The Best 80's Sitcoms

The 80's were a glorious time for television, full of fantastic sitcoms. Perhaps I'm bias because these shows remind me of my youth, but there is just something super awesome about them. Here are what I feel are some of the best sitcoms of the 80's.

16. Charles in Charge (1984-1990)
Charles, a college student, moves in with the Powell family as the housekeeper, baby-sitter, and friend to the children. Along with his best friend, Buddy, Charles attempts to manage his life, especially college and girls, as well as tend to the family.

15. Silver Spoons (1982-1987)
The story of young Ricky Stratton and his millionaire father, Edward, who lives very much like a young boy himself, in a house filled floor to ceiling with toys. Still, Edward takes raising Ricky seriously, and tries to avoid spoiling him while still letting him enjoy his childhood.

14. Head of the Class (1986-1990)
Charlie Moore is struggling New York actor-director, who while waiting for his big break, works as a substitute teacher. His current assignment is to "watch over" a class of student prodigies. When he sees them, he sees that the principal has more or less shut them out from the rest of the world, so he tries to show them that there's more to life than just studying and winning academic competitions. The principal doesn't exactly think that he is a positive influence on the students but when one of the students' parents, who is also on the school board, sees how he got his son to get out off his shell that he "asked" the principal to make the permanent teacher. So every week he helps the students with their personal problems, in addition to their academic ones.

13. Small Wonder (1985-1989)
Father Ted Lawson creates robot, Vickie. The family, Ted, Joan, and Jamie, keep the information that Vickie is a robot secret, and pretend that she is their daughter. Harriet, their nosy and annoying neighbor, has a crush on Jamie and plans to marry him. Her dad, Brandon Brendall, is Ted's boss because Brandon stole Ted's ideas and said he invented them. Tiffany Brisset stars as Vickie "The Robot" Lawson.

12. The Golden Girls (1985-1992) The Golden Girls is based on the lives and interactions of four older women whom have all been divorced/widowed, and are now roommates. Bea Arthur's (Dorothy) main goal during the series is to find a companion she can relate to while her mother Estelle Getty (Sophia) adds her comical outlook and frequent "Picture This" stories. Betty White's St. Olaf-ness makes her a little corny but lovable. One thing that changes nearly every episode is whom Rue McClanahan (Blanche) is courting. She's a little too promiscuous for her own good.

11. Perfect Strangers (1986-1993)
Balki Bartokomous, a sheepherder from the small Mediterranean Greek-like island of Mypos, travels to the United States in search of his relatives. He finds his cousin, Larry Appleton - who has recently 'escaped' from his large-sized family and is reveling in the unaccustomed luxury of having his own room to himself. They end up sharing accommodation in Larry's apartment - even though the two cousins could not be more dissimilar. For, while Larry is panicky, hyperventilative, business-like and mercenary - Balki is placid, unharried, sunny-natured and idealistic.

10. Night Court (1984-1992)
Judge Harold T. Stone presides over "Night Court", a court which deals with petty crimes which can be dealt with in a dime-a-dozen manner. Invariably, the cases appearing before the court are bizarre, but that's ok because Judge Stone is not your regular judge. He's assisted by a motley crew of clerks and District Attorneys who often create as much chaos as the criminals they bring in for trial.

9. Alf (1986-1990)
The Tanner family is an average American family. One day, they discover that they have a visitor. He's small, he's furry, he's arrogant, and he's an alien from the planet Melmac. Unsure what to do, they name him ALF: Alien Life Form. Alf soon decides that as much as he misses his home planet, there's a lot to be said for Earth: the Tanners are willing to concede anything as long as he doesn't announce his presence. Oh yeah, the the Tanners also have a cat, which looks rather tasty...

8. Newhart (1982-1990)
Dick Loudon and his wife Joanna decide to leave life in New York City and buy a little inn in Vermont. Dick is a how-to book writer, who eventually becomes a local TV celebrity as host of "Vermont Today." George Utley is the handyman at the inn and Leslie Vanderkellen is the maid, with ambitions of being an Olympic Ski champion; she is later replaced by her cousin Stephanie, an heiress who hates her job. Her boyfriend is Dick's yuppie TV producer, Michael Harris. There are many other quirky characters in this fictional little town, including Dick's neighbors Larry, Darryl, and Darryl...three brothers who buy the Minuteman Cafe from Kirk Devane. Besides sharing a name, Darryl and Darryl never speak (until the final episode).

7. Punky Brewster (1984-1988)
Punky Brewster is a show about a girl named Penelope "punky" Brewster. She is abandoned with her dog, Brandon in a supermarket by her mother. She doesn't want to stay in an orphanage, and finally befriends Henry Warnimont who adopts her.

6. Mr. Belvedere (1985-1990)
A sarcastic, wisecracking Englishman answers an ad and slots into his new role as housekeeper for a dysfunctional family, the Owenses. He becomes their nursemaid, babysitter, cleaner, cook, confidant, conscience... all these things, but still can't get Angela to pronounce his name correctly!

5. Growing Pains (1985-1992)
It's hard enough to raise a kid nowadays but when you have to cope with THESE kids, things tend to get out of hand! Dr Seaver, a psychologist and his wife Maggie Seaver, a journalist, try to do their best raising their family and although their kids, Mike, Ben, Carol and Crissie, cause them endless problems, they manage to keep the family close together. As long as they got each other, nothing else matters...

4. Who's the Boss (1984-1992)
Former major-leaguer Tony Micelli and his daughter Samantha arrive at the Connecticut household of executive Angela Bower, where Tony has taken a job as live-in housekeeper. The Bowers are an interesting family, to say the least. Angela is uptight and obsessed with her work. Her son Jonathan is shy and lacks self-esteem, and her mother, Mona, is a man-hungry vixen. Tony soon wins them over with his laid back style, and the Bowers soon begin to loosen up. Over time, romantic tensions begin to surface between Angela and Tony, and we see the children grow up.

3. Family Ties (1982-1989)
A couple who were ardently leftwing political activists in the sixties face the problems of raising a family with children who have strongly conservative views. Alex was an avid Reagan-devotee and card-carrying Young Republicans Club member who sauntered through the house in a shirt and tie and hung a picture of William F. Buckley over his bed. But as intelligent and over-achieving as Alex was, Mallory was as underachieving and slacker; she was more into shopping and cute guys. Jennifer was the precocious youngster who just wanted to be a normal kid. During the 1984-1985 season, Elyse gave birth to Andrew, her and Steven's fourth child; Alex quickly took his young brother under his wing, and before long, Andrew was reading the Wall Street Journal over his Froot Loops cereal.

2. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Long-running popular comedy television series about the Huxtable family. Doctor Heathcliff Huxtable and Clair Huxtable, a happily married couple, are raising their children (Sondra, Denise, Theodore, Vanessa, and Rudy). The two oldest daughters eventually live successful adult lives and get married (Sondra to Elvin and Denise to Martin). As the children get older, the family gets larger and, to the chagrin of Cliff, keep on coming back home when he wants them to move out and live on their own for good.

1. Cheers (1982-1993)
Sam Malone, a former baseball star, is the head of a nice little bar where Norm, Cliff, Dr. Frasier and all the other regular customers spend together a few hours every day, talking about their problems, laughing at each other's flaws, trying to be there when someone else needs them. "Cheers" is the place where everybody knows your name...


  1. Good God the 80's SUCKED ! These shows SUCK.

  2. I think it is interesting how many of these shows didnt peter out untill '90 to '93.

  3. Huge Miss.... WKRP - one of the best EVER!!!

  4. That's not really 80's

  5. The 80's had the best shows.

  6. Seinfeld didn't start until early 1990.

    I like Cheers, The Cosby Show and Night Court. That's all I can think of.

  7. Cosby was hands down the best show. Cheers had its moments but Cosby is the only #1 rated show for 6 consecutive seasons. Cheers had only 1 #1 season.

  8. Sorry, cheers WAS better than the cosby show. It's silly to point to popularity as the deciding factor. Britney Spears sells millions of records. There's better singers in every high school.

    Cosby was good, but it didn't age well. Today it comes off corny and simplistic. Cheers would still be a hit today.

  9. I think this list is very good, it is the 80's, they just were so good they continued into the 90's!


  10. I agree 100%.....The Cosby Show sucked compared to Cheers

  11. While I am aware that these two shows didn't start until the late 80's, (both in 88) they both had an 80's feel to them (at least the early seasons) and these two shows are Roseanne and The Wonder Years. The list above is a phenomenal list and agree that all of them are great in their own respects. However, there are some quintessential sitcoms missing from this list that were also great and could be used to lengthen the list to at least best 20 sitcoms. They are Gimme a Break starring the wonderfully talented Nell Carter, Diff'rent Strokes, Webster, and even The Facts of Life. I also enjoyed Mama's Family!!!

  12. i like roseanne, diffrent strokes and buck rogers, my fave is roseanne!!! especially halloween episodes

  13. Metal up your ass!

  14. uh... people please. the Cosby Show was and still is AMAZING!!! if you can't respect that than you should seriously consider this and then look at what you watch today. it is not only healthier and educational. it lacks sluttiness crudeness,and alcoholism. what do you watch today? Jersey Shore, Glee, Meet the Kardashians, and Real Housewives. Think about what you are saying and then realize how big of idiots you are. then we can all go on with our lives without having to hear your lack of respect towards the better things in life.

  15. Where's Valerie/Valerie's Family/The Hogan Family?
    Where's The Facts of Life?

    If I could only pick one decade of show and had full access to each episode, it would be the 80s

  16. There are so many show to name. The Cosby Show was the greatest I must say. Why else would it come in 1st place in ratings for so many years? It was for a good reason! I would definitley add the spin-off of The Cosby Show, A Different World. A Different World was great too!

  17. Cheers was funny, but it certainly wasn't better than the Cosby esp. when the character Diane became crap. Cosby has aged very well and people around the world still watch it. But I agree, Roseanne, the Golden Girls and Cosby were the best....all the rest were good at the time but kinda suck today. Seinfeld isn't that funny....only Americans think it is.

  18. Cheers was funny, but it certainly wasn't better than the Cosby esp. when the character Diane became crap. Cosby has aged very well and people around the world still watch it. But I agree, Roseanne, the Golden Girls and Cosby were the best....all the rest were good at the time but kinda suck today. A Different World should also be on that list. Seinfeld isn't that funny....only Americans think it is.

  19. Very good list. I can think of a couple of other shows that were left off the list that were awesome. One was Married With Children. Even though it started in '87 and didn't end until '97, it was downright hilarious! Another sitcom I can think of was Amen (1986-1991). It was the lesser known of the two Sherman Hemsley sitcoms (the first one being the Jeffersons), but I actually liked Amen better.

  20. You forgot macguyver, and knight rider

  21. I'm not an 80s baby and wasn't able to watch all of them though, I remember my mom designing our home inspired with the Cheers TV series. The rooms were evolving during that time, good thing my mom managed to control herself from designing our home every now and then depending on what series she's following as of the moment.