The 8 best TV dads, ranked.

Television often does dads dirty.

Succession's Logan Roy is cruel and manipulative. Don Draper lives life as if he doesn't know he has children. Nearly every father on Game of Thrones is abusive. Even Homer Simpson... regularly strangles his son. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Strained parental relationships are one of the most used tropes to explain a complicated character. But today, we're celebrating the good ones: the fictional father figures we never knew we needed.

Here are the eight best TV dads, ranked.

8. Jim Hopper, Stranger Things.

Jim Hopper is the dad of Hawkins. His own daughter, Sarah, died of cancer and then his wife left him, causing Jim to be lonely and a little... rough around the edges at the beginning of the series, but with plenty of protective dad energy that always has him looking out for the kids in town.

Then he takes in Eleven and their bond becomes one of the strongest parent-child bonds of recent years. He's overprotective and prone to overreacting, but in the context of the series it makes sense. He's also always on hand with Eggos, not afraid to be honest with Eleven and willing to give up everything (including himself) to keep her safe.

7. Michael Kyle, My Wife and Kids.


My Wife and Kids is a highly underrated sitcom, and as a result Michael Kyle is an often overlooked TV dad.

Damon Wayans character is hilarious, and the series revolves around his very unconventional parenting style - "Michael Kyle signature moments", which is effectively using reverse psychology to trick his kids into thinking they've done something wrong in order to teach them life lessons.

It's always ridiculous, but it's always done with love.

6. Johnny Rose, Schitt's Creek.

When his family suddenly goes from riches-to-rags, Johnny Rose is the voice of reason. Well, as reasonable as a Rose can be.

He wants to instill a strong work ethic in his children David and Alexis to help them succeed and works hard to reconnect with them without, uh... any money.

Johnny often misreads situations, making him an easy target for family teasing, but his heart is always in the right place.


5. Danny Tanner, Full House.

Widowed Danny Tanner raises three young daughters with the (sometimes misguided) help of his brother-in-law and best friend, and always - ALWAYS - keeps the very chaotic house clean.

He takes on the role of both mother and father, always there to offer advice and guide his three daughters as they grow into young women.

4. Sandy Cohen, The O.C.


He doesn't have much competition, but Sandy Cohen is obviously Newport Beach's best dad.

Firstly, he raised the loveable Seth Cohen, which is a win all on its own. But Sandy also welcomed troubled teen Ryan Atwood into his family home without hesitation and will always go out of his way to help his family.

Sandy is the moral compass of the series, who is always there for his children with some honest, heartfelt fatherly advice.

He's also really passionate about bagels, which seems like an important dad trait.

3. Jack Pearson, This Is Us.

Jack Pearson is an exemplary TV dad, selfless and bursting with unconditional love for his family. He also loves a pep talk, and he's pretty good at them. 

What makes Jack even better is just how deeply his influence and love flows through the lives of multiple generations of the Pearson family. Even if he's not physically there, Jack is still the glue that holds them together.

2. Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.


Philip Banks, a.k.a Uncle Phil, is a teddy bear: tough on the outside with a heart of gold on the inside.

He loves his four children and nephew Will more than anything, even though they get on every single one of his nerves. He always treats Will like one of his own and is the exact kind of father figure he needed in his life.

And it's not physically possible to watch the scene in season four, episode 24, where Will's deadbeat dad turns up after 14 years only to leave again without crying. The way that Phil absorbs all of Will's anger, pain and sadness is pure, fatherly love.

1. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family.


Phil Dunphy is dorky, oblivious and uh, a very passionate magician. He is what you'd get if you took every stereotypically embarrassing dad trait and put them into one person. A walking, talking dad joke. But he was also the most genuine character on television.

Phil is never anything but himself, teaching his children - who mostly consider him cringey and uncool - to never hide or change who they are to make others happy. He loves Haley, Alex and Luke more than anything and was never afraid to show them.

Who is your favourite TV dad? Let us know in a comment.

Chelsea McLaughlin is Mamamia's Senior Entertainment Writer. For more pop culture takes, sarcasm and... cat content, you can follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: ABC/Peacock/NBC.

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