21 Best '80s Sitcoms Available For Streaming

21 Best ’80s Sitcoms Available For Streaming?

While we are a group of ’90s kids through and through, Some of our favorite series are from the 1980s, which was a major decade for television. As cable television became more common in American households, the main networks faced competition. When the desire for nostalgia hits, it’s the ideal moment to binge-watch all of the best ’80s Television shows!

Some of the 80s sitcoms on this list, such as Cheers and Golden Girls, are not just the best of the 1980s but also among the best of all time. For example, Growing Pains and Family Ties have some of the best 80’s sitcoms, Dads and Mums.

Whatever your favorite show was back in the day, one thing is sure: it’s worthwhile watching again. Actually, nearly all of the top 80s TV shows merit a revisit in 2023—and you’re fortunate because most of them are now available to stream online. Continue reading for 80s sitcoms list on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming services. Done with streaming the best shows of the 80s, keep the party continuing by watching the Top 10 Longest-Running TV Shows of All Time!

21 Best 1980’s Sitcoms

  1. The Golden Girls
  2. The A-Team
  3. Cheers
  4. Perfect Strangers 
  5. Family Matters 
  6. ALF 
  7. Night Court 
  8. Elsewhere
  9. Newhart
  10. The Wonder Years
  11. Saved By The Bell
  12. Married…With Children
  13. Roseanne
  14. Growing Pains
  15. The Facts of Life
  16. Diff’rent Strokes
  17. Benson
  18. 227
  19. Webster
  20. The Cosby Show
  21. A Different World

1. The Golden Girls (From 1985 – To 1992)

The Golden Girls (From 1985 – To 1992)
  • No. of seasons: 7
  • No. of episodes: 180

One of the TV shows from the 80s, The Golden Girls, winner of an incredible 11 Emmy Awards, altered society’s perception of “women of a certain age.” We felt like we knew Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose, as we watched their hilarious exploits week after week, and the series was as touching as it was entertaining. At its core, the series is about the lasting bonds of friendship that endure through both good and bad times (like when Rose, played by the late, wonderful Betty White, was suffering from a prescription-drug addiction). Although the spin-off, Golden Palace, didn’t have the same level of oomph as the original, the actresses’ camaraderie and humor linger in syndication.

2. The A-Team (From 1983 – To 1987)

The A-Team (From 1983 – To 1987)
  • No. of seasons: 5 
  • No. of episodes: 98

The A-Team, which aired for five seasons and received three Emmy nominations, follows four Vietnam veterans who join together after being falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. They utilize their skills and brains to help innocent individuals while evading the military force sent to find them—Mr. T, who played the rough but endearing B.A.

Baracus became a bona fide star on the show. Viewers couldn’t fall asleep during an episode because of the continual action and over-the-top explosions, as well as the team’s remarkable ability to build weapons out of literally anything. Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper appeared in a big-screen adaptation of this ’80s classic in 2010.

3. Cheers (From 1982 – To 1993)

Cheers (From 1982 - To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 11 
  • No. of episodes: 275

Throughout its 11 seasons, Cheers became everyone’s favorite comfort watch, earning 28 Emmys in the course of its run. This NBC show takes place in a Boston tavern where everyone knows your name. The bar, run by Sam Malone (Ted Danson), attracts diverse individuals. Sam finds a love interest who works as a barmaid. There’s a tired waitress, a clueless bartender, and regulars, including an accountant, a mailman, and a psychiatrist. 

They all get together every day for a drink and chat about their respective days, all while getting into mischief at the bar. Cheers has been among the most popular and critically acclaimed series of all time, earning the Emmy award for Outstanding Comedy Series a total of four times. It established Woody Harrelson’s career, and the subsequent series, Frasier, went on to develop into a TV icon in its own0 right.

4. Perfect Strangers (From 1986 – To 1993)

Perfect Strangers (From 1986 - To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 8
  • No. of episodes: 150

Perfect Strangers, an ABC sitcom, nailed the odd couple cliché. It stars a man called Larry from Chicago who welcomes Balki Bartokomous, a distant European cousin he does not know, and it shines brightest as part of the network’s TGIF program. Their differences force them to conflict frequently, but it also results in some of the film’s most endearing moments. 

The performance of Balki by Bronson Pinchot keeps the act together and provides the most laughs. His strange accent, out-of-place cluelessness, and sheer goodness make him one of television’s most unforgettable characters. Larry continues to be there to rescue the day, regardless of the number of times his simplicity gets him into disaster in the most entertaining ways possible.

5. Family Matters (From 1989 – To 1998)

Family Matters (From 1989 - To 1998)
  • No. of seasons: 9
  • No. of episodes: 215

This sitcom involving a Black family in Chicago, the sequel to Perfect Strangers, would grow into another flag pole supporting the TGIF movement. It had all the qualities of a classic ’80s sitcom: an enduring family dynamic, endearing characters, wholesomeness, and simple laughs. The growth of Steve Urkel, the annoying child next door, became the show’s focal point. So famous was Jaleel White’s performance, including the suspenders plus glasses to the mannerisms and his nasal voice, that what was supposed to be a supporting character turned into the star of the show. Urkel became a cultural sensation, yet regardless of whether the show grew overly centered on him, it always returned to the loving home at its foundation.

6. ALF (From 1986 – To 1990)

ALF (From 1986 - To 1990)
  • No. of seasons: 4
  • No. of episodes: 102

This NBC family sitcom revolves around ALF (short for Alien Life Form), a small, furry alien who crashed his spaceship into the Tanner family’s home. What may have been a conventional sitcom (high-strung father, wife, adolescent daughter, and a young son) becomes more bizarre with the appearance of the wisecrack ALF. He is taken in and kept hidden from the government, becoming the family’s fifth member. 

ALF’s boredom from being confined frequently gets him into trouble. Every week, ALF is seen traveling around in disguise or nearly exposed by a nosy neighbor. Although the plot is typical ’80s kitsch, there is also a lot of genuine love here. ALF is an incredibly well-drawn character that almost looks real after a time.

7. Night Court (From 1984 – To 1992)

Night Court (From 1984 - To 1992)
  • No. of seasons: 9
  • No. of episodes: 193

Night Court came to life thanks to a wonderful premise. Its ensemble cast, led by Harry Anderson as the court’s joke-cracking judge, covers the happenings of a New York City municipal court at night. The rest of the cast comprises public defenders, bailiffs, prosecutors, as well as clerks from the court. They would rule over the city’s weirdest cases if they worked together. 

Combine that with a wealth of well-written, eccentric characters, and you’re going to have an ideal combination for weekly antics that earned the series multiple Emmy nominations. John Larroquette frequently stole the show with his portrayal of the sex-crazed prosecutor, garnering him Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor four years in a row.

8. Elsewhere (From 1982 – To 1988)

Elsewhere (From 1982 – To 1988)
  • No. of seasons: 6
  • No. of episodes: 137

What a star-studded series! St. Elsewhere starred young Howie Mandel and Denzel Washington, as well as Mark Harmon and Ed Begley Jr. It’s one of the best doctor shows on TV, centered on the lives and professions of the employees at a Boston hospital. St. Elsewhere pushed the bounds of what was commonly discussed on television at the time; for example, Harmon’s character tested positive for AIDS. While it sometimes got serious, this ’80s sitcom also had a unique charm. In a particular episode, the doctors were seen drinking at Cheers and discussing life’s challenges. That was an unexpected crossover! St. Elsewhere earned 13 Emmys and received nominations for Outstanding Drama Series on a regular basis.

9. Newhart (From 1982 – To 1990)

Newhart (From 1982 - To 1990)
  • No. of seasons: 8
  • No. of episodes: 184

Bob Newhart became a TV legend in the 1970s with The Bob Newhart Show. The sequel, simply titled Newhart, proved to be even bigger. Yet another excellent entry in the fish out of water genre, Newhart played a New York City writer who buys a tiny inn in rural Vermont with his wife. The quirky locals in this prequel to Schitt’s Creek are what keep the series going week after week. 

It also demonstrated that, in a setting where youth is desired, elderly individuals can be just as amusing and garner a large audience. Newhart gets extra marks for having the most brilliant series conclusion in history. In the closing scene, Newhart wakes up next to his wife on The Bob Newhart Show. He rolls over to her and tells her he had an odd dream about becoming an innkeeper in Vermont.

10. The Wonder Years (From 1988 – To 1993)

The Wonder Years (From 1988 – To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 6
  • No. of episodes: 115

The Wonder Years may have debuted in the 1980s, but it focused on the adventures of a little boy growing up during the 60s and early 70s. Kevin Arnold was played by Fred Savage, his older self (Daniel Stern) narrates the series. The audience fell in love with the endearing character of Winnie (played by Danica McKellar) as Kevin’s crush, and it touched on all of the lovely and not-so-sweet areas of growing up. 

The series delves deeply into current world events, such as the Vietnam War, during which Winnie’s older brother dies upon being deployed. The show aired for six seasons, earned four Emmys, and was recently resurrected for ABC, concentrating on the same historical period except with a Black family as its heart.

11. Saved By The Bell (From 1989 – To 1993)

Saved By The Bell (From 1989 - To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 4
  • No. of episodes: 86

Saved By The Bell used the unusual concept of running a live-action show on Saturday mornings, a period allocated to children’s cartoons. It was set in a fictional Los Angeles high school. Saved By The Bell was created for the teen demographic, those who had grown tired of Looney Tunes but hadn’t yet moved on to more mature fare. It revolves around the school days of six pals. 

We get every stereotyped adolescent (the hip one, the gorgeous one, the athlete, the nerd), yet beneath the familiar emerges a cast of well-developed individuals. No matter how much trouble they get themselves into or how often they fight amongst themselves or with the Principal, they typically come out on top, still the best of friends. While the majority of the tales were lighthearted, a young adult may tune in while learning about dealing with topics from death to drug addiction.

12. Married…With Children (From 1987 – To 1997)

Married…With Children (From 1987 - To 1997)
  • No. of seasons: 11
  • No. of episodes: 259

This is not the standard feel-good family comedy. Although mild by today’s standards, one of FOX’s first episodes was considered controversial during the time due to its raunchiness. Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill), a cynical women’s shoe salesman, is always in a bad mood, raging over his bimbo spouse (Katey Sagal), kids, and his obnoxious neighbors. He despises everyone. 

This sitcom deviates from what audiences have grown to expect. Throughout each episode, the family clashes. Sex is openly discussed. However, there are plenty of laughs to be enjoyed in the dysfunction. The more bizarre the show becomes, the funnier it becomes. And, as filthy as it might be, the show’s self-awareness keeps it going.

13. Roseanne (From 1988 – To 1997)

Roseanne (From 1988 - To 1997)
  • No. of seasons: 10 
  • No. of episodes: 231

Unless you were there to witness its success in action, it’s difficult to understand how profound Roseanne Barr’s primetime sitcom became — as was Barr herself during the peak of her stand-up and acting career — especially given its 2018 remake and related brouhaha. However, it’s definitely worth a shot to experience Roseanne on purely ’80s-tastic terms, in its depiction of an unequivocally blue-collar family dealing with the positive and negative aspects of everyday life, from unplanned pregnancy to a queer kiss between Roseanne and guest star Mariel Hemingway. The audience was treated to more than just John Goodman, Lady Bird’s Laurie Metcalf, and the legendary Sandra Bernhard; Roseanne also featured performances from Martin Mull, Ned Beatty, Shelley Winters, George Clooney, and a special appearance by Bob Odenkirk as a footwear salesman.

14. Growing Pains (From 1982 – To 1993)

Growing Pains (From 1982 - To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 11
  • No. of episodes: 275

One of the best TV shows 1980 to 1990, Growing Pains was a long-running household favorite that featured a stay-at-home working father (played by the late Alan Thicke, Robin’s father) overseeing the household’s affairs. At the same time, his wife (Joanna Kerns) returns to work as a badass reporter. Of course, it was also noteworthy for the teen male actor Kirk Cameron, who frequently appeared on the covers of publications, notably Tiger Beat, prior to being a born-again Christian at the age of 17. 

Speaking of crushes, Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast of characters as a homeless youngster who stays with the Seavers in 1991. Some components of the program haven’t aged smoothly, for example, the fatphobic “jokes” aimed at Tracey Gold’s character, which caused the young actress to develop an eating disorder. However, it is an intriguing time snapshot of the era.

15. The Facts of Life (From 1979 – To 1988)

The Facts of Life (From 1979 – To 1988)
  • No. of seasons: 9
  • No. of episodes: 201

Mrs. Garrett resigned from her housekeeping chores on Diff’rent Strokes to assist Eastland School’s young ladies in navigating their lives and relationships. The Facts of Life may have the best ’80s theme tune ever, with lines like, “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.” Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn, Kim Fields, and Nancy McKeon all rose to prominence as a result of the show. It’s also when most of us first saw a young George Clooney before he became famous in the ER.

Its dramatic coming-of-age themes were moving, funny, and memorable. We all felt sorry for Jo when she went to see her father in prison for the first time and when the girls discovered that a student who had recently been chosen class president had overdosed on medications. There were also “very special episodes” that Tootie would never forget, such as when he slipped into New York City to see a play and wound up meeting a teen prostitute… whose pimp wanted to hire the roller-skating Eastlander.

16. Diff’rent Strokes (From 1978 – To 1986)

Diff'rent Strokes (From 1978 – To 1986)
  • No. of seasons: 8
  • No. of episodes: 189

Arnold Jackson of Diff’rent Strokes, who always provided the chuckles when he quipped, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” delivered one of the most memorable TV quotes of the ’80s. Gary Coleman rose to fame thanks to his comedic timing. Unfortunately, many of the cast members were dealing with real-world issues. Coleman struggled with health concerns his entire life, while child co-stars Todd Bridges and Dana Plato struggled with substance misuse. Coincidentally, the show was well-known for its “very special episodes,” which frequently addressed issues such as eating disorders, substance abuse, and stranger danger.

17. Benson (From 1979 – To 1986)

Benson (From 1979 – To 1986)
  • No. of seasons: 7
  • No. of episodes: 158

Former butler Benson finds himself in the center of the political world as a governor’s director of domestic affairs in a spin-off of Soap. This primetime sitcom spoofed the lives of daytime soap opera stars. Benson, played by famed actor Robert Guillaume, rises through the ranks fast, eventually becoming the state’s budget director and ultimately lieutenant governor. 

It was a must-see for its dry wit and quick wit, and it earned two Emmys during its seven-season existence. Though the show was sometimes chastised for being unrealistic, audiences fell in love with the cast’s excellent chemistry (such as Benson and Kraus’ continual banter).

And here’s a nice piece of pop culture trivia: Jerry Seinfeld makes his series debut as Frankie, a delivery boy and—wait for it—unsuccessful comic, starring in three episodes.

18. 227 (From 1985 – To 1990)

227 (From 1985 – To 1990)
  • No. of seasons: 5
  • No. of episodes: 116

The sitcom 227, which aired right before The Golden Girls as part of NBC’s excellent Saturday-night schedule in the 1980s, also had a cast of amusing women. It chronicled the tenants of a Washington, D.C., apartment building, concentrating on the newest gossip exchanged on its stoop, and starred the iconic Marla Gibbs. Because of all the talk, there were some stunning misunderstandings, and chaos erupted. Jackée 

Harry became the first Black woman to secure an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Sandra Clark, the vivacious younger neighbor who nearly always carried a man on her arm. Regina King was also introduced, who played Gibbs’ daughter on the sitcom.

19. Webster (From 1983 – To 1989)

Webster (From 1983 – To 1989)
  • No. of seasons: 6
  • No. of episodes: 150

1980s TV sitcom, Webster made a career out of child actor Emmanuel Lewis, although it was not critically loved (no Emmys were awarded). The show told the fictional narrative of young Webster, who becomes an orphan when his football player dad dies. George Papadopoulos, a former teammate, and his wife, Katherine, adopt the lovely child. Obviously, hilarity and pandemonium ensue. Lewis was only 12 years old at the time of the series premiere, but his diminutive stature and baby face allowed him to play much younger roles.

20. The Cosby Show (From 1984 – To 1992)

The Cosby Show (From 1984 - To 1992)
  • No. of seasons: 8
  • No. of episodes: 202

Despite the recent controversy surrounding Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show is still one of the best and greatest family-friendly sitcoms ever produced and one of the most popular 80s TV shows. Its all-black core cast broke through racial barriers in America at the time without making it a primary element. As a result, Americans from every walk of life were able to connect with their families and laugh together. 

The Huxtables were conventional, hardworking parents who taught their children the qualities of accountability, hard work, and compassion. For five consecutive seasons, The Cosby Show was the highest-rated show on television, and it was credited with influencing succeeding series with predominantly African American casts. There was a moment when The Cosby Show could easily have been labeled the best of the 1980s, but Bill Cosby’s misdeeds have tainted the series’ legacy.

21. A Different World (From 1987– To 1993)

A Different World (From 1987– To 1993)
  • No. of seasons: 6
  • No. of episodes: 144

The Cosby Show spin-off follows Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) on her road to being an adult at Hillman College, the HBCU, a fictional institute where her television parents also went. Denise and her roommates Maggie (played by then-newcomer Marisa Tomei), a white student of journalism from Minnesota, and Jaleesa ( played by Dawnn Lewis), a 26-year-old divorcee, along with delicate Southern belle Whitley (Jasmine Guy) and cutie Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison), as well as their fashions, were immediately addictive. 

However, backstage drama and an unexpected pregnancy for Bonet and then-husband Lenny Kravitz resulted in a second-season shake-up and total reworking in the capable hands of the great Debbie Allen. Although not all episodes are memorable, the show pioneered the discussion of HIV/AIDS, misogyny, safe sex, and numerous other sensitive issues.

Best 1980’s TV Shows (Honorable Mentions)

  • Seinfeld (1989)
  • Full House (1987)
  • Charles in Charge (1984)
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos (1989)
  • Miami Vice (1984)
  • Hey Dude (1989)
  • Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show (1984) 
  • Fraggle Rock (1982)
  • Today’s Special (1981)
  • Mr. Wizard’s World (1983)
  • Reading Rainbow (1983)
  • You Can’t Do That on Television (1981)
  • Double Dare (1986)
  • The Bold and the Beautiful (1987)
  • 48 Hours (1988)
  • Hill Street Blues (1981)
  • Knight Rider (1982)
  • MacGyver (1985)
  • Who’s the Boss? (1984)
  • Murder, She Wrote (1984)
  • Cagney and Lacey (1982)

Closing Words

The 1980s were a golden era of TV comedy, with several of the greatest and most beloved 1980s TV shows of all time debuting during that time period. Whatever your reason for spending a few hours or so in front of your TV (or, more likely, a laptop) – amusement or research into anthropology – a funny sitcom episode is usually an excellent pick.

Most of these programs allow you to jump in wherever you want without missing anything vital; they typically run for roughly thirty minutes (allowing you to enjoy a season in one go) and are always enjoyable.

That’s why there’s no need to delve any deeper into the subject, and instead urge you to check out our recommendations for the best TV shows in the 80s and behold their glory for yourself. Choosing favorites might be difficult, but sometimes you just have to make the important decisions: The Wonder Years or The Golden Girls? Is it Newhart or Night Court? Family Ties or Married… With Children? We hope our 21 best 80s TV shows list of all time has made your decision easier. The 21 shows mentioned above have lasted the test of age and will be remembered by future generations.

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Sarah is a writer by profession and passion. She is a real tech-savvy who loves everything tech! Talk about the latest tech releases, latest news from the tech world, on-trend tech gadgets, or simple tech hacks – Sarah knows it all! Being a movie enthusiast, she always has a close eye on the latest releases. Her insights about how well the movie will do on the box offices are surprisingly always correct! We call her the “Encyclopaedia of Movies”.