80sTV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
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12.5k votes 638 voters 29.3k views 125 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
139 99
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Sam Malone Cheers

2
99 99
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Diane Chambers Cheers

3
159 97
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Thomas Magnum Magnum, P.I.

4
175 79
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Alex P. Keaton Family Ties

5
135 94
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Norm Peterson Cheers

6
115 71
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Sophia Petrillo The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls

7
82 59
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Coach Ernie Pantusso

8
85 83
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added Columbo

9
99 108
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
David Addison Jr. Moonlighting

10
98 66
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Rose Nylund The Golden Girls - Golden Girls

11
80 109
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
61 63
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Carla Tortelli Cheers

13
123 95
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation

14
58 69
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added Lilith Sternin

15
104 79
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier Crane Frasier, Cheers

16
104 67
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Al Bundy Married... with Children

17
66 68
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi

18
80 39
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
52 76
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women

20
47 61
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

21
134 75
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver MacGyver

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

23
91 68
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Kevin Arnold The Wonder Years

24
74 78
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added J.R. Ewing Dallas, Dallas

25
49 68
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon

26
46 78
Louie De Palma is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Louie De Palma Taxi

27
86 89
Benson DuBois is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Benson DuBois Benson, Soap

28
69 41
Judge Harry T Jones is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Judge Harry T Jones Night Court

29
78 89
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
64 86
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes Moonlighting

31
41 63
Lou Grant is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Linus added Lou Grant

32
98 77
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Dorothy Zbornak The Golden Girls

33
40 72
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
45 60
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
58 45
Jim Rockford is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Jim Rockford The Rockford Files

36
89 65
John

37
71 38
Jack Tripper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Jack Tripper Three's Company

38
44 67
Mary Beth Lacey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Mary Beth Lacey Cagney & Lacey

39
88 57
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
82 73
Sonny Crockett is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Sonny Crockett Miami Vice

41
70 37
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
71 90
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Jessica Fletcher Murder, She Wrote

43
55 50
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Homer Simpson The Simpsons

44
65 74
Tony Micelli is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Tony Micelli Who's the Boss?

45
56 62
Arnold Jackson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

46
49 41
Dan Fielding is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Dan Fielding Night Court

47
74 57
Michael Knight is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s

48
41 42
Christine Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
muzziac added Christine Sullivan Night Court

49
35 73
Ed Grimley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Ed Grimley

50
36 56
Latka Gravas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Latka Gravas Taxi