Happy Father’s Day, even to fictional ones! This year, celebrate the holiday with a good binge watch of the most iconic TV dads on streaming right now. These memorable TV dads also contributed important life lessons, just like our real-life fathers.
Some of these TV dads are outstanding role models, while others could use some parenting tips but none of them are perfect. They’re just fathers trying to do their best. There are patriarchs of every stripe on our list — funny, stern, silly, inspiring and badass. Whatever kind of dad they are, they all care about their children.
Also check out the best TV moms on Mother's Day.
Here are our favorite TV dads that you can stream on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and other streaming sites. Then, name your favorites in the comments below.
Jack Pearson and Randall Pearson, This Is Us
Being a super dad must be a nurture vs. nature trait, since Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) has passed down his wise and kind methods down to his adopted son Randall (Sterling K. Brown). Jack literally jumped into a fire for his family and we’ve seen Randall put himself in similar harm’s way to protect his wife and daughters. Their gentleness, compassion and humanity induce a lot of tears, which is why This Is Us fans are always stocked up on tissues.
Ned Stark, Game of Thrones
The Lord of Winterfell (Sean Bean) was a man of true honor, something he instilled in his six children. Ned’s lessons could often be tough, as he once told his son Bran after meting out punishment to a deserter, “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” But he’s also understanding, as he proved by arranging sword lessons for Arya. And while Ned didn’t always make the smartest decisions, his goodness, integrity and sense of justice continued to flow through the veins of House Stark.
Watch all 8 seasons on HBO Max
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
Is Homer a good dad? Not in the traditional sense — he’s often selfish, careless and clueless. But he truly, honestly loves his children. You could see it in the way he gave up his dream job at a bowling alley to afford to have Maggie, how he worked night shifts at Kwik-E-Mart to buy Lisa a pony and that time he let Bart go to Krusty Kamp despite bad grades. Somewhere underneath that big beer gut lies a big heart.
Watch seasons 1-30 on Disney Plus
Dre Johnson, Black-ish
There’s always a fun dad in the bunch, and Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) is definitely that. But he’s so much more, too. He’s actively worked to pass down Black culture and traditions to his four kids. And Dre hasn’t shied away from the difficult subjects; he’s talked to them seriously about racism, police brutality, LGBTQ issues, class privilege and postpartum depression. Dre is the fun dad to make you laugh, but also make you think.
Din Djarin, The Mandalorian
Fatherhood wasn’t the plan for The Mandalorian — far from it! But even this armor-plated bounty hunter couldn’t help but melt when he first glimpsed his assignment, the adorable Baby Yoda. When Mando couldn’t bring himself to turn over The Child, he took on the role of parent with great reluctance. He’s always been a fierce protector of the little green creature. More touching was how Din Djarin opened up and let himself care. He even lets Baby Yoda play with parts of his precious ship! He gets the prize for best dad in a galaxy far, far away.
Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker, Modern Family
The megahit Modern Family helped push LGBTQ parents into the mainstream, thanks to its positive portrayal of Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) as a committed, long-term gay couple who get married and adopt a child. Mitch and Cam had their hilarious quirks and funny foibles, just like the other parents on the show. They may be gay, but they’re also just dads — and really good ones at that.
Sandy Cohen, The O.C.
Sandy Cohen has a very strong claim to the title of Best TV Dad of All Time. Sandy (Peter Gallagher) was already a great dad to his son Seth (Adam Brody) and then decided to take in and care for troubled teen Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie). Not only is he generous and kind, he gives great advice, even if it’s the form of a cringe-inducing sex talk. And the man knows his bagels!
Watch all 4 seasons on HBO Max
Louis Huang, Fresh Off the Boat
What’s more inspiring than having a father who is the literal embodiment of the American Dream? Everything Louis Huang (Randall Park) does is to improve his family’s fortunes. He served as a role model of determination and hard work to his three sons, but he wasn’t a hardass about it. His sunny, optimistic, ‘can do’ approach to life allowed him to bridge the cultural and generational gaps and bond with his boys (even if he never got Eddie’s love of rap music).
Hopper, Stranger Things
Police chief Jim Hopper was a bit of a mess at the beginning of Stranger Things. That turned around thanks to a mysterious young girl called Eleven, whom he took under his wing and later adopted. Hopper was often super strict, but he had good reason to be. Nefarious forces and monsters from the Upside Down will make any parent overprotective. All Hopper wants is for Eleven to eat her Eggos and be safe. And he was willing to put his own life on the line to make that happen.
Watch all 3 seasons on Netflix
Keith Mars, Veronica Mars
Smart, sassy, clever, brave Veronica Mars (Kristen) got her detective goods from somewhere, and that’s her dad Keith (Enrico Colantoni). It’s actually hard to say who was the better investigator, which would probably make Keith extremely proud. He had her back on cases, supported her through personal crises and always had a witty remark to add to their father-daughter banter. As a dad, Keith is always hired.
Philip Banks, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Phil (James Avery) was a loving father to his two kids, then took on the care of his street hustling teen nephew, Will (Will Smith). Uncle Phil wasn’t technically Will’s dad, but he was in every way that really mattered. He showed up to save Will from some tight jams (like in the pool hall) and taught him the benefits of following the rules (though he also knew when to overlook the breaking of them). And Phil could really bust a move. We love a dad who can dance!
Watch all 6 seasons on HBO Max
Rogelio de la Vega, Jane the Virgin
The vain and self-absorbed telenovela star missed out on Jane’s early years, but once Rogelio (Jaime Camil) learned of her existence, he stepped up and into her life with enthusiasm. Rogelio did whatever he could to help make Jane happy, whether it was throwing her an epic wedding or more quietly providing a shoulder to cry on. #DaddingWiththeStars
Watch all 5 seasons on Netflix
Eric Taylor, Friday Night Lights
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose when you have Coach as your dad, or in the case of the Dillon Panthers, your father figure. Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) is the firm but caring teacher anybody would want in their tumultuous teen years. He listens, he gives good advice, he treats everyone fairly and compassionately and he has an exceptional wife in Tami Taylor (Connie Britton). Coach is a winner at the game of football and the game of life. Eric Taylor forever!