeared, and there are a couple of half-hearted mentions of trying to find him, but then the brothers just get on with the rescue of the week.
The fathers of Captain Scarlet, Troy Tempest, Colonel Straker of UFO's SHADO, are likewise irrelevant to the plots of the various series.
And Arthur Dent's father was blown up with the rest of the Earth, and never even got a mention.