Entertainment

The TV Shows with the Best Writing  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
62.6k votes 3.4k voters 56.2k views 226 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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26
House is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard
House is an American television medical drama that originally ran on the Fox network for eight seasons, from November 16, 2004 to May 21, 2012. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a ...more
27
South Park is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman
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
28
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Darrell Hammond, Kenan Thompson, Seth Meyers
Saturday Night Live is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, ...more
29
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of ...more
30
Friends is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow
Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which originally aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004. It lasted ten seasons and is now in ...more
31
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rinkydink added Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Gavin MacLeod
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the ...more
32
Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
MattSchwarck added Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn
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
33
The Bob Newhart Show is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily
The Bob Newhart Show is an American situation comedy produced by MTM Enterprises, which aired 142 half-hour episodes on CBS from September 16, 1972, to April 1, 1978. Comedian Bob Newhart ...more
34
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright
House of Cards is a 2013 American political drama television series developed and produced by Beau Willimon. It is an adaptation of the BBC's mini-series of the same name and is based on the ...more
35
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz
Hill Street Blues is an American serial police drama that was first aired on NBC in 1981 and ran for 146 episodes on primetime into 1987. Chronicling the lives of the staff of a single police ...more
36
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Fred Savage, Dan Lauria, Daniel Stern
The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black. It ran on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988, following ABC's ...more
37
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston
Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more
38
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce
Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons, premiering on September 16, 1993, and concluding on May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David ...more
39
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series debuted in 1966. Roddenberry, ...more
40
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole
Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox Broadcasting network on September 9, 2008, and concluded ...more
41
All in the Family is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner
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
42
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
LanaYoshii added Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks
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
43
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Linus added Corbin Bernsen, Jill Eikenberry, Alan Rachins
L.A. Law is an American television legal drama series that ran for eight seasons on NBC from September 15, 1986 to May 19, 1994. Created by Steven Bochco and Terry Louise Fisher, it contained ...more
44
Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rob Morrow, Janine Turner, Barry Corbin
Northern Exposure is an American television series that ran on CBS from 1990 to 1995, with a total of 110 episodes. It dealt with a New York City physician, Dr. Joel Fleischman, who is sent to ...more
45
Gypsy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
lloydc added Naomi Watts, Billy Crudup, Sophie Cookson
Gypsy is a television drama series created by Lisa Rubin for Netflix. Naomi Watts plays a therapist who begins to develop dangerous and intimate relationships with the people in her patients’
46
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs
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
47
The Dick Van Dyke Show is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
DolittleD added Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie
The Dick Van Dyke Show is an American television sitcom that initially aired on CBS from October 3, 1961, until June 1, 1966. The show was created by Carl Reiner and starred Dick Van Dyke, Rose ...more
48
The Walking Dead is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
ChangesDownClub added Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies
The Walking Dead (A&E, 2010) is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie ...more
49
Lost is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia
Lost is an American television drama series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 ...more
50
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Peter Falk, Mike Lally, John Finnegan
Columbo is an American television series starring Peter Falk as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more