80s The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
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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!
list ordered by

1
146 106
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers

2
176 99
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Magnum, P.I.

3
104 109
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cheers

4
185 84
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Family Ties

5
143 99
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Cheers

6
127 74
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

7
89 63
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

8
107 110
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

9
93 87
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added

10
104 69
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

11
68 65
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers

12
88 113
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse

13
131 98
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
90 40
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H

15
114 68
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children

16
114 82
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier, Cheers

17
150 76
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver

18
70 70
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

19
61 73
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

20
56 79
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

21
49 63
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

22
98 68
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Wonder Years

23
100 119
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Cosby Show

24
78 80
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas

25
48 79
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Taxi

26
51 70
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

27
88 91
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson, Soap

28
85 92
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele

29
73 44
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

30
68 87
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

31
101 78
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Golden Girls

32
43 65
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added

33
50 63
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

34
97 67
John

35
61 46
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added The Rockford Files

36
41 75
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Hill Street Blues

37
79 39
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Three's Company

38
95 57
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

39
46 67
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cagney & Lacey

40
89 73
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Miami Vice

41
76 38
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added The Dukes of Hazzard

42
76 90
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Murder, She Wrote

43
89 57
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

44
70 74
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Who's the Boss?

45
60 52
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Simpsons

46
60 63
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

47
52 42
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

48
46 16
Woody Boyd is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dave_7672 added Cheers

49
54 35
Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court

50
43 43
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Night Court