The 101 Best Written TV Shows of All Time According to the Writers Guild of America

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 3, 2013 |


The Writers Guild of America, in combination with TV Guide (?), has gotten together to rank the 100 best written shows of all time, because the world loves a good list. By including 101 shows, it's hard to argue about omissions because nearly everything is included (although, an argument certainly could be made for the omissions of, say or "Sports Night" or "Veronica Mars," and especially "Slings and Arrows"). If anything, most folks will complain about the ranking, and there's where it's easier to quibble (and that's also what list are all about: Quibbling). For instance, "Sex and the City" is a good 50 spots higher than "Justified" (it's also higher than "Game of Thrones"). "Louie" is too low; "Downton Abbey" is too high, and there are various other issues we could take.

But all things considered, it's a solid list. What we can also surmise from it are that Vince Gilligan and Matthew Weiner are basically the best television writers on the planet.

1. The Sopranos

2. Seinfeld

3. The Twilight Zone (1959)

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 & the City

40. Game of Thrones

41. The Bob Newhart Show *TIE

41. Your Show of Shows *TIE

43. Downton Abbey *TIE

43. Law & Order *TIE

43. thirtysomething *TIE

46. Homicide: Life on the Street *TIE

47. St. Elsewhere *TIE

48. Homeland

49. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

50. The Colbert Report *TIE

50. The Good Wife *TIE

51. The Office (UK) *TIE

53. Northern Exposure

54. The Wonder Years

55. L.A. Law

56. Sesame Street

57. Columbo

58. Fawlty Towers *TIE

58. The Rockford Files *TIE

60. Freaks and Geeks *TIE

61. Moonlighting *TIE

62. Roots

63. Everybody Loves Raymond *TIE

63. South Park *TIE

65. Playhouse 90

66. Dexter *TIE

66. The Office (US) *TIE

68. My So-Called Life

69. The Golden Girls

70. The Andy Griffith Show

71. 24 *TIE

71 .Roseanne *TIE

71.bThe Shield *TIE

74. House *TIE

75. Murphy Brown *TIE

76. Barney Miller *TIE

77. I, Claudius *TIE

78. The Odd Couple

79. Alfred Hitchcock Presents *TIE

79. Monty Python's Flying Circus *TIE

79. Star Trek: The Next Generation *TIE

79. Upstairs, Downstairs *TIE

83. Get Smart

84. The Defenders *TIE

85. Gunsmoke *TIE

86. Justified *TIE

87. Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) *TIE

88. Band of Brothers

89. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

90. The Prisoner

91. Absolutely Fabulous (UK) *TIE

92. The Muppet Show *TIE

93. Boardwalk Empire

94. Will & Grace

95. Family Ties

96. Lonesome Dove *TIE

96. Soap *TIE

98. The Fugitive *TIE

99. Late Night with David Letterman *TIE

100. Louie *TIE

101. Oz


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