You’ve heard it time and again over the past few years or so, but we’re living in a pretty great time for television. While of course HBO and AMC are leading the charge, with a fantastic slate of original programming, bringing talent and budgets that give big screen movies a run for their money, even network fare is getting more ambitious and daring (see NBC‘s “Hannibal,” recently renewed for a second season). But is this really the best television has had to offer in the history of the medium? Or are we forgetting the decades of great programming that came before?
Get ready to debate as the WGA (Writers Guild Of America) have somewhat randomly announced their list of the 101 Best Written TV Series of all time. Spanning one hundred shows, the one that has come out on top is HBO’s “The Sopranos,” an interesting choice for sure, particularly given the series finale that drew ire from both critical and audience corners. But there’s no denying it was a hugely popular and groundbreaking show in many ways, and arguably a forerunner to the recent crop of great television we have now.
The only show still currently airing to make the top ten is “Mad Men,” though “Breaking Bad,” “Arrested Development” and “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (interesting choice) all crack the top 20. The full list — which you can view here — will undoubtedly get conversations going (is “Modern Family” really better than “Twin Peaks“?).
Take a look at the top 10 below and let us know if you think “The Sopranos” is really the best written show of all time…or if something else deserves the top spot…
The WGA Top Ten Best Written TV Series Of All Time
1. The Sopranos – HBO – Created by David Chase
2. Seinfeld – NBC – Created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
3. The Twilight Zone (1959) – CBS – Season One writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Presnell, Jr., Rod Serling
4. All in the Family – CBS – Developed for Television by Norman Lear, Based on Till Death Do Us Part, Created by Johnny Speight
5. M*A*S*H – CBS – Developed for Television by Larry Gelbart
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show – CBS – Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns
7. Mad Men – AMC – Created by Matthew Weiner
8. Cheers – NBC – Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows
9. The Wire – HBO – Created by David Simon
10. The West Wing – NBC – Created by Aaron Sorkin