10 best TV shows set in the 80s, ranked

Top Gun: Maverick it has consistently been in the top five at the box office and 80s songs are dominating the charts, which means the 80s are here again. And nostalgia for the 80s is ripe in the television audience, both of those who grew up in the decade and those who were not yet alive.


Although “period pieces” are not new to television, the 1980s is the decade of choice and quite new. Its popularity can be traced back to the huge success Netflix achieved with the release of the science fiction series Stranger things, but it’s not the only show that explores what life would have been like in the 1980s. There are a plethora of shows, old and new, taking place in the vibrant era.

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Chronicles of Gordita (2022)

Watch on HBO Max

Cucu wears a yellow vest, deeply thoughtful in Gordita Chonicles

Gordita Chronicles is a semi-autobiographical comic series centering on schoolgirl Cucu Castelli and her family, who just immigrated to Miami from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the 1980s.

RELATED: 10 Shows To Watch After HBO Max’s Gordita Chronicles

Focusing the story on an immigrant family in the 1980s, Gordita Chronicles is able to explore an untapped version of the 1980s that has not yet been shown on television. He describes what Miami was like before it became the cosmopolitan city it is today and aims to show the struggles young immigrants have faced over the decade. The series also features vibrant trendy pieces and period-appropriate sets.

Physical (2021 -)

Available on Apple TV +

Rose Byrne plays an aerobics fitness guru in Apple TV + Physical

Physicist is an Apple TV + original that follows the story of the unhappy housewife Sheila Rubin as she learns to love herself and the world around her through the world of aerobics. While Physicist it might be one of the best shows with a female lead in recent years, it really shines in the way it captures the ’80s.

Before there was Zumba, women in the 80s who wanted to stay active did aerobics, which is the backbone of Physicist. Aside from the training culture of the 1980s, Physicist It also leans on the fashion and furniture trends of the 1980s, making the show’s wardrobe and production design some of the most authentic in all of 1980s television.

Everyone Hates Chris (2005 – 2009)

Look on the peacock

Everyone hates Chris is inspired by the real life of Chris Rock. The family sitcom explores what it was like for a teenager Chris who grew up in Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s.

Much of the nostalgia for the 1980s show is seen in the personalities and storylines of the characters. The comic series shows what the 1980s was like for a black family in a big city with clear racial and economic divisions. It also offers a hilarious take on what parenting was like in the 1980s, including some questionable parenting choices.

Mortal class (2018 – 2019)

Watch the video on Amazon PrimeLana Condor Benedict Wong in the SYFY mortal class

Based on the Netflix graphic novel of the same name Mortal class follows Marcus, a disillusioned teenager who finds himself recruited by a secret academy for the deadly arts. Unlike other shows set in the 1980s, Mortal class chooses to explore the unexplored counterculture that dominated the decade.

While the storylines may be a little more imaginative than was actually going on, the fashion and musical choices of the characters are as authentic as they come. The series focuses on the community that was built around the punk, goth and hip hop music scenes, making it an interesting show to watch for fans of the 1980s underground music scene.

Red oaks (2014 – 2017)

Watch the video on Amazon Prime

Red Oaks is an Amazon Prime Video show set in the New York-New Jersey area. The comedy series follows college student David as he starts working at a Jewish country club during the summer of 1985.

RELATED: Running Up That Hill and 9 More Top 80s Songs Made Popular by New TV Shows

The show brings home its’ 80s aesthetic by borrowing tropes and popular trends from other ’80s movies and shows to appeal to older viewers’ nostalgia. From a hilarious body swap episode to flashy musical numbers, it’s the perfect ’80s show for fans who not only want to relive the fashion and decor decisions of the decade, but also the weird storylines that cluttered TV shows from the decade. epoch.

Chernobyl (2019)

Watch on HBO Max

Chernobyl is a historical miniseries that frames the events of the Chernobyl disaster of April 1986 and the reclamation efforts in a dramatic way.

While Chernobyl may not be decked out with the neon fashion choices or upbeat pop music of the decade that defined the 1980s in America, explores the look of the vibrant decade in the Soviet Union, though the series has also been criticized for its portrayal of power dynamics within the region at that time.

Glow (2017 – 2019)

Watch on Netflix

Not only is it Glow one of the best female led shows that got canceled too soon, but it’s also a great 1980s representation. The series centers on an unemployed actress who stumbles upon the world of women’s wrestling in hopes of finally grabbing her big break.

The series regularly explores what sexism was like in the 1980s and subsequent seasons go further by exploring the homophobia and xenophobia that circulated throughout the decade, especially within the scene that INCANDESCENCE centers on. Like this, Glow it’s a fun show that’s both packed with 80s fashion and the negative attributes of the glorified decade.

It’s a pity (2021)

Watch on HBO Max

It’s a shame is a British HBO Max miniseries that follows a group of gay men who moved to London in 1981 and with the ups and downs the 1980s had to offer them and their community.

While the series features flashy fashion and music of the decade, it is far more interested in telling very real stories of what it was like to be part of the LBGTQ + community during the AIDS crisis. It’s a shame it avoids evil and is one of the best non-documentary stories about the AIDS / HIV epidemic and how the LGBTQ + community has thrived despite the immense tragedy surrounding them.

The Americans (2013 – 2018)

Watch On Hulu

The Americans is a spy drama centering on two Russian agents who infiltrated the United States during the Cold War era and pretend to be an American couple by lying to their children about their true identities.

Given that this is a spy show, it’s no surprise The Americans it strongly depends on the political climate of the 1980s. The series regularly weaves political events and real-world cultural moments into its narrative. And while parents are busy addressing the political aspects of the 1980s, younger family members infuse the show with references to 1980s pop culture, making The Americans the perfect show for history and pop culture fans.

The Goldbergs (2013 -)

Watch On Hulu

The Goldbergs have created an awkward family portrait in suits

The Goldbergs is inspired by the real childhood of creator Adam F. Goldberg and follows 11-year-old Adam as he captures the ups and downs of his quirky family behind his family’s camera lens.

RELATED: The best episodes of The Goldberg of each season according to IMDb

It it’s the perfect 80s show for fans of the decade who want to sit back, laugh and remember the simpler times of the decade. While its plots are authentically 1980s (like the dreaded and embarrassing family portrait of department stores), it’s the dedication to authenticity that makes The Goldbergs splendor. Toy fans will enjoy exploring Adam’s impressive collection of the era, while fans of beloved ’80s movies will enjoy parody episodes of some beloved classics.

Stranger Things (2016 -)

Watch on Netflix

Cast of the fourth season of Netflix Stranger Things

Perhaps the biggest and most successful show set in the 1980s is Netflix’s hit science fiction series Stranger things. The first season takes place in 1983, when a group of young friends uncover secret government plots and a girl with superpowers in their quiet Indiana town.

Stranger things it is a love letter to the 80s in every sense of the world. The Duffer Brothers have regularly stated that they want to pay tribute to all of their favorite 1980s movies and shows as they grow up, which is evident by the number of Easter eggs hidden within the show. But it’s not just pop culture references that make Stranger things such a big 80s show, it’s even the little details, like how fashion trends have been delayed in a small town like Hawkins and the music choices, that take it to the next level.

NEXT: 14 best Star Wars references and Easter eggs (so far) in Stranger Things

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