The 1980s were characterized by MTV, the personal computer, the first mobile phone and the VCR. It was also known for fads like big hair, boom boxes, jelly shoes, neon and Nintendo. When it comes to television, the '80s were defined by hour-long drams, sitcoms and detective shows - and there were also more game shows than in the previous decade.
With very few exceptions, television drama shows have been the same since they were first created back when. In almost every series, the characters would have to face life-or-death situations, often having a dramatic and unexpected ending.
Some of the most popular shows included "Knight Rider," "Cheers," "The Facts of Life," "Three's Company," "Miami Vice," "Married...with Children," "MacGyver," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Murder, She Wrote" and "The A-Team." Some of these show went on to have spinoffs and a few of them have also been remade.
How well do you know your 1980s television drama shows? Were you even alive to watch some of these shows when they were first on the air? If you would like to test your knowledge of '80s television, then all you have to do is match each character to the show that they were on. Take it to see just how much you remember.
Samuel “Sam” Malone, played by Ted Danson, is a Boston Red Sox former relief pitcher, and the owner and bartender of the bar, Cheers. He is a well-known womanizer and recovering alcoholic who had a rocky relationship with Diane Chambers, the bar waitress.
Portrayed by Bruce Willis, David Addison Jr. is the carefree, wisecracking detective who works at the City of Angels Detective Agency. He has a flirtatious relationship with his boss, Maddie Hayes.
Kevin Arnold is the central character of the show who is depicted by Fred Savage and narrated by Daniel Stern as an adult on the show "The Wonder Years." He is an adolescent boy who grew up in the '60s and '70s. After high school, he attended college, got married and fathered a son.
Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, who is played by George Peppard, is one of the main protagonists of the television series "The A-Team." He is best known for saying the line “I love it when a plan comes together.” In the 2010 film adaptation, the role was taken on by Liam Neeson.
Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV is the main and title character of the 1980s American television series "Magnum, P.I." Set in Hawaii, the series followed Tom Selleck as the title character who became a private investigator after leaving the Navy.
Webster Long is a 5-year-old African American orphan who is taken by his godfather and his wife after his parents were killed in an accident. "Webster" was centered around the young boy, played by Emmanuel Lewis, and his antics.
Actress Catherine Bach played the role of Daisy Duke in the 1970s to 1980s hit series, "The Dukes of Hazzard." Cousin of Bo and Luke, the main characters of the show, she was often seen getting into trouble with them while wearing her iconic denim shorts.
George Jefferson is a fictional character who appeared on the sitcom "All in the Family," then starred in its spin-off ,"The Jeffersons." The spin-off was one of the most successful to ever air and it focused on the character and his wife, the owners of a successful cleaning chain.
Jessica Beatrice Fletcher is a character and the main protagonist of the 1980s television series "Murder, She Wrote." Portrayed by actress Angela Lansbury, the main character was a mystery novel writer and amateur detective who always happened to be around when murders occurred.
Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, who was played by actor Alan Alda, is a character who appeared in both the books and the 1980s television series, "M*A*S*H." He was the lead surgeon in his unit at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
Steve Quincy Urkel is a fictional character who appeared on the sitcom "Family Matters." His character was only meant to have a one-time appearance, but soon he became the show's main protagonist. The clumsy yet intelligent character was best known for his love for neighbor Laura Winslow and for turning into Stefan Urquelle.
Alex P. Keaton is a character who appeared on the sitcom "Family Ties," from 1982 to 1989. The series follows Alex, a Republican high school student portrayed by Michael J Fox, and his relationship with his hippie parents.
Portrayed by actor George Wendt, Hilary Norman Peterson was one of the many characters on the show "Cheers," which aired from 1982 to 1993. Norm was the very first customer of Diane Chambers and he was best known for how he was greeted at the bar.
Sophia Petrillo is a fictional character who was first encountered on the series "The Golden Girls," which aired from 1985 to 1992. After the nursing home which she was staying at burned down, she moved in with her daughter and two roommates.
Played by comedian Paul Reubens, Pee-wee Herman is a fictional character who is best known for starring on the television series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" and the motion picture adaptations in the 1980s. In the 1990s, he made several guest appearances, as well as starring in other films.
Jack Tripper is a fictional character who appeared on the television shows "Three’s Company" and "Three’s a Crowd." Originally based on the character Robin Tripp from another sitcom, Jack is known for being extremely accident-prone and clumsy.
Tony Micelli, played by actor Tony Danza, is a character who appeared on the show "Who’s the Boss?" from 1984 to 1992. Tony is a former basketball player who was forced to retire after sustaining an injury to his shoulder. Naturally, he takes a job as a live-in housekeeper.
Homer Jay Simpson is a character who appears on the animated sitcom, "The Simpsons." He, along with his wife and three children, are the main characters who viewers encounter every episode. He is known for being a crude, lazy and idiotic power plant worker. This show has been in production for decades!
Jean-Luc Picard is a character who appeared on the television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," from 1987 to 1994. Mostly seen commanding the USS Enterprise-D, he was played by actor Patrick Stewart, who also reprised the role in several films.
Dr. Frasier Winslow Crane is a fictional character who appeared on the shows "Cheers" and its spin-off "Frasier." In the latter, the character returns to his hometown of Seattle where he is the host of his very own psychotherapeutic radio show – The Dr. Frasier Crane Show.
Louie De Palma is a character who appeared on the Emmy-award-winning American sitcom "Taxi." It follows the everyday lives of a handful of New York City cab drivers and their not-so-nice dispatcher, Louie, played by Danny DeVito.
"Kate & Allie" is an American sitcom which aired from 1984 to 1989. It followed two divorced women and their children, who decided to live together. Kate’s storyline often revolved around the fact that she struggled to be taken seriously at her place of work.
Al Bundy, played by actor Ed O’Neill, is the main protagonist of the television series "Married…with Children." The working-class father of two is often seen lamenting his life, but he will always stand by his family in their time of need.
Angus “Mac” MacGyver is the title character of the 1980s television series "MacGyver." Played by the actor Richard Dean Anderson, MacGyver is a resourceful secret agent who works as a troubleshooter for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. The series was rebooted in 2016, with Lucas Till playing the role of MacGyver.
Played by actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Zack Morris was a character on the sitcoms "Good Morning, Miss Bliss," "Saved by the Bell" and "Saved by the Bell: The College Years." He was one of the main characters of the show, best known for being a bit of a schemer.
Julia Sugarbaker is an outspoken, no-nonsense, confident and independent Southern belle who is nicknamed “The Terminator,” due to her quick tongue. On the show "Designing Women," she is the owner and president of the Sugarbaker and Associates Design Firm, which she runs from her Victorian home.
Mike Seaver, played by Kirk Cameron, is the son of Jason and Maggie Seaver on the show "Growing Pains." He is depicted as a slacker who frequently finds himself in trouble - he prefers chasing girls and having fun instead of focusing on school.
Diana Chambers is a fictional character who first appeared on the sitcom "Cheers" and then guested on the show "Frasier." On "Cheers," she played the role of a bar waitress who was in an on-and-off relationship with the other bartender, Sam Malone.
Portrayed by actor John Schneider, Bo Duke is the younger cousin of Luke Duke. They live on a family farm with their cousin Daisy and wise Uncle Jesse. Bo is one half of the mischievous duo who embark on several escapades while evading Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the show "The Dukes of Hazzard."
Clair Olivia Hanks Huxtable, played by Phylicia Rashad, is a well-respected attorney on the hit sitcom "The Cosby Show." Her husband, Heathcliff, was played by comedian Bill Cosby.
Sonny Crockett is a detective on the show "Miami Vice." He works as an undercover vice cop for the Organized Crime Bureau, Vice Division. He initially appears distant and laid back, but he is very dedicated to his job and always “plays by the book.”
Rose Nylund, from the show "Golden Girls," is a widow who is depicted as a naive and kind woman, who is known for her odd stories of life growing up in her hometown. She moved from Minnesota to Miami following the death of her husband and is roommates with Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia.
Lynn Aloysius Belvedere, the main character from the show "Mr. Belvedere," is a cultured gentleman. He is hired by George and Marsha Owens as a housekeeper to take care of their three children - Kevin, Heather and Wesley.
Arnold Jackson, from the show "Diff'rent Strokes," is the younger brother of Willis Jackson. They were adopted by wealthy widower Philip Drummond following the death of their mother. Arnold is best known for his catchphrase, “Whatchoo talkin’ 'bout, Willis?”
Penelope “Punky” Brewster is a funny, bright and kind young girl who, after being abandoned by her parents, is raised by her foster father Henry Warnimont, an elderly, widowed photographer with whom she develops a close relationship.
Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey is the youngest of the seven main characters on the show, "The Facts of Life." Portrayed by actress Kim Fields, the gossipy character is looked after by their housemother, Edna Garrett.
Joanie Cunningham is the nosy and mischevious daughter of Marion and Howard Cunningham and the younger sister of Richie and Chuck Cunningham, from the show "Happy Days." She is mostly known for complaining and pouting when she is sent to her room for being troublesome.
Michael Knight is the protagonist of the series "Knight Rider" and is portrayed by actor David Hasselhoff. He is depicted as a modern-day crime fighter who embarks on missions with his artificially intelligent, nearly indestructible car named KITT.
Jim “Iggy” Ignatowski, a character from the show "Taxi," is a gentle soul who is frequently spaced out due to extensive drug use during the 1960s. He is an eccentric reverend who presided over the marriage of Latka Gravas (the company’s immigrant mechanic).
John “Jack” Arnold, depicted by Dan Lauria, is a veteran from the Korean War who works at a large military defense corporation, eventually starting his own business selling handmade furniture. He is also the father of Kevin Arnold.