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TV Brew – The Best and Worst Dads Of Television

In honor of Father’s Day…

1st Row: Philip Banks; Malcolm Merlyn; Joe West 2nd Row: Charles Zi Britannia; Tom Kirkman; Fitzgerald Grant 3rd Row: John Winchester; Nathan Ford; Walter Bishop

In celebration of Father’s Day we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite, and some of the most terrifying, dads in television history, check them out below!

Best Dad – Philip Banks – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Sure, he had a bit of a temper, but who wouldn’t with all those kids trying to pull stuff? In the end, everything he did was for the benefit of his kids; they didn’t even have to be his blood, as he treated Will like one of his own. Don’t believe me? Just look at any of the heart-wrenching moments where he sits his children down and gives them fatherly advice and love.

Worst Dad – Malcolm Merlyn – Arrow/Legends Of Tomorrow
Self-centered beyond belief, his only priority is himself. He’s already responsible for killing one of his kids, and then he tries to turn the other into a self-absorbed, cold, murderous imitation of himself. No thanks… an absent father would be better than one who uses his children for his own gain.

Best Dad – Joe West – The Flash
Joe West is one of my favorite TV dads by a country mile. The guy is pretty much the ideal of a dad who’s not used as a daddy issues engine (well 90% of the time, anyway). While he’s not the biological father of all his children, he loves them all equally and it’s honestly the best part of the show in some respects. It takes a certain class of dad to be able to cope with his adopted son being a superhero, a daughter who is a gumshoe reporter and, not only discovering he has another son, but that son is also a superhero, with such zeal and care. Joe is one of the only characters in the cast who doesn’t have superpowers but he’s undeniably the lynchpin of the Flash Family. Barry and Wally may have powers but their heroism comes from Joe’s influence, that goes for Iris’ actions as a reporter as well (albeit despite her dad’s wishes). There wouldn’t be a Team Flash without Joe giving them an example to follow.

Worst Dad – Charles Zi Britannia – Code Geass
Bad fathers come in many permutations on television, but not many of them turn their own family and kingdom into a twisted Social Darwinist experiment in order to initiate the destruction of physical reality and the end of individuality. Code Geass is a fairly twisted series, but it’s easy to see why most of the characters are screwed up. Even Lelouch’s impetus to destroy his homeland was down to his father’s manipulation of him. While Charles’ motivations are sympathetic and borne of similar pain and loss as his children, all that sympathy is kind of overridden when your grand plan to save the world is to engender the same pain and loss you suffered in your children and cap it off by destroying reality for your own selfish desires. Dude has a fantastic hairdo though.

Best Dad – Tom Kirkman – Designated Survivor
Kirkman was thrown into the most extraordinary circumstances when the United States Government is decimated due to a terrorist attack. While working to pull the country together in the aftermath, Kirkman’s priority is still his family. Their mental and emotional well-being is considered with every decision he makes. He attempts to keep their schedules consistent, he tries to make family dinner and, as events in and around the White House became increasingly unstable, the safety of his family took precedence.  He moved them away from Washington, D.C. even though he would miss them because it was what was best for them. As an accidental President, he has some flaws, however as a father he is tremendous.

Worst Dad – Fitzgerald Grant – Scandal  
Where are his kids? We never see them, we haven’t even heard about them since the son was killed before his election. He doesn’t seem to stop and think about them when he makes decisions about his personal life. Those kids are an afterthought at best.  There are no phone calls, no questions to his ex-wife asking about their well-being or if they are enjoying school. These kids are just out there in the world. If he doesn’t care about them, why should we?

Worst Dad – John Winchester – Supernatural
Where to start? Let’s just say the road to (literal) hell is paved with good intentions. John’s bloodlust for revenge threw his very young children into a lifetime of fighting every demon, ghost, ghoul and in between with no hope of leading normal lives or ever having long standing relationships. In fact John’s choices directly lead to actual hell getting unleashed on earth and Sam and Dean going further down paths that almost destroy them. Basically everything that he never wanted for his children he causes.

Best Dad – Nathan Ford – Leverage
When Nathan Ford lost his son due to the corrupt policies of the very company he worked for he went on a roaring rampage of revenge to take them down. In the process Nate became a father all over again to the team he assembled. Whether it’s showing Parker that there are people who will never abandon her, encouraging Hardison to become the man he’s meant to be or, perhaps hardest of all, making sure Elliot knows that no matter who or what he was in the past he will always, always have a family who loves him unconditionally, Nate shows that being a father isn’t necessarily about blood and that families of choice are sometimes the best families to have.

Worst Dad – Walter Bishop – Fringe
Don’t get me wrong, I adore Walter Bishop but the man is, literally, insane. When he loses his son Peter, unlike Nate mentioned above, he doesn’t cope at all. Instead he destroys not one, but two universes, in his quest to get his son back, kidnapping a Peter from an alternate universe and causing a chain reaction of events that leads to all out war. His selfishness eventually destroys the lives of almost everyone he cares about and creates superhumans with powers of destruction that they can barely control. Walter is a perfect example of loving too much.

Those are our picks for some of the Best and Worst Dads in Television. Do you agree, disagree? Who would you add? Tell us in the comments!

About belleburr (494 Articles)
Actor, writer, singer
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