He is a Hollywood brat who grew up following his father, the producer Gerald W. Abrams, around movie back lots. On the eve of his Star Trek reboot, J.J. Abrams is now a 42-year-old father himself—and one of the most powerful producers in the business. Review the two-decade span of his eclectic work, and two quirky hallmarks emerge: time-shifting (Lost, Alias, Trek, even Felicity) and daddy issues, which seem to go beyond the typical “atonement with the father” phase in Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Below, we survey the oeuvre.
Regarding Henry, (1991)
In Abrams’s second script, Harrison Ford is a jerky lawyer, bad husband, and absentee father—until he gets shot and becomes a kind, caring amnesiac.
Felicity’s pop was a successful doctor. She rebelled and chose the arts. Then, in a shockingly realistic turn, she realized Dad was right and went premed.
In the pilot, Sydney finds out Dad has been lying for years—and his lies may have triggered her fiancé’s murder. Major trust issues ensue.
It begins as Jack wakes up, finding the empty bottle of vodka he downed mourning the alcoholic dad he’ll spend the series coming to terms with.
The X-Files with a twist: Peter (Joshua Jackson) is tormented by his doddering, mad-genius father (John Noble) but learns to love him.
Star Trek, (2009)
Spock clashes with his Vulcan father. Kirk’s father sacrifices his life for his son. “He saved 800 lives, including yours,” Kirk is told. “I dare you to do better.”