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

Ranker TV
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11.4k votes 573 voters 25k views 124 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!

1
130 92
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
95 88
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
145 93
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
161 73
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

5
126 89
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

6
74 53
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
105 68
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
79 72
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

9
93 101
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

10
56 58
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

11
74 98
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

12
87 62
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
99 71
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

14
53 56
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

Child Actors Who Tragically Died Young

15
112 91
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

16
62 62
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

17
92 59
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

18
72 35
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

19
43 55
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
124 69
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

21
45 70
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

The Greatest TV Doctors

22
72 69
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

23
45 68
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
91 104
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

25
46 61
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

26
83 63
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

27
80 83
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

28
74 81
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 Greatest Female TV Characters of All Time

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62 78
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

30
39 55
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

31
60 38
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

32
37 65
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
55 40
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

34
88 75
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

35
39 56
Suzanne Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Suzanne Sugarbaker Designing Women

The Best Travel TV Shows

36
82 62
John

37
42 63
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

38
64 34
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Jack Tripper Three's Company

39
85 52
Bo Duke is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Bo Duke The Dukes, The Dukes of Hazzard

40
80 66
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

41
65 32
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
68 84
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

Best Seasons of Ax Men

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51 45
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

44
62 70
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

45
38 37
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

46
45 38
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

47
68 53
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

48
49 58
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

49
34 51
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

50
32 67
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley