364 voters

The Greatest Period TV Shows Set in the '80s

Updated February 18, 2021 2.4k votes 364 voters 10.8k views58 items

List RulesOnly 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.

  • 1

    Stranger Things

    Winona Ryder, David Harbour
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  • 2

    Freaks and Geeks

    Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley
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  • 3

    The Goldbergs

    Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone
    The Goldbergs (ABC, 2013) is an American television sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg. Adam...  more

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  • 4


    Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård
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  • 5


    Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin
    GLOW (Netflix, 2017) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Liz Flahive and...  more

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  • 6

    Everybody Hates Chris

    Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold
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  • 7
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  • 8

    The Americans

    Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys
    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe...  more

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  • 9

    Red Oaks

    Craig Roberts, Jennifer Grey
    Red Oaks (Amazon Video, 2015) is a comedy web television series created by Joe Gangemi and...  more
  • 10

    Selena: The Series

    Christian Serratos, Ricardo Chavira
    Selena: The Series (Netflix, 2020) is an American biographical drama television series based...  more

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  • 11

    White Gold

    Ed Westwick, James Buckley
    White Gold (BBC Two, 2017) is a British comedy series created by Damon Beesley. The story of a...  more
  • 12

    Ashes to Ashes

    Philip Glenister, Keeley Hawes
    Ashes to Ashes (BBC One, 2008) is a British fantasy crime drama and police procedural drama...  more
  • 13

    This Is Us

    Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore
    This Is Us (NBC, 2016) is an American television series created by Dan Fogelman. Follows a...  more

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  • 14


    Damson Idris, Carter Hudson
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  • 15

    When They See Us

    Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo
    When They See Us (Netflix, 2019) is an American drama web television miniseries created by Ava...  more

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  • 16

    Halt & Catch Fire

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
    Halt and Catch Fire is an American period drama television series created by Christopher...  more

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  • 17

    The Carrie Diaries

    AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler
    The Carrie Diaries (The CW, 2013) is an American teen comedy-drama television series developed...  more

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  • 18

    Dead of Summer

    Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail
    Dead of Summer is a 2016 American supernatural horror television series. Set in 1989, school...  more
  • 19

    That '80s Show

    Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes
    That '80s Show is an American sitcom that aired from January through May 2002. Despite having...  more
  • 20

    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

    Richard Basehart, David Hedison
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  • 21

    Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

    Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry
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  • 22

    Code Monkeys

    Adam De La Peña, Andrew Sipes
    Code Monkeys is an American animated television program by Adam de la Peña. Set in the early...  more
  • 23

    Danger 5

    David Ashby, Sean James Murphy
    Danger 5 is an Australian action comedy television series which premiered on SBS One on 27...  more
  • 24

    The Company

    Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina
    The Company is an American miniseries about the activities of the CIA during the Cold War. It...  more
  • 25

    The Camomile Lawn

    Rebecca Hall, Claire Bloom
    The Camomile Lawn (ABC, 1992) is a television adaptation of the book of the same name by Mary...  more