The 80s were a decade remembered fondly for its bold culture, and television shows of the era acted as a perfect representation of the zeitgeist. From the militaristic action of The A-Team to the laid-back cool of Magnum, P.I., the decade saw TV series that perfectly captured the spirit of the era. Sitcoms like Cheers and Family Ties explored the changing social norms of the time, while shows like Miami Vice and Dallas delivered lavish, stylish dramas. Other shows such as The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls, Knight Rider, and The Wonder Years, also made their mark on the 80s television landscape, and still, attract fans today.
10 TV Shows That Perfectly Capture the Spirit of the 80s
The 80s were a time of fluorescent colors, big hair, and even bigger personalities. From music to fashion and everything in between, this decade is still remembered fondly today. However, one of the most distinctive artifacts of the 80s is its television shows. These series perfectly capture the essence of the decade, transporting viewers back in time to a simpler, more vibrant era. Here are 10 TV shows that perfectly capture the spirit of the 80s.
1. The A-Team (1983-1987)
The A-Team followed a group of ex-US Army Special Forces soldiers who were on the run from the military police. The show was known for its elaborate action scenes, which often ended with the villains being miraculously defeated by the team. The series was known for its iconic characters, including the tough-talking Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith and the explosive-loving B.A. Baracus. The A-Team is one of the most enduring shows of the decade, with its popularity remaining strong among viewers today.
2. Cheers (1982-1993)
Cheers revolved around the everyday lives of the patrons and employees of a Boston bar. The show was a massive hit and is still considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Cheers perfectly captured the spirit of the 80s, with its characters embodying the era’s individualism and the changing social norms. It was a show about regular people, and its relatable themes made it an essential part of the 80s TV landscape.
3. Miami Vice (1984-1989)
Miami Vice was an edgy, hardboiled cop show that was famous for its slick production values, stylish fashion sense, and hard-hitting storyline. It was a series that captured the mood of the era, depicting the excesses of the time, the neon lights and the brashness of the culture. Miami Vice remains one of the most iconic shows of the 80s, and it’s still popular today, with its influence evident in present-day culture.
4. Family Ties (1982-1989)
Family Ties centered around the Keaton family and their way of dealing with the changing social landscape of the 80s. The show was one of the most popular sitcoms of the era, and it celebrated family, tradition, and conservative values. The show was known for depicting the conflicts between the baby boomers and the new wave of the conservative youth. The family values that Family Ties espoused became synonymous with the 80s themselves.
5. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
The Cosby Show was a landmark sitcom that managed to break new ground in the 80s. The show depicted the lives of an upper-class African American family and was praised for its realistic portrayal of minority characters. The show was a significant hit and was influential in breaking down racial barriers in the entertainment industry. The Cosby Show remains an iconic part of the TV landscape of the 80s.
6. The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
The Golden Girls was a sitcom that centered on a group of older women, who lived together in Miami. It was a unique show, and its popularity was linked to its drama and comedy, as well as the chemistry between its leading ladies. The show perfectly captured the spirit of the 80s, depicting the changing roles of women, the increasing senior population of the country and highlighted the importance of friendship among people from different backgrounds.
7. Dallas (1978-1991)
Dallas was a phenomenally successful TV show that chronicled the lives of the wealthy Ewing family. The show was known for its intertwining plotlines, lavish costumes, and charismatic performances from its actors. Dallas was the quintessential soap opera, and it captivated millions of viewers over the course of its run. The show was also known for its controversial cliffhanger endings, which kept fans hooked till the following season.
8. Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)
Magnum, P.I. was a show about a private investigator named Thomas Magnum, who worked in Hawaii. The show was famous for its laid-back, aloha attitude, Tom Selleck’s iconic mustache, and fast-paced plotlines. Magnum, P.I. embodied the 80s spirit, and it remains popular to this day. Its influence can be seen in TV shows that followed in its wake, such as Burn Notice.
9. Knight Rider (1982-1986)
Knight Rider was a show about a crimefighter named Michael Knight, who drove an advanced, talking car called KITT. The show was one of the most successful of the 80s, and it was famous for its groundbreaking special effects, tense action scenes, and unforgettable characters. Knight Rider remains a classic show of the era, and its influence can be seen in modern-day entertainment, from movies to TV shows, and video games
10. The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
The Wonder Years was a coming-of-age drama about a boy named Kevin Arnold and his experiences growing up in suburban America in the late 60s-early 70s. The show was known for its poignant themes, and realistic depictions of life in the era. It was a show that perfectly captured the simple joys of youth and perfectly evoked the spirit of the 80s. The Wonder Years was one of the most influential shows of the era and touched the hearts of millions.
In conclusion, the 80s were an iconic era for television, and the shows that came out of that decade remain quintessential representations of that time. These ten TV shows perfectly capture the spirit of the 80s, embodying the spirit of the age and showcasing the unique cultural phenomena that defined the time. These shows remind us of an era that was at once simpler and more vibrant, and they continue to be celebrated for their compelling storytelling, memorable characters, and enduring influence.