The best TV shows set in the 1980s

It has been said by many that the ‘80s was the best decade to live in, especially in the U.S. The economy was great, the music was awesome, movies were making great technological advancements for their special effects, and families were living the American dream. It’s no wonder then that there are so many fantastic series’ now being made with timelines set in the ‘80s. Let’s take a closer look at the best TV shows set in the 1980s.

Stranger Things

Premiering on Netflix for the first time in 2016 was Stranger Things. A science-fiction horror series created by The Duffer Brothers. Season one was set in 1983 as we followed a group of kids who uncover a dark force in an alternate dimension. Season two and three are placed in 1984 and 1985 respectively. The dark force appears to be getting stronger and stronger with each passing season, but our favorite team of teens seems up to the challenge. The attention to ‘80s pop culture, family life, and the overall feel of ‘80s America are beautifully portrayed throughout the series. There are whispers around the industry that the Duffer Brothers are already looking at season four.

The best TV shows set in the 1980s


This 2019 award-winning five-part mini-series is a historical drama created by Craig Mazin. The premise centers around the Chernobyl reactor four nuclear disaster of 1986 near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the resulting cleanup efforts. We follow the stories of those who caused the disaster and the brave men and women who responded to it. Including the lesser-known accounts of the firefighters and volunteers. Attention is paid to the teams of miners who were tasked with digging the tunnel under reactor four.


Premiering on Netflix in 2017 and soon to be in its fourth and final season is GLOW. A beautifully trendy series that fictionalizes the original 1980s show Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW) founded by David McLane. Set in 1985 we follow a struggling actress who comes upon the show in its infancy and how she molds herself to become a wrestler while figuring out her acting style and relationships with her fellow colleagues. This brilliant show was created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and while it does stay true to the original show, it does have a bit more dramatic flair.

The Goldbergs

Now airing for its seventh season on ABC is The Goldbergs. An American TV period sitcom that started in 2013 and now has 142 episodes was created and produced by Adam F. Goldberg. The series is loosely based on Goldberg’s own childhood and family in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania back in the ‘80s with many of his own family videos being reenacted for the show. The show stays true to the ‘80s feel of things, which have made their fans very happy.

The best TV shows set in the 1980s

Freaks and Geeks

Created by Paul Feig for NBC, Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama set in the ‘80s. Although only 15 episodes were aired before it was canceled, this series has gathered a serious cult following. As the name suggests, the show centers around a group of unlikely friends who are all not hanging out with the cool kids as they navigate their way through high school. 18 episodes were made in total with the remaining three yet to see the light of day.