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The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked 

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Updated May 1, 2020 232.8k votes 9.8k voters 462.5k views 356 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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#151 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #56 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

2
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 2 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' #117 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

3
The Dukes of Hazzard is listed (or ranked) 3 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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#279 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #122 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #26 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

4
Happy Days is listed (or ranked) 4 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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#400 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #67 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted 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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#180 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #99 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted 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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#134 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #72 of 302 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #59 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

7
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 7 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 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #33 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

8
MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 8 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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#115 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #152 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #75 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

9
Married... with Children... is listed (or ranked) 9 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' #80 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted 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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The Most Savage Clapbacks On 'The Golden Girls' That Still Make Us Feel The Burn #77 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

11
Family Ties is listed (or ranked) 11 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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#375 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #126 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

12
The A-Team is listed (or ranked) 12 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 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #77 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #70 of 266 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

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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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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#51 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #15 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #262 of 295 The Best Duos 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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16
WKRP in Cincinnati is listed (or ranked) 16 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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#35 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #66 of 445 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #115 of 199 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

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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#198 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #19 of 61 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series #41 of 89 The Best 1980s Primetime TV Shows

18
Mork & Mindy is listed (or ranked) 18 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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#44 of 302 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #145 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #62 of 445 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

19
Who's the Boss? is listed (or ranked) 19 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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20
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 20 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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#121 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #52 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #49 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

21
Laverne & Shirley is listed (or ranked) 21 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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#145 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #31 of 507 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Timelisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

22
Star Trek: The Next Gene... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked
1987

Actors: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes

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

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966. Roddenberry, ...more

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23
The Jetsons is listed (or ranked) 23 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 363 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time #52 of 661 The Best Cartoons of All Time #34 of 169 The Best Adult Cartoon Shows in TV History

24
Little House on the Prai... is listed (or ranked) 24 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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25
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 25 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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