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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s 

Ranker TV
Updated June 23, 2020 1.4k votes 232 voters 6.1k views 50 items

List Rules Only shows made before or after the 1980s and set within the decade (i.e. no shows made in the actual '80s).

Take a trip back to the past and check out this list of the best TV shows set in the '80s. Both before the '80s hit and long after they passed, this eclectic era has long been the subject and setting for a range of TV shows and movies. Whether it's the awesome '80s music, the funky clothes, or simply the overall feel of the decade, the '80s are sorely missed—but we have plenty of awesome TV shows set in the 1980s to reflect back on the good ol' days. But which show about the '80s is the very best?

From newer sci-fi shows like Stranger Things to well-written dramas like GLOW and hilarious sitcoms such as The Goldbergs—not to mention That '80s Show—the top shows set in the '80s span a variety of genres. We even have animated shows taking place in the '80s, including Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones and Code Monkeys. In short, the 1980s were a fine time to pretend to be in, and numerous shows did it quite well.

What modern TV shows set in the '80s are your favorites? How about those made prior to the 1980s? Check out the list of shows below and vote up the ones you think are best. If you're adding a show to the list, be sure it wasn't released during the '80s—you can vote on the best '80s shows if that's what you're looking for.

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1
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Premiered: 2016

Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more

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2
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco

Premiered: 1999

Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999) is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Paul Feig. A gifted high schooler (Linda Cardellini) starts hanging out with a group of burnouts, while ...more

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3
The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile

Premiered: 2013

The Goldbergs (ABC, 2013) is an American television sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg. Adam (Sean Giambrone), a geeky 11-year-old, uses a video camera to document his crazy family throughout ...more

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4
Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson

Premiered: 2019

Chernobyl (HBO, 2019) is an American-British historical drama television miniseries created by Craig Mazin. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the USSR becomes ...more

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5
GLOW is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron

Premiered: 2017

GLOW (Netflix, 2017) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. Set in 1980s Los Angeles, Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), a struggling actress, receives an ...more

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6
This Is Us is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown

Premiered: 2016

This Is Us (NBC, 2016) is an American television series created by Dan Fogelman. Follows a unique ensemble, as their paths cross and their life stories intertwine, from sharing the same ...more

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7
Everybody Hates Chris is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold, Tequan Richmond

Premiered: 2005

Everybody Hates Chris is an American sitcom based on the teenage experiences of African American comedian Chris Rock. The show is set between 1982 and 1987, but Rock himself was a teenager from ...more

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8
Wet Hot American Summer:... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Paul Rudd

Premiered: 2015

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix, 2015) is a comedy web television series written by David Wain and Michael Showalter, and directed by Wain. First Day of Camp Follows the ...more

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9
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández

Premiered: 2013

The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe Weisberg. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) are two Soviet KGB officers posing as ...more

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10
When They See Us is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk

Premiered: 2019

When They See Us (Netflix, 2019) is an American drama web television miniseries created by Ava DuVernay, based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case. The notorious case of five teenagers of ...more

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11
Red Oaks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Craig Roberts, Jennifer Grey, Richard Kind

Premiered: 2014

Red Oaks (Amazon Video, 2015) is a comedy web television series created by Joe Gangemi and Gregory Jacobs. David (Craig Roberts), a college student, begins working at a New Jersey country club ...more
12
Halt & Catch Fire is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Ali Milner

Premiered: 2014

Halt and Catch Fire is an American period drama television series created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, that premiered on AMC on June 1, 2014. The series is set in the ...more

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13
The Carrie Diaries is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Ellen Wong

Premiered: 2013

The Carrie Diaries (The CW, 2013) is an American teen comedy-drama television series developed by Amy B. Harris, based on the 2010 book by Candace Bushnell. Before she became a columnist, Carrie ...more

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14
Snowfall is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Emily Rios

Premiered: 2017

Snowfall (FX, 2017) is an American crime drama television series created by John Singleton, Eric Amadio, and Dave Andron. Set in 1983 Los Angeles, the series revolves around the first crack ...more

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15
Dead of Summer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail, Amber Coney
Dead of Summer is a 2016 American supernatural horror television series. Set in 1989, school is out for the summer, and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Stillwater, ...more
16
That '80s Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes, Chyler Leigh

Premiered: 2002

That '80s Show is an American sitcom that aired from January through May 2002. Despite having a similar name, show structure, and many of the same writers and production staff, it is not ...more

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17
Mixed-ish is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Arica Himmell, Tika Sumpter, Mark-Paul Gosselaar

Premiered: 2019

Mixed-ish (ABC, 2019), stylized as mixed•ish, is an American single-camera sitcom created by Kenya Barris and Peter Saji, and a prequel spin-off of Black-ish and the second series to be spun-off ...more

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18
Danger 5 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
David Ashby, Sean James Murphy, Natasa Ristic

Premiered: 2012

Danger 5 is an Australian action comedy television series which premiered on SBS One on 27 February 2012. It is set in a bizarre 1960s interpretation of World War II and follows a group of five ...more
19
The Company is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina, Chris O'Donnell

Premiered: 2007

The Company is an American miniseries about the activities of the CIA during the Cold War. It was based on the best-selling novel by Robert Littell. The teleplay adaptation was written by Ken
20
Voyage to the Bottom of ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Richard Basehart, David Hedison, Robert Dowdell

Premiered: 1964

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie's sets, ...more

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21
Code Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Adam De La Peña, Andrew Sipes, Matt Mariska

Premiered: 2007

Code Monkeys is an American animated television program by Adam de la Peña. Set in the early 1980s, it follows the adventures of fictional video game company GameaVision. The show first ...more

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22
Garth Marenghi's Darkpla... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, Matthew Holness

Premiered: 2004

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (Channel 4, 2004) is a British horror parody television series created by Richard Ayoade and Matthew Holness. This show within a show is a parody of 80's horror ...more

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23
Brother's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Brother's Keeper Michael Rooker, Ray Wise, Travis Tritt

Premiered: 2013

24
The Alan Clark Diaries ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
John Hurt, Jenny Agutter, Paul Brooke

Premiered: 2004

The Alan Clark Diaries is a 2004 BBC television serial dramatising the diaries of the controversial British Conservative politician Alan Clark. The six-episode series debuted on BBC Four on 15 ...more
25
Ashes to Ashes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
jkwok174 added Philip Glenister, Keeley Hawes, Dean Andrews

Premiered: 2008

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