80s TV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

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List Rules Awesome TV characters from shows that aired during the 1980s

Who were the best TV characters of the '80s? From The Golden Girls, The Cosby Show, and Murder, She Wrote all the way to kid favorites like Punky Brewster, Elmo, and Saved By the Bell, these shows greatly impacted the culture of the decade. This list has the best TV characters from classic 1980s television shows.

It was the decade where the Pee-Wee Herman was introduced. Michael Knight and Virgil Tibbs also took to the small screen, entertaining millions of fans. The top TV show characters of the 1980s included family-focused favorites like Highway to Heaven and the still popular kid’s all-time favorite Sesame Street. And who can forget the Seaver family from Growing Pains (though we try to forget Kirk Cameron these days)? 

Children’s characters like Alf, Optimus Prime, and He-Man were also introduced. The top characters of the 80s were, for the most part family-friendly, uplifting, and hilarious. Let's honor the ingenuity of Mr. Angus MacGyver, and the importance of having life-long friends a la The Golden Girls.

Vote up your favorite 1980's TV characters below or add your favorite if he or she isn't already on the list!
list ordered by

1
93 71
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

The Most Shocking TV Deaths of All Time The Best CGI Animated Films Ever Made

2
70 57
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
113 72
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
64 44
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

5
83 45
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

6
93 68
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

7
116 63
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

8
73 39
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

9
54 37
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

10
45 40
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

11
77 81
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

12
41 39
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

13
93 73
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
61 45
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

15
50 19
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

The Best Re-Casting of Famous TV Roles The Funniest Female TV Characters

16
60 78
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

17
49 45
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

18
74 54
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

19
35 37
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
41 50
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

21
75 75
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

22
38 51
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Louie De Palma Taxi

23
38 43
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

24
69 64
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

25
64 62
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele Remington Steele

26
61 46
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

27
93 60
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

28
32 23
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

29
78 55
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

The Greatest TV Character Losses of All Time 25 Things You Should Probably Stop Blaming on Millennials

30
53 61
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

31
34 46
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

32
30 38
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

33
43 25
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

34
35 37
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

35
44 27
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

36
59 53
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

37
37 43
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

38
63 47
John

39
56 63
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

40
60 45
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

41
58 58
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

42
38 28
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Jack Tripper Three's Company

43
26 22
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

The Greatest Geeky Girls on TV What's Your Phobia?

44
28 48
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

45
26 35
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

46
48 55
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

47
32 20
Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court

48
37 28
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

49
21 35
Mona Robinson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Mona Robinson Who's the Boss?

50
31 44
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s