drama The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s  

Ranker TV
Originally by
7.3k votes 392 voters 21.4k views 55 items Embed

List Rules Drama series that aired on television between 1980 and 1989

If you’re an avid television fan, chances are there's a 1980s drama series that you love. For the first time, television was starting to step away from procedural elements, towards more serialized series. Procedural cop and detective shows were still among the biggest hits of the decade, however, shows like "Dallas," "St. Elsewhere," and "Dynasty" were leaning more towards long-term story arcs. These types of shows remain popular today as well.

The 80s were known for the flashy television shows. "Miami Vice" and "21 Jump Street" were known for their hot lead actors and unique 80s fashion. There was also a push towards fantasy and science fiction television like never before, with dramas such as "Quantum Leap," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Greatest American Hero."

What were the best dramas of the 1980s? This list of the best dramatic television that aired during 1980-1989 has been ranked by the community. Did the 80s drama series you think are best make the list? Cast your votes below and see where the 1980s dramas you think are great rank.

list ordered by

1
127 48
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
PayMie added M*A*S*H Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

These Celebrities Have Been Caught Being More Than Just A Little Racist The Best 1980s Military TV Shows

2
116 83
Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Moonlighting Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley

3
116 85
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Hill Street Blues Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

4
104 83
Cagney & Lacey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Cagney & Lacey Tyne Daly, Al Waxman, John Karlen

5
96 89
St. Elsewhere is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
St. Elsewhere Ed Begley Jr., William Daniels, Howie Mandel

6
95 86
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
LanaYoshii added Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

7
65 58
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
curly67 added The Wonder Years Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

8
58 72
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
curly67 added L.A. Law Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins

9
134 81
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Magnum, P.I. Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

10
109 84
Dallas is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Dallas Larry Hagman, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy

11
115 82
Quantum Leap is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Quantum Leap Scott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt

12
88 88
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Remington Steele Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan, Doris Roberts

13
115 88
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Miami Vice Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

14
92 88
Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Dynasty John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Joan Collins

15
62 98
China Beach is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
China Beach Dana Delany, Michael Boatman, Robert Picardo

The Best 1980s Animated Series The Most Annoying TV and Film Characters Ever

16
95 79
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Knight Rider David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

17
95 79
Night Court is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Night Court Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

18
89 84
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
The A-Team George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

19
91 80
The Love Boat is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
The Love Boat Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange

20
46 107
thirtysomething is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
thirtysomething Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris

21
63 38
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
MacGyver Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

22
65 93
Fame is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Fame Debbie Allen, Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray

23
34 68
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
buzzy added Lou Grant Edward Asner, Robert Walden, Mason Adams

24
71 79
The Greatest American Hero is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
The Greatest American Hero William Katt, Connie Sellecca, Robert Culp

25
24 71
Wiseguy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
sidapplebaum added Wiseguy Jonathan Banks, Jim Byrnes, Ken Wahl

26
56 46
Fantasy Island is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Fantasy Island Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett

27
77 76
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Matlock Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

28
51 42
Charlie's Angels is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
lloyd-barker added Charlie's Angels Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith

29
79 81
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Murder, She Wrote Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

These-people-voiced-your-Disney-childhood The 42 Greatest Old Spice Commercials of All Time

30
68 91
21 Jump Street is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
21 Jump Street Johnny Depp, Dustin Nguyen, Peter Deluise

31
40 46
Taxi is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Taxi Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito

32
64 89
Doogie Howser, M.D. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Doogie Howser, M.D. Neil Patrick Harris, Max Casella, Belinda Montgomery

33
40 50
Highway to Heaven is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Highway to Heaven Michael Landon, Victor French

34
41 52
In the Heat of the Night is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
In the Heat of the Night Carroll O'Connor, Howard Rollins, Anne-Marie Johnson

35
65 87
The Fall Guy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
The Fall Guy Joaquin Phoenix, Priscilla Presley, Markie Post

36
68 85
Simon & Simon is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Simon & Simon Gerald McRaney, Tim Reid, Jameson Parker

37
66 82
Hart to Hart is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Hart to Hart Robert Wagner^! Stefanie Powers^! Lionel Stander

38
38 46
Bionic Woman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
lloyd-barker added Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan, Miguel Ferrer, Molly Price

39
52 99
Full House is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Full House Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier

40
48 95
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Beauty and the Beast Kristin Kreuk, Jay Ryan, Nina Lisandrello

41
30 48
Scarecrow and Mrs. King is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Scarecrow and Mrs. King Kate Jackson^! Bruce Boxleitner^! Beverly Garland

42
32 51
Hunter is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Hunter Fred Dryer, Stepfanie Kramer, Charles Hallahan

43
52 87
T. J. Hooker is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
T. J. Hooker William Shatner, Heather Locklear, Adrian Zmed

The Best Current TV Shows No One Is Watching Non-Reality TV Shows That Should Be Canceled

44
44 86
Knots Landing is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Knots Landing Michele Lee, Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark

45
22 56
The Equalizer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
carbon_thief added The Equalizer Edward Woodward, Keith Szarabajka, Robert Lansing

46
37 89
Falcon Crest is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
peanuts added Falcon Crest Jane Wyman, Lorenzo Lamas, Chao Li Chi

47
26 58
Baywatch is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Baywatch David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth

48
18 55
Life Goes On is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Life Goes On Bill Smitrovich, Patti LuPone, Chris Burke

49
17 53
Amazing Stories is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Amazing Stories Charles Durning, Douglas Seale, Louis Giambalvo

50
15 61
Matt Houston is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Dramas from the 1980s
Matt Houston Lee Horsley, Pamela Hensley, Lincoln Kilpatrick