The Golden Girls

’80s TV Shows: A Nostalgic Look Back at Classic Television

If you grew up in the ’80s, you likely have fond memories of the television shows that defined the decade. From iconic sitcoms like “The Cosby Show” and “Cheers” to action-packed dramas like “Miami Vice” and “Knight Rider,” the ’80s were a golden age for television. In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and explore the best ’80s TV shows that are still beloved today.

Television history was forever changed in the 1980s, as cable TV expanded and VCRs became more affordable. This led to an explosion of new programming, including a wave of groundbreaking shows that pushed the boundaries of what was possible on TV. From groundbreaking dramas like “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere” to innovative comedies like “The Golden Girls” and “Roseanne,” the ’80s were a time of unprecedented creativity in television.

Today, the legacy of ’80s TV shows lives on in pop culture and nostalgia. From the fashion and music to the catchphrases and characters, the shows of the ’80s continue to captivate audiences of all ages. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the era, there’s no denying the impact that ’80s TV has had on the world of entertainment. So sit back, relax, and let’s take a journey back to the golden age of television.

Iconic 80’s Dramas and Action Series

The Golden Girls
Image Credit: Mario Casilli/IMBd.

The 80’s was a decade filled with iconic dramas and action-packed series that still hold a special place in the hearts of viewers. From crime and legal dramas to family and social dramas, and action and adventure, the 80’s had it all. In this section, we will take a look at some of the most iconic 80’s dramas and action series that defined the decade.

Crime and Legal Dramas

The 80’s saw the rise of crime and legal dramas that captivated audiences with their gripping storylines and intense performances. Shows like Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, and Murder, She Wrote were some of the most popular shows of the decade. Miami Vice, with its stylish blend of action, drama, and fashion, became an instant hit and introduced viewers to the world of undercover cops in Miami. Hill Street Blues, on the other hand, was a groundbreaking drama that followed the lives of cops in an urban precinct. Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury, was a crime drama that followed the adventures of a mystery writer who solved crimes in her spare time.

Family and Social Dramas

The 80’s also saw the rise of family and social dramas that dealt with issues like divorce, addiction, and social inequality. Shows like Dallas and Dynasty were prime examples of the family and social drama genre. Dallas, with its infamous “Who Shot J.R.?” cliffhanger, became a cultural phenomenon and was one of the most watched shows of the decade. Dynasty, on the other hand, was a drama that followed the lives of the wealthy Carrington family and their struggles with power and wealth.

Action and Adventure

The 80’s was also a playground for action and adventure series that featured larger-than-life heroes and thrilling storylines. Shows like The A-Team, MacGyver, and Knight Rider were some of the most popular action and adventure series of the decade. The A-Team followed a group of former Vietnam War soldiers who became mercenaries and used their skills to help those in need. MacGyver, starring Richard Dean Anderson, was a show about a resourceful secret agent who used his scientific knowledge to solve problems. Knight Rider, starring David Hasselhoff, was a show about a crime-fighting hero who drove a high-tech car that could talk and had a mind of its own.

In conclusion, the 80’s was a decade filled with iconic dramas and action-packed series that continue to be loved by viewers to this day. Whether you were a fan of crime and legal dramas, family and social dramas, or action and adventure, the 80’s had something for everyone.

’80s TV Shows, Comedies and Sitcoms

If there’s one thing that the 80s was known for, it was the abundance of comedies and sitcoms that graced our television screens. From family-centric sitcoms to workplace comedies and unique premise comedies, there was something for everyone.

Family-Centric Sitcoms

Some of the most popular sitcoms in the 80s were family-centric. These shows revolved around the lives of a family and the various challenges they faced. Shows like Family Ties, The Cosby Show, and Growing Pains were all huge hits during this time. Each show had its own unique take on the family dynamic, but they all shared a common theme of love and togetherness.

Workplace Comedies

Workplace comedies were also very popular during the 80s. Shows like Cheers and Who’s the Boss? were set in a bar and a household, respectively, and featured a cast of quirky characters that kept viewers entertained for years. These shows often revolved around the relationships and interactions between the characters, and their hilarious misadventures.

Unique Premise Comedies

The 80s also saw the rise of unique premise comedies. Shows like Full House and Different Strokes featured unique premises that set them apart from other sitcoms. Full House followed the lives of a widowed father and his three daughters, while Different Strokes featured a retired baseball player who adopts two African-American boys. These shows were not only entertaining, but they also tackled important social issues.

Overall, the 80s was a great time for sitcoms and comedies. Whether you were a fan of family-centric sitcoms, workplace comedies, or unique premise comedies, there was something for everyone to enjoy. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the laughs that these classic television series still bring today.

Science Fiction and Adventure

If you are a fan of science fiction and adventure, the 80s was a decade that had plenty to offer. From time travel to alternate realities, the era produced some of the most iconic shows that still hold up today.

Sci-Fi Series

One of the most popular sci-fi series of the 80s was Star Trek: The Next Generation. This show followed the adventures of the USS Enterprise-D as it explored the galaxy, encountering new civilizations and facing off against old enemies. With its compelling characters and thought-provoking themes, it quickly became a fan favorite and set the standard for future sci-fi shows.

Another notable sci-fi series was Quantum Leap, which followed the adventures of Dr. Sam Beckett as he traveled through time, inhabiting the bodies of different people in history. With its unique premise and blend of humor and drama, it was a hit with audiences and ran for five seasons.

Time Travel and Alternate Realities

The 80s also saw a number of shows that explored the concept of time travel and alternate realities. One such show was ALF, which followed the adventures of an alien who crash-landed on Earth and took up residence with a suburban family. With its blend of comedy and sci-fi, it was a hit with audiences and ran for four seasons.

Another show that explored the concept of alternate realities was The Greatest American Hero. This show followed the adventures of a high school teacher who gains superpowers from an alien suit, but struggles to control them. With its mix of action, humor, and heart, it was a beloved show that still holds up today.

Other notable shows that explored the themes of time travel, alien encounters, and changing history include Max Headroom, V, and The Twilight Zone. Whether you are a die-hard sci-fi fan or just looking for some adventure, the 80s had something for everyone.

Cultural Impact and Legacy

The ’80s was a decade that saw a lot of changes in American television. From the rise of cable TV to the emergence of new genres like sitcoms, dramas, and action shows, the ’80s was a time of great innovation and experimentation in television. The impact of ’80s TV shows on popular culture cannot be overstated. Here are some of the ways in which ’80s TV shows left their mark:


The ’80s were known for their bold and colorful fashion trends, and ’80s TV shows played a big role in popularizing these styles. Shows like Miami Vice and Dynasty were famous for their flashy outfits, while The Cosby Show and Family Ties popularized preppy styles. The fashion trends of the ’80s are still influencing designers today, and many of the iconic looks from ’80s TV shows are still being recreated and worn today.

Theme Song

One of the most memorable things about ’80s TV shows was their theme songs. From the synth-heavy themes of Knight Rider and The A-Team to the poppy tunes of The Golden Girls and Growing Pains, ’80s TV show theme songs were catchy, memorable, and often iconic. The theme songs of ’80s TV shows are still beloved by fans today and are often played at ’80s-themed parties and events.


The ’80s were a time of great change in American television. Cable TV was on the rise, and new channels like MTV and CNN were changing the way people consumed news and entertainment. The ’80s also saw the rise of new genres like sitcoms, dramas, and action shows, which would go on to become staples of American television. ’80s TV shows were also known for pushing boundaries and tackling controversial topics, such as drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality.


The ’80s were a time of great social change in America, and ’80s TV shows reflected this. Shows like The Cosby Show and Family Ties portrayed affluent, successful African American families and challenged stereotypes about race and class. Meanwhile, shows like Roseanne and Married… with Children depicted working-class families struggling to make ends meet. ’80s TV shows were watched by a wide range of viewers, from kids and teenagers to adults and college students.

Social Times

The ’80s were a time of great political and social upheaval in America. The country was still reeling from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, and the Reagan era was marked by conservative values and a backlash against the liberal ex-hippies of the ’60s and ’70s. ’80s TV shows reflected these social times and often tackled controversial topics like drug addiction, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality.

The cultural impact and legacy of ’80s TV shows cannot be overstated. From their influence on fashion and music to their portrayal of complex social issues, ’80s TV shows continue to be beloved by fans today and have left an indelible mark on American television and popular culture.

Madison Cates is a journalist located in the great state of Texas. She began writing over eight years ago. Her first major research piece was published by the Journal of Business and Economics in 2018. After growing up in a household of eight brothers and a dad who was always restoring old Camaros, she naturally pivoted her freelance career into the automotive industry. There, she found her passion. Her experience paved the way for her to work with multiple large corporations in automotive news and trending topics. Now, she now finds her home at Wealth of Geeks where she proudly serves as Managing Editor of Autos. Madison is always down to geek out over the latest beautiful cars on the market, and she enjoys providing her readers with tips to make car ownership easier and more enjoyable.

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