Entertainment

The Best '80s TV Shows 

Ranker TV
Originally by
203.2k votes 8.4k voters 388.7k 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
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

More Cheers 

#54 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing 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
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

More Magnum, P.I. 

#177 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #121 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Timelisted 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
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

More M*A*S*H 

#10 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #2 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

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

More Family Ties 

#534 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #189 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writinglisted 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
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

More The A-Team 

#123 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #33 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

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

More Night Court 

#41 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #105 of 2,296 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
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

More The Wonder Years 

#116 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #200 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #12 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time

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

More Miami Vice 

#133 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #86 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #226 of 2,296 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
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

More The Dukes of Hazzard 

#155 of 2,296 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
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

More WKRP in Cincinnati 

#36 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #140 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #50 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

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

More Married... with Children 

#108 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watchfeaturing 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
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

More The Golden Girls 

#96 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #21 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales 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
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

More Happy Days 

#38 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #19 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historylisted 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
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

More Who's the Boss? 

#55 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales 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
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

More Three's Company 

#234 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #118 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows 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
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

More Taxi 

#58 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #29 of 92 The Best Dramedy TV Series

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

More MacGyver 

#50 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #112 of 394 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #113 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

18
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
Dimos Dicoudis added
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

More CHiPs 

#419 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #40 of 67 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #114 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

19
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s TV Shows
1982-1986
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

More Knight Rider 

#69 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time #252 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

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

More Hill Street Blues 

#362 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their 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
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

More Moonlighting 

#526 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #93 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #196 of 259 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

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

More Newhart 

#3 of 158 Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time #137 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writinglisted 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
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

More The Cosby Show 

#277 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #46 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historylisted 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
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

More The Simpsons 

#3 of 722 The Best Cartoons of All Timefeaturing 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
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

More ALF 

#75 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #88 of 310 The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Timefeaturing 'ALF' Is A Bizarre Fever Dream Of An '80s TV Show That’s Way Darker Than You Remember