80s TV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
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10.7k votes 525 voters 22.6k views 121 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!
list ordered by

1
120 88
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
88 80
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
135 88
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
147 68
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

5
117 84
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

6
70 49
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
98 61
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

8
72 65
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

9
88 96
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

10
70 92
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

11
51 54
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

12
82 59
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

13
92 67
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

14
49 53
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

The Most Shocking TV Deaths of All Time

15
58 58
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

16
67 31
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

17
105 89
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

18
42 49
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

19
84 55
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

20
45 65
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

21
70 63
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

The Best Single Season Canceled Shows

22
117 67
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

23
42 64
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Louie De Palma Taxi

24
79 59
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

25
83 99
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

26
78 79
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

27
42 58
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

28
71 79
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele Remington Steele

The Best Re-Casting of Famous TV Roles

29
61 75
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

30
56 35
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

31
34 53
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

32
36 61
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

33
85 71
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

34
39 52
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

35
52 39
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

60+ of Your Greatest Childhood Fears

36
42 59
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

37
78 59
John

38
81 49
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

39
56 33
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Jack Tripper Three's Company

40
74 65
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

41
62 31
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

42
66 81
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

The Greatest TV Character Losses of All Time

43
59 67
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

44
43 35
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

45
47 43
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

46
34 47
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

47
36 35
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

48
32 64
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

49
64 51
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

50
44 56
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s