Everyone needs to kick back and enjoy some compelling television every now and again, even dads. The term “dad” here may not literally refer to a father — but rather to the type of person who might enjoy mowing the lawn, listening to Billy Joel, and refusing to ask for help at Home Depot. Here’s a handy list of TV series recommendations for the dad — or “dad” — in your life, and where they can stream them.
Jack Ryan – Prime Video
Before his name was slapped on a thousand video games, Tom Clancy was the ultimate dad novelist, penning glowing portraits of American supermen fighting communism and drug lords. Jack Ryan is the latest and most successful attempt at adapting Clancy for a new era and audience. John Krasinski stars as a younger iteration of a character famously portrayed by legendary actors such as Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, and Ben Affleck. This show has everything dads love, including angry men in suits yelling at other angry men in suits and multiple explosions.
The Terminal List – Prime Video
Former NAVY Seal Jack Carr is the literary world’s new Tom Clancy, albeit with a darker, more conspiratorial edge. If Tom Clancy tended to celebrate the competency of government agents, Carr usually skewers them for playing with soldiers’ lives. Nonetheless, anyone who enjoys Jack Ryan will probably love The Terminal List. Chris Pratt, another network mockumentary comedy star turned badass action guy, stars as James Reece. He’s joined by a stellar supporting cast, including Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Reacher – Prime Video
Another show based on a popular series of thriller novels, Reacher is a significant improvement on the Tom Cruise films that always felt like they weren’t quite meant for him. Showrunner Nick Santora is a Sopranos and Law & Order alum who does a brilliant job adapting Lee Child’s source material. Although star Alan Ritchson is not quite a household name like Krasinski or Pratt, he delivers a performance just as compelling as his better-known colleagues.
Bosch – Prime Video
Dads love a good cop drama, and few exemplify the genre better than Bosch. Although Bosch is another series adaptation of bestselling novels, this one is more of a loose adaptation, taking 3 different books as its source material. Titus Welliver stars as the eponymous LAPD detective who must solve crimes while defending himself from some obsessive psychopaths.
Patriot – Prime Video
When dad tires of intense death-defying dramas, it’s time to turn on Patriot, a quirky comedy series about an undercover CIA officer/folk singer in Milwaukee. Created by the habitually underrated Steve Conrad, this show is so unpredictable that the less said about it, the better.
Yellowstone – Peacock
Taylor Sheridan’s hit series about a powerful family of Montana ranchers has led to multiple prequel series and a renewed interest in Westerns. Kevin Costner proves he’s an even better actor now than he was in the 90s, while Sheridan creates a rich family lore that will glue dads to their sofas. If the dad in your life isn’t already obsessed with the Duttons, now’s the time to dive in. The flagship series, which premieres on Paramount Network, is currently only available on Peacock to stream.
Tulsa King – Paramount+
Co-created by Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan and Boardwalk Empire’s Terence Winter, Tulsa King is a fish-out-of-water crime series that stars Sylvester Stallone as a mafioso bringing his work experience to the unassuming city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is the first but certainly not last mob story on this list, and this one uniquely drops gangster characters into a neo-Western atmosphere. Grizzled Sly Stallone might be the best Sly Stallone.
1883 – Paramount+
A prequel series to Yellowstone, this is a straight-up classic Western that tells the origin story of the Dutton family. It’s a limited series, good for a dad who may not have all the time in the world to binge multi-season shows. Sam Elliott is awesome, and Taylor Sheridan proves again that he’s TV magic.
SEAL Team – Paramount+
SEAL Team is basically a video game for people who don’t care to play video games. It follows, as you may have guessed, an elite team of Navy SEALs who kick ass across the globe. When dad is looking for an adrenaline boost, this is the show to watch.
Longmire – Netflix
Believe it or not, there are some compelling Westerns out there not created by Taylor Sheridan. Longmire had a successful run on A&E before making its way to Netflix. The show is sort of a cop drama/Western hybrid about a Wyoming sheriff (Robert Taylor) in a fictional town investigating crimes alongside his BFF, a Cheyenne played by Lou Diamond Phillips.
The Recruit – Netflix
The newest series on this list, The Recruit, is a fun spy comedy that is a bit more charming and significantly less weird than Patriot. Showrunner Alexi Hawley is also the mastermind behind The Rookie, an underrated cop show on Hulu. The Recruit stars relative newcomer Noah Centineo as a lawyer for the CIA who predictably finds himself embroiled in an international incident of endless shenanigans.
Vikings: Valhalla – Netflix
Dads love a little history, especially when that history is about Viking warriors. A sequel series to Vikings, this entry is set 100 years later in England and charts the cultural and theological differences that lead to conflict. Vikings: Valhalla has the kind of old-world violence and brutality that will get your dad’s blood boiling while he enjoys a Budweiser in his living room.
Tokyo Vice – HBO Max
Michael Mann’s work is always stylish, atmospheric, and cool as hell, and Tokyo Vice is no exception. The series is a neo-noir about an American journalist investigating the yakuza. Arguably one of the most underrated shows in existence right now, Tokyo Vice is a welcome second foray into TV by Mann, whose 2011 series Luck (another underrated gem) was unexpectedly derailed due to the on-set deaths of three horses. If the dad in your life has a hitherto unknown fondness for some Jean-Pierre Melville noir, this show is the gateway drug that could lure him into the terrifying world of international cinema.
The Sopranos – HBO Max
If The Sopranos isn’t the greatest show ever made, it’s certainly one of the greatest. The Sopranos works on two different levels, as both a brilliantly written and acted psychological drama, as well as a compelling and hilarious mobster yarn. If Martin Scorsese had grown up in the suburbs with more passion for television than cinema, this is the show he would’ve made.
Boardwalk Empire – HBO Max
This Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese-produced series, starring the iconic Steve Buscemi as a Jazz Age Atlantic City gangster, is an uneven but brilliant series sure to enthrall any and all dads. There is seemingly no end to the great supporting performances in this show and Buscemi’s long-awaited star turn is the only post-Sopranos mobster performance to rival James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano. Sadly, Boardwalk Empire didn’t get the time to wrap up its storylines in a satisfying manner, but it’s still one of the all-time great prestige shows.