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The Best 1980s Cult TV Series

Updated June 14, 2019 4.0k votes 602 voters 25.3k views23 items

List RulesVote up your favorite cult shows that aired in the '80s

Tired of being left out of nearly every conversation your friends are having? Catch up on these classic 1980s cult TV series, ranked from best to worst by your votes. It's hard to put your finger on what made a show a great 1980s cult TV series. Some of the best 80s cult TV shows are sci-fi based and others gained cult status due to their subversive humor. One thing is for sure, the top 1980s cult TV series have very loyal fans and they aren't afraid to let you know it.

What are some of the shows that appear on this best 1980s cult TV series list? Pee-wee's Playhouse was a great 1980s kids' show that gained a cult following of adults because of its absurdist humor. This popular 80s cult classic aired from 1986 – 1990. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is another good cult show that aired in the 1990s.

Star Trek: The Next Generation proved to be just as popular as the original series during its seven seasons from 1987 – 1994. Other good shows that appear on this top 1980s cult TV series list include Doctor Who, SCTV and Quantum Leap.

Which 80s cult TV show is your favorite? Give the best shows a thumbs up and share some of your favorite episodes in the comments section.
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  • 1
    Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    211
    85

    Quantum Leap

    Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell

    Premiered1989

    Genres (Tv)Procedural drama, Drama, Science Fiction

    Quantum Leap is an American television series that originally aired on NBC for five seasons,... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Cheers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    195
    77

    Cheers

    Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman

    Premiered1982

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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  • 3
    The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    194
    94

    The Simpsons

    Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright

    Premiered1989

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Television comedy, Comedy, Family Film

    The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    189
    79

    The A-Team

    George Peppard, Mr. T

    Premiered1983

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Military, Adventure film, Action

    The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    177
    83

    MacGyver

    Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar

    Premiered1985

    Genres (Tv)Espionage, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • 6
    Pee-wee's Playhouse is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    178
    116

    Pee-wee's Playhouse

    Paul Reubens, John Paragon

    Premiered1986

    Genres (Tv)Children's television series, Comedy

    Pee-wee's Playhouse is an American children's television program starring Paul Reubens as the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    154
    107

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

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

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  • 8
    Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    142
    86

    Moonlighting

    Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis

    Premiered1985

    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,... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    93
    39

    Magnum, P.I.

    Tom Selleck, John Hillerman

    Premiered1980

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

    Magnum, P.I. is an American television series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    94
    43

    Knight Rider

    David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare

    Premiered1982

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

    Knight Rider is an American television series that originally ran from September 26, 1982, to... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Mystery Science Theater 3000 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    89
    117

    Mystery Science Theater 3000

    Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson

    Premiered1988

    Genres (Tv)Comic science fiction, Comedy, Puppet

    Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American television comedy series... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    84
    116

    Doctor Who

    Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant

    Premiered1963

    Genres (Tv)Sci-fi, Adventure, Drama

    Doctor Who (BBC, 2005) is a British science-fiction television show created by Sydney Newman,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    ALF is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    88
    57

    ALF

    Mihaly 'Michu' Meszaros, Paul Fusco

    Premiered1986

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction, Puppet

    ALF is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 22, 1986 to March 24, 1990. It was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    36
    8

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction

    The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    82
    55

    Murder, She Wrote

    Angela Lansbury, William Windom

    Premiered1984

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Crime, Procedural drama, Drama, Cozy mystery

    This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Who's the Boss? is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    32
    12

    Who's the Boss?

    Tony Danza, Judith Light

    Premiered1984

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Who's the Boss? is an American sitcom created by Martin Cohan and Blake Hunter, which aired on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    89
    124

    Beauty and the Beast

    Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman

    Premiered1987

    Genres (Tv)Romance Film, Paranormal romance, Crime, Drama, Fantasy

    Beauty and the Beast (CBS, 1987) is an American drama television series created by Ron Koslow.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    53
    60

    Remington Steele

    Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan

    Premiered1982

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy, Detective fiction

    Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Second City Television is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    44
    117

    Second City Television

    John Candy, Robin Duke

    Premiered1976

    Genres (Tv)Sketch comedy, Comedy

    SCTV is a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from Toronto's Second City troupe... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    41
    56

    L.A. Law

    Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry

    Premiered1986

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Legal drama, Legal

    L.A. Law is an American television legal drama series that ran for eight seasons on NBC from... more on Wikipedia

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    #26 of 35 Longest Running US Drama Shows#108 of 335 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

  • 21
    Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    46
    69

    Dynasty

    John Forsythe, Linda Evans

    Premiered1981

    Genres (Tv)Soap opera, Drama

    Dynasty (ABC, 1981) is an American prime time television soap opera created by Richard and... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Red Dwarf is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    10
    25

    Red Dwarf

    Chris Barrie, Craig Charles

    Premiered1988

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

    Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise which primarily comprises ten series of a television... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Sledge Hammer! is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1980s Cult TV Series
    8
    30

    Sledge Hammer!

    David Rasche, Anne-Marie Martin

    Premiered1986

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Television comedy, Sitcom, Comedy

    Sledge Hammer! is an American satirical police sitcom produced by New World Television that... more on Wikipedia
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