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The Best TV Characters Of The '80s 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated January 21, 2020 32k votes 1.4k voters 59k views 219 items

List Rules Awesome TV characters from shows that aired during the 1980s

Who were the best TV characters of the '80s? From The Golden Girls, The Cosby Show, and Murder, She Wrote all the way to kid favorites like Punky Brewster, Elmo, and Saved By the Bell, these shows greatly impacted the culture of the decade. This list has the best TV characters from classic 1980s television shows.

It was the decade where the Pee-Wee Herman was introduced. Michael Knight and Virgil Tibbs also took to the small screen, entertaining millions of fans. The top TV show characters of the 1980s included family-focused favorites like Highway to Heaven and the still popular kid’s all-time favorite Sesame Street. And who can forget the Seaver family from Growing Pains (though we try to forget Kirk Cameron these days)? 

Children’s characters like Alf, Optimus Prime, and He-Man were also introduced. The top characters of the 80s were, for the most part family-friendly, uplifting, and hilarious. Let's honor the ingenuity of Mr. Angus MacGyver, and the importance of having life-long friends a la The Golden Girls.

Vote up your favorite 1980's TV characters below or add your favorite if he or she isn't already on the list!
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list ordered by
1
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Family Ties
2
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation
3
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls
4
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Magnum, P.I.
5
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
MacGyver
6
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Cheers
7
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H
8
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Girls
Golden Girls
9
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers
10
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children
11
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Frasier, Cheers
12
John "Hannibal"... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
13
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
The Simpsons
14
Kermit the Frog is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
The Muppet Show, Sam and Friends
15
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
muzziac added Three's Company
16
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
muzziac added The Dukes of Hazzard
17
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
MatthewGill added
18
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
The Wonder Years
19
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JordanMc added The Rockford Files
20
Data is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation
21
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
22
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court
23
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
buzzy added
24
Woody Boyd is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Dave_7672 added Cheers
25
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi