1980s anthology shows

by Jixby Phillips | created - 4 months ago | updated - 4 months ago | Public

A comprehensive (read: not completely complete) list of episodes of 1980s Anthology shows. Exceptions: TV Plays, feature-length stuff that functions as TV Movies (including two-part presentations) failed pilots, specials, etc. No rules are stiff; The entirety of CBS Summer Playhouse is excised because it's explicit that they are failed pilots. Mr. Boogedy, an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, is included because it aired as part of an anthology series despite also being a failed pilot. This list is more meant to reflect Amazing Stories/Twilight Zone style shows than anything else.

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1. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Heartbreak Winner (1980)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenage figure skater learns to true value of winning when she meets a paraplegic youngster.

Director: Bruce Malmuth | Stars: Melissa Sherman, Chris Hagan, Tammy Taylor, Walter Brooke

Votes: 14

2. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Where Do Teenagers Come From? (1980)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

12-year-old girl wonders about all of the changes that's happening to her body. Sequel to My Mom's Having a Baby.

Director: Larry Elikann | Stars: Lendon H. Smith, Rachel Longaker, Shane Sinutko, Jarrod Johnson

Votes: 8

3. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: What Are Friends For? (1980)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Two 12-year-old girls going through a divorce make a pact never to divorce their friendship.

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal | Stars: Melora Hardin, Dana Hill, Susan Adams, Michael Currie

Votes: 40

4. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Schoolboy Father (1980)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

High school senior discovers his summer girlfriend has given birth to his child, and decides to fight for custody.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman | Stars: Rob Lowe, Dana Plato, Sharon Spelman, Nancy McKeon

Votes: 56

5. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: A Family of Strangers (1980)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Widower with two daughters marries a widow with one daughter, creating a blended family.

Director: Robert Fuest | Stars: Danny Aiello, Maria Tucci, Lauri Hendler, Laura Dean

Votes: 9

6. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Gymnast (1980)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

16-year-old gymnast is determined to become a world-class athlete.

Director: Larry Elikann | Stars: Holly Gagnier, Zina Bethune, Jack Knight, Patrick Gorman

Votes: 26

7. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Stoned (1980)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Jack is a motivated high school student who smokes cannabis for the first time, and falls in with a fast crowd. Will he wake up and realize what he's doing with his future before it's too late?

Director: John Herzfeld | Stars: Scott Baio, Vincent Bufano, Largo Woodruff, Jack Finch

Votes: 74

8. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: A Matter of Time (1981)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teen Lisl Gilbert (Karlene Crockett) finds inner strength when she learns her mother (Rosemary Forsyth) is dying of cancer.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman | Stars: Karlene Crockett, Rosemary Forsyth, Kate Zentall, Wayne Heffley

Votes: 17

9. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Run, Don't Walk (1981)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenage girl is in denial about being in a wheelchair when an accident leaves her paralyzed. She begins to change when she becomes friends with a boy in the same situation.

Director: John Herzfeld | Stars: Toni Kalem, Scott Baio, Dee Wallace, James MacKrell

Votes: 11

10. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: My Mother Was Never a Kid (1981)

46 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

In 1981, a teenage girl named Victoria Martin is convinced that her mother doesn't understand the younger generation. After she bangs her head, Victoria is sent back in time to 1944 and meets her mother as a teenager.

Director: Robert Fuest | Stars: Rachel Longaker, Mary-Beth Manning, Holland Taylor, Jane Lowry

Votes: 31

11. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Sometimes I Don't Love My Mother (1982)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

After the death of her father, a teenage girl struggles with her mother's total dependency on her.

Director: Alexander Grasshoff | Stars: Melinda Culea, Patricia Elliott, Ruth Warrick, Vicky Dawson

12. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Daddy, I'm Their Mama Now (1982)

26 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

12-year-old girl assumes responsibility for her two little brothers, after the passing of their mother.

Director: Jeff Bleckner | Stars: Mallie Jackson, Trey Wilson, Betty Beaird, Jason Lively

Votes: 19

13. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Unforgivable Secret (1982)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

15-year-old girl is stunned when she discovers her deceased father is very much alive.

Director: Alexander Grasshoff | Stars: Barbara Feldon, Amanda Plummer, Danny Aiello, Steve Vinovich

Votes: 8

14. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Color of Friendship (1981)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Two teenagers, one black and one white, begin a friendship.

Director: Stan Lathan | Stars: James Bond III, Chris Barnes, Mary Alice, Katharine Houghton

Votes: 14

15. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Tough Girl (1981)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Streetwise teenager is sent to live in the suburbs with her father new family.

Director: Robert C. Thompson | Stars: Karin Argoud, Bibi Besch, Lin McCarthy, Kristina Sorenson

Votes: 17

16. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Starstruck (1981)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Aspiring teen folk singer is torn whether to continue her singing or to accept an educational scholarship.

Director: Claude Kerven | Stars: Trini Alvarado, Joanna Merlin, Lee Curreri, Antonia Rey

Votes: 9

17. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: She Drinks a Little (1981)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

16-year-old girl is in denial about her mother's drinking problem and refuses to join Ala-Teen.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman | Stars: Amanda Wyss, Bonnie Bartlett, Elliot Jaffe, Peggy Stewart

Votes: 11

18. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Wave (1983)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

High School teacher decides to conduct a social experiment, asking his students to take part. But what they don't know is that the experiment is on mind control.

Votes: 18

19. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: But It's Not My Fault (1983)

45 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A 16-year-old boy (Warlock) ends up in juvenile hall after trying to "prove" himself to his peers.

Director: Victor Lobl | Stars: Billy Warlock, Jay Varela, Ray Anthony Williams, Michael Carmine

Votes: 7

20. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Have You Ever Been Ashamed of Your Parents? (1983)

45 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Two teenage girls, one rich and one middle-class, become best friends over the summer.

Director: Harry Harris | Stars: Marion Ross, Jennifer Jason Leigh, James Karen, Carol Lawrence

Votes: 22

21. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Woman Who Willed a Miracle (1983)

45 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A blind, mentally retarded infant with cerebral palsey is left in the care of an elderly English woman who refuses to let him die.

Director: Sharron Miller | Stars: Cloris Leachman, M. Emmet Walsh, Leif Green, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 40

22. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Please Don't Hit Me, Mom (1983)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenager stumbles upon a case of child abuse. She discovers a child she baby-sits is regular beaten by the mother.

Director: Gwen Arner | Star: Toni Sawyer

Votes: 9

23. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: A Very Delicate Matter (1982)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenage girl is shocked when a former boyfriend tells her he has gonorrhea. Not only does she get tested, she must tell her current boyfriend to get tested as well.

Director: Claude Kerven | Stars: Lori-Nan Engler, Zach Galligan, Marta Kober, John Didrichsen

Votes: 23

24. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Between Two Loves (1982)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teen violinist is torn between her musical career and her boyfriend.

Director: Robert C. Thompson | Stars: Karlene Crockett, Lance Guest, Barbara Tarbuck, Robert Reed

Votes: 11

25. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Amy & the Angel (1982)

Not Rated | 45 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Amy, a depressed seventeen year old high school girl, is visited by her guardian angel Oliver after wishing she had never been born. Oliver shows Amy how important she is to the people in her life.

Director: Ralph Rosenblum | Stars: Helen Slater, Albert Macklin, James Earl Jones, Gail Strickland

Votes: 51

26. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Hero Who Couldn't Read (1984)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teacher discovers that the star basketball player is illiterate, and makes it his mission to teach him how to read.

Director: Robert Chenault | Stars: Clarence Williams III, Lynn Hamilton, Eric D. Wallace, James Carroll Jordan

27. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

13-year-old boy has problems reading, which his teachers attribute to laziness. It is later discovered that he has Dyslexia.

Director: Alexander Grasshoff | Stars: Madge Sinclair, River Phoenix, Judy Farrell, Joaquin Phoenix

Votes: 79

28. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Great Love Experiment (1984)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenagers lure a timid girl into a made-up experiment that gets her involved in affectionate ways.

Director: Claudia Weill | Stars: Tracy Pollan, Kelly Wolf, Peter Kowanko, Esai Morales

Votes: 20

29. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Andrea's Story: A Hitchhiking Tragedy (1983)

30 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A teenage girl is traumatized after being assaulted by a stranger from whom she hitched a ride.

Director: Robert Mandel | Stars: Michele Greene, Moosie Drier, Robert DoQui, Carrie Snodgress

Votes: 31

30. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Celebrity and the Arcade Kid (1983)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Video-arcade whiz and teen movie star discover they are exact doubles and decide to switch identities.

Director: Fern Field | Stars: Darnell Williams, Shelley Fabares, Roxie Roker, Hal Williams

31. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Hand Me Down Kid (1983)

47 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Tired of receiving hand me downs from her sister, an 11-year-old girl borrows her bike. When the bike gets stolen, she tries to find it before her sister finds out.

Director: Robert Mandel | Stars: Tracey Gold, Cheryl Arutt, Elizabeth Ward, Sara Botsford

Votes: 5

32. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: It's No Crush, I'm in Love (1983)

46 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A high school girl has a crush on a soap-opera star but she thinks she is in love with him. At school she meets her new English teacher who looks closely like the soap-opera star. Partly filmed at Lyndhurst Library

Director: Mark Cullingham | Stars: Cynthia Nixon, Mark La Mura, Julie Cohen, Todd Graff

Votes: 9

33. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Summer Switch (1984)

46 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Father and son magically switch personalities with comical results.

Director: Ken Kwapis | Stars: Robert Klein, Scott Schwartz, Margo Skinner, Anna Maria Horsford

Votes: 24

34. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: One Too Many (1985)

30 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Four high school friends find their lives changed forever when one of the friends drives drunk with devastating results.

Director: Peter Horton | Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Val Kilmer, Mare Winningham, Lance Guest

Votes: 117

35. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: First the Egg (1985)

87 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A group of high school students take part in a parenting class where their first assignment is to 'parent' an egg.

Director: Robert C. Thompson | Stars: Justine Bateman, Jimmy McNichol, Chris Hebert, Elizabeth Huddle Nyberg

Votes: 12

36. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: I Want to Go Home (1985)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Brother and sister go on the run with their divorced mom, not realizing until later that their mom has kidnapped them from their dad.

Director: Alexander Grasshoff | Stars: Lindsay Crouse, Maddie Corman, Seth Green, John Getz

Votes: 11

37. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Mom's on Strike (1984)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

An ABC (American Broadcasting Company) Afterschool Special, about an overworked housewife, who, as the title suggests, goes on strike, in order to persuade the rest of her family to share household chores.

Director: Joan Darling | Stars: Mary Kay Place, Stephen Keep Mills, Yeardley Smith, George Gaynes

Votes: 21

38. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: The Almost Royal Family (1984)

52 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Family inherits a house on a tiny island between Canada and the US, and is not the jurisdiction of either country.

Director: Claude Kerven | Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Christine Langner, John Femia, Mary Elaine Monti

Votes: 9

39. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Out of Step (1984)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenage girl wants to be a successful dancer, and has a chance to try out for a dance troupe. But fear of failure may keep her from auditioning.

Director: Jeffrey Hornaday | Stars: Terry Donahoe, Johann Carlo, Laura Dean, Charles McGowan

Votes: 11

40. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Getting Even: A Wimp's Revenge (1986)

46 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Tired of being bullied at school, a boy start drawing a master scientist. He begins to imagine what it would be like, as the scientist, standing-up to the bullies at school.

Director: James Scott | Stars: Adolph Caesar, Jon Rothstein, Michael Storm, Marisa Berenson

Votes: 8

41. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Are You My Mother? (1986)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Teenage girl is stunned to discover that her mother is not deceased, but mentally ill living in an institution.

Director: Joseph Manduke | Stars: Michael York, Beth Miller, Belinda Balaski, Sheree North

Votes: 8

42. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Can a Guy Say No? (1986)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

17-year-old boy finds looks can be deceiving when he becomes friends with the prettiest girl in school. Despite her beauty, he finds a very unhappy girl with a low self-esteem.

Director: Thomas Schlamme | Stars: Steve Antin, Heather Langenkamp, Christa Denton, Khrystyne Haje

Votes: 21

43. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: High School Narc (1985)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama

22-year-old police officer poses as a student to find the identity of a drug supplier at an inner-city high school.

Director: Claude Kerven | Stars: Michael E. Knight, Nancy Travis, Greg Germann, Don Harvey

Votes: 12

44. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Don't Touch (1985)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A teenager babysitting a young girl discovers that she is being molested by a family friend when harrowing memories of her own past molestation by her uncle come to the surface.

Director: Beau Bridges | Stars: Kelly Wolf, Niki Scalera, Blair Brown, Lenny von Dohlen

Votes: 35

45. ABC Afterschool Specials (1972–1997)
Episode: Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale (1985)

60 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama