Why 1985 was the best year in television


I consider myself somewhat of a pop culture aficionado, particularly when it comes to television. I was raised on all the classics, and my tastes in television run well into the past. For awhile now, I’ve been trying to write some kind of post ranking my favorite shows, but that’s coming along much more slowly than expected. In the meantime, I thought it might to fun to revisit what, in my humble opinion, was the best year in television.

I’m aware that there are definitely shows that aired well before this year that are true specimens of creativity and excellence. However, I think that the 1985-86 television season was particularly unusual in that is was perhaps the densest television season in terms of quality programs. As I mentioned before, there are definitely true classics that ended well before this season. But those classics were sporadic. The 1985-86 television season represents that largest cluster of what I would consider true classics or quality television programing. For the complete schedule along with Nielsen ratings, click here. Otherwise, this is my argument:

In the mood for something funny? Well lucky for you this year had some of the best comedies of all time on the air, like Cheers, The Cosby Show, Night Court, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Newhart, and Who’s The Boss?

But let’s say you weren’t in a mood to laugh. Let’s say you want some drama. Well, thankfully there are plenty of those to choose from, too. You could watch Dallas, Falcon Crest, Hotel, Dynasty, Knots Landing, or more critically acclaimed series like Hill Street Blues or St. Elsewhere.

Maybe you like a little mystery. Well, mysteries and detective shows weren’t in short supply that year: Murder, She Wrote, Remington Steele, Moonlighting, Magnum, PI and Simon and Simon were all on the airwaves.

Or perhaps action is your thing. Well, there was no shortage of action/adventure shows on television in 1985. Take your pick: The A-Team, MacGyver, Miami Vice, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Knight Rider, or Hardcastle & McCormick.

As I mentioned before, there were classic, quality programs that came before and after this season. But this one particular season gets my vote as the single best television season of all time. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions below!


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