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The Best TV Characters Of The '80s 

Ranker TV
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Updated January 21, 2020 32.6k votes 1.5k voters 59.9k views 204 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!
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list ordered by
1
Sam Malone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
analise.dubner added Cheers
2
Jean-Luc Picard is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation
3
Thomas Magnum is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Magnum, P.I.
4
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls
5
Hawkeye Pierce is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Rinkydink added M*A*S*H
6
Norm Peterson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Cheers
7
Alex P. Keaton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Family Ties
8
Al Bundy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added Married... with Children
9
Diane Chambers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JordanMc added Cheers
10
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
MatthewGill added
11
Angus MacGyver is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
MacGyver
12
Rose Nylund is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
JohnnyCorelli added The Golden Girls
Golden Girls
13
Frasier Crane is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Frasier, Cheers
14
David Addison Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Moonlighting
15
Carla Tortelli is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
CB Ladnier added Cheers
16
Homer Simpson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
The Simpsons
17
Coach Ernie Pantusso is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
buzzy added
18
Ranker Video
CB Ladnier added Jim Ignatowski Taxi
19
Pee-wee Herman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Pee-wee's Playhouse
20
J.R. Ewing is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
LanaYoshii added Dallas, Dallas
21
Julia Sugarbaker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
CB Ladnier added Designing Women
22
Data is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
Star Trek: The Next Generation
23
Lilith Sternin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
buzzy added
24
Heathcliff Huxtable is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s
The Cosby Show
25
Alex Reiger is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best TV Characters Of The '80s