The 1980s ushered in a new age for television. With the economy rebounding after the struggles of the '70s, audiences wanted everything bigger, even in their entertainment: bigger action, bigger explosions and bigger laughs. And networks delivered with a slew of family-friendly sitcoms, primetime dramas and action-packed crime shows.
Now audiences could see reflections of themselves on TV: in the Conners, the Seavers, the Keatons or the Huxtables. Each sitcom family reflected the values and attitudes of the '80s, with people focused on climbing the economic ladder and maintaining their social standing. More women were entering the workforce, as reflected on shows like "Growing Pains," "The Cosby Show" and "Roseanne." And many socially conservative youths found their '80s values at odds with their liberal parents', as on the show "Family Ties."
Whether you enjoyed the many lighthearted sitcoms of the 1980s or preferred the more serious dramas of the decade, see how many of these '80s shows you can remember. We pity the fool who can't get most of these right!
We all want to go where everybody knows our name! Can you name this hit show set in a Boston bar?
Sam Malone (Ted Danson) ran Cheers, a bar with a bunch of memorable regulars: Cliff Clavin, Norm Peterson and Frasier Crane, for example. Sam's relationship with Diane kept audiences enthralled.
Can you name the '80s show featuring a working-class family in Lanford, Illinois?
"Roseanne" revolved around the Conners, a blue-collar family headed by Dan and Roseanne (John Goodman and Roseanne Barr). The show tackled real-life issues that many families faced in the '80s.
Call the Sunshine Cab Company if you need a ride around Manhattan. That's the premise of which '80s sitcom?
"Taxi" featured a wide cast of characters, with most of them trying to get through their shifts while dreaming of doing something more — and trying to stay on Louie De Palma's good side!
Young versions of Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie have adventures in their nursery in which animated '80s show?
"Muppet Babies" reintroduced the Muppets as babies playing together in a nursery. They're watched over by Nanny, although audiences only ever saw her green and white striped stockings.
This beloved '80s sitcom launched the careers of the Olsen twins and got a reboot in 2016. Can you name it?
When Danny's (Bob Saget) wife died, Joey and Jesse moved in to help him raise his three young daughters, D.J., Stephanie and Michelle. The show had a successful run from 1987 to 1995.
Robin Williams was truly out of this world as a zany alien in which sitcom?
After appearing as Mork on "Happy Days," Robin Williams got his own spin-off show, "Mork & Mindy." He played Mork, an alien who lands in Boulder, Colorado, and tries to learn human customs.
If you can croon along to "Love and Marriage" with Frank Sinatra, then you probably remember this '80s show.
"Married ... with Children" was a new type of sitcom — the members of the Bundy family constantly mock the father, Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill), for his unfulfilling job as a shoe salesman.
Cabot Cove has a high murder rate for a small coastal town! Good thing Jessica Fletcher's there to assist! What's this long-running show?
"Murder, She Wrote" ran for 12 seasons due to its popularity. Angela Lansbury starred as a famous mystery writer who inserts herself in police investigations in her hometown in Maine.
The kids at Bayside High dealt with normal teenage issues in which sitcom?
"Saved by the Bell" was a new version of the show "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." The producers decided to focus on the kids instead of the adults, leading to this popular show for tweens.
For a show about nothing, this sitcom portrayed a lot of memorable situations! What is it?
"Seinfeld" was developed on the premise that its four characters — Jerry, Elaine, Kramer and George — frequently find themselves in frustrating situations but never learn from their mistakes.
Kevin Arnold gets by with a little help from his friends in which show that started in 1988?
Set in the late '60s, "The Wonder Years" showed Kevin's coming of age. His relationships with his parents, brother Wayne and childhood crush Winnie captivated audiences for six years.
dbking via WikiCommons
Help the police catch a fugitive? Sounds exciting! Which show ran for 25 years and was hosted by John Walsh?
John Walsh, a victims' rights advocate, hosted this long-running reality show, which provided information on fugitives. The show also provided a hotline so audiences could call in with tips.
Murakami-Wolf-Swenson / CBS
Four crime-fighting martial artists get their instruction from a rat in the sewers of New York City. Can you name this show?
Cowabunga, dude! The popular cartoon based on the comic books ran from 1987 to 1996 and spawned a massive toy line. And every kid of the '80s could sing the theme song — "Turtle Power"!
Walt Disney Television / Disney Television Animation / Syndication
Did you ever wish for a vault full of gold you could swim in, like Scrooge McDuck in this show? It's OK to admit it ...
"DuckTales" had a catchy theme song and saw its young heroes — Huey, Dewey and Louie — go on all sorts of adventures with their uncles Donald and Scrooge McDuck. In 2017, the popular show got a reboot.
Neil Patrick Harris played a teenage doctor in which medical drama?
Child prodigy Douglas "Doogie" Howser has more to juggle than typical teenager issues like pimples and girlfriend problems — he's also training to be a surgeon at a busy hospital.
The Tanner family takes in a lost alien in this show. Can you name it?
The alien Gordon Shumway gets the nickname ALF (short for Alien Life Form) after he lands in the Tanners' home. He must adjust to human life — while also resisting the temptation to eat the family cat!
We loved it when a plan came together on this show, which featured B. A. Baracus. Do you remember it?
"The A-Team" featured four ex-soldiers on the run who become mercenaries. The action-packed show ran from 1983 to 1987 and starred George Peppard, Dirk Benedict, Dwight Schultz and Mr. T.
Captain Frank Furillo leads a team of police in this gritty show. Let's be careful out there!
Audiences got an up-close look at the daily struggles of police officers in this realistic show. Set in an unnamed city, "Hill Street Blues" often developed stories over several episodes.
ABC Television via WikiCommons
Do you remember the show that starred Hal Linden as a police captain? What's it called?
In "Barney Miller" (1975 - 1982), the title character leads a police station in Greenwich Village. The job is not as glamorous as it sounds, though, as he deals with budget cuts and eccentric co-workers.
Paramount Domestic Television / CBS
Captain Jean-Luc Picard leads a crew in exploring the final frontier in which '80s show?
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" was a continuation of the original series from the '60s. It continued for seven seasons and starred Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn.
You can hear the "General Lee" play "Dixie" with its horn on this action TV show. What is it?
Luke and Bo Duke are constantly going up against the corrupt Boss Hogg on "The Dukes of Hazzard" — with Daisy Duke and Uncle Jesse on their side. The "General Lee" became an iconic TV car.
Matt Groening came up with this show in 1989, and it's still on the air today! What show is it?
"The Simpsons" has been running longer than any other American sitcom. The family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie have won over audience's hearts even as they satirize American culture.
Watch out, kids! Your bestie at school might be an undercover police officer! Which show featured Johnny Depp as Tom Hanson?
Johnny Depp played one of the youthful police officers sent on undercover missions at high schools. The show tackled challenging issues and often ended with a public service announcement.
Family life never looked so heartwarming! Can you name the '80s sitcom featuring the Huxtables?
Bill Cosby starred as Cliff Huxtable, a doctor raising five kids with his lawyer wife, Claire. Whenever the kids got into some mischief, the parents were there to impart some wisdom (and discipline)!
The weapon of choice of this action hero is not a gun, but a Swiss Army knife. Do you remember this show?
MacGyver, as played by Richard Dean Anderson, is a brilliant engineer who can fashion tools out of everyday items. And while he can easily take down bad guys, he prefers to use non-lethal force.
Who shot J.R.? That was the question every fan of this show was asking.
Running for 14 seasons, "Dallas" was a widely popular soap opera drama on CBS. It featured the Ewings, a Texas family that owned a big oil business, and their rivals, the Barnes.
Before there was "E.R.," there was this medical drama set at a Boston hospital. Can you name it?
"St. Elsewhere" was a gritty ensemble drama that portrayed the daily struggles of doctors at a teaching hospital. The run-down hospital, which cared for the city's poor, was actually named St. Eligius.
The hero of which '80s drama sports a thick mustache and Hawaiian shirts?
Tom Selleck played the private investigator Thomas Magnum, who lives and works in Hawaii. While living at the Robin's Nest, Magnum has to deal with the uptight caretaker, Higgins.
"What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" was a popular catchphrase on which '80s sitcom?
Orphaned brothers Arnold and Willis move in with a wealthy businessman and his daughter and become his adopted sons. Thus, "Diff'rent Strokes" balanced lighthearted storylines with serious social issues.
Time for a shift at the Shotz Brewery with these two best friends and roommates! Can you name this show?
Each episode began with the title characters skipping down the street, followed by the jaunty theme, "Making Our Dreams Come True." It was just the sort of peppy, lighthearted comedy audiences wanted to see!
Vincent and Catherine share a special bond on which CBS fantasy series?
"Beauty and the Beast" got an '80s update! After Vincent, a mysterious man-beast, rescues Catherine, a district attorney, he introduces her to a secret world underneath the streets of New York City.
The Winslows dealt with nerdy Urkel's shenanigans in which long-running '80s sitcom?
"Family Matters," which ran from 1989 to 1998, featured the Winslows, an African-American family in Chicago. Their geeky, suspender-sporting neighbor Steve Urkel quickly became the star of the show.
Four seniors living together in a Miami home; that's the premise of which '80s sitcom?
Set in Miami, "The Golden Girls" featured four widowed or divorced women who move in together and face the twilight years with humor. The show won over many fans, including Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The unconventional judge Harry T. Stone starred on which '80s series?
The sitcom "Night Court" (1984 - 1992) featured the goings-on at a Manhattan court. Harry T. Stone stands out as a quirky judge because of his young age and fondness of magic tricks.
Alex P. Keaton is frequently at odds with his parents over politics in this show. What is it?
In "Family Ties," Alex P. Keaton supports the conservative ideals of the '80s while his parents hold on to their liberal views from the '60s and '70s. Michael J. Fox rose to stardom as the entrepreneurial Alex.
This crime drama featured a large man and his bulldog, Max. Do you remember the show?
Switching between Los Angeles and Hawaii, "Jake and the Fatman" featured William Conrad and Joe Penny as the title characters. The prosecutor and investigator team together to put criminals away.
Virgil Tibbs returns to Sparta, Mississippi, in which '80s drama?
A continuation of the 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier, "In the Heat of the Night" shows the relationship between African-American detective Virgil Tibbs and white police chief William Gillespie.
This '80s dramedy helped launch Bruce Willis's career. Do you know it?
Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd starred as a pair of private investigators at the Blue Moon Detective Agency. The two partners solved crimes while maintaining a simmering sexual tension.
Can you name this children's show based in part on the popular candy?
All the Gummi Bears need is some magic gummi berry juice to bounce away from their enemies. The Gummis live in a series of underground tunnels and generally avoid humans, except for two kids.
As long as we have each other, we can remember this '80s sitcom featuring the Seaver family. What's the show?
"Growing Pains" began in 1985 and featured the lovable Seavers: psychiatrist dad Jason, journalist mom Maggie and four kids. It was in his role as Mike Seaver that Kirk Cameron attained teen heartthrob status.
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