We'll Give You 3 Words, You Tell Us Which '80s TV Show They Go With

By: Jane Andrews
Image: NBC

About This Quiz

Let's take a trip back to the 1980s, when the shoulder pads were big and the colors were bright. Some of the most memorable TV shows of all time came out of this decade, from beloved sitcoms such as "Cheers" and "Family Ties" to stylish and gritty crime dramas like "Miami Vice" and "Hill Street Blues."

There were also steamy primetime soaps with epic cliffhangers (remember "Who Shot J.R." and the "Moldavian Massacre?") , as well as action-packed adventure shows ("The A-Team!" "Airwolf!"), plenty of sparring detectives (Maddie and David! Stephanie and Mr. Steel!), and even a talking car named KITT. 

Now, over 30 years later, we're still enjoying with these great shows. We can stream most of them, and more than a few have been rebooted for the 2010s. How knowledgeable are you when it comes to '80s TV trivia? Are you good enough to guess a show based on just three words? It may be a challenge, but we're pretty sure you can do it — especially if you're as '80s obsessed as us. So put on your neon thinking cap and answer the questions below!

What popular family sitcom comes to mind when you see these three words: Skippy, Ohio, Keaton?

Who can forget "Family Ties"? During its seven-season run, from 1982 to 1989, the popular sitcom became one of NBC's top-rated shows, winning six Emmy awards and making Michael J. Fox (and Alex P. Keaton) a household name.

Beer, Boston, Norm! What show do these words make you think of?

One of the highest-rated sitcoms of the '80s, "Cheers" delighted viewers with its loveable barflies and romantic antics (we still ship Sam and Diane). The show ran for 11 seasons, from 1982 to 1993.

When you see these words — blazers, Tubbs, crime — what action-packed '80s show do you think of?

Airing for five seasons, from 1984 to 1989, "Miami Vice" seamlessly blended '80s fashion and music with edge-of-your-seat crime drama. The show's unique style made it an instant hit, earning it an unprecedented 15 Emmy Award nominations for its first season alone.

What show pops into your head when you see the words Melmac, alien, cats?

This unconventional sitcom, which ran on NBC from 1986 to 1990, chronicled the adventures of a furry, wisecracking Alien Life Form (affectionately nicknamed ALF) from the planet Melmac.

Miami, Blanche, lanai — what beloved sitcom do these three words make you think of?

"The Golden Girls" aired for seven seasons on NBC, from 1985 to 1992. A spin-off called "The Golden Palace," which featured the original cast minus Bea Arthur (who played Dorothy Zbornak), followed the show for just one season on CBS.

What offbeat '80s show comes to mind when you see the words detectives, DiPesto, BMW?

When it debuted in 1985, "Moonlighting" was one of the first drama-comedy-crime show hybrids to hit the small screen. It aired for four seasons, until 1989, and helped launch the career of future "Die Hard" star Bruce Willis.

What sleek hour-long drama do you think of when you see these words: KITT, crime, Firebird?

After the show's initial run from 1982 to 1986, "Knight Rider" spawned a number of made-for-TV sequels and spin-offs, including "Knight Rider 2000," "Knight Rider 2010" and "Team Knight Rider."

When you hear Kip, Hildegard and drag, what short-lived '80s show pops into your head?

Starring Peter Scolari and a then-unknown Tom Hanks, "Bosom Buddies" lasted only two seasons on ABC, from 1980 to 1982. The sitcom was about two young men who disguised themselves as women in order to live in an affordable, all-female apartment building.

Bull, gavel, judge — which '80s sitcom do these words bring to mind?

"Night Court" aired on NBC from 1984 until 1992. The quirky sitcom was nominated for a total of 31 Emmy Awards and won seven during its run, including three for Best Supporting Actor John Larroquette.

What show do you think of when you see the following words: Seaver, Boner, Leo?

The Seaver family entertained audiences for seven seasons, from 1985 to 1992. During the final season, a young Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast as Luke, a homeless teen befriended by the family.

What kooky comedy comes to mind when you hear the words Balki, Chicago and Mypos?

Larry Appleton's life was turned upside down when Balki Bartokomous, a distant cousin from the Mediterranean island of Mypos, came to crash at his Chicago pad — indefinitely. "Perfect Strangers" ran for eight seasons on ABC, from 1986 to 1993.

Carrington, Moldavia, tycoon — what steamy '80s soap do these words make you think of?

Produced by '80s TV tycoon Aaron Spelling, "Dynasty" was developed by ABC in an effort to compete with CBS's hit prime time soap "Dallas." It ran for nine seasons, from 1981 until 1989, and was rebooted as a series for the CW in 2017.

This popular sitcom can be summed up with the following three words: Drummond, brothers, Manhattan.

"Diff'rent Strokes" aired for seven seasons on NBC, from 1978 to 1984. After being canceled due to declining ratings, it was picked up by ABC, where it ran for one more season before leaving the airwaves for good in 1985.

Larry, Darryl, Darryl. Can you guess what show we're thinking of?

After airing for eight season on CBS, "Newhart" went out with a bang in 1990. In one of the most memorable season finales in TV history, it was revealed that the entire series was just a dream of Dr. Bob Hartley — a character played by Bob Newhart in a popular '70s TV series.

What action-packed comedy are we referring to with these words — Daisy, Cooter, Georgia?

According to reports, more than 150 different cars were used — and wrecked — as the General Lee during the show's seven-season run. The iconic 1969 Dodge Charger was as much of a main character as Luke, Bo and Daisy.

When we say Tootie, Eastland and Peekskill, what long-running '80s sitcom pops into your head?

One of the longest-running sitcoms of the '80s, this popular show was a spin-off of "Diff'rent Strokes." Airing on NBC from 1979 to 1988, it featured the Drummonds' former housekeeper, Edna Garrett, as the housemother for an all-girls boarding school.

How about Clayton, Kraus and governor — what show do these words make you think of?

"Benson," which aired on ABC from 1979 to 1986, was a spin-off of the popular sitcom "Soap." Robert Guillaume, who portrayed the title character, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1985.

What show do you think of when you see these words — Winnie, '60s, school?

This coming-of-age comedy-drama ran for six seasons on ABC, from 1988 to 1993. It was an instant hit when it aired, winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series after only six episodes had been aired.

What about the words Hillman, Whitley and college — what '80s spin-off comes to mind?

A spin-off from "The Cosby Show," "A Different World" followed Denise Huxtable when she left home to attend Hillman College. Though the show aired for six seasons, until 1993, Denise was written out of the show after the first season.

What long-running show do you think we're taking about when you hear the words Gopher, cruise and romance?

Set on a luxury passenger cruise ship called the S.S. Pacific Princess, "The Love Boat" featured a wide variety of celebrity guest stars during its nine-season run. A made-for-TV reunion movie, called "The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage," aired in 1990.

Hawaii, Higgins, investigator. What classic '80s show are we referring to?

One of the most popular shows of the '80s, "Magnum, P.I." consistently ranked in the Nielsen ratings' top 20 during the first five years of its original run on CBS, which began in 1980. The show aired until 1988.

When you see Mona, Connecticut and housekeeper, what '80s sitcom comes to mind?

One of the most popular sitcoms of the mid-to-late '80s, "Who's the Boss" ran on ABC from 1984 to 1992. The show consistently ranked in the Nielsen ratings' top 10 between 1985 and 1989, and is still syndicated around the world to this day.

What popular show do you think of when you see the words Sugarbaker, Atlanta and sisters?

"Designing Women" ran for seven seasons on CBS, from 1986 until 1993. It was a modest success when it debuted, but became a top-rated show when it was moved to the time slot after "Murphy Brown."

Vicki, robot, Harriet. Do you know what syndicated '80s show we're thinking of?

"Small Wonder" ran in first-run syndication for four seasons, from 1985 to 1989. After it was canceled, reruns continued to air for more than a decade, and the show became popular in multiple countries, including India, France and Brazil.

When we say Baracus, mohawk and Hannibal, what hour-long action show are we referring to?

"The A-Team" was an instant smash when it hit the airwaves in 1983. Its first regular episode, which aired after the Super Bowl in 1983, reached the number four spot in the Nielsen top 10.

What long-running mystery/drama do you think of when you see these words: Fletcher, writer, detective?

During its 12-season run on CBS, which lasted from 1984 to 1996, many actors who would one day become popular TV stars appeared on the show. This impressive list includes Neil Patrick Harris, Megan Mullally, Julianna Margulies and Cynthia Nixon.

Al, time-travel, Ziggy. What sci-fi show from the '80s do these words bring to mind?

Named one of the top cult shows in TV history by "TV Guide," "Quantum Leap" ran from 1989 to 1993 on NBC. While it was never a ratings smash, the show had a devoted following and won a Golden Globe Award during its run.

What prime time soap pops into your head when you see the words J.R., oil and Texas?

When "Dallas" debuted on CBS in 1978, it was only intended to be a five-part miniseries. But it was so popular that the network picked it up as a regular series, and it ran for a whopping 14 seasons, until 1991.

How about the words Boober, Doozers and Doc — what colorful '80s kid show are we referring to?

Created by Jim Henson, "Fraggle Rock" debuted in 1983 and ran for five seasons in the US. It was syndicated around the world, and became the first American TV show to be broadcast in the Soviet Union.

Helicopter, Stringfellow, Santini. What high-flying action show matches these words?

"Airwolf" was the code name for the high-tech military helicopter featured in this adventure series. The show premiered in 1984 and ran for three seasons on CBS, plus one additional first-run season on the USA Network.

What about stuntman, Colt and Kid. Do you know what '80s show these words refer to?

Lee Majors starred in this action/adventure show, which ran from 1981 to 1986 on ABC. The show focused on Colt Seavers, a Hollywood stuntman who was moonlighting as a bounty hunter.

What suspenseful series comes to mind when you see these words — Holt, detectives, Mildred?

A decade before he assumed the iconic role of James Bond on the big screen, Pierce Brosnan became famous for playing the title character on "Remington Steele," which aired from 1984 to 1987 on NBC.

Baio, Buddy and babysitting — can you name the '80s show we're thinking of?

"Charles in Charge" lasted for just one season on CBS, where it debuted in 1984. After its cancellation, the show was picked up by Universal and relaunched in first-run syndication, where it found a dedicated audience ran from 1987 to 1990.

When you see the words Stratton, toys and mansion, what '80s sitcom do you think we have in mind?

Jason Bateman had a recurring role on this hit '80s sitcom, which aired for five seasons on NBC, following by a year in first-run syndication. It also featured Alfonso Ribeiro before he became a '90s TV staple on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

Last one — what cute '80s comedy do you think of when you see the words Wesley, butler and family?

"Mr. Belvedere" aired on ABC from 1985 to 1990. The show's memorable theme song, "According to Our New Arrival," was co-written by Gary Portnoy, who also penned the theme song for the hit '80s series "Cheers."

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