“We tell them how we feel. We shout it to the skies!”
I think the reason why Lee Adama of Battlestar Galactica lore is so endearing is primarily because his image and his internal life is in direct challenge to most sci-fi tropes. As the good looking lead and young upstart in the midst of a post-apocalyptic tragedy, he maintains a sweetness and startling innocence while his foil, Kara Thrace, embodies the hard-headed recklessness and devil-may-care attitude that the audience would expect from him. That’s what makes Battlestar Galactica so engrossing from start to finish; this blatant rejection of stereotypes in a fantasy settling gives the show a realism that identifies more closely with the audience’s world. Cookie-cutter gender stereotypes remind us more of a clean, mid-century sort of setting than a sci-fi one set in a far off future, which is also the path that Game of Thrones follows a decade later (albeit with far more success than the aforementioned, doomed series).
I’ve noticed that Lee Adama is very much a Love Em Or Hate Em sot of character, probably because he’s never exactly what we expect of him. During his moments of masculine triumph against the enemy, he’s more pensive than swaggering. When caught in a sexual overture, he’s more loving than dominant. When contrasted with who he feels is his great love, Kara Thrace, he defers to her power, even when it wounds him in the end. That isn’t what we want from our fantasy hero, so he has the tendency to frustrate us more often that not, though I find that because of that, he tenderly stays in my mind more than the other characters when I think about that series.