We all watch TV shows, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion. With that being said, here are the top 10 best TV dads of all time. Feel free to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Mike Brady “The Brady Bunch”
Actor: Robert Reed
Aired: 1969-1974, ABC
Mike Brady is a widower and father of three sons who remarries Carol and becomes a stepfather to three daughters. He’s an architect willing to do anything to provide for his family. Juggling six kids is difficult, but Mike is fair and even-handed with all of them.
9. Walter White “Breaking Bad”
Actor: Bryan Cranston
Aired: 2008-2013, AMC
Walter White was just your average high school chemistry teacher until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. To make sure he could provide for his wife and son after his death, he resorted to desperate measures. Walter becomes a meth manufacturer and dealer, falling deeper into the criminal underworld while reluctantly mentoring his young partner Jesse Pinkman.
8. Mike Heck “The Middle.”
Actor: Neil Flynn
Aired: 2009-Present, ABC
Mike Heck is straight forward, boring, and plain, rarely showing emotion. He clearly favors his oldest son Axl and tends to ignore the other two. But despite struggling through poverty (something none of the other fathers on this list seem to deal with), Mike always comes through for his family when they need him.
7. Bernie McCullough “The Bernie Mac Show”
Actor: Bernie Mac
Aired: 2001-2006, Fox
Bernie Mac wasn’t a parent until his sister entered rehab and he found himself in charge of her kids. Despite having parenthood thrust on him, he deeply loves them and isn’t afraid to tell everyone in America. He’s a strict dad, but still clearly loves all his kids. His favorite is clearly the youngest daughter Bryana, though, as he refers to her as Baby Girl.
6. Red Forman “That 70’s Show”
Actor: Kurtwood Smith
Aired: 1998-2006, Fox
Red is a no-nonsense man and dad to his son and daughter. He’s much harder on Eric than Laurie, who’s clearly daddy’s little girl. In fact, she appears to be the only person (mostly) immune to Red’s wrath. A Navy vet who’s occasionally unemployed and thinks there’s too many dumbasses in the world, Red is a strict disciplinarian determined to make Eric a real man.
5. Danny Tanner “Full House/Fuller House”
Actor: Bob Saget
Aired: 1987-1995, ABC / 2016-Present, Netflix
Danny Tanner is the widowed father of three young girls. He’s also a working television personality who has trouble juggling everything, so he brings in his best friend and brother-in-law to help raise them. Danny imparts a lot of valuable life lessons on his kids and doesn’t mind disciplining them when necessary. Although he moves to L.A. when his daughters are grown, he still comes back to visit frequently in the show’s sequel.
4. Sheriff Andy Taylor “The Andy Griffith Show”
Actor: Andy Griffith
Aired: 1960-1968, CBS
Andy is a widower with a young son, Opie, whose mom died while he was a baby. He brought his aunt in to help him with the womanly duties and is always thinking of his son. He can often be found fishing with Opie in his time off, as he believes it’s important to spend quality time with him.
3. Louis Huang “Fresh Off the Boat”
Actor: Randall Park
Aired: 2015-Present, ABC
Louis moved his entire family from Washington D.C. to Orlando so he could open a steakhouse and provide for his family. He constantly takes his kids’ side over anyone else’s, even his wife, Jessica. While Jessica is the disciplinarian, Louis is often a friend to his children. Still, he’s willing to lay down the law whenever necessary.
2. Phil Dunphy “Modern Family”
Actor: Ty Burrell
Aired: 2009-Present, ABC
Phil is a former male cheerleader and magician who became a real estate agent after settling down with his wife Claire. He’s a kid at heart, which makes him a very loving dad to his children. Phil would do anything for his kids, and seems to love them even more than his wife.
1. Phillip Banks “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Actor: James Avery
Aired: 1990-1996, NBC
When Will Smith gets into trouble in Philadelphia, his mom sends him to live with her sister Vivian’s family. The patriarch is “Uncle Phil,” who was raised on a North Carolina Farm, moved to Baltimore as a teen, got involved in the Civil Rights movement, went to Princeton and Harvard, then became a lawyer and eventually a judge.
Despite his hard work ethic, Phil cares deeply for his family. He provides them with a safe (and extravagant) place to live and always teaches them life lessons. Uncle Phil is the best dad to ever appear on TV.