Entertainment The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s  

Ranker TV
463 votes 85 voters 2.1k views 45 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.

list ordered by
1
46 7
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard
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
2
16 8
GLOW is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron
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
3
11 4
Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, James Franco
Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig with Judd Apatow as executive producer, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. ...more
4
13 6
Everybody Hates Chris is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold, Tequan Richmond
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
5
15 10
The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, George Segal
The Goldbergs is an American television sitcom that premiered on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 on ABC. The series was created by Adam F. Goldberg and stars Wendi McLendon-Covey and Jeff Garlin. ...more
6
12 8
The Americans is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Maximiliano Hernández
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
7
11 7
Halt & Catch Fire is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Ali Milner
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
8
11 10
Red Oaks is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Craig Roberts, Jennifer Grey, Richard Kind
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
9
9 8
Wet Hot American Summer: First... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Paul Rudd
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
10
1 0
Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson
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
11
6 6
Danger 5 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
David Ashby, Sean James Murphy, Natasa Ristic
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
12
0 0
The Hot Zone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace, James D'Arcy
The Hot Zone (National Geographic, 2019) is an American medical thriller television drama miniseries based on the Richard Preston non-fiction novel of the same name. The six-part limited series ...more
13
0 0
When They See Us is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk
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
14
9 10
This Is Us is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown
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 interwine, from sharing the same birthday, ...more
15
3 4
The Carrie Diaries is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, Ellen Wong
Carrie Bradshaw is in her senior year of high school in the early 1980s. She asks her first questions about love and friendship and family while navigating the worlds of high school and
16
6 8
The Company is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina, Chris O'Donnell
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
17
5 7
Snowfall is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Damson Idris, Carter Hudson, Emily Rios
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
18
4 6
Brother's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Brother's Keeper Michael Rooker, Ray Wise, Travis Tritt
19
3 5
Code Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Adam De La Peña, Andrew Sipes, Matt Mariska
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
20
3 5
Voyage to the Bottom of the Se... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Richard Basehart, David Hedison, Robert Dowdell
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
21
2 4
This Is Personal: The Hunt for... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper Gerard Horan, Stephen Moore, Claire Webzell
22
8 11
That '80s Show is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes, Chyler Leigh
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
23
3 6
Brief Encounters is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Brief Encounters Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin, Sharon Rooney
24
3 6
The Camomile Lawn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
Rebecca Hall, Claire Bloom, Felicity Kendal
The Camomile Lawn (ABC, 1992) is a television adaptation of the book of the same name by Mary Wesley, produced by Glenn Wilhide and Sophie Belhetchet and directed by Peter Hall. In 1939, young ...more
25
3 6
The Alan Clark Diaries is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
John Hurt, Jenny Agutter, Paul Brooke
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