80sTV The Best TV Characters of the '80s  

Ranker TV
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15.2k votes 833 voters 43.3k views 128 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!
list ordered by
1
175 128
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers
2
229 107
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Magnum, P.I.
3
118 134
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JordanMc added Cheers
4
215 96
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Family Ties
5
157 113
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Cheers
6
147 85
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls
7
122 124
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Moonlighting
8
99 81
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added
9
108 103
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MatthewGill added
10
121 79
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Girls
Golden Girls
11
81 76
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers
12
142 79
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children
13
152 110
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation
14
184 82
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
MacGyver
15
132 91
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Frasier, Cheers
16
94 130
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse
17
107 52
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H
18
69 86
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
buzzy added
19
66 89
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women
20
115 74
Kevin Arnold is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Wonder Years
21
75 82
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi
22
117 132
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
The Cosby Show
23
91 88
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas
24
54 75
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
25
60 77
Dick Loudon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters of the '80s
CB Ladnier added Dick Loudon