Punky Brewster (played by Soleil Moon Frye) is a warm, funny and bright girl, orphaned by her parents at the age of 7. Punky's father walked out on her family. Soon later, Punky was abandoned by her mother who took her to a Chicago supermarket and disappeared. Punky was alone with her only companion, and faithful dog, Brandon.
Afterwards, Punky discovered a vacant apartment in a building managed by photographer Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes), an older bachelor. Punky quickly became friends with Cherie Johnson (Cherie Johnson), a young girl who lived upstairs in Henry's building with her grandmother Betty Johnson (Susie Garrett). Once Henry discovers Punky in the empty apartment adjacent his, he hears her story. The relationship between the two blossoms, and Henry eventually adopts Punky.
Her other friends are geeky Allen Anderson (Casey Ellison) and stuck-up rich girl Margeaux Kramer (Ami Foster).
Probably one of the most memorable episodes was built around the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, in which Punky hears about the deaths and her dreams of being an astronaut are nearly squashed. In the end, however, her schoolteacher and Henry, along with guest star Buzz Aldrin, both tell her that she should still follow her dreams.
The show also launched the Just Say No anti-drugs campaign, following from an episode where older children offer Punky drugs.
Seasons one and two of Punky Brewster are currently available on DVD in Region 1. Season three will be released on July 25, 2006.