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The Best 1980s ABC Dramas 

Ranker TV
372 votes 122 voters 1k views 17 items

List Rules Upvote your favorite ABC Drama Shows that aired on TV in the '80s

These are the very best 1980s ABC dramas, ranked by user votes. The best 80s ABC dramas are some of the flat out greatest shows in TV history. Some of the top 1980s drama shows on ABC remain as relevant today as they were back then meaning 80s ABC dramas weren't just passable television shows. They were trend setters that truly had an impact on pop culture. Some of the greatest 1980s ABC dramas won multiple Emmy Awards.

Which shows will you find on this best 1980s ABC dramas list? Moonlighting definitely appears near the top of this list of great 80s ABC drama shows. Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd led the all-star cast of this one-hour drama. The Wonder Years is also one of the greatest 1980s ABC dramas.

Thirtysomething is a top 80s ABC drama show that ran from 1987 – 1991. This list of good 1980s ABC dramas also includes great series like T.J. Hooker, Hart to Hart and Heart of the City.

Do you have a favorite ABC drama from the 80s? Give the best shows a thumbs up!
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1
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

Premiered: 1988

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 115

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

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2
Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley

Premiered: 1985

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 66

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

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3
The Greatest American He... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
William Katt, Connie Sellecca, Robert Culp

Premiered: 1981

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 44

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

The Greatest American Hero is an American comedy-drama television series that aired for three seasons from 1981 to 1983 on ABC. Created by producer Stephen J. Cannell, it premiered as a two-hour ...more

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#36 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #188 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

4
The Love Boat is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange

Premiered: 1977

Number of Episodes: 249

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

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#55 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #230 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

5
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins

Premiered: 1981

Number of Seasons: 9

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Drama

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. The series, created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, ...more

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#46 of 66 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #92 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Soap Operas

6
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander

Premiered: 1979

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 110

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who moonlight as amateur detectives, much in the style ...more

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#271 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #449 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #27 of 62 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

7
Fantasy Island is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett

Premiered: 1978

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

Fantasy Island is an American television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company network from 1977 to 1984. A revival of the series originally aired on the same network ...more

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#243 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #167 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

8
Hardcastle and McCormick... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Joe Santos

Premiered: 1983

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 67

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

Hardcastle and McCormick is an American action/drama television series that aired on ABC from September 18, 1983, through May 5, 1986. The series stars Brian Keith as Judge Milton C. Hardcastle ...more
9
Matt Houston is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Lee Horsley, Pamela Hensley, Lincoln Kilpatrick

Premiered: 1982

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 67

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

Matt Houston is an American crime drama series that aired on ABC from 1982 to 1985. Created by Lawrence Gordon, the series was produced by Aaron Spelling.

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10
thirtysomething is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris

Premiered: 1987

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 85

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy

Thirtysomething is an American television drama created by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz for ABC. The series follows a group of baby boomers in their late thirties as they go about their ...more
11
T. J. Hooker is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
William Shatner, Heather Locklear, Adrian Zmed

Premiered: 1982

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 91

Network: CBS, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

This show is an American police drama television program starring William Shatner in the title role as a 15-year veteran police sergeant. The series premiered as a mid-season replacement on ...more

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#912 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #89 of 123 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #126 of 150 The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows

12
Hotel is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
James Brolin, Anne Baxter, Michelle Phillips

Premiered: 1983

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 114

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Drama

Hotel is an American prime time drama series which aired on ABC from September 21, 1983, to May 5, 1988, in the timeslot following Dynasty. Based on Arthur Hailey's 1965 novel of the same name, ...more

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#1,415 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #30 of 94 The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas #7 of 51 The Best Aaron Spelling Shows and TV Series

13
Hooperman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
John Ritter, Dan Lauria, Barbara Bosson

Premiered: 1987

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 42

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama, Comedy

Hooperman is an American television series which ran on ABC from September 23, 1987 until July 26, 1989. A comedy-drama, the show centered on the professional and personal lives of San Francisco ...more
14
The Colbys is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Charlton Heston, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Ross

Premiered: 1985

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 49

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Drama

The Colbys is an American prime time soap opera, which originally aired on ABC from November 20, 1985 to March 26, 1987. Produced by Aaron Spelling, it was a spin-off of Dynasty, which had been ...more

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#10 of 94 The All-Time Best Primetime Soap Operas #16 of 51 The Best Aaron Spelling Shows and TV Series

15
Heart of the City is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Christina Applegate, Kay Lenz, Branscombe Richmond

Premiered: 1986

Number of Seasons: 1

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama

Heart of the City is a crime drama that aired on the ABC television network from September 1986 to January 1987.
16
Finder of Lost Loves is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Heather O'Rourke, Anne Jeffreys, Jack Coleman

Premiered: 1984

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 23

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Drama

Finder of Lost Loves is an American drama series aired by the ABC network during the 1984-1985 season.
17
Lady Blue is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1980s ABC Dramas
Lady Blue Danny Aiello, Jamie Rose, Ralph Foody

Premiered: 1985

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 14

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural

Lady Blue is a crime drama starring Jamie Rose as a Chicago female homicide detective Katy Mahoney. The show was produced by MGM/UA Television and aired on ABC-TV from September 26, 1985 to ...more