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
107 82
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
79 71
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
121 82
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
104 75
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

5
129 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
65 41
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

7
68 53
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

8
87 53
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

9
77 50
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

10
48 45
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

11
82 90
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

12
83 58
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

13
64 81
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee Herman Pee-wee's Playhouse

14
55 50
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

Child Actors Who Tragically Died Young

15
44 44
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

16
67 51
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

17
55 23
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H

18
97 82
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
38 42
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

20
73 48
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

21
42 56
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 Saddest Television Deaths Ever

22
78 84
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Heathcliff Huxtable The Cosby Show

23
101 64
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

24
39 57
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
73 71
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

26
39 49
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

27
67 70
Remington Steele is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Remington Steele Remington Steele

28
68 56
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

The Greatest TV Characters of All Time

29
57 68
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

30
48 30
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

31
80 63
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

32
31 44
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

33
34 53
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
36 42
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
45 33
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

36
39 50
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
70 53
John

38
67 47
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
45 29
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
60 71
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

41
62 62
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

42
32 26
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

The Best Episodes From Family Guy Season 10

43
38 28
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

44
47 31
Daisy Duke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Daisy Duke The Dukes of Hazzard

45
53 60
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

46
29 40
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi

47
30 55
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

48
36 23
Nostradamus "Bull" S... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon Night Court

49
37 36
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

50
26 39
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?