80sTV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
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12.6k votes 660 voters 31.6k views 125 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
140 101
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers

2
163 97
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Magnum, P.I.

3
99 103
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cheers

4
137 96
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Cheers

5
178 82
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Family Ties

6
119 72
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
84 60
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

8
87 84
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added

9
101 108
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

10
99 67
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
82 109
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse

12
63 63
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers

13
125 95
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
107 67
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children

15
83 39
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H

16
105 80
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier, Cheers

17
58 70
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

18
67 68
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

19
139 75
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver

20
53 77
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

21
47 61
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

22
98 114
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Cosby Show

23
92 68
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Wonder Years

24
50 69
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

25
74 79
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas

26
46 78
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Taxi

27
86 90
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson, Soap

28
80 90
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele

29
69 42
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
65 86
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

31
41 64
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added

32
98 77
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Golden Girls

33
40 73
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Hill Street Blues

34
46 62
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

35
60 45
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added The Rockford Files

36
91 65
John

37
75 39
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Three's Company

38
45 67
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cagney & Lacey

39
91 57
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

40
85 73
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Miami Vice

41
72 37
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added The Dukes of Hazzard

42
71 90
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Murder, She Wrote

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

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

45
66 74
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Who's the Boss?

46
50 41
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

47
56 63
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

48
41 42
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Night Court

49
35 73
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added

50
36 56
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Taxi