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The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s

Updated September 24, 2020 2.0k votes 268 voters 7.6k views52 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.

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  • 1
    Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    209
    26

    Stranger Things

    Winona Ryder, David Harbour

    Premiered2016

    Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    Freaks and Geeks is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    66
    40

    Freaks and Geeks

    Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley

    Premiered1999

    Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999) is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    56
    51

    The Goldbergs

    Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone

    Premiered2013

    The Goldbergs (ABC, 2013) is an American television sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg. Adam... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    Chernobyl is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    37
    29

    Chernobyl

    Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård

    Premiered2019

    Chernobyl (HBO, 2019) is an American-British historical drama television miniseries created by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    GLOW is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    46
    51

    GLOW

    Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin

    Premiered2017

    GLOW (Netflix, 2017) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Liz Flahive and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    White Gold is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    5
    2

    White Gold

    Ed Westwick, James Buckley

    Premiered2017

    White Gold (BBC Two, 2017) is a British comedy series created by Damon Beesley. The story of a... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    The Americans is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    33
    44

    The Americans

    Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys

    Premiered2013

    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    This Is Us is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    33
    45

    This Is Us

    Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore

    Premiered2016

    This Is Us (NBC, 2016) is an American television series created by Dan Fogelman. Follows a... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Wet Hot American Summer: First is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    27
    37

    Premiered2015

    Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix, 2015) is a comedy web television series... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Everybody Hates Chris is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    37
    53

    Everybody Hates Chris

    Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold

    Premiered2005

    Everybody Hates Chris is an American sitcom based on the teenage experiences of African... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 11
    When They See Us is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    17
    26

    When They See Us

    Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo

    Premiered2019

    When They See Us (Netflix, 2019) is an American drama web television miniseries created by Ava... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Red Oaks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    24
    39

    Red Oaks

    Craig Roberts, Jennifer Grey

    Premiered2014

    Red Oaks (Amazon Video, 2015) is a comedy web television series created by Joe Gangemi and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Halt & Catch Fire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    19
    34

    Halt & Catch Fire

    Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles

    Premiered2014

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  • 14
    Danger 5 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    17
    32

    Danger 5

    David Ashby, Sean James Murphy

    Premiered2012

    Danger 5 is an Australian action comedy television series which premiered on SBS One on 27... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Snowfall is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    15
    32

    Snowfall

    Damson Idris, Carter Hudson

    Premiered2017

    Snowfall (FX, 2017) is an American crime drama television series created by John Singleton,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Dead of Summer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    7
    20

    Dead of Summer

    Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail

    Premiered2016

    Dead of Summer is a 2016 American supernatural horror television series. Set in 1989, school... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    The Carrie Diaries is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    14
    31

    The Carrie Diaries

    AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler

    Premiered2013

    The Carrie Diaries (The CW, 2013) is an American teen comedy-drama television series developed... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    The Company is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    14
    33

    The Company

    Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina

    Premiered2007

    The Company is an American miniseries about the activities of the CIA during the Cold War. It... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Brother's Keeper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    9
    25

    Brother's Keeper

    Michael Rooker, Ray Wise

    Premiered2013

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  • 20
    That '80s Show is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    14
    41

    That '80s Show

    Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes

    Premiered2002

    That '80s Show is an American sitcom that aired from January through May 2002. Despite having... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Brief Encounters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    7
    24

    Brief Encounters

    Sophie Rundle, Angela Griffin
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  • 22
    Voyage to the Bottom of the Se is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    7
    26

    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

    Richard Basehart, David Hedison

    Premiered1964

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  • 23
    Garth Marenghi's Darkplace is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    6
    22

    Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

    Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry

    Premiered2004

    Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (Channel 4, 2004) is a British horror parody television series... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 24
    The Alan Clark Diaries is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    6
    23

    The Alan Clark Diaries

    John Hurt, Jenny Agutter

    Premiered2004

    The Alan Clark Diaries is a 2004 BBC television serial dramatising the diaries of the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Ashes to Ashes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest TV Shows Set in the '80s
    2
    1

    Ashes to Ashes

    Philip Glenister, Keeley Hawes

    Premiered2008

    Ashes to Ashes (BBC One, 2008) is a British fantasy crime drama and police procedural drama... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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