Sunday, June 20th is Father’s Day, when we get to celebrate the fathers, grandfathers, and father figures that have touched our lives. This year, we thought it would be fun to make a list of the best fictional dads out there—those fatherly TV characters that comforted us, gave us advice, and supported us over the years. Scroll down to see what we came up with!
Best Animated Dad
Image courtesy of wired.com
Jefferson Morales from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
We know he isn’t technically a TV dad, but here’s a relatively new one we’ve come to love: Officer Jefferson Morales from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. He’s a crime-fighting cop in New York City whose son just happens to be bitten by the right radioactive spider. He doesn’t know it yet, but his son is the next Spider-Man! While most of the adventure centers around Miles Morales discovering and mastering his new powers, there’s no doubt his dad is the moral compass that makes him the hero he’s destined to be. Watch Miles continue to follow in his father’s footsteps in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, coming out in October, 2022!
Most Nurturing Dad
Image by NBC’s Ron Batzdorff, from today.com
Randall Pearson from This is Us
Few TV dads can match the depth of character and self-awareness that belongs to Randall Pearson from NBC’s This is Us. In fact, his heart-wrenching, soul-searching, identity-defining story might be the most compelling part of the entire series, which is set to end sometime in early 2022. It’s hard not to admire the strong, selfless, loving dad that isn’t afraid to acknowledge his weaknesses, cry on camera, or play tea party with his daughters; but we’re looking forward to seeing him grow even more in season 6.
Image courtesy of deadline.com
Kenan Williams, from Kenan
If you recognize this dad, you’re not alone. Actor Kenan Thompson has been on TV since the early 1990s. In February, his show Kenan premiered on NBC, where he plays a single dad working hard to raise two daughters while hosting his own daily morning news show, Waking Up With Kenan. On top of it all, Kenan and his daughters are grieving their late wife and mother, Cori; and sometimes the relatives that step in for support are more trouble than help! Unlike dads on other shows, Kenan doesn’t make it look easy; sometimes juggling fame, family, and finances kicks him squarely in the butt. But he always gets back up and tries again—because that’s what a hard-working dad does!
Most Optimistic Dad
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Louis Huang from Fresh Off the Boat
The most optimistic dad on TV has to be Louis Huang from ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Louis is an industrious restaurant owner, manager, and entrepreneur who supports his wife’s dreams and never underestimates the power of being vulnerable with the people you love. But he wouldn’t be able to do it without his unwavering optimism—a quality his family has a love-hate relationship with. His bubbly personality and sunny disposition keeps his head above chaotic waters and helps him succeed at everything he sets his mind to. And for those moments Louis needs a serious reality check, his cynical wife, Jessica, is always ready to keep him grounded. Fresh Off the Boat wrapped up in 2020, so you can start binging every season today!
Image courtesy of buzzfeed.com
Mohan Vishwakumar from Never Have I Ever
Sorry, but it had to be done. When making a list about greatest TV dads, how can we not make a category for the hottest? This particular title goes to Mohan Vishwakumar from Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. Sure, he might be dead the entire time, but those flashbacks—oh my! The first season of Never Have I Ever came out in 2020, just when teenage girls everywhere needed it most. Viewers watch the main character, Devi, navigate high school, family, friends, boys, and the loss of her beloved father, whose family struggles to function without his warm, empathetic, calming presence. No matter how old you are, it’s a great watch; and a great reminder of the difficulty that is female adolescence. Keep an eye out for season 2, coming this July!
Image courtesy of screenrant.com
Hal Wilkerson from Malcolm in the Middle
You might recognize this actor from another, even better-known TV show—which is hard to believe, considering how popular it was at the time! Played by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, this throw-back dad, Hal Wilkerson, is best known for his crazy antics, wacky rants, and childish shenanigans. Throughout the series, you might find him covered in bees, getting chased by bats, rushing to the hospital to treat his most recent ridiculous injury, or running around in his underwear. Without a doubt, TV’s funniest dad; hard to believe that a few years later, he’d become a mega-millionaire drug lord, right?
Image courtesy of joblo.com
Phil Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
There are plenty of reasons why Phil Banks is one of the most iconic, best American TV dads of all time. Not only was he funny, classy, and genuine, he also served as a big-hearted mentor to millions of African-American boys and girls at a time when getting an education, founding a family, and maintaining a successful career wasn’t as easy for a person of color in the U.S. as he made it look. And if you couldn’t tell from the butler, the mansion in Bel-Air, and the entitled children Ashley, Hilary, Carlton, and Nicky, of all the great TV dads, Phil Banks is also probably the richest! Sadly, actor James Avery passed away in 2013; but that doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from the legend of a father he played on TV.
Image courtesy of entrepreneur.com
Julius Rock from Everybody Hates Chris
For every rich dad out there, there are probably a hundred cheap dads. And no one fits that title better than Julius Rock from Everybody Hates Chris. From the electricity a clock uses per minute to spilled milk, leftover oatmeal, and fast food combos, Julius Rock’s greatest superpower is knowing the price of pretty much everything. But this penny-pinching, sidewalk-change-detecting, frugal father is more than just a bargain-hunter—he also doles out some pretty sage advice over the course of the series, and never fails to be the kind of mentor his kids need.
Most Honorable Dad
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Eddard Stark from Game of Thrones
Is it too soon for this next one? There isn’t much we can say about Ned Stark from HBO’s Game of Thrones that others haven’t already. He’s probably the most honorable, noble, and loyal father ever to grace television—so honorable, in fact, that honor was his downfall. Although his character arc was just nine episodes long, that was more than enough time to win over the hearts of viewers all over the world. We miss you, Ned!
Best Superhero Dad
Image courtesy of slate.com
Scott Lang from Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp
Another Marvel movie dad but no less relatable than dads on prime-time TV: Scott Lang from Ant-Man. His is a superhero story, sure; but it’s also one of fatherly redemption. Throughout the films he dedicates himself to completing the requirements of his parole after a lengthy prison sentence. It’s a tough job to make up for the lost time to his daughter, but he’ll be damned if he doesn’t put her first. Unlike other Marvel super heroes whose families take the back-burner to the main story, Scott’s is a central part of his—and we love him for it. We’re looking forward to more touching moments in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, arriving in theaters on February 17, 2023!
Image courtesy of wired.com
Walter White from Breaking Bad
Did you think you’d seen the last of Bryan Cranston? Not a chance! No dad list is complete without the baddest dad of all time: Walter White from Breaking Bad. We know he was a meth cook, a drug kingpin, and a cold-blooded murderer, but it’s hard not to shed a few tears for the guy. After all, he was dying of cancer at the time. Plus everything he did, he did for his family—right? Well, regardless, we thought you’d appreciate this one.
That’s all we’ve got for you today! Can you think of a fictional dad that fits into one of the categories above? What about a different category altogether? Let us know, in the comments below. And if you haven’t already this Father’s Day, go show that special someone how much they mean to you, wherever they may be.
For all those questions that you’d never dream of asking your own dad, check out the askNivi chatbot! Nivi can give you advice and support for all those health topics and concerns you’d rather keep to yourself from the convenience of your own phone. The best part is that it’s private, confidential, and free! Chat with Nivi 24/7 on WhatsApp.