Happy Father's Day! A Tribute to 20 of TV's Best + Worst Dads

Arrow Barrowman Series Regular

“Father knows best,” the saying (and 1950s TV show) goes, but is that always the case? TVLine put that axiom to the test by taking a close look at 20 of today’s most talked about TV dads.

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These patriarchs range from greedy, selfish bikers like Sons of Anarchy‘s Clay Morrow to hilarious goofballs such as Modern Family‘s Phil Dunphy — who we just want to perform magic with and buy a house from.

Whether they are lining their shelves with “No. 1 Dad” mugs or lying, scheming and killing to get what they want (talk about #daddyissues), each of these pops is one of a kind. CLICK HERE to review our round-up, then hit the Comments with your votes for TV’s most dynamite dads and failure fathers.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Emma Woodhouse says:

    Didn’t there used to be a link to go back to the original post at the end of the slideshow? Way preferable over using the back button multiple times.
    And Keith Mars, obvs, though he was a movie dad and not a TV dad this year.

  2. Andrea says:

    Seriously? How in the world did they leave Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights off this lights?!?! Best. Dad. Ever.

  3. ED says:

    Seconded about Keith Mars, he’s the all time best father a girl could have, but since the slideshow is for Tv shows currently on, I’ll let this one slide.

  4. David says:

    Dan Scott from One Tree Hill and Hal from Malcolm in the Middle should have been on the list. Not to mention Homer Simpson!

  5. KC says:

    So glad to see Burt Hummel on the list – he is absolutely the BEST dad ever on TV!!

  6. bj says:

    Castle is definitely number one in my book.

  7. CourtTV says:

    Love TVLine but this gallery userbility nonsense is getting really frustrating. Overall, I’ve definitely visited the site less since the redesign.

    • Katherine215 says:

      Same here. This is awful and they’re not doing anything to fix it! What the heck was so wrong with the site in the first place? It makes me not want to bother commenting.

  8. webly3 says:

    People shouldn’t be mad. This slideshow was meant for current TV dads and I fully agree with TVLine’s picks especially Adam Braverman.

  9. Bwhit says:

    How can you put Clay on there as a stepfather (I use that word loosely) but not Jax as an ACTUAL father. I think I would put Jax in the best category only because of that last episode, he knew the best thing for Thomas and Abel was to have Tara…. But then….. I also would have had Kevin Hamilton from Awkward as a best because he is always there for Jenna no matter what.

  10. Michelle says:

    I guessed this would be of dads in currently airing shows, but I hoped to see Keith Mars in there anyway. Best TV dad ever, lbr.

  11. What I love about Castle is how much he’s evolved as a Dad – and yet hasn’t. First season, I’d say that he might qualify for worse, depending on his daughter to parent him. But while he’s still a cool Dad, he’s also stepped up when he had to.

  12. Rich Abey says:

    Richard Castle: Coolest Dad ever? Be it from making happy pancakes to cheer up Alexis when she is sad or hiding under the bushes in front of the school for the entirety of Alexis’s first day at school, and all this as a single dad from the start. Certainly deserves the ‘No.1 Dad’ mug more than any other TV dad in recent times, if only for making sure Alexis grew up into a beautiful, confident, intelligent women despite his own bad-boy/clubbing/womanizing history & habits.

  13. Rowan77 says:

    I know this is supposed to be only for Dad characters currently on the air, but I wish they would have extended it to previous Dad characters as well.

  14. Pat says:

    TVLINE, you definitely got all the “Best Dad’s” right. A few others could be added. Jay on Modern Family. He can be stubborn and bull headed at times, but in the end he always comes through for his family. Also, Mitchell and Cam are the cutest Dad’s ever.

  15. Azerty says:

    If we need to go down memory lane, let’s not forget about Jonathan Kent from Smallvile. For me, the only one missing for the current shows is Rick Grimes.

  16. Matt C. says:

    Sandy Cohen, anyone?!

    I’m halfway through my annual summer O.C. binge watch so that’s the first dad who popped into my head when I saw the headline.

  17. H says:

    How exactly is Peter Florrick a worst father? He slept we two women before the show started, then spent 5 seasons atoning to his wife, and his kids love him.

    • Ashley says:

      I’ve watched 90% of TGW. When does the man ever spend any time with those same kids who love him? A lot of kids with crappy fathers still love the guy. That’s part of what makes it so screwed up.

    • Gigi says:

      I don’t get that either. Peter Florrick doesn’t rank anywhere near the worst fathers listed here. The man isn’t an ideal father but he can’t be labeled as evil like the characters in this slide show.

  18. ComeOn! says:

    The gallery/slide show is still not working on mobile and half work for tablet.

  19. K says:

    I know this is a gallery of tv dads for shows that are still on the air but I just have to give a shout out to my favourite tv dad Jack Bristow aka spy daddy.

  20. AnnieM says:

    I wish every LGBT person had a Dad like Burt Hummel.

    Also…where is Rick Grimes of TWD? He should be on the Best Dad list. :-)

  21. Bonesfan47 says:

    Let’s not forget about Booth from Bones he’s one of the best current dads as well and just like Castle had her daughter be the best man at his wedding Booth had Parker be his best man too!!!! It’s not Booth’s fault that he doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with Parker if he had his way he would be spending a lot more time with him

    • Bonesfan47 says:

      Also forgot add on top of that he put together that one man band for Christine’s birthday party this past season such a great ending scene to that episode!!!!

  22. Ally Oop says:

    Great list. I’m content you had dads from The Goldbergs, Revenge, Reign, The Originals, Parenthood and Teen Wolf.

  23. Bree says:

    Also for Tywin there’s also that issue of condemning Tyrion to death for a crime he knows that his son didn’t commit all because he hates Tyrion.

  24. Tony Lang says:

    No love for John Oliver?!? Last Week Tonight deserves the mention, it,s WAY too good to be ignored! (except for last week’s Right Said Fred “performance”…)

    • Mary Ann says:

      I love me some John Oliver, but this is a story about best and worst dads, and as far as I know John doesn’t have any children.