TV The TV Shows with the Best Writing  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
58.7k votes 3k voters 52.1k views 235 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.
list ordered by

1
573 467
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco The Sopranos is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano, the show portrays the ...more

2
606 547
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards 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

3
815 520
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn Breaking Bad is an American crime drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008, to ...more

4
666 575
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke 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

5
443 531
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner 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

6
391 402
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi 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

7
444 387
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts The Twilight Zone is an American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is a series of unrelated stories containing drama, psychological thriller, fantasy, science fiction, ...more

8
353 402
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on July 19, 2007 on the cable network AMC and is produced by Lionsgate Television. The ...more

9
306 385
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for ...more

10
219 407
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on ...more

11
366 456
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life ...more

12
333 438
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi The X-Files is an American science fiction horror drama television series created by Chris Carter. The program originally aired from September 10, 1993 to May 19, 2002 on Fox, spanning nine ...more

13
277 457
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan 30 Rock is an American satirical television sitcom that ran on NBC from October 11, 2006, to January 31, 2013, and was created by Tina Fey. The series, which is loosely based on Fey's ...more

14
320 369
Monty Python's Flying Circus is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British sketch comedy series commissioned by David Attenborough, created by the comedy group Monty Python and broadcast by the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The shows ...more

15
366 434
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production ...more

16
305 463
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Hasan Minhaj The Daily Show (Comedy Central, 1999) is an American late-night talk and news satire television program. Described as a fake news program, the show draws its comedy and satire from recent news ...more

17
377 430
House is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
307 336
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn The Wire is an American crime drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the ...more

19
405 445
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi Arrested Development is an American television sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz, which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. A fourth season of ...more

20
294 362
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney 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

21
385 374
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it ...more

22
225 380
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001, and ended on August ...more

23
324 357
South Park is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
311 312
The Office is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer The Office is an American television comedy series that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005 to May 16, 2013. It is an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name. The Office was adapted for ...more

25
217 347
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker Deadwood is an American western television series created, produced, and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, ...more

26
193 311
Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
130 187
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
305 393
Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen Modern Family is an American television sitcom that premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009, which follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los Angeles. ...more

29
135 263
Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
182 291
Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
360 394
Friends is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
147 258
Taxi is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito Taxi is an American sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and from 1982 to 1983 on NBC. The series—which won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Comedy Series—focuses ...more

33
207 289
Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
slumerican added Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Katie Cassidy Supernatural (The CW, 2005) is an American fantasy horror television series created by Eric Kripke. Two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), follow their father's ...more

34
129 247
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
190 301
Fringe is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
126 279
Late Night with David Letterma... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
David Letterman, Paul Shaffer, Jerry Seinfeld Late Night with David Letterman is a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC that was created and hosted by David Letterman. It premiered in 1982 as the first incarnation of the Late Night ...more

37
255 384
Lost is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
173 233
All in the Family is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
158 204
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Kevin Spacey, Michel Gill, Robin Wright House of Cards is an 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 novel ...more

40
164 234
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
145 190
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
191 296
The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
217 279
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston Band of Brothers is a 2001 American war 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

44
153 319
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced ...more

45
170 280
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more

46
96 148
The Dick Van Dyke Show is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
106 231
Absolutely Fabulous is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha Absolutely Fabulous, also known as Ab Fab, is a BBC television sitcom created by Jennifer Saunders, based on an original idea by her and Dawn French, and written by Saunders, who plays the ...more

48
68 174
L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
155 224
Columbo is listed (or ranked) 49 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 homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. The character and show, created by William Link and Richard Levinson, ...more

50
143 116
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
rdrxscm added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology crime drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent crimes.