The Best TV Characters of the '80s

6.2k votes 249 voters 4.9k views 112 items tags f p @

List Criteria: 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!
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
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  1. 1
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    Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    the people's #1 & added by JordanMc
    Diane Chambers Cheers

  2. 2
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    most listed & added by analise.dubner
    Cheers

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  3. 3
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    Columbo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

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    Columbo

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    Cheers

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    Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    ranked low on reranks & added by JohnnyCorelli
    Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

  6. 6
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    Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

  7. 7
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    Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by buzzy
    Coach Ernie Pantusso

  8. 8
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    David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

  9. 9
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pee-wee's Playhouse

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  10. 10
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    Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    often listed & added by CB Ladnier
    Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

  11. 11
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    Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    ranked low on reranks
    Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

  12. 12
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    Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    ranked low on reranks & added by JohnnyCorelli
    Rose Nylund The Golden Girls Golden Girls

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    ranked low on reranks & added by LanaYoshii
    Dallas, Dallas

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Taxi

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  15. 15
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    MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    MacGyver MacGyver

  16. 16
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    Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

  17. 17
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    Jim Ignatowski is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Jim Ignatowski Taxi

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    Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by buzzy
    Lilith Sternin

  19. 19
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    Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

  20. 20
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    added by CB Ladnier
    Taxi

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  21. 21
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    Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Dick Loudon

  22. 22
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    added by CB Ladnier
    Hill Street Blues

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  23. 23
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    Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

  24. 24
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    Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Carla Tortelli Cheers

  25. 25
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    Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

  26. 26
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    Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by Linus
    Lou Grant

  27. 27
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    Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

  28. 28
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    added by Rinkydink
    M*A*S*H

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  29. 29
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    Remington Steele

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  30. 30
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    The Golden Girls

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  31. 31
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    added by JordanMc
    Cagney & Lacey

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  32. 32
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    Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

  33. 33
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    Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by JordanMc
    Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

  34. 34
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    John


    John "Hannibal" Smith The A-Team

  35. 35
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    Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s


    Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

  36. 36
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    Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

  37. 37
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    Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by muzziac
    Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

  38. 38
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    No image

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    Dan Fielding Night Court

  39. 39
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    Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Ed Grimley

  40. 40
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    Who's the Boss?

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  41. 41
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    Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by JohnnyCorelli
    Al Bundy Married... with Children

  42. 42
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    added by analise.dubner
    The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

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    Miami Vice

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  44. 44
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Designing Women

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  45. 45
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    Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Latka Gravas Taxi

  46. 46
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    added by muzziac
    The Dukes of Hazzard

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  47. 47
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    Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    ranked low on reranks & added by muzziac
    Jack Tripper Three's Company

  48. 48
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    added by KatieGoinsRaab
    NYPD Blue

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  49. 49
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    Anthony Bouvier is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by CB Ladnier
    Anthony Bouvier

  50. 50
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    Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

    added by muzziac
    Christine Sullivan Night Court

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