In the 1980s, media defined popular culture: E.T. was a mega-hit, the moonwalk was all the rage, and the only words that really mattered were “spandex” and “Madonna.” But beneath the big hair and flashy clothing, the true backbone of the ’80s were the TV shows that came to occupy our everyday lives.
For those longing to relive this cherished decade, these 20 forgotten shows from the 1980s will have you traveling back in time faster than Marty McFly. Get ready for some serious nostalgia because after reading this list you’ll be back to rocking ripped jeans and neon tube tops just like Whitesnake would’ve wanted…
1. Bosom Buddies: Tom Hanks got his start on this 1980 sitcom about two men posing as women in order to keep their apartment. Though the series was over by ’82, Hanks’ performance earned him his breakout role in 1984’s Splash.
2. Star Wars: Droids: Lucasfilm created Star Wars: Droids in ’85, and it chronicled the adventures of C-3PO and R2-D2 before the events of A New Hope. Unfortunately, Star Wars-mania had waned by that time, and the show only lasted one season.
Den of Geek
3. Slim Goodbody’s Inside Story: You’d think that a man wearing a flesh-colored bodysuit with human organs would be terrifying, but the success of Slim Goodbody spawned a 1980 television series! Actor John Burstein reprised the role on children’s programs for almost four decades.
Entertainment | HowStuffWorks
4. Snorks: Hanna-Barbera sought to capitalize on the popularity of their characters by creating a group of sister creatures called Snorks. The cartoon never became as popular as The Smurfs, but head down to your local vintage shop and you’re guaranteed to find at least one Snorks t-shirt on the racks.
5. Captain Kangaroo: Upon its cancellation in ’84, Captain Kangaroo was the longest-running children’s television program, lasting for an impressive 29 years. But after having its run-time cut, schedule shifted, and concept rebranded, Captain Kangaroo was forced to close the Treasure House for good.
6. The Flintstones Kids: Everyone knows The Flintstones, but the 1986 cartoon featured the Bedrock gang as a group of lovable toddlers. The Flintstones Kids only lasted two seasons.
7.Manimal: If a show about a police detective that can shapeshift into animals is your idea of good television, you’ll be sad to learn that Manimal only lasted eight episodes. The show’s poor performance was likely because NBC’s CGI budget only allowed for bare-minimum “transformations.”
8. Pac-Man: As the first cartoon based off a video game, 1980’s Pac-Man debuted with high expectations from throngs of devoted fans. Unfortunately, gamers preferred playing as the yellow puck instead of watching him on television, and the show was scrapped in 1983.
9. Life with Lucy: Lucille Ball’s 1986 sitcom about a widowed grandmother co-owning a hardware store was so bad, ABC only released 8 out of the 13 episodes filmed. In fact, the show was so poorly received that TV Guide named it one of the worst sitcoms of all time.
10. Rainbow Brite: Debuting in 1984, the televised adventures of Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids ran for two years, but Hallmark was still determined to make the franchise a success. The company rebooted the series four times between 1996 and 2014.
11. Sanford: Redd Fox left his highly acclaimed role as Fred Sanford on Sanford and Sons to star in ABC’s The Redd Fox Comedy Hour, which lasted only four months. Foxx returned to NBC to star in the 1980 spinoff Sanford, which performed so poorly it never received an official finale.
12. Challenge of the GoBots: Competing brands usually try to differentiate themselves from one another, but Tonka’s GoBots and the TV series they inspired were nearly identical to Hasbro’s Transformers.
13. Automan: Seeking to profit off the buzz generated by Disney’s 1982 film Tron, ABC introduced Automan, a superhero series about a computer programmer and his crime-fighting AI. Even with its blatant attempt to attract Tron fans, the show only ran 12 episodes and was canceled in ’83.
14. Mister T: With Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! setting the stage for animated mystery comedies, it only made sense to develop one centered around notorious tough-guy Mr. T, right? Well, audiences didn’t think so.
15. That’s Incredible!: People love the strange and inexplicable, so it’s no wonder this showcase of bizarre talents ranked in the top 30 in Nielsen ratings from 1979-1983. During its heyday, the show featured a number of now-famous faces, including a young Tiger Woods!
16. The Dukes: During the first season of The Dukes of Hazzard animated spinoff, contract disputes with original actors Tom Wopat and John Schneider resulted in two brand new Duke boys being introduced to confused audiences. Wopat and Schneider did return for season two, but by then the show was already a flop.
17. She’s the Sheriff: Following her firing from Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers appeared in a number of infomercials before being cast as Sheriff Hildy Granger in this 1987 sitcom. The show proved to be a major failure.
18. Teen Wolf: No, not the hit drama that’s made teen girls swoon since 2011! This animated series was based off the 1985 movie of the same name. The forgettable show ran for three seasons, although the third was entirely made up of reruns.
19. Voyagers!: Even with its noble goal of educating audiences, this sci-fi series about two time travelers preserving the flow of history only lasted 20 episodes.
20. Three’s a Crowd: Only a week after the final episode of Three’s Company, ABC called on John Ritter to reprise his role in this 1984 spinoff. Following a 13-episode order for season 2, Ritter refused to return to the show and thus ended the story of Jack Tripper for good.