Special Report

The Best TV Show Released the Year You Were Born

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television

1979: The Dukes of Hazzard
> IMDb rating: 7.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 12,762
> Series run: 1979-1985
> Cast: Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach, Denver Pyle

This countrified action-comedy series depicts the hard-living and fast-driving ways of the irrepressible Duke family. Often blamed for crimes they didn’t commit, the Dukes outrun the law while trying to clear their name. It was later adapted as a 2005 film starring Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, and Jessica Simpson.

Source: Courtesy of CBS

1980: Magnum, P.I.
> IMDb rating: 7.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,283
> Series run: 1980-1988
> Cast: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti

Tom Selleck and his famous mustache star as Hawaii-based P.I. Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV in this popular crime drama. It debuted soon after the conclusion of “Hawaii Five-0” and reportedly takes place in the same TV universe. Recent CBS remakes capitalized on the connection with a two-part crossover event in 2020.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1981: Hill Street Blues
> IMDb rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,439
> Series run: 1981-1987
> Cast: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, James Sikking

From co-creator Steven Bochco – the man behind a number of law-themed classics – comes this gritty depiction of life at an inner city police precinct. It’s widely regarded as a turning point in television, which influenced a number of subsequent hour-long dramas.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1982: Cheers
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 51,898
> Series run: 1982-1993
> Cast: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt

This hugely popular sitcom welcomes viewers to the Cheers bar in Boston, owned and operated by former baseball player Sam Malone (Ted Danson). It struggled to find an audience during the first season but soon became one of the most successful shows ever produced. Bar regular Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) moved to Seattle for the hit spin-off “Frasier.”

Source: Toby Canham / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

1983: Fraggle Rock
> IMDb rating: 7.9/10
> IMDb user votes: 7,244
> Series run: 1983-1987
> Cast: Karen Prell, Gerard Parkes, Kathryn Mullen, Steve Whitmire

Muppet master Jim Henson dialed up the zaniness for this musical fantasy show, which centers on a group of underground creatures. While lighthearted, the show did cleverly tackle heavy themes such as bigotry and spirituality. A highly-rated reboot is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Source: Courtesy of Avid Home Entertainment

1984: The Transformers
> IMDb rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 21,422
> Series run: 1984-1987
> Cast: Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Corey Burton, Christopher Collins

Long before the live-action franchise there came this animated series about alien robots, who often took the form of vehicles. Co-produced by Marvel, it yielded a feature-length film called “The Transformers: The Movie” in 1986.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Television

1985: The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour
> IMDb rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,204
> Series run: 1985-1986
> Cast: Mel Blanc, June Foray

This Saturday morning cartoon was a continuation of “The Bugs Bunny Show,” which debuted in 1960 and migrated between networks. It was later renamed “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show” with an extended full-hour runtime.

Source: Courtesy of National Broadcasting Company

1986: ALF
> IMDb rating: 7.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,719
> Series run: 1986-1990
> Cast: Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros, Paul Fusco, Max Wright, Anne Schedeen

The letters ALF stand for “Alien Life Form” and pertain to the gabby title character of this beloved sitcom. Hailing from the planet Melmac, the alien – real name Gordon Shumway – shacks up with a suburban family. A made-for-TV movie called “Project: ALF” doubled as the series finale.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation
> IMDb rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 112,410
> Series run: 1987-1994
> Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

Putting a new crew aboard a next generation USS Enterprise, this space-based adventure picks up nearly 100 years after Captain Kirk went where no one had gone before. Like its predecessor, the series inspired countless adaptations across a host of mediums. Patrick Stewart recently reprised the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard for the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Picard.”

Source: Courtesy of KTMA

1988: Mystery Science Theater 3000
> IMDb rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 24,028
> Series run: 1988-1999
> Cast: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy

Join host Joel Hodgson and his robot friends as they skewer history’s worst movies in hilarious fashion. Thanks to crowdfunding, additional episodes have recently emerged on the online platform Gizmoplex. Former cast members have also created similar endeavors such as the popular comedy series “Rifftrax.”

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