The 1980s were when television began to reflect America as it really was -- racially diverse, politically divided, emotionally complex. In about 30 years, America went from TV shows that had to show married couples sleeping in separate twin beds to 1984's "Something About Amelia," a TV movie which depicted sex abuse in a suburban family. OK, most '80s TV wasn't *that* grim, but in shows from "St. Elsewhere" to "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law," viewers began to see corrupt cops, flawed doctors and imperfect parents. And they saw characters getting divorced, having affairs and struggling to pay the bills. Yet these issues weren't rare problems that preceded a character being written off the show; they were part of larger story arcs that included love, forgiveness and redemption.
And, often, laughs. Shows like "Cheers" reliably provided a chance to kick back with "friends" at the end of a long day. Or, if you just needed campy fun, you were in luck. The 1980s were the heyday of the nighttime soap: "Dallas" was the champion, quickly spawning imitators like "Dynasty," "Falcon Crest" and "Knots Landing."
Return with us now to the second Golden Age of television, the 1980s. We'll give you the characters; you tell us the show. Good luck!