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The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked 

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Updated May 1, 2020 227.8k votes 9.5k voters 448.4k views 510 items

List Rules Only TV series that aired between 1980 and 1989, based only on the seasons and eps of those years.

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

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list ordered by
1
Magnum, P.I. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1980-1988

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

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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#7 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #101 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

2
The Dukes of Hazzard is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1979-1985

Actors: Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach

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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#224 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #22 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #96 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms

3
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1982-1993

Actors: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

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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Behind The Scenes Secrets From The Set Of 'Cheers' #110 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

4
Married... with Children... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1987-1997

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

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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The Best Seasons of Married... With Children #79 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

5
Three's Company is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
slaft added 1977

Actors: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers

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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#171 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #19 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

6
Knight Rider is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1982-1986

Actors: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

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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#71 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #59 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #25 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

7
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1985-1992

Actors: Richard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

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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#152 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #33 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows #75 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

8
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
murphycat added 1972-1983

Actors: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

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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#72 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #12 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Serieslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

9
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1974

Actors: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

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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#372 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #5 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

10
The Golden Girls is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1985-1992

Actors: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan

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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Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From 'The Golden Girls' #77 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

11
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1983-1987

Actors: George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

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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#44 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #76 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #71 of 283 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

12
Family Ties is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1982-1989

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

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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#349 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #160 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writinglisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

13
The Muppet Show is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1976

Actors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

Genres (Tv): Sketch comedy, Variety show, Children's television series, Live action, Comedy, + more

The Muppet Show is a family-oriented comedy-variety television series that was produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and features The Muppets. After two pilot episodes produced in 1974 and 1975 ...more

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The Most Interesting Muppet Show Characters #144 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #11 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

14
Miami Vice is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1984-1990

Actors: Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

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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#306 of 461 The Best Duos of All Time #14 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #71 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

15
Night Court is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1984-1992

Actors: Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

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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#336 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #86 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

16
Who's the Boss? is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1984-1992

Actors: Tony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano

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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#49 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #308 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

17
CHiPs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
Dimos Dicoudis added 1977

Actors: Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine

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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#16 of 69 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #187 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #39 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

18
WKRP in Cincinnati is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1978

Actors: Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Howard Hesseman

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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#118 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #44 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms #36 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

19
Little House on the Prai... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
2005

Actors: Cameron Bancroft, Erin Cottrell, Kyle Chavarria

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, Children's television series

Little House on the Prairie, also known as Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, is a five-hour miniseries which was broadcast on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney ...more

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#196 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #58 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #171 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

20
The Jetsons is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1962

Actors: George O'Hanlon, Janet Waldo, Mel Blanc

Genres (Tv): Animation, Sitcom, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Science Fiction, + more

The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, originally airing in primetime from September 23, 1962 to March 17, 1963, then later in syndication, with new episodes in ...more

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#6 of 375 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #32 of 482 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Made #36 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

21
Mork & Mindy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
Dimos Dicoudis added 1978

Actors: Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, Ralph James

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

Mork & Mindy is an American sitcom broadcast from 1978 to 1982 on ABC. It stars Robin Williams as Mork, an extraterrestrial who comes to Earth from the planet Ork in a small, one-man ...more

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#84 of 461 The Best Duos of All Time #50 of 341 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #62 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcoms

22
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
mclewis added 1989

Actors: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

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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The Best Simpsons Characters of All Time #26 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

23
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1988-1993

Actors: Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern

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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#125 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #39 of 94 The Best Dramedy TV Series #50 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

24
Laverne & Shirley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1976

Actors: Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Laverne & Shirley is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976 to May 10, 1983. It starred Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, ...more

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#86 of 461 The Best Duos of All Time #39 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

25
Diff'rent Strokes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1978-1986

Actors: Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Diff'rent Strokes is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from November 3, 1978, to May 4, 1985, and on ABC from September 27, 1985, to March 7, 1986. The series stars Gary Coleman ...more

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#555 of 807 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #43 of 163 TV Shows Most Loved by African-Americanslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms