Entertainment

The Best '80s TV Shows 

Ranker TV
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Updated January 21, 2020 203.8k votes 8.5k voters 390.5k views 510 items

List Rules Only TV series that aired between 1980 and 1989

List of the best television shows from the '80s, as ranked by television fans. In the 1980s, sitcoms were among the most talked about and most watched shows on the air. Shows like Cheers, The Cosby Show, Murphy Brown, and The Golden Girls were always topics of conversation around the water cooler. Family sitcoms were especially popular, with the rise of shows like Family Ties, The Wonder Years, The Facts of Life, and Who’s the Boss.

Procedural crime dramas like Miami Vice, Knight Rider, and Remington Steele were popular, not only for the feather-haired hunks and uniquely '80s fashion, but also for their action-packed plots. The '80s also saw a rise in soap-style primetime television. The goings on in Dynasty and Dallas were constant topics of conversation. Many of the more popular shows lasted well into the next decade, but even some of the most well-remembered shows of the 80s only lasted a season or two, such as Max Headroom and The Greatest American Hero.

What are your favorite shows from the '80s? Take a look at this list filled with the best shows the '80s had to offer. Maybe you’ll be inspired to take out those old Betamax recordings and rewatch your favorite actually-good '80s shows that really hold up. For more 80s TV, check out the best shows set in the 1980s

list ordered by
1
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1982-1993

Actors: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 273

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for ...more

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#54 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch Behind The Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Cheers'listed on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

2
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1980-1988

Actors: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 157

Network: CBS

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

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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#52 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #4 of 66 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Showslisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

3
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
murphycat added 1972-1983

Actors: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 251

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Medical drama, Sitcom, Satire, Military, + more

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more

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#78 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #9 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Serieslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

4
Family Ties is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1982-1989

Actors: Michael J. Fox, Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 180

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Family Ties is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 22, 1982 until May 14, 1989. The series, created by Gary David Goldberg, reflected the move in the United States from the ...more

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#66 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #103 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

5
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1983-1987

Actors: George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 98

Network: NBC

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

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

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#33 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #124 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

6
Night Court is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1984-1992

Actors: Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 193

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy, Legal

Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 4, 1984, to May 31, 1992. The setting was the night shift of a Manhattan court, presided over by the young, ...more

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#92 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #105 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

7
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1988-1993

Actors: Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

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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#71 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #13 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Series

8
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1984-1990

Actors: Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 111

Network: USA Network, FX, NBC

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

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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#222 of 508 The Best Duos of All Time #222 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #224 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

9
The Dukes of Hazzard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1979-1985

Actors: Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 145

Network: CBS

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

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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#153 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #26 of 62 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series

10
WKRP in Cincinnati is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1978

Actors: Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Howard Hesseman

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 90

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

WKRP in Cincinnati is an American situation comedy television series that features the misadventures of the staff of a struggling fictional radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio. The show was ...more

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#23 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #140 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

11
Married... with Children... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1987-1997

Actors: Ed O'Neill, Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 259

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Married... with Children is an American sitcom that aired for 11 seasons. It featured a dysfunctional family living in a fictional Chicago suburb. The series, notable for being the first ...more

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#106 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch The Best Seasons of Married... With Childrenlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

12
The Golden Girls is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1985-1992

Actors: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 180

Network: NBC, Lifetime Television

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Golden Girls is an American sitcom, created by Susan Harris, that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992. Starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and ...more

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#153 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #29 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

13
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1974

Actors: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 255

Network: Channel 4, American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Musical, Comedy, Family Film

Happy Days is an American television sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life ...more

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#5 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #44 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

14
Who's the Boss? is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1984-1992

Actors: Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 196

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Who's the Boss? is an American sitcom created by Martin Cohan and Blake Hunter, which aired on ABC from September 20, 1984 to April 25, 1992. Produced by Embassy Television, in association with ...more

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#158 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #51 of 205 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

15
Three's Company is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
slaft added 1977

Actors: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers

Number of Seasons: 8

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Three's Company is an American sitcom that aired from March 15, 1977 to September 18, 1984 on ABC. It is based on the British sitcom Man About the House. The story revolves around three single ...more

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#235 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #43 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

16
Taxi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
looksharp added 1978-1983

Actors: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 114

Network: American Broadcasting Company, NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Taxi is an American sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and from 1982 to 1983 on NBC. The series—which won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series—focuses ...more

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#69 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #59 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

17
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1985-1992

Actors: Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 138

Network: American Broadcasting Company

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

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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#53 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #112 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #113 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

18
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1982-1986

Actors: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 90

Network: NBC

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

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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#69 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #147 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #59 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

19
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
Dimos Dicoudis added 1977

Actors: Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine

Number of Seasons: 6

Network: NBC

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

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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#114 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #419 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #41 of 66 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

20
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1981-1987

Actors: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 146

Network: NBC

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

Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police ...more

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#49 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #35 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

21
Moonlighting is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1985-1989

Actors: Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley

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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#82 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #126 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

22
Newhart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1982-1990

Actors: Bob Newhart, Mary Frann, Tom Poston

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 184

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Newhart is an American television situation comedy which aired on the CBS network from October 25, 1982, to May 21, 1990. The series starred comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an ...more

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#257 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #168 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

23
The Cosby Show is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1984-1992

Actors: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 201

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on the Huxtable family, ...more

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#282 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #15 of 156 TV Shows Most Loved by African-Americanslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

24
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
mclewis added 1989

Actors: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Number of Seasons: 24

Number of Episodes: 528

Network: Fox

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

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more

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#3 of 724 The Best Cartoons of All Time The Best Fake Words From The Simpsonslisted on Longest Running Animated Series

25
ALF is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1986-1990

Actors: Mihaly 'Michu' Meszaros, Paul Fusco, Max Wright

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 102

Network: NBC

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 the first television series to be presented in Dolby Surround sound system. The title character is ...more

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#158 of 502 The Funniest TV Characters of All Time #140 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time 'ALF' Is A Bizarre Fever Dream Of An '80s TV Show That’s Way Darker Than You Remember