'Council of Dads' is a powerful drama celebrating fathers and father-figures
Okay, I shamelessly bawled my eyes out binge-watching the first two episodes of M-Net’s new drama, "Council of Dads".
Perhaps, it had something (erm, a lot) to do with the fact that I’m missing my own dad - and mom - who live in Durban. With Covid-19 restricting travel, I’ve not been able to see them. Calls, even video calls, are just not the same.
Back to the series, though. I was hooked from the first frame, which introduced us to Scott Perry (Thomas Everett Scott) and his doting doctor wife, Robin (Sarah Wayne Callies).
They have four kids, the eldest being Luly (Michele Weaver), Scott’s biracial daughter whom he raised as a single dad for eight years before meeting Robin. Then came, Theo (Emjay Anthony), the couples moody teenage son; Charlotte (Thalia Tran), their adopted Chinese daughter; and, JJ (Blue Chapman), the couples oh-so-cute, seven-year-old transgender son.
The opening scene paints the picture of a perfect family. JJ is feeling anxious about leaping off a wooden platform into the water below. Despite being encouraged by the family, he is hesitant until his dad joins him.
It’s a joyous moment for the whole family, including Luly, who’s been anxiously awaiting a call for a writing position in New York.
A life-changing call arrives, but it’s for Scott, who finds out he has a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
The story unfolds through the different seasons in a year, where Scott undergoes surgery and chemotherapy. Things start looking up and Robin learns she’s pregnant again.
Just as everyone starts to breathe, Scott learns the cancer is back and he rallies those closest to him to form a council of dads.
He chooses best friend Anthony Lavelle (Clive Standen), who is a busy chef; Dr Oliver Post (J August Richards), who is Robin’s best friend as well as Scott’s doctor; and, Larry Mills (Michael O’Neill), who Scott helped through his alcohol addiction.
Meanwhile, Luly meets Evan Norris (Steven Silver) and sparks fly.
Wayne Callies, who fans will remember from "Prison Break", delivers a peerless performance as a mother and wife. She’s strong, supportive and loving and a wonderful anchor for the narrative.
There’s a poignant scene in episode one where everyone gets ready to leave for Scott’s funeral and JJ is dressed as a girl by his grandmother. Robin, suppressing her anger, gently takes his hand to get him to change into what he’s most comfortable in.
In the second episode, everyone tries to be strong but is going through their own struggles. Larry becomes overbearing with his role as a fill-in dad. Anthony keeps flaking on commitments and Oliver is wrestling with lots of guilt over being unable to save Scott.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger as viewers learn that an unwitting Luly is Anthony’s daughter.
The director ensures there’s a wonderful balance between intense and comic moments. The casting is brilliant. Each character brings a wonderful dynamic to the show.
If you’ve watched "A Million Little Things", you will love this show. The premise is unique and the drama is powerful and addictive.
Audiences are taken on a remarkable journey, where valuable lessons are learned as fathers and father-figures are celebrated. This show tugs at the heartstrings as the characters move on from tragedy and deal with life issues as it unravels.
"Council of Dads: airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Thursday at 8.10pm.