Council of Dads

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Council of Dads TV Poster Image
Extended family drama about illness is weepy, sentimental.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Family and friendship are central to the show. So is grieving the loss of a husband, parent, and friend. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Council of Dads mentors the family in different ways. The family is very diverse, and includes children who are transgender and from different multi-racial/ethnic backgrounds. The men are also very different in personality and profession.

Violence

Illness and fear of death are themes. Occasional angry outbursts ultimately lead to constructive moments. 

Sex

References to having sex. Pregnancy is a theme. 

Language

Mild profanity like "damn" is sometimes used.

Consumerism

A Ford truck is visible; logos aren't prominently featured. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer, and one major character is a recovering alcoholic.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Council of Dads is a dramatic series based on the 2010 memoir by Bruce Feiler about a diverse family that changes and grows with the help of friends after a parent is diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness. There are lots of positive moments, but it contains some innuendo, including references to having sex and pregnancy. Themes like death, illness, the misunderstanding of transgender children, and the challenges of marriage might be too mature for younger viewers. It's not violent, and occasional verbal outbursts are dealt with constructively. There's some drinking, and alcoholism is a recurring theme. 

Wondering if Council of Dads is OK for your kids?

Parents: Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBjspk March 27, 2020

What else do they think we should watch?

Ahhh, what a searing disappointment. I was looking forward to this pilot. However, if Jerry Bruckheimer, operating under a vacuous, misguided delusion, thought... Continue reading
Adult Written byjoylangly77 June 27, 2020

Boring show with really pushing the envelope story lines

With the exception of Michael O'Neill all the cast are no names, why? And the story lines, just literally cross the boundaries. Mediocre actors, and not a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySwanbird01 May 21, 2020

NEVER WATCH THIS SHOW

We only decided to watch this show because a close family member was in it. The 1st episode started off ok and then they announced that the young “boy” was bio... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous May 7, 2020

It's reality people calm down!!!

I think that it's stupid that everyone is saying that it's not suitable for a 6 year old or 7 year old because it talks about different sexuality, wh... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the 2010 memoir of the same name, COUNCIL OF DADS tells the story of a family that changes and grows after an unexpected event turns their lives upside down. Scott Perry (Tom Everett Scott); his wife, Robin (Sarah Wayne Callies); and their kids, teenager Theo (Emjay Anthony), the brainy Charlotte (Thalia Tran), J.J. (Blue Chapman), adult daughter Luly (Michele Weaver), and new baby Hope, live an idyllic life in Savannah, Georgia. But when Scott is diagnosed with cancer, their lives are profoundly changed. Concerned about being unable to help his family, he calls on his oldest friend and chef Anthony Lavelle (Clive Standen), AA sponsor Larry Mills (Michael O'Neill), and Robin's best friend and colleague, Dr. Oliver Post (J. August Richards), to serve on the "Council of Dads," which is charged with stepping in and supporting the family as backup fathers. The very different men are more than happy to do it, and soon realize that this is one of the most important roles they will ever have. 

Is it any good?

This dramatic series offers lots of heartwarming moments as the family copes with loss and embraces new members. However, it isn't very original, due to the formulaic storylines and painfully predictable dialogue already made popular by shows like This Is Us and Parenthood. The efforts made to portray a contemporary extended family are so obvious that it feels cliché. But the story is full of emotional moments, and despite being able to predict what's coming, you might shed a tear or two. Council of Dads is a positive, heartwarming series, and folks who like this sort of sentimental entertainment will probably find it worth the watch. But if you're looking for something original or refreshing, you might have better luck elsewhere. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Council Of Dads is adapted from a popular memoir. Do you think it works? What changes were made to make it suitable and entertaining for a TV audience?

  • Can dramatic TV shows like this one be used to teach young viewers life skills and help them build character strengths like compassion and perseverance? Or do you think these types of shows are really just meant to entertain viewers who like emotional drama? 

  • What makes a TV series strike the right emotional tone? Can you think of any shows you've watched that have gone from entertainingly dramatic to over-the-top and mushy?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family dramas

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate