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The Best 1980s Action TV Series 

Ranker TV
Updated October 4, 2019 6.7k votes 637 voters 27.8k views 50 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite Action series that aired on TV in the '80s

If the 80s were about anything they were about excess... and action! Explosive, 'roided up, action. So, these are the best 1980s Action TV series, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best 1980s action TV series were based in greatly varied universes. Some of these great 80s action shows are crime dramas while some other of these seriously good 1980s action shows were about a rag tag bunch of scientists and alien scientists on a big fancy starship. So, these are the greatest 1980s action TV series. Vote for your favorites!

What shows will you find on this top 1980s action TV shows list? MacGyver was a hugely popular action series during the decade. As everyone's favorite inventive action hero, MacGyver could get himself out of the stickiest of situations. Magnum, P.I. was another one of the greatest shows that aired in the 1980s.

The A-Team promoted team-work while entertaining viewers in the 80s and motorcycle-lovers enjoyed the actions series CHIPs. Other shows that appear on this good 1980s action TV series list include Hill Street Blues, Tour of Duty and Miami Vice.

Which 80s action series is your favorite? Give the best shows a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.
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1
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

Premiered: 1985

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the ...more

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#75 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #153 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #33 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

2
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Premiered: 1980

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

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#7 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #99 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

3
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

Premiered: 1983

The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about a fictional group of ex┬ľU.S. Army personnel who escape and, while still on the run from the army, ...more

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#44 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #76 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #71 of 283 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

4
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

Premiered: 1982

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

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#71 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #59 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #25 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

5
The Dukes of Hazzard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach

Premiered: 1979

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

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#226 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #18 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #96 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms

6
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

Premiered: 1984

Miami Vice is an American television drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson as James "Sonny" Crockett and Philip ...more

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#306 of 461 The Best Duos of All Time #15 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #71 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

7
Airwolf is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Jan-Michael Vincent, Alex Cord, Ernest Borgnine

Premiered: 1984

Airwolf is an American television series that ran from 1984 until 1987. The program centers on a high-tech military helicopter, code named Airwolf, and its crew as they undertake various ...more

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#126 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #352 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #44 of 222 The Greatest Soap Operas of All Time

8
The Fall Guy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added Joaquin Phoenix, Priscilla Presley, Markie Post

Premiered: 1981

The Fall Guy is an American action/adventure television program produced for ABC and originally broadcast from November 4, 1981 to May 2, 1986. It stars Lee Majors, Douglas Barr, and Heather

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#175 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #173 of 283 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #44 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked

9
The Incredible Hulk is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin

Premiered: 1977

The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce ...more

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#86 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #260 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #181 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

10
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine

Premiered: 1977

CHiPs is an American television drama series produced by MGM Studios that originally aired on NBC from September 15, 1977, to July 17, 1983. CHiPs followed the lives of two motorcycle police ...more

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#17 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #187 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #38 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

11
Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith

Premiered: 1976

Charlie's Angels is an American drama television series that aired on ABC from September 22, 1976 to June 24, 1981, producing five seasons and 110 episodes. The series was created by Ivan Goff ...more

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#168 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #42 of 293 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #80 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

12
Simon & Simon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added Gerald McRaney, Tim Reid, Jameson Parker

Premiered: 1981

Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from November 24, 1981 to January 21, 1989. The series was broadcast on CBS and starred Gerald McRaney and ...more

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#16 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #360 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

13
Star Trek: The Next Gene... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

Premiered: 1987

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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

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Famous People You Didn't Know Were On 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' #89 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

14
Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley

Premiered: 1985

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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#282 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #42 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Series #124 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

15
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan, Doris Roberts

Premiered: 1982

Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael Gleason. The series, starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, was produced by MTM Enterprises ...more

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#19 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #29 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #159 of 283 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

16
The Greatest American He... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added William Katt, Connie Sellecca, Robert Culp

Premiered: 1981

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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#88 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #45 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Series #35 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

17
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added Robert Wagner, Stefanie Powers, Lionel Stander

Premiered: 1979

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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#29 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #196 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #30 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

18
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong

Premiered: 1968

Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, and ...more

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#180 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #12 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

19
Hunter is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer, Charles Hallahan

Premiered: 1984

Hunter is an American police drama television show that was created by Frank Lupo, and starring Fred Dryer as Sgt. Rick Hunter and Stepfanie Kramer as Sgt. Dee Dee McCall, which ran on NBC from ...more

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#649 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #255 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #440 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

20
Hardcastle and McCormick... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
JoakimOlah added Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Joe Santos

Premiered: 1983

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
21
Baywatch is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth

Premiered: 1989

Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was canceled ...more

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#180 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #260 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

22
Bonanza is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker

Premiered: 1959

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Bonanza is an NBC television western series that ran from September 12, 1959, to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series, and ...more

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#373 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #71 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #40 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

23
Mission: Impossible is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris

Premiered: 1966

Mission: Impossible is an American television series that was created and initially produced by Bruce Geller. It chronicles the missions of a team of secret government agents known as the ...more

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23 Things You Didn't Know About The 'Mission: Impossible' Films #770 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

24
Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added Tyne Daly, Al Waxman, John Karlen

Premiered: 1982

Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from March 25, 1982 to May 16, 1988. A police procedural, the show stars ...more

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#241 of 461 The Best Duos of All Time #37 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #37 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

25
T. J. Hooker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 1980s Action TV Series
Christian Shewcraft added William Shatner, Heather Locklear, Adrian Zmed

Premiered: 1982

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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