LB: And the Best Written TV Series in History Are…

sopranos-cast

Best written TV series of all time. Every writer from THE SOPRANOS is now a made man.

Last night was a big one for TV writers. The Writers Guild of America, West, and the Writers Guild of America, East, which often seem to be two rival organizations instead of sisters-in-service to film and television writers, joined forces to pay tribute to “the 101 Best Written TV Series.”

The list is the result of online voting by members of both guilds and is a follow-up to a similar one, the 101 Greatest Screenplays, done back in 2006.

The idea behind the TV 101 list is to honor the writers of, “classic, trailblazing series and miniseries, as well as current and critically acclaimed programs” in all genres because, as our fearless leaders, WGAW Prez Chris Keyser and WGAE Prez Michael Winship said in, yeah, you know, a press release:

At their core, all of these wonderful series began with the words of the writers who created them and were sustained by the writers who joined their staffs or worked on individual episodes…This list is not only a tribute to great TV, it is a dedication to all writers who devote their hearts and minds to advancing their craft.

I couldn’t agree more. So although I might argue about a couple of inclusions and bemoan a couple of exclusions, here’s the full list:

1.             THE SOPRANOS
2.             SEINFELD
3.             THE TWILIGHT ZONE
4.             ALL IN THE FAMILY
5.             M*A*S*H
6.             THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW
7.             MAD MEN
8.             CHEERS
9.             THE WIRE
10.            THE WEST WING
11.            THE SIMPSONS
12.            I LOVE LUCY
13.            BREAKING BAD
14.            THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW
15.            HILL STREET BLUES
16.            ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
17.            THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
18.            SIX FEET UNDER
19.            TAXI
20.            THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW
21.            30 ROCK
22.            FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
23.            FRASIER
24.            FRIENDS
25.            SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
26.            THE X-FILES
27.            LOST
28.            ER
29.            THE COSBY SHOW
30.            CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
31.            THE HONEYMOONERS
32.            DEADWOOD
33.            STAR TREK
34.            MODERN FAMILY
35.            TWIN PEAKS
36.            NYPD BLUE
37.            THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW
38.            BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2005)
39.            SEX AND THE CITY
40.            GAME OF THRONES
41.            THE BOB NEWHART SHOW – YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS – TIE
43.            DOWNTON ABBEY – LAW & ORDER – THIRTYSOMETHING – TIE
46.            HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET – ST. ELSEWHERE – TIE
48.            HOMELAND
49.            BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
50.            THE COLBERT REPORT – THE GOOD WIFE – THE OFFICE (UK) – TIE
53.            NORTHERN EXPOSURE
54.            THE WONDER YEARS
55.            L.A. LAW
56.            SESAME STREET
57.            COLUMBO
58.            FAWLTY TOWERS – THE ROCKFORD FILES – TIE
60.            FREAKS AND GEEKS – MOONLIGHTING – TIE
62.            ROOTS
63.            EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND – SOUTH PARK – TIE
65.            PLAYHOUSE 90
66.            DEXTER – THE OFFICE (U.S.) – TIE
68.            MY SO-CALLED LIFE
69.            THE GOLDEN GIRLS
70.            THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
71.            24 – ROSEANNE – THE SHIELD – TIE
74.            HOUSE – MURPHY BROWN – TIE
76.            BARNEY MILLER – I, CLAUDIUS – TIE
78.            THE ODD COUPLE
79.            ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS – MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS – STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS – TIE
83.            GET SMART
84.            THE DEFENDERS – GUNSMOKE – TIE
86.            JUSTIFIED – SGT. BILKO (THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW) – TIE
88.            BAND OF BROTHERS
89.            ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN
90.            THE PRISONER
91.            ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS (U.K.) – THE MUPPET SHOW – TIE
93.            BOARDWALK EMPIRE
94.            WILL & GRACE
95.            FAMILY TIES
96.            LONESOME DOVE – SOAP – TIE
98.            THE FUGITIVE – LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN – LOUIE – TIE
101.            OZ

Note for friends (and enemies) who may be keeping score. I’ve written for two of these series, and I can think of at least two other series I was part of that I think should’ve been on this list. But in the words of my friends back at the old elementary school playground: “Yeah? So what?”

Congrats to everyone associated with the shows above – especially the writers!

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide. A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television. Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC. Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys.

One thought on “LB: And the Best Written TV Series in History Are…

  1. ChilltownTV says:

    What a great list! I’d add In Living Color, The Young Ones & Chappelle’s Show.

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