The Best '80s Shows to Rewatch in Quarantine

From alien puppets to opinionated decorators, these comforting '80s shows have it all.

When we're dealing with heavy emotions and lots of stress, it feels good to go back to our roots. That goes for TV shows, too. As quarantine drags on, you may find yourself having trouble hooking in to new shows, probably because your brain is also trying to cope with these extraordinary circumstances. To give it a break, take your viewing back in time. These '80s shows are available to stream and are the perfect lockdown rewatch material. So throw on your comfiest WFH outfit and settle in for some nostalgic comfort viewing. And for more retro recommendations, these are The Best '90s Shows to Rewatch in Quarantine.

The Golden Girls

Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty in The Golden Girls
Disney-ABC Domestic Television Distribution

The opening notes of the Golden Girls theme song are an instant serotonin boost. Not only is "Thank You for Being a Friend" a classic—it also tells you that you're about to spend time with four of the funniest women to ever be on TV. Bea ArthurBetty WhiteRue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty play four later-in-life roommates who lean on each other as they deal with dating, exes, family, and other issues. You can rewatch all seven seasons on Hulu, and who knows? You may even learn some quarantine coping mechanisms from the ladies. Late night cheesecake, anyone? And for more old-school marathons, check out these 13 Classic Shows the Whole Family Will Love.


Judd Hirsch and Marilu Henner in Taxi
CBS Television Distribution

Lockdown orders have probably cut down on your opportunities for having random run-ins with interesting strangers. To fill that gap in your life, why not revisit Taxi, a series about New York City cab drivers doing exactly that? Granted, most of the action with Alex (Judd Hirsch), Elaine (Marilu Henner), Tony (Tony Danza), Latka (Andy Kaufman), and the rest of the gang happens at the depot, but you'll meet some pretty weird passengers out on the road, too. Taxi's five-season run streams on Hulu.


Nicholas Colasanto, John Ratzenberger, and George Wendt in Cheers
CBS Television Distribution

Until you can return to those places where everybody knows your name, you can pretend to be a regular at Cheers. Stream all 11 seasons on Netflix to relive Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane's (Shelley Long) off-and-on romance, Norm's (George Wendt) one-liners, Carla's (Rhea Perlman) family drama, and so much more. And once you're finished, you can hop over to Hulu and binge all of its award-winning spinoff Frasier. And for more acclaimed series, here are 23 Emmy-Winning Shows You Can Stream Right Now.

Murder, She Wrote

Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote
NBC Universal Television Distribution

Whether she's at a seaside bed and breakfast or a big city writers conference, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) always gets her man. (Or woman.) Cabot Cove's resident mystery author doubles as an amateur criminal investigator, solving murders and showing up actual law enforcement at every turn. IMDb TV has five of its twelve seasons streaming, and we live in hope that more will arrive soon.

Knight Rider

David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider
NBC Universal Television Distribution

If you're in the mood for some vintage shenanigans, Knight Rider is the rewatch you need right now. What could be more '80s than a talking, crime-solving car? David Hasselhoff stars as the human half of Knight Rider's justice-seeking duo, and you can marathon its four-season run on DirecTV right now.

Family Ties

Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman in Family Ties
CBS Television Distribution

Before Back to the Future and Teen Wolf, Michael J. Fox broke out as Alex P. Keaton, the card-carrying Young Republican son of two suburbanized hippies. Family Ties deals with their ideological differences but enduring love for each other, as well as for Alex's sisters, Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers). It's a good one to revisit if you're struggling with differing opinions in your own family. All seven seasons are on CBS All Access. And for more series that the whole household will get into, try these 23 Great TV Shows to Watch as a Family.

Miami Vice

Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson in Miami Vice
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

These looks may be dated now, but at the time, Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were the height of fashion. They were also tough-as-nails cops, keeping the streets (and waters) of Miami safe. You can find all five seasons of Miami Vice on Starz and DirecTV.

The Wonder Years

Olivia d'Abo and Fred Savage in The Wonder Years
20th Television

At this point in quarantine, you're probably yearning for the kind of problems you thought were the end of the world when you were a kid. The Wonder Years will take you back to a simpler time, though Kevin Arnold's (Fred Savage) coming-of-age is set against the tumultuous backdrop of the '60s. It's a good reminder that every generation deals with struggles that make the history books—just like we are now. Stream all six seasons of this family dramedy on Hulu. And for more Hulu binges, these are The Best Hulu Shows to Stream While in Quarantine.


Still from ALF
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

OK, so maybe we found the only thing that's more '80s than a talking car: a family sitcom centered around an alien from the planet Melmac who moves in with a group of humans after he crash lands on Earth. If this show were made today, Gordon Shumway (otherwise known as ALF, or Alien Life Form) would absolutely be a CGI creation, so make sure to appreciate Paul Fusco's puppeteering when you embark on this four-season binge on the Roku Channel or Vudu Free.

Designing Women

Dixie Carter and Delta Burke in Designing Women
Columbia Pictures Television Distribution

Designing Women centers around the Atlanta-based design firm run by four strong-willed women: Julia (Dixie Carter), her sister Suzanne (Delta Burke), and their friends Mary Jo (Annie Potts) and Charlene (Jean Smart). In addition to being hilarious and quotable (Julia's impassioned monologues, in particular, are a thing of beauty), the series deals progressively with topics that other shows of the time wouldn't have touched, including the AIDS epidemic and domestic violence. All seven seasons are streaming on Hulu.

Growing Pains

Kirk Cameron in Growing Pains
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Another '80s comedy, another all-time-great theme song. (We guarantee you still know every word of "As Long as We Got Each Other.") This one goes with the heartwarming story of the Seaver family, led by psychiatrist dad Jason (Alan Thicke) and journalist mom Maggie (Joanna Kerns). The real draw for teen viewers was Kirk Cameron as cute troublemaker Mike. If you make it through all seven seasons on the Roku Channel, you'll eventually meet a very young Leonardo DiCaprio (!) as a formerly homeless teen the family takes in.

Perfect Strangers

Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker in Perfect Strangers
Warner Bros. Television

Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) unexpectedly gets a roommate when a distant cousin he's never met shows up at his front door, having traveled all the way from the fictional island of Mypos. From then on, Perfect Strangers chronicles the misadventures of Larry and Balki (Bronson Pinchot), mostly involving the former disabusing the latter of his assumptions about the United States, all of which he's learned from TV and movies. It's a silly concept and a silly show, but admit it—you could go for a couple of rounds of "The Dance of Joy" right now, couldn't you? If that's true, you can find all eight seasons on Hulu.

Hill Street Blues

Still from Hill Street Blues
20th Television

Already exhausted every modern procedural? That may have you in the mood to return to Hill Street Blues, the crime drama that basically created the formula that so many other shows still follow. All seven seasons are currently available on Hulu, each presenting ethical conundrums and head-scratching investigations that will keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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