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

Originally by
7.7k votes 331 voters 8.6k views 118 items Follow Embed

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
+ - 91 68
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sam Malone Cheers

The Most Shocking TV Deaths of All Time The Best Disney Princess Movies

2
+ - 68 54
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

3
+ - 110 70
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
+ - 81 42
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

5
+ - 62 41
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

6
+ - 91 65
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

7
+ - 112 61
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

8
+ - 71 36
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

9
+ - 52 34
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

10
+ - 76 77
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

11
+ - 42 38
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

12
+ - 91 70
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

13
+ - 59 42
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

14
+ - 59 73
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

15
+ - 38 37
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time 8 TV Actors Who Turned Out Just Like Their Characters

16
+ - 46 42
Ranker Video v
Jim Ignatowski Taxi

17
+ - 40 46
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

18
+ - 46 18
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

19
+ - 33 34
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
+ - 70 53
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

21
+ - 73 71
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

22
+ - 37 40
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dick Loudon

23
+ - 37 48
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

24
+ - 59 42
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Al Bundy Married... with Children

25
+ - 63 59
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Remington Steele Remington Steele

26
+ - 92 57
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

27
+ - 67 62
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

28
+ - 31 20
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dan Fielding Night Court

29
+ - 77 52
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

The Most Likeable TV Anti-Heroes 51 High-Paying, Flexible Jobs

30
+ - 30 34
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

31
+ - 34 42
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

32
+ - 51 59
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

33
+ - 41 22
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

34
+ - 42 25
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

35
+ - 33 35
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

36
+ - 58 50
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

37
+ - 35 41
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

38
+ - 61 44
John

39
+ - 54 61
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

40
+ - 58 54
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

41
+ - 58 43
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

42
+ - 36 25
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jack Tripper Three's Company

43
+ - 28 43
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

The Greatest Misunderstood Teens in TV History The Best Almond Milk Brands

44
+ - 24 20
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Christine Sullivan Night Court

45
+ - 31 17
Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court

46
+ - 25 32
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

47
+ - 47 52
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

48
+ - 34 26
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

49
+ - 22 37
Andy Sipowicz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Andy Sipowicz NYPD Blue

50
+ - 29 40
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s