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12 TV Shows With Big Dad Energy

Jake Rossen
Sylvester Stallone stars in 'Tulsa King.'
Sylvester Stallone stars in 'Tulsa King.' / Brian Douglas/Paramount+ - © 2022 Viacom International Inc.
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While most everyone can pass along a good “dad joke” or two, it can be harder to define a “dad show” on television. Hypothetically, any father can enjoy any type of program. But there are some TV series that have just the right blend of action, gadgets, and middle-aged protagonists to really excel at capturing your dad’s attention. Shows like Yellowstone are probably already appointment TV for your dad—and one he’s regularly encouraging you to watch, too.

If this relatively new TV sub-genre is to your tastes, check out 12 of the best "dad shows" currently streaming on Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Paramount+, and more.

1. Tulsa King (2022-Present)

Sylvester Stallone tackles his first recurring series television character in this new potboiler from Taylor Sheridan. Mafia capo Dwight "The General" Manfredi (Stallone) exits prison and winds up exiled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his problems and adversaries aren’t what he’s used to. Sheridan reportedly wrote a draft of the pilot script in one day.

Watch It: Paramount+

2. The Terminal List (2022-Present)

Navy SEAL Chris Pratt discovers something isn’t quite right with his commanding officers after seeing his entire platoon wiped out. The series, based on author Jack Carr’s novels, has military experts on hand: SEAL Jared Shaw is a co-producer and previously worked with Pratt on Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.

Watch It: Prime Video

3. Outer Range (2022-Present)

Josh Brolin stars as rancher Royal Abbott, who’s embroiled in a struggle for his family’s Wyoming ranch—one that proves to have some fantastical elements, including a seemingly bottomless hole. The role appealed to Brolin, who happened to grow up on a ranch and discovered author Ray Bradbury and other sci-fi greats at a young age. The show has been renewed for a second season.

Watch It: Prime Video

4. Ray Donovan (2013-2020)

Liev Schreiber stars as "fixer" Ray Donovan, who finds ways to get his elite clientele out of all kinds of trouble. After a one-off feature, Schreiber has said he’s willing to revisit the character in the future.

Watch it: Showtime

5. Goliath (2016-2021)

Billy Bob Thornton stars as rogue lawyer Billy McBride, whose unorthodox tactics frustrate the big-money firms he often finds himself pitted against. This David E. Kelley project originally had Kevin Costner lined up in the McBride role.

Watch it: Prime Video

6. Longmire (2012-2017)

This easygoing contemporary Western, based on the Craig Johnson series of novels, stars Robert Taylor as recently widowed Sheriff Walt Longmire, who keeps the peace in Absaroka County, Wyoming. While Taylor plays a convincing American lawman, he’s actually Australian.

Watch it: Netflix

7. Reacher (2022-Present)

After the hotly contested casting of Tom Cruise as author Lee Child’s pulp hero in a 2012 feature film, the far burlier Alan Ritchson has received a much warmer welcome. Ex-military cop Jack Reacher drifts from town to town, finding himself caught up in mysteries requiring his keen observational skills—and ham-sized fists.

Finding the right Reacher was a casting process that took six to seven months, with Ritchson being passed over for the part in the initial round before getting another chance.

Watch it: Prime Video

8. Bosch (2014-2021)

Titus Welliver stars as the eponymous Los Angeles homicide detective, who navigates an amoral universe both in and out of the police department. Based on the Michael Connelly novels, Bosch passes over foot chases in favor of dogged investigative work. A spin-off series, Bosch: Legacy, is also available on Amazon’s freevee channel. (It’s free.)

Watch it: Prime Video

9. Yellowstone (2018-Present)

Kevin Costner stars in this wildly popular drama from Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) about ranch owner John Dutton, who finds trouble in and out of his family’s tumultuous business interests. Sheridan insisted that Paramount market the show at rodeos, horse shows, and other places where it might find some of its audience. The studio balked at first, but it was clearly an effective tactic: The show has often outranked The Walking Dead to become the most-watched series on cable.

Watch it: Peacock; Paramount Network

10. The Rookie (2018-Present)

Nathan Fillion (Firefly) stars as a man looking to start over as a rookie cop with the Los Angeles Police Department despite being far, far older than his peers. The series is based on a real 40-year-old who moved to Los Angeles to become a cop.

Watch it: Hulu

11. Banshee (2013-2016)

The Boys star Antony Starr headlines this gritty, pulpy crime series about an ex-con who impersonates the incoming new sheriff of Banshee, Pennsylvania, and promptly runs afoul of local criminals including an Amish psychopath. Series creator Jonathan Tropper has said that Cinemax originally wanted a fifth season, but that he opted to end it after four rather than risk the premise going stale.

Watch it: HBO Max

12. Barry (2018-Present)

Bill Hader stars in this expertly crafted dramedy about a hitman who finds his work unrewarding—so he decides to become an actor instead. In fact, it’s his job as a killer-for-hire that originally leads him into the Los Angeles theater scene, while the underworld figures from his past pressure him to continue doing what he does best: murder people. The standout second season episode “ronny/lily,” in which poor Barry has to contend with a vengeful Taekwondo pre-teen, is a standout.

Watch it: HBO Max

A version of this story ran earlier in 2022; it has been updated.

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