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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best TV Shows of the 1980s

See what series managed to beat ‘Alf,’ ‘The Wonder Years’ and ‘Married With Children’

Cheers and Miami Vice


How exactly does one pick the greatest television show of the 1980s? Do you go with a beloved sitcom like Cheers, an era-defining action drama like Miami Vice, something fantastically dated and silly like Alf or maybe a primetime soap opera like Dallas? Then there's the issue of a certain family sitcom whose central figure has been revealed to be a sexual predator. Should that impact our respect for his show? Well, we asked our readers to sort through all these issues and select their favorite series the Reagan decade. Here are the results. 


CHEERS, from left, Nicholas Colasanto, Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, 1982-93, ©Paramount Television/courtesy Everett Collection




When you think about it, the characters on Cheers all had pretty sad lives. Norm hated his wife and job, Cliff was a lonely mailman, Sam's baseball glory days were long behind him and Carla was raising a bunch of kids on what was surely a pretty tiny salary. But the beauty of the show was that these people all had each other. They became an unlikely family unit, even if they came from wildly different walks of life and had little in common. The show ran for an incredible 11 seasons, and then Kelsey Grammer played Frasier for another 11 seasons on a hugely successful spin-off.