80s TV 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
115 86
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
85 74
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
129 85
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
111 81
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

5
141 68
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

6
68 45
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
93 57
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
71 59
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

9
86 93
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

10
50 50
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

11
67 87
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
80 55
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
46 49
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

14
56 55
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

The Most Shocking TV Deaths of All Time

15
85 64
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

16
63 28
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
80 51
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
100 87
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

19
39 47
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
44 61
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
67 59
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 Anime Series of All Time

22
81 93
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

23
110 66
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

24
40 62
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Louie De Palma Taxi

25
77 75
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

26
41 54
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

27
74 58
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

28
60 72
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

The Saddest Television Deaths Ever

29
69 76
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele Remington Steele

30
33 49
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

31
35 58
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

32
51 33
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

33
83 67
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

34
37 48
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
49 36
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

The Best Movies Based on TV Shows

36
41 56
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
74 57
John

38
75 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
52 31
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
64 78
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

41
67 65
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

42
55 31
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

The Greatest Geeky Girls on TV

43
41 32
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

44
34 31
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

45
56 64
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

46
32 44
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

47
31 60
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

48
39 40
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

49
59 50
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

50
29 44
Mona Robinson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Mona Robinson Who's the Boss?