The ’80s TV We Loved

The ’80s was the decade which saw the rise of CNN, the birth of FOX, the widespread use of the VCR, and the advent of the remote control. The decade also had some great TV. Here are some of the great TV programs from that era.


More than ever before, ’80s TV audiences were glued to their sets to watch a wide range of soap operas. An institution in the UK for a few decades by then (think Coronation Street), soaps in the U.S. were glitzy and glamorous. The characters had pizzazz, and a not inconsiderable amount of money. Among the most watched were ‘Dallas’, featuring the epitome of evil J.R. Ewing; its spinoff ‘Knots Landing’, which is where J.R.’s younger but less personable brother moved to; ‘Falcon Crest’, where Lorenzo Lamas provided the beefcake; and ‘Dynasty’, where an amoral Joan Collins held sway. Does L.A. Law count as a soap?


Some of TVs most popular sitcoms debuted in the ’80s. One of my favorites for memorable or moving quotes was ‘The Cosby Show’. While that family was almost too good to be true, you couldn’t deny the Huxtables were extremely watchable (speaking of which, I always get a bit of a shock when I see Raven-Symone as a grown up!). ‘Cheers’ was another long-running favorite. While I enjoyed Michael J. Fox in ‘Family Ties’ (at the time I pretty much watched anything he was in,)  I really enjoyed his sitcom character). And who could forget ‘Married With Children’,’ The Golden Girls’, and ‘Three’s Company’?


If you loved crime-drama, then the ’80s was a golden era for crime fighters of all sorts. Tom Selleck was Magnum P.I. Even if he was a bit wooden, you couldn’t fault the settings and the snootiness displayed by Higgins for some of the best TV moments of the decade. You had to “be careful out there” with ‘Hill Street Blues’, and Miami got the best press of its life with ‘Miami Vice’. That show is still being copied and parodied so it must have done something right. And let’s not forget about ‘The A-Team’ (didn’t we love it when a plan came together?), ‘Hardcastle and McCormick’ and ‘Cagney and Lacey’.

Kids TV

There were loads of programs for kids as well, including ‘The Muppet Show’ (then as now enjoyed by a lot of adults as well), ‘Fraggle Rock’, ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ (whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis?!), ‘My Two Dads’, and more.


One ’80s creation is still with us. Starting as a sideshow in ‘The Tracy Ullman Series’, The Simpsons soon got its own show, and became a veritable institution. Most of us cannot imagine a world without Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and the cast of characters who populate Springfield. From the opening titles to the credits, this superb animated creation has us rolling in the aisles.

Science Fiction

In the ’80s, another enduring franchise got its first new lease on life (and it’s never looked back). Star Trek came to the screen again with ‘The Next Generation’ introducing Jean-Luc Picard, William Riker, Deanna Troi, Worf, Beverley Crusher, Geordi LaForge and Data. This was one of the most popular syndicated series of all time, and reruns can still be found playing around the world. Other out of this world ’80s TV shows included ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, ‘Quantum Leap’, ‘Battlestar Galatica’, and ‘V’. ‘Mork and Mindy’, which started in the ’70s, came to an end in this decade.

Other Cool ’80s TV Shows

Of course, it would be difficult to list all the shows of the decade, but also worth a note is ‘The Love Boat’ (can you still hear the theme song playing in your head?),’227′, ‘The Facts of Life’, ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, ‘Knight Rider’ (where the car was definitely the star), ”Newhart’, Silver Spoons’, and ‘Valerie’. It was also a great time for talk shows and live comedy, in the shape of ‘Saturday Night Live’, and shows with Letterman and Rivera. And let’s not forget Oprah, and all the many daytime talk shows that followed.

These are just a few of the TV shows we talked about then. Are yours included here?

*The above post was written by Dee Mason. Thanks to her for contributing to the blog!

She can be reached at the following web address-


~ by kmnnz on September 26, 2011.

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