Entertainment The TV Shows with the Best Writing  

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61.6k votes 3.3k voters 55k views 237 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
888 564
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn
Breaking Bad is an American 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 September 29, ...more
2
609 510
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
The Sopranos is an American drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American Tony Soprano, the show portrays the difficulties he ...more
3
637 591
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
715 650
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
463 577
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
464 416
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts
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
7
412 436
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
370 436
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
325 418
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
410 407
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
389 490
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
337 401
Monty Python's Flying Circus is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
334 362
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn
The Wire is an American drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was ...more
14
417 475
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
322 388
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
400 461
House is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
377 469
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
237 438
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
345 469
The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
285 489
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
315 504
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
236 406
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
338 339
The Office is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
335 388
South Park is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
189 238
All in the Family is listed (or ranked) 25 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