Make us your home page
the list

Some memorable TV dads

Battlestar Galactica — At its heart, this show about a ragtag space fleet fleeing a killer robot race is about rough love. And there's no rougher couple than Battlestar Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and his straight-shooting son, Lee. At times, they're so alike they can't stand each other — dads, sound familiar? — as their Oedipal conflicts spill into their fight with the evil Cylons. In other words, a cool dad butts heads with his son in a show where things fly and blow up! Geek man heaven.

Dexter — Is there anything cooler than a Miami policeman dad who teaches his serial killer son how to off the scum of humanity without getting caught? James Remar didn't show much as Dexter Morgan's dad this season, but every moment he's onscreen redefines the father/son dynamic on TV. If he only could have taught Dexter how to take out Florida's lunkhead drivers.

Rescue Me — Denis Leary's pill-popping, self-destructive firefighter Tommy Gavin is wack enough to cheer his teen daughter's lesbian relationship because he knows how much worse teen boys would be. Last season ended poignantly when Gavin's father (played by Charles Durning) passed away while the two were watching a baseball game. Watching Leary's twitchy machismo, you know Tommy G's not going out like that.


Dan Conner, Roseanne

Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), Cosby Show

Ray Barone (Ray Romano), Everybody Loves Raymond


Alan Harper (Jon Cryer), Two and a Half Men

Robbie Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus), Hannah Montana




Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), Leave it to Beaver

Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane), Family Guy



Television dads these days are way too stupid. • Once upon a time, Ward Cleaver, Mike Brady and James Evans stood as paragons of televised parenting, negotiating their kids' voice-changing, first dates and homework blues with the best one-liners Hollywood could provide. • But somewhere around Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson, it all went wrong. TV dads became schlubs, blessed with good jobs, hot wives, snarky kids and not much else (yes, Ray Barone and Hulk Hogan, I'm talking about you). • So my Father's Day gift is a short list of TV shows starring cool dads. A tie can get ketchup or oil smeared on it, but inspirational TV lasts forever.


Weeds, 10 p.m. Monday, Showtime: As if a half-hour dramedy about a pot-dealing suburbanite weren't surreal enough, the show's fourth season finds Mary-Louise Parker's dope-peddling widow Nancy Botwin torching her home and heading for the California border town where her dead husband's mother lives. Turns out, her father-in-law is a resentful Albert Brooks, who only boosts the comedy mother lode.


Secret Diary of a Call Girl, 10:30 p.m. Monday, Showtime: This is supposed to be a comedy about a hip, high-class London call girl who pretends to be a legal secretary while shagging strange men for cash. Instead, the debut offers a curious character study of a working girl — played to saucy perfection by Dr. Who alum Billie Piper — who only pauses when she starts to bond with a new client.


The Middleman, 8 p.m. Monday, ABC Family: I so wanted to like this screwball series, about a straitlaced undercover hero chasing comic book-style creatures. But it's too serious for comedy, too comedic to be taken seriously and too adult for ABC Family. Natalie Morales is a snarky, unflappable temp worker-turned-sidekick. But the rest unfolds like a warmed-over Men in Black script — heavy on cheesy effects and way too light on the actual, um, funny.

Former WTVT-Ch. 13 reporter Glenn Selig asked visitors to his online magazine,, to pick the most realistic TV dad. About 400 picked John Goodman's Dan Conner from Roseanne — an overweight, working-class lug who rarely gets his way. No wonder they're visiting a Web site for tips on daddyhood.

Some memorable TV dads 06/14/08 [Last modified: Saturday, June 14, 2008 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours