The 1980s was a very important decade in American television history. In this decade, the monopoly on what the American audience would watch shifted from the hands of the three companies — NBC, CBS, and ABC. This was made possible by the introduction of cable. Cable helped open the doors of television to numerous other channels and shows.
Many important events happened in American television during the late 70s and early 80s. Home Box Office or HBO got launched during this time, along with Cable News Network (CNN) in 1980. Rupert Murdoch also created the fourth television network, Fox. Moreover, Americans started spending more time in front of the television because VHS tapes were being used to watch movies on the television. Video games which could be played by connecting them to TVs became very popular during this time. The 1980s also saw the advent and popularity of the television remote, and it is said to have had a great impact on the way television content was consumed in America.
Police TV shows became very popular during the 1980s, and a whole bunch of such shows, now considered classics of the genre, were produced during this time. ‘The A-Team’, ‘Magnum PI’, and ’21 Jump Street’ are some of the most popular shows from this period. ’21 Jump Street’ gave America one of its biggest movie stars in Johnny Depp and when the series became popular, he was propelled to superstardom as a teen idol.
MTV, a channel that revolutionized American pop culture, debuted in 1981. The channel started with showing music videos and it is with their help that a number of famous bands and artists reached the zenith of their popularity. The successes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Guns ‘N Roses, Motley Crue, and others can largely be credited to MTV. Naturally, music videos also became an important way of reaching out to a larger audience/listener. Here we have tried to establish why the 1980s was an important decade in television history, and if you want to explore some shows from the era, then you have come to the right place. Here’s the list of really good 80s shows on Netflix that are available to stream right now:
6. Highway to Heaven (1984-1989)
Michael Landon and Victor French star in this famous fantasy drama series which aired on NBC from 1984 to 1989. Landon plays the role of Johnathan Smith, an angel whom God has sent to the Earth on probation. French’s character is called Mark Gordon. Gordon is a police officer who meets Smith in the very first episode of the series. Naturally, Gordon doesn’t believe Smith’s claim of being an angel. But when he finds out the truth, Gordon joins Smith in trying to help humanity in whichever way possible. The two of them help people in grief and try to solve their problems. In each episode, Gordon and Smith appear in a different city, take on jobs as civil servants, and go around helping people in distress. An unseen character called ‘The Boss’ is present in the series, who is actually the personification of God. Besides aiming to entertain, the show includes important social messages in each of its episodes, speaking out against issues like racism or bigotry.