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The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 4, 2020 17.3k votes 1.3k voters 62.6k views 89 items

List Rules TV series from the 1980s only

The 1980s had some great shows. But, which of the TV shows from the 1980s is the best? That's up to you! Vote up your favorite 80s TV show and see if the rest of... everybody agrees with you. That's how crowdsourced opinions work.

So is it Cheers? Maybe Murphy Brown is best TV show from the 80s? Again, this is your call. You need to vote on this list of 80s sitcoms and 80s dramas to make this list worth its weight in 80s TV gold.

It's a tough call, but take a look at this list of TV series from the 80s and vote for your favorites. Don't worry about what "the critics" thought. It's about what YOU thought!
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
The Golden Girls is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan

Premiered: 1985

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Golden Girls is an American sitcom, created by Susan Harris, that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992. Starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and ...more
2
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Medical drama, Sitcom, Satire, Military, + more

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more
3
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

 

 

4
Family Ties is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Family Ties is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 22, 1982 until May 14, 1989. The series, created by Gary David Goldberg, reflected the move in the United States from the ...more
5
Night Court is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

Premiered: 1984

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy, Legal

Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 4, 1984, to May 31, 1992. The setting was the night shift of a Manhattan court, presided over by the young, ...more
6
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

Premiered: 1988

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black. It ran on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988, following ABC's ...more
7
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Premiered: 1980

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Drama, Adventure film, + more

Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator living on Oahu, Hawaii. The series ran from 1980 to 1988 in first-run broadcast on the ...more
8
WKRP in Cincinnati is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Howard Hesseman

Premiered: 1978

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

WKRP in Cincinnati is an American situation comedy television series that features the misadventures of the staff of a struggling fictional radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The show was ...more
9
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Premiered: 1976

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Variety show, Children's television series, Live action, Comedy, + more

The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 ...more
10
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Procedural drama, Drama, Science Fiction

Quantum Leap is an American television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons, from March 1989 through May 1993. Created by Donald P. Bellisario, it starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam ...more
11
Laverne & Shirley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander

Premiered: 1976

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Laverne & Shirley is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976 to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, ...more
12
The Jeffersons is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Isabel Sanford, Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs

Premiered: 1975

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Jeffersons is an American sitcom that was broadcast on CBS from January 18, 1975, through July 2, 1985, lasting 11 seasons and a total of 253 episodes. The show was produced by the T.A.T. ...more
13
Three's Company is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers

Premiered: 1977

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Three's Company is an American sitcom that aired from March 15, 1977 to September 18, 1984 on ABC. It is based on the British sitcom Man About the House. The story revolves around three single ...more
14
Taxi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito

Premiered: 1978

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Taxi is an American sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and from 1982 to 1983 on NBC. The series—which won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series—focuses ...more
15
The Cosby Show is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam

Premiered: 1984

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on the Huxtable family, ...more
16
Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley

Premiered: 1985

Genres (Tv): Drama, Romantic comedy, Mystery, Comedy-drama, Comedy

Moonlighting is an American television series that aired on ABC from March 3, 1985, to May 14, 1989. The network aired a total of 66 episodes. Starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as ...more
17
Diff'rent Strokes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain

Premiered: 1978

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Diff'rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman ...more
18
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Bruce Willis, Charles Aidman, Robin Ward

Premiered: 1985

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Anthology series, Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy

The Twilight Zone is the first of two revivals of Rod Serling's acclaimed 1950/60s television series of the same name. It ran for two seasons on CBS before producing a final season for
19
The Love Boat is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange

Premiered: 1977

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Action/Adventure, Sitcom, Anthology, Drama, + more

The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977, until February 27, 1987. The show revolves around the ...more
20
The Dukes of Hazzard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
MissAnnaMack added Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach

Premiered: 1979

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Comedy-drama, Comedy, + more

The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that aired on the CBS television network from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985. The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, ...more
21
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy

Premiered: 1978

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Drama

Dallas is a long-running American prime time television soap opera that aired from April 2, 1978, to May 3, 1991, on CBS. The series revolves around a wealthy and feuding Texan family, the ...more
22
Alice is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Linda Lavin, Beth Howland, Vic Tayback

Premiered: 1976

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Alice is an American sitcom television series that ran from August 31, 1976 to March 19, 1985 on CBS. The series is based on the 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The show stars Linda ...more
23
Star Trek: The Next Gene... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

Premiered: 1987

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966. Roddenberry, ...more
24
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
diego-canale added David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

Premiered: 1982

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, + more

Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to August 8, 1986. The series was broadcast on NBC and stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a ...more
25
Murphy Brown is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows
Candice Bergen, Grant Shaud, Robert Pastorelli

Premiered: 1988

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Murphy Brown is an American situation comedy which aired on CBS from November 14, 1988, to May 18, 1998, for a total of 247 episodes. The program starred Candice Bergen as the eponymous Murphy ...more