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
151 109
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers

2
180 101
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Magnum, P.I.

3
105 114
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cheers

4
191 84
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Family Ties

5
146 101
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Cheers

6
131 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
92 65
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

8
109 111
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

9
95 89
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added

10
106 70
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
71 66
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers

12
134 98
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation

13
88 116
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse

14
92 41
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H

15
116 83
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier, Cheers

16
117 70
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children

17
154 76
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver

18
71 71
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

19
62 75
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added

20
59 79
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

21
100 68
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Wonder Years

22
50 64
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

23
102 120
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Cosby Show

24
79 81
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas

25
87 92
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele

26
49 80
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Taxi

27
52 71
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

28
89 92
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson, Soap

29
75 45
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
70 88
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting

31
102 80
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Golden Girls

32
44 66
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added

33
53 64
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women

34
64 46
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added The Rockford Files

35
100 68
John

36
43 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
81 39
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Three's Company

38
98 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
48 67
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cagney & Lacey

40
90 74
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Miami Vice

41
79 39
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added The Dukes of Hazzard

42
78 90
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Murder, She Wrote

43
90 58
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

44
72 74
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Who's the Boss?

45
54 42
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

46
49 16
Woody Boyd is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dave_7672 added Cheers

47
61 64
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

48
60 54
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Simpsons

49
45 43
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Night Court

50
56 36
Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court