10 Kid-friendly 80s TV Shows I Miss

My kid can’t watch prime time TV. Maybe Too Cute on Animal Planet or something from one of the *Kids Only* channels, but any current sitcoms or dramas on mainstream channels—not happening. The sex, gore, and violence is just too much for a 10-year-old to handle. The modern shows make me long for the Can’t Miss TV, for family sitcoms that drew all-ages to the screen, for simpler times when the entire family could gather around the living room TV and watch together. We didn’t have many channels to chose from, and we were spoiled if we even had cable (ooohh, HBO!), so programs seemed much more kid-centered.

It might be my fuzzy memory, but it seems like when I was a kid in the 80s, every night there were shows the entire family could indulge in. As I skipped down TV memory lane, I came up with far more than ten.

Do you remember any of these 80s family classics?


1. The Cosby Show

How could any 80s kid not love the Cosbys? They were the perfect upper-middle class family we all wanted to join. Mom was a lawyer, dad a doctor, and none of the kids were perfect. Now I realize I should have taken notes on how Claire dressed down her kids so efficiently. And when dad Cliff went at it, we all laughed.  Remember the funeral for Rudy’s goldfish? How about Cliff’s sweaters? Pure 80s gold.

And don’t forget the spin-off, Denise goes to college, a.k.a. A Different World

2. The Facts of Life


For some reason, I was obsessed with the idea of going away to boarding school. (I blame it on The Girls of Canby Hall books.) I wanted their independence. I wanted their friendship. I wanted to smack the spoiled Blair and hang out with cool tomboy Jo. I wanted my own Mrs. Garrett. And I wanted George the handyman (Hello young George Clooney…)

3. Family Ties

Hippie parents, kind of square kids, and sibling ribbing that made you laugh. Alex P. Keaton made Michael J. Fox a household name before Back to the Future, and he’s still going strong.

4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire

This show came out in 1990, but close enough. This is when we all fell in love with Will Smith, and he proved that rap/hip-hop didn’t have to be nasty. Do you have the theme song in your head yet?

5. Blossom

Did you realize that Blossom was modeled after a modern-day Holden Caufield? Neither did I back then (I had a few years before I fell in love with Catcher in the Rye) but I loved Blossom for her funky wardrobe, free dancing, and fast-talking friend Six. Oh, and I wanted Joey Lawrence for an older brother. Thrilled to see Mayim Bialik on Big Bang Theory now. Thrilled.

6. Silver Spoons

Silver_SpoonsHe was the little rich boy all little girls swooned over. I’m pretty sure my Barbies to dated him (when she wasn’t with Ricky Martin, who was then in the boy band Menudo). We wanted to hang with Ricky and Alphonso in their mansion so full of arcade games and toys it must have been the original Man Cave. We mooned over his heartbreak as Mr. Mister sang Broken Wings and wished we were there to comfort him.

 7. Different Strokes

“What’chu talkin‘ ‘bout, Willis? ‘Nuff said.

8. Full House

Who imagined that baby Michelle would grow into the uber-rich Olson twins?

9. The Wonder Years

wonderKevin and Winnie and the curse of being “just friends.” Totally got it then.


10. Who’s The Boss
tony danza Because every career girl needs a live-in male housekeeper right? Tony Danza played one of the original Mannys, and his daughter on the show, Alyssa Milano, was super cool—to an 8-year-old.

But wait—ten show just barely puts a dent in all of the fun shows I remember from childhood. How about:

Growing Pains

Kirk Cameron’s poster graced many girl’s walls back in the day. Now when I see this box I only see Robin Thicke’s dad. ::shivers::

 Doogie Howser, M.D.






Neil Patrick Harris as a boy-genius was cute back then, too.


Punky Brewster

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So, she looked a little like Rainbow Brite. . . Actually, I think her style is back IN style.

My Two Dads

My Sister Sam






Charles in Charge








Mr. Belvedere


Head of the Class

head of the class





Gimme a Break

Dukes of Hazard

Okay, not the best example of classic TV, but we all watched it loved it as kids. If you were a true 80s kid you must have had a die-cast General Lee car or Daisy Duke Underoos. What were we thinking?


21 Jump Street

Teen drama. Hello Johnny Depp. Still swooning.

What shows have is missed? Which shows do you miss the most? Any you want to buy on DVD to show your kids?

Mama's Losin' It

17 thoughts on “10 Kid-friendly 80s TV Shows I Miss

  1. One Funny Motha

    How did you remember all those? I LOVED The Facts of Life and Different Strokes and the Cosby’s and Family Ties and The Fresh Prince. I did not know George Clooney was on the Facts of Life! I didn’t watch The Wonder Years until I was in college, but I loved it then. The funny thing is my daughter (11) discovered Full House on one of the cable channels & she loves it. She even says we parents had such better programming when we were kids. I wonder if I could get some of these shows on Netflix so my kids could just watch the good stuff. I now watch Modern Family with my daughter & it’s a really good show. Or we watch competition shows like Project Runway or Chopped.
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  2. Kim

    Full House and Punky Brewster were two of my favorites when I was growing up. As I got older and started finding Full House re-runs on TV I began preferring the episodes closer to the end of the series. A younger and more obnoxious Michelle and Stephanie bugged me but the ones where they were older not so much.

    I also watched Family Matters a lot as a kid. “Got any cheese?!” or “Did I do that?” Good times! I kind of miss the 80s and 90s. Certainly beats Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus!
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  3. Ida

    Oh man, you make me want to have a 80’s weekend, where I stay in and watch all these shows. I do agree, I could watch all these shows with my parents. Now with my kids, we can only watch cartoons together. Thanks for sharing.

    Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest.

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  7. Flora

    They certainly don’t make ’em like this anymore. The “New World Order” seems to be underway. I only watch old family classics online. I miss 70’s and 80’s t.v so badly. Even the commercials were fun. Not so today.

  8. Flora

    This generation has it worse than any other. I could never imagine bringing a child into THIS modern world and subjecting them to the swill of the day. Things are worse than ever in just about every area you can imagine. Even church.


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