My pet subject! Oo!
Ok, all y’all know I couldn’t let a post about the sociological structures of Primeval go by without commentary, yeah? ;)
First off, one tiny correction: The mom and son in 2x06 (Mammoth on the Motorway) are actually headed to the airport to pick up dad. So even though dad isn’t physically represented there, it’s still a traditional family unit. There’s also an implied traditional family in 1x03. Additionally, the pregnant woman in 3x03 seems to have a good connection with her own mother, and holds out hope that the baby’s father will be involved in his child’s life, and it’s assumed that Sir William (3x07) marries and has descendants.
But beyond that, yes, it would seem that the majority of family structures, especially for the ARC team, depicted in this show are non-traditional in some way or other (see the list below the cut for specifics.)
This isn’t, however, unusual in ensemble-workplace shows. Part of the appeal of an ensemble like this is the depiction of the team as a non-traditional family in themselves. Most family relationships outside of work have some level of drama in them, which helps the team members bond with each other instead. Additionally, a lot of shows like this have character-development arcs that involve romantic tension between regular characters, and the more characters are paired up with someone else, the less people are able to ship them as they wish.
There’s also the fact that babies and young children just aren’t easy to work with, both from a storytelling standpoint and a production-logistics one. Little ones demand so much time from their caregivers that it’s difficult to have dramatic workplace storylines involving their parents (a key exception: the way Torchwood handled Gwen and Rhys’ baby. Very clever, that.) So virtually all children you see in a non-domestic show are going to be older, and often few and far between—used only in single episodes, in connection with a non-regular character.
So, no, I don’t think the lack of depictions of traditional families in this show is indicative of any overarching element of the larger world in which it exists. I think it’s just a natural outgrowth of the premise of the show itself. It’s basically the same situation as in dozens of other shows: Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, Eureka, Leverage, etc., wherein the “home” is the workplace, and thus the family is one’s co-workers.
Thematically, it’s entirely possible we’d see Connor and Abby becoming parents, and thus a scene like the one depicted in the picture wouldn’t be unusual. My own OT3-colored glasses would assume that the baby belongs to all three of them, but realistically, introducing a co-worker/good friend to one’s infant is certainly likely. But would both of them still continue to work at the ARC if they had a little one? And if not, would they both quit, or would just one stay home—and who? (My guess: Connor. They have a gender-role-reversed relationship, so him being a stay-at-home parent wouldn’t be out of character. See: JJ’s family on Criminal Minds.)
(Character family profiles below.)
Nick: No family beyond Helen (noted in 3x05.)
Connor: Mentions of a mother (2x01) and grandmother (3x06), but no mention of a father. He also manifests some serious daddy issues with Nick and Philip, so there’s clearly some drama there.
Abby: She and Jack are apparently orphans (3x08—she mentions Jack is her only family.) Her lavish flat might be explained if she and Jack inherited money when their parents died.
Stephen: Only a mention of a girlfriend, and that seems to have been a ruse.
Lester: Wife and kids, never named or seen.
Jenny: Ex-fiance and then gets married.
Matt: Father (Gideon)
Emily: Horrible husband
Everyone else: No family referenced at all.
Also into: Game of Thrones, Sinbad, Arrow, Vikings, Continuum, Leverage, Warehouse 13, Fringe, Criminal Minds, Sherlock, LOTR, BSG, Lost, Sanctuary, Downton Abbey, The Hour, Being Human (UK), Eureka, Longmire, Merlin, Wilfred, The Borgias, True Blood, Grimm and Lost Girl. Among other nerdy entertainment delights.