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11.4k voters

The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked

Updated February 18, 2021 281.2k votes 11.4k voters 533.3k views312 items

List RulesOnly 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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  • Cheers1
    3,072
    1,365

    Cheers

    1982-1993

    ActorsTed Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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  • Magnum, P.I.2
    3,059
    1,384

    Magnum, P.I.

    1980-1988

    ActorsTom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

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

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    #17 of 95 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time#32 of 51 TV Shows That Actually Deserve A Revival

  • Happy Days3
    2,141
    899

    ActorsRon Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

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

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    #86 of 220 The Greatest TV Shows for Women#30 of 140 The Worst TV Series Finales Ever

  • The Dukes of Hazzard4
    2,596
    1,166

    ActorsTom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach

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

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    #13 of 70 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series#65 of 94 TV Shows You Wish You Were A Character On

  • Married... with Children5
    2,676
    1,137

    ActorsEd O'Neill, Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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    The Best Seasons of 'Married... With Children'#148 of 389 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

  • MacGyver6
    2,389
    1,004

    MacGyver

    1985-1992

    ActorsRichard Dean Anderson, Dana Elcar, Bruce McGill

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

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    #31 of 125 The Best Action-Adventure TV Shows#13 of 106 The Best Espionage TV Shows

  • The Muppet Show7
    1,723
    664

    ActorsJim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt

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

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    The Most Interesting Muppet Show Characters#31 of 132 The Best, Most Fab Cartoons from the '70s

  • Knight Rider8
    2,520
    1,139

    Knight Rider

    1982-1986

    ActorsDavid Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Richard Basehart

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

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    #55 of 106 The Best NBC TV Shows of All Time#11 of 47 The Best 1980s NBC Shows

  • Three's Company9
    2,030
    926

    ActorsJohn Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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    #12 of 76 The Best ABC Shows of All Time#3 of 64 The Best Sitcoms of the 1980s

  • M*A*S*H10
    2,549
    1,225

    M*A*S*H

    1972-1983

    ActorsAlan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

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

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    #27 of 98 The Best Dramedy TV Series#8 of 403 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

  • The Golden Girls11
    2,593
    1,184

    ActorsBea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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  • The A-Team12
    2,548
    1,107

    The A-Team

    1983-1987

    ActorsGeorge Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

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

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    #22 of 55 The Best NBC Dramas of All Time#26 of 149 The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots

  • Quantum Leap13
    1,349
    417

    ActorsScott Bakula, Dean Stockwell, Deborah Pratt

    Genres (Tv)Procedural drama, Drama, Science Fiction

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    #17 of 266 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time#5 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

  • Family Ties14
    2,455
    1,231

    Family Ties

    1982-1989

    ActorsMichael J. Fox, Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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    #34 of 77 The Best And Nicest Feel-Good TV Shows#5 of 117 The Best Shows About Families

  • WKRP in Cincinnati15
    1,816
    888

    ActorsGary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Howard Hesseman

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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    #111 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#11 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation16

    ActorsPatrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

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

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    Every Time Picard Said 'Make It So,' Ranked By How Well They Made It So#3 of 12 The Most Emotional Final Scenes In TV Dramas

  • Mork & Mindy17
    1,519
    665

    ActorsRobin Williams, Pam Dawber, Ralph James

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

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    #96 of 297 The Best Duos of All Time#264 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time

  • Growing Pains18
    1,648
    711

    ActorsAlan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

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    #14 of 59 The Best ABC Comedies of All Time#9 of 26 The TGIF Shows You Wish Still Existed

  • The Jetsons19
    1,589
    667

    ActorsGeorge O'Hanlon, Janet Waldo, Mel Blanc

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

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    #58 of 645 The Best Cartoons of All Time#7 of 350 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time

  • Night Court20
    2,235
    1,178

    Night Court

    1984-1992

    ActorsHarry Anderson, John Larroquette, Richard Moll

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy, Legal

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    #113 of 141 The Funniest Shows To Watch When You're Stoned#38 of 160 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

  • The Incredible Hulk21

    ActorsBill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Live action, Action, Science Fiction

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    #42 of 78 The Best CBS Shows of All Time#36 of 141 The Best Comic Book & Superhero Shows of All Time

  • The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show22

    ActorsFrank Welker, Lou Scheimer

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Variety show, Children's television series, Comedy, Animated series

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  • Miami Vice23
    2,164
    1,112

    Miami Vice

    1984-1990

    ActorsDon Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

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    #5 of 13 13 Times Movies And TV Shows Totally Cheated By Giving A Character Amnesia#9 of 30 The Best Wardrobes in Television Show History

  • Who's the Boss?24
    1,837
    937

    ActorsTony Danza, Judith Light, Alyssa Milano

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

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    #82 of 309 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History#205 of 397 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

  • Saved by the Bell25
    1,382
    693

    ActorsMark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Teen situation comedy, Comedy

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