1950s: Ozzie Nelson in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," played by Nelson. Ozzie's low-key but vulnerable parenting is still considered iconic.

1960s: Andy Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show," played by Griffith. Andy seasoned his life lessons with homespun wisdom and down-to-earth common sense.

1970s: Howard Cunningham in "Happy Days," played by Tom Bosley. Howard got flustered at times, but he was genuine to a fault.

1980s: Cliff Huxtable in "Cosby," played by Bill Cosby. Patient, loving and smart-alecky, he was the father everyone wanted to have. Or be.

1990s: Homer Simpson in "The Simpsons," voiced by Dan Castellaneta. No matter how much you screwed up in dealing with your kids, Homer made you feel better by screwing up even more.

2000s: Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos," played by James Gandolfini. This gangster might have run a mob with ruthless efficiency, but he struggled with family issues.

2010s: Jay Pritchett in "Modern Family," played by Ed O'Neill. Although overwhelmed by the challenges posed by a blended family, Jay's heart is in the right place even if his head often is stuck in the sand.

Let's not overlook: Jim Anderson, "Father Knows Best" (Robert Young); Tom Corbett, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (Bill Bixby); Danny Williams, "Make Room for Daddy" (Danny Thomas); Fred Sanford, "Sanford and Son" (Red Foxx); Charles Ingalls, "Little House on the Prairie" (Michael Landon); Dan Conner, "Roseanne" (John Goodman), and Chris Brinkley, "Up All Night" (Will Arnett).