Watchworthy
609 voters

The Best 1980s Cult TV Series

Updated June 14, 2019 4.1k votes 609 voters 25.6k 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.
Photo:
...more
  • Quantum Leap1
    215
    86

    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

    More Quantum Leap 

    #5 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time#100 of 640 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch

  • Cheers2
    200
    78

    Cheers

    Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman

    Premiered1982

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was... more on Wikipedia

    More Cheers 

    Behind The Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Cheers'The Best Cheers Characters of All Time

  • The Simpsons3
    198
    95

    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

    More The Simpsons 

    13 Reasons Bob's Burgers Is Objectively Way Better Than The Simpsons#60 of 242 The Best Saturday Morning Cartoons for Mid-'80s — '90s Kids

  • The A-Team4
    193
    80

    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
  • MacGyver5
    179
    85

    MacGyver

    Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar

    Premiered1985

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

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry... more on Wikipedia
  • Pee-wee's Playhouse6
    183
    118

    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

    More Pee-wee's Playhouse 

    #35 of 142 The Most Annoying Kids Shows of All Time#252 of 396 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation7
    156
    109

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

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

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
    Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by... more on Wikipedia

    More Star Trek: The Next Generation 

    Famous People You Didn't Know Were On 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'14 Small But Fascinating Details Fans Noticed About Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Moonlighting8
    143
    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
  • Magnum, P.I.9
    97
    41

    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
  • Knight Rider10
    98
    45

    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
  • Mystery Science Theater 300011
    89
    118

    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
  • Doctor Who12
    84
    118

    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

    More Doctor Who 

    The Most Messed Up Things the Doctor Has Done on Doctor Who#49 of 249 The Best BBC One Shows

  • The Twilight Zone13
    40
    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

    More The Twilight Zone 

    Small Details From 'The Twilight Zone' That Make The Show Much BetterCreepy Parallels Between 'American Horror Story' And 'The Twilight Zone' You Never Even Knew Existed

  • ALF14
    92
    58

    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

    More ALF 

    'ALF' Is A Bizarre Fever Dream Of An '80s TV Show That’s Way Darker Than You Remember#202 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time

  • Murder, She Wrote15
    86
    56

    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

    More Murder, She Wrote 

    #12 of 336 The Best Female-Led TV Shows#30 of 76 The Best CBS Shows of All Time

  • Who's the Boss?16
    35
    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

    More Who's the Boss? 

    #10 of 33 20+ 1980s Sitcoms That Will Still Make You Laugh#21 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

  • Beauty and the Beast17
    89
    125

    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

    More Beauty and the Beast 

    Ron Perlman Starred In An '80s Version of 'Beauty And The Beast,' And It’s Actually Horrifying#110 of 315 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked

  • Remington Steele18
    56
    61

    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

    More Remington Steele 

    #176 of 239 The Greatest TV Shows for Women#17 of 70 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

  • L.A. Law19
    43
    57

    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

    More L.A. Law 

    #110 of 381 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#157 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

  • Second City Television20
    47
    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
  • Dynasty21
    46
    72

    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
  • Red Dwarf22
    12
    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

    More Red Dwarf 

    #264 of 474 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time#23 of 313 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

  • Sledge Hammer!23
    8
    31

    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