The 1980s were a decade of tweaking existing successful formulas to create wholly new conventions of inspired storytelling. The 1980s were unique for the way it was responsible for immersive, exciting stories that were both topical and foresighted. What should be noted is that this was a watershed moment for television history. The 1980s carried forward wildly successful shows of the last decade, such as ‘Dallas’ and ‘M*A*S*H.’ It also had its own unique and popular fare in the likes of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Doogie Howser, M.D.’ And finally, it saw the beginnings of shows that would go on to redefine television itself, in the likes of ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons.’
The 1980s themselves saw programs of various kinds that catered to different tastes. In ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘Magnum, P.I.’, audiences got a thrill of swashbuckling police and crime issues whereas ‘Knight Rider’ saw the best of action-packed episodes coupled with a congenial narrative mode. There were shows that touched upon nostalgia and the poignancy in growing up and living amidst hardships, such as ‘Roseanne’ and ‘The Wonder Years.’ All in all, the 1980s was a fantastic decade for television as it broke new ground once again, and paved the way for a promising future. Here is the list of top TV shows of the 80s.
10. Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980)
‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage’ was first aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in September 1980. To this day, it remains not only one of the most watched PBS shows, but also one of the most watched and awarded public TV programmes. It has had an estimated 500 million viewers in over 60 countries.
‘Cosmos’ was the work for which cosmologist and science communicator Carl Sagan shot into the public limelight. With its remarkable use of special effects, a ruminative music score, and lucid language, Sagan and his co-writers created a remarkable show that brought the fascination for science back to apathetic audiences, and was, in critic David Itzkoff’s words, “a watershed moment for science-themed television programming.”
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