The 80s was an era all its own, and the fan-favorite binge-worthy television shows were prime examples of what made the decade tubular with big hair, shoulder pads, and cheesy-yet-lovable entertainment.
If you’ve found yourself reminiscing about the television shows that got you through your childhood—but you don’t know where to start—or, if you didn’t have the pleasure of living in the 80s and want to see why we loved them, we’ve compiled a list of what to watch and why.
Early 80s Binge Watches
Cheers hit network television in 1982 and today stands as one of the most classic sitcoms ever. Interestingly, the show almost got canceled after its premiere thanks to horrible ratings. According to UPROXX, it came in 77th place out of 100 shows. NBC held on, though, and Cheers had an impressive rebound. After 11 seasons, it also racked up 28 Primetime Emmys.
Cheers highlights the friendships and love lives of bartender and former baseball pro, Sam Malone, his fellow employees, and the regulars who visit them every day.
Catch Cheers on Hulu.
Night Court (1984-1992)
Night Court follows off-beat New York City Judge Harold Stone. Zany Stone hears some of the city’s most absurd cases. And he always has a hilarious perspective during the proceedings. The supporting cast pulls everything together in this laugh-out-loud comedy.
At the time of its original release, Night Court was wildly popular. It was so popular that a recent revival drew in the highest ratings of any network comedy since 2019, according to The New York Times. Unfortunately, the new series hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations of the original. It currently has a 45% user score on Rotten Tomatoes. But it was renewed for a second season.
You can watch the original Night Court on Amazon Prime. Peacock subscribers have access to its reboot.
Murder She Wrote (1984-1996)
Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher is one of the most iconic characters of the 1980s. In fact, Lansbury won 4 Golden Globes for the performance.
Murder She Wrote follows Fletcher, a famous mystery writer, who uses her talent of crafting fictional murders as a tool to solve real-life murders. The complex storylines give fun twists and turns and leave you hooked. You may be surprised how quickly you get through the 12 seasons.
The who-done-it drama is available on Peacock.
Miami Vice (1984-1999)
Crime drama Miami Vice was the ultimate showcase of what made the ’80s cool, and binge-watching this gem will make you feel like you’re back in the era.
The series follows the high crime of Miami, Florida with undercover detectives Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. To crack the city’s organized crime and drug trafficking problems, they have to look the part in the most fashionable clothes while driving the flashiest cars. Miami Vice is a true period piece that captures how the elite lived 40 years ago.
Watch Miami Vice on Amazon Prime.
Late 80s Series to Start Today
The Golden Girls (1985 to 1992)
If you haven’t seen The Golden Girls from start to finish, stop what you’re doing and turn on the pilot right now. The witty story is by far one of the most hilarious to ever hit television, and the legendary ladies make us all hope to retire to a house full of friends and cheesecake.
The Golden Girls follows Rose, Dorthy, Sophia, and Blanche as they navigate life in their golden years. The sort of Odd Couple crew pokes fun at each other and bickers, but they love each other no matter what.
The series is available to Hulu subscribers.
Married… With Children (1987 to 1997)
Al Bundy and his hilariously dysfunctional family were groundbreaking characters in their time. Their raunchy humor had audiences demanding that FOX pull Married… With Children over fears that it was too accessible for impressionable young viewers. But fans outweighed the naysayers and the series stuck around for a decade. It even earned seven Primetime Emmy nods along the way.
Married…With Children follows the day-to-day life of shoe salesman Al; his vain, high-maintenance wife, Peggy; their dorky, can’t-catch-a-break son, Bud; and his hugely popular and beautiful sister, Kelly.
If you’d like to see what caused all the fuss in the 80s, Married… With Children is available to binge on Hulu.
Murphy Brown (1988-2018)
Murphy Brown is a classic comedy in the vein of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which highlights hard-working, successful women in the workforce during a time when more real-life women were opting to give up homemaking for busy careers.
The story shows Candice Bergen as Murphy, a famed investigative journalist, and her quirky co-workers at FYI News Network. Murphy struggles to balance her job with being a single mom and leans into her dry sense of humor to get through the days.
The series originally ran from 1988 through 1997, and it picked back up in 2018. The return didn’t take well with fans, however, and it ended after 13 episodes.
Murphy Brown is available on the Just Watch app.
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