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
127 89
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
93 84
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
142 89
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
156 70
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

5
122 86
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

6
73 51
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
103 64
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 67
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

9
92 97
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

10
54 55
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

11
72 94
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
97 68
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

13
85 61
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

14
52 55
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

The Greatest TV Character Losses of All Time

15
111 89
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
61 60
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

17
90 57
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
70 33
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
42 53
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
123 67
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

21
45 69
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 Best Saturday Night Live Characters of All Time

22
71 67
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
88 100
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

24
44 67
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
81 62
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

26
45 61
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

27
79 81
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

28
73 80
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 TV Characters of All Time

29
61 78
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

30
38 55
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

31
57 37
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
88 71
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

33
36 64
Frank Furillo is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Frank Furillo Hill Street Blues

34
53 40
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

35
39 54
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 Fake Words From The Simpsons

36
42 61
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
79 61
John

38
82 50
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
58 34
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
76 66
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

41
64 31
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
67 82
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

The Greatest TV Doctors

43
62 68
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

44
49 43
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

45
67 51
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

46
44 37
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

47
34 49
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

48
36 36
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

49
32 65
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

50
47 56
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s