It’s not exactly that no other Starfleet captains are parents, goodness knows. Leaving aside, you know, things like Kirk’s discovering his long-lost son an entire series and several movies in, there are various captains we’ve known to have children. However, the first Star Trek we saw to star a character who was at the time actively parenting a child was Deep Space Nine. In a shared universe full of frankly awful fathers, we saw one who was fully supportive of his child and himself had a pretty good father, which is unusual indeed for Star Trek.
Brooks himself seems to have had a pretty decent father, and he has three children of his own. His marriage is as old as I am. More importantly, his career is also that old. In 1976, he sang four of the eight songs on James Spaulding Plays the Legacy of Duke Ellington. The musical legacy is strong in his family. That father of his was a member of the Wings Over Jordan Choir. Meanwhile a maternal uncle was in the Delta Rhythm Boys. Brooks was the first black person to receive an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers, the same year as the marriage and the album. 1976 was busy for him, clearly.
Now, I’ve never watched Spencer: For Hire, at least not that I remember, but I do know that Avery Brooks played the far-cooler-than-Spencer Hawk on the show. He also got a spin-off for a while. Thirteen episodes of A Man Called Hawk. He then returned for four made-for-TV movies in the ‘90s, just before he presumably got far too busy for it. Probably his role of Hawk is why he got way too busy for it. I’m definitely aware he had a strong fanbase before he left for Bajor.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard he would be the newest captain, albeit not technically a captain at the time. Commander Benjamin Sisko is also, I believe, the ranking officer, let’s say, who started his series with the most backstory, because we learned it all in the pilot. Or at least a good chunk of it. Sisko was a scarred man who’d lost his wife in a way he quite logically blamed Picard for. He was a single parent in a frontier outpost. DS9 is the Star Trek that is really a Western if you think about it, and Sisko was holding that outpost together.
Don’t get me wrong; Avery Brooks is a good-looking man. But I’m not exactly surprised that his media debut was on a record, because he has quite the melodious voice. Deep and rich and smooth. He’s on my list of His IMDb Page Is Definitely Incomplete, because IMDb is notoriously terrible at properly crediting narration work. He’s on my list of people I wouldn’t mind narrating my life, if my life were to be narrated by someone. Everyone talks Morgan Freeman, but they’re sleeping on Avery Brooks.
Would Avery Brooks narrate you contributing to my Patreon or Ko-fi? I hope so!