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The TV Shows with the Best Writing 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 25, 2020 69.8k votes 4k voters 62.3k views 214 items

List Rules Vote up the television series with the most consistently great writing

What are the best written TV shows of all time? The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and TV Guide recently compiled its list of the 101 Best Written TV Shows ever, and the results left things wide open for debate. So, do you agree with the choices? Was there a show left off? Vote for the TV programs that you believe featured the strongest writing. Add any shows that you believe deserve votes, and of course, feel free to re-rank this list of TV series with the greatest writing in any order you choose.

Many of the television shows listed here are considered among the best TV shows of recent memory, and with good reason: They are wonderfully scripted, featuring diverse characters and compelling storylines that made us want to keep watching, week after week. They are excellent dramas, outstanding comedies and awesome science fiction TV shows. Some of the programs here are older, but they were considered by many to be groundbreaking.

What should be the number one best written TV show ever? Certainly outstanding shows like 'The Sopranos,' 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' could be considered. They are, after all, some of the greatest TV dramas of all time.
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list ordered by
1
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Premiered: 2008

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Thriller, Neo-western, Tragedy

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by Vince Gilligan. After being diagnosed with cancer, a depressed high school chemistry teacher (Bryan ...more

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The Best Breaking Bad Characters of All Time #2 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #1 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

2
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Crime drama

The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) deals with personal and professional issues in ...more

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12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed #9 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #153 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

3
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally ran for nine seasons on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as ...more

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All of Jerry's Girlfriends, Ranked #28 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

4
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more

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The Best 'Game Of Thrones' Characters #1 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #2 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

5
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts

Premiered: 1959

Genres (Tv): Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction, + more

The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more

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Creepy Parallels Between 'American Horror Story' And 'The Twilight Zone' You Never Even Knew Existed #53 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

6
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

Premiered: 2002

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David Simon. The series features the Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and ...more

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The Best Things Cast Members of The Wire Have Done Since the Genius Show Ended #17 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #38 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

7
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Mystery

Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, based on stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The brilliant yet insensitive detective ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Sherlock' #4 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #6 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

8
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Medical drama, Sitcom, Satire, Military, + more

M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970 feature film MASH. The series, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ...more

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#72 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #3 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

9
The Office is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski

Premiered: 2005

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary

The Office (NBC, 2005) is an American mockumentary sitcom television series developed by Greg Daniels, based on the 2001 British series. Led by manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the office ...more

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15 Reasons Why 'Parks and Rec' Has Always Been Better Than 'The Office' #5 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #4 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

10
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
MattSchwarck added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy

Better Call Saul (AMC, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and a spinoff prequel of Breaking Bad. The trials and tribulations of lawyer, Jimmy ...more

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Fan Theories For The Final Season Of 'Better Call Saul' That Just Might Be True #13 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #42 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

11
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney

Premiered: 1999

Genres (Tv): Political drama, Drama, Serial drama

The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006. The series is set ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The West Wing' #99 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running US Drama Shows

12
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Period drama, Serial drama

Mad Men (AMC, 2007) is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. Womanizing advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) balances work and pleasure, while harboring ...more

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The Best Mad Men Characters of All Time #64 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #55 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

13
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce

Premiered: 1993

Genres (Tv): Sitcom

Frasier (NBC, 1993) is an American sitcom television series created by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee, and a spinoff of Cheers. After his divorce, psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane ...more

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These Fan Theories From 'Frasier' Are Pretty Wild - But They Could Be True #111 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

14
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
rdrxscm added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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15
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
LanaYoshii added Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks

Premiered: 2014

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Drama, Crime

Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah Hawley, and inspired by the 1996 film. Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and wrong doings ...more

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The Best Characters on Fargo (the TV Show), Ranked #41 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #95 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

16
House is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Medical drama

House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An antisocial maverick doctor (Hugh Laurie) who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'House' #14 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #3 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

17
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Arrested Development (Fox, 2003) is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz. Level-headed son Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) takes over family affairs after his father is ...more

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There Are Always Arrested Development Fan Theories In The Banana Stand #38 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #5 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

18
South Park is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Sitcom, Satire, Animated cartoon, + more

South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the small town of South Park, four boys get caught up in all sorts of bizarre ...more

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30 Facts You Didn't Know About South Park #49 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

19
All in the Family is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner

Premiered: 1971

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, ...more

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#275 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #9 of 214 The Most Important TV Sitcomslisted on The Longest Running US Sitcoms

20
Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday

Premiered: 2015

Genres (Tv): Drama, Techno thriller, Psychological thriller

Mr. Robot (USA Network, 2015) is an American drama-thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. Elliot (Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety ...more

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21
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs

Premiered: 1975

Genres (Tv): Comedy

Fawlty Towers is a BBC television sitcom that was first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979. Twelve episodes were made. The show was written by John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth, both of ...more

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22
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Michael C. Hall And Jennifer Carpenter On 'Dexter' #12 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #21 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

23
Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Premiered: 2016

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Horror, Supernatural, Period drama

Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series created by The Duffer Brothers. When a young boy (Noah Schnapp) disappears, his mother (Winona Ryder), ...more

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24
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Premiered: 1989

Genres (Tv): Animation, Television comedy, Comedy, Family Film

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the ...more

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The Funniest Business Names in The Simpsons #27 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted on Longest Running Animated Series

25
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
jennalovesfivesecondsofsumme added Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell

Premiered: March 19, 2014

Genres (Tv): Drama, Dystopian, Sci-fi, Action

The 100 is an upcoming American post-apocalyptic drama television series that is expected to air on The CW during the 2013–14 American television season. The series is based on a book of the same name, the first in a series by Kass Morgan, and developed by Jason Rothenberg. The series is set to premiere on March 19, 2014, following Arrow, with a UK release also confirmed on E4.

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#23 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #44 of 331 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #110 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years