Last Updated: March 13, 2021
The best TV shows to air throughout the 1980s
# OF ITEMS
September 30, 1982
The story about a blue-collar Boston bar run by former sports star Sam Malone and the quirky and wonderful people who worked and drank there.
TV Magnum, P.I.
December 11, 1980
A private investigator who works when he wants, lives in a beachfront estate in Hawaii, drives a posh Ferrari, runs up an unlimited tab at a swank bar, and charms attractive women in peril - that's the lifestyle of Thomas Magnum, aka Magnum, P.I.
TV Knight Rider
September 26, 1982
Michael Long, an undercover police officer, is shot while investigating a case and left for dead by his assailants. He is rescued by Wilton Knight, a wealthy, dying millionaire and inventor who arranges life-saving surgery, including a new face and a new identity--that of Michael Knight. Michael is then given a special computerized and indestructible car called the Knight Industries Two Thousand (nicknamed KITT), and a mission: apprehend criminals who are beyond the reach of the law. The series depicts Michael's exploits as he and KITT battle the forces of evil on behalf of the Foundation for Law and Government.
TV The A-Team
January 23, 1983
The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series, running from 1983 to 1987, about a fictional group of ex United States Army Special Forces personnel who work as soldiers of fortune, while on the run from the Army after being branded as war criminals for a "crime they didn't commit".
TV The Golden Girls
September 14, 1985
Four Southern Florida seniors share a house, their dreams, and a whole lot of cheesecake. Bright, promiscuous, clueless and hilarious, these lovely, mismatched ladies form the perfect circle of friends.
TV Family Ties
September 22, 1982
Former 1960s flower children Steven and Elyse Keaton raise their conservative son Alex, daughters Mallory and Jennifer, and later, youngest child Andrew.
TV Star Trek: The Next Generation
September 28, 1987
Follow the intergalactic adventures of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and his loyal crew aboard the all-new USS Enterprise NCC-1701D, as they explore new worlds.
TV Quantum Leap
March 26, 1989
Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished... He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.
TV Growing Pains
September 24, 1985
Growing Pains is an American television sitcom about an affluent family, residing in Huntington, Long Island, New York, with a working mother and a stay-at-home psychiatrist father raising three children together, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985, to April 25, 1992.
TV Night Court
January 04, 1984
Night Court is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from January 4, 1984 to May 31, 1992. The setting was the night shift of a Manhattan court, presided over by the young, unorthodox Judge Harold T. "Harry" Stone. It was created by comedy writer Reinhold Weege, who had previously worked on Barney Miller in the 1970s and early 1980s.
TV Miami Vice
September 16, 1984
The story of the Miami Police Department's vice squad and its efforts to end drug trafficking and prostitution, centered on the unlikely partnership of Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs - who first meet when Tubbs is undercover in a drug cartel.
TV Who's the Boss?
September 20, 1984
A former professional baseball player, along with his preteen daughter, moves into New York advertising executive Angela Bower's house to be both a housekeeper and a father figure to her young son. Tony 's laid-back personality contrasts with Angela's type-A behavior.
TV Diff'rent Strokes
November 03, 1978
The series stars Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as Arnold and Willis Jackson, two African American boys from Harlem who are taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond and his daughter Kimberly, for whom their deceased mother previously worked. During the first season and first half of the second season, Charlotte Rae also starred as the Drummonds' housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett.
TV The Wonder Years
January 31, 1988
The Wonder Years tells the story of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) facing the trials and tribulations of youth while growing up during the 1960s and 70s. Told through narration from an adult Kevin (Daniel Stern), Kevin faces the difficulties of maintaining relationships and friendships on his enthralling journey into adulthood.
TV The Facts of Life
August 24, 1979
The Facts of Life is an American sitcom that originally ran on the NBC television network from August 24, 1979, to May 7, 1988, making it the longest running sitcom of the 1980s. A spin-off of the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, the series' premise focuses on Edna Garrett as she becomes a housemother at the fictional Eastland School, an all-female boarding school in Peekskill, New York.
TV Unsolved Mysteries
January 20, 1987
Combines four to five segments of dramatic re-enactments, interviews and updates of real human and paranormal mysteries. An audience interactive call-to-action request allowed viewers to call in with tips to help solve the cases.
September 22, 1986
A furry alien wiseguy comes to live with a terran family after crashing into their garage.
March 03, 1985
After being duped and going bankrupt, model Maddie is convinced by David to become a partner in a detective agency. Together they solve various cases, while getting comfortable with each other.
TV Simon & Simon
November 24, 1981
Simon & Simon is an American detective television series that originally ran from November 24, 1981 to January 21, 1989. The series was broadcast on CBS and starred Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker as two brothers who run a private detective agency together.
TV The Love Boat
September 24, 1977
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977, until May 24, 1986. The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's captain. It was part of ABC's popular Saturday night lineup that included Fantasy Island until that show ended in 1984. The original 1976 made-for-TV movie on which the show was based was itself based on the nonfiction book The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director. Two more TV movies would follow before the series began its run. The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling, who produced several successful series for ABC from the 1960s into the 1980s. In 1997, the episode with segment titles "Hidden Treasure", "Picture from the Past", and "Ace's Salary" was ranked No. 82 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The Love Boat ran for 10 seasons, including specials.
TV Murder, She Wrote
September 30, 1984
An unassuming mystery writer turned sleuth uses her professional insight to help solve real-life homicide cases.
TV Fantasy Island
January 14, 1977
A magical island hosted by Mr Roarke and Tattoo where weekly guests learn valuable life lessons in their pursuit of fulfilling their dreams. Not all dreams are fulfilled as expected.
April 02, 1978
The world's first mega-soap, and one of the most popular ever produced, Dallas had it all. Beautiful women, expensive cars, and men playing Monopoly with real buildings. Famous for one of the best cliffhangers in TV history, as the world asked "Who shot J.R.?" A slow-burner to begin with, Dallas hit its stride in the 2nd season, with long storylines and expert character development. Dallas ruled the airwaves in the 1980's.
March 03, 1986
Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Productions, Viacom Productions and Paramount Television originally aired from September 23, 1986 to May 8, 1992 on NBC; and from November 5, 1992 until May 7, 1995 on ABC. The show's format is similar to that of CBS's Perry Mason, with Matlock identifying the perpetrators and then confronting them in dramatic courtroom scenes. One difference, however, was that whereas Mason usually exculpated his clients at a pretrial hearing, Matlock usually secured an acquittal at trial, from the jury.
TV Charles in Charge
October 03, 1984
Charles in Charge is an American sitcom series starring Scott Baio as Charles, a 19-year-old student at the fictional Copeland College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who worked as a live-in babysitter in exchange for room and board. Baio directed many episodes of the show, and was credited with his full name, Scott Vincent Baio. It was first broadcast on CBS from October 3, 1984 to April 3, 1985, when it was cancelled due to a struggle in the Nielsen ratings. It then had a more successful first-run syndication run from January 3, 1987 to November 10, 1990, as 126 original episodes were aired in total. The show was produced by Al Burton Productions and Scholastic Productions in association with Universal Television, and distributed by NBCUniversal Television Distribution and New Line Cinema Corporation.
TV Hill Street Blues
January 15, 1981
A realistic glimpse into the daily lives of the officers and detectives at an urban police station.
TV 21 Jump Street
April 12, 1987
21 Jump Street revolves around a group of young cops who would use their youthful appearance to go undercover and solve crimes involving teenagers and young adults.
TV T. J. Hooker
March 13, 1982
Sergeant Thomas Jefferson Hooker is a tough-as-nails veteran police officer with the LCPD who turns his back on a gold badge and goes back to patrolling the streets and training recuits. Along with his young partners in blue, Hooker take on Lake City's toughest criminals.
TV Punky Brewster
September 16, 1984
An abandoned waif and her dog are taken in by a cranky apartment manager who becomes her guardian in this family-friendly sitcom.
January 12, 1981
The saga of a wealthy Denver family in the oil business: Blake Carrington, the patriarch; Krystle, his former secretary and wife; his children: Adam, lost in childhood after a kidnapping; Fallon, pampered and spoiled; Steven, openly gay; and Amanda, hidden from him by his ex-wife, the conniving Alexis. Most of the show features the conflict between 2 large corporations, Blake's Denver Carrington and Alexis' ColbyCo.
September 29, 1985
Angus MacGyver works as a troubleshooter for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles and as an agent for a United States government agency, the Department of External Services. Educated as a scientist, MacGyer served as a Bomb Team Technician/EOD during the Vietnam War. Resourceful and possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, he solves complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife. He prefers non-violent resolutions and prefers not to handle a gun, but will if necessary.