80s The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
Originally by
14.7k votes 797 voters 40.7k views 126 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
169 123
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers

2
211 106
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Magnum, P.I.

3
116 127
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cheers

4
211 93
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Family Ties

5
155 108
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Cheers

6
141 81
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
97 75
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

8
107 97
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added

9
120 120
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

10
79 72
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers

11
116 77
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Girls
Golden Girls

12
138 76
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children

13
145 109
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
175 82
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver

15
127 90
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier, Cheers

16
93 127
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse

17
102 48
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H

18
65 85
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

19
67 83
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

20
75 78
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

21
111 72
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Wonder Years

22
54 72
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

23
89 84
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas

24
113 129
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Cosby Show

25
59 74
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon