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The TV Shows with the Best Writing 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 29, 2019 68.9k votes 3.9k voters 60.5k views 216 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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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

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Crime, Suspense, Drama, + more

Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American drama television series created and produced by Vince Gilligan. A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to ...more

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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

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 86

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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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

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 180

Network: NBC

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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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

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

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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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

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: UPN, CBS

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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6
Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 13

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Crime, Drama, + more

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

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7
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

Premiered: 2002

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 60

Network: BBC Four, HBO

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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8
The Office is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 201

Network: Global Television Network, NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Mockumentary, Satire, Romance TV, Romantic comedy, + more

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

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9
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

Premiered: 1972

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 251

Network: CBS

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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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

Number of Seasons: 4

Network: AMC

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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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

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 156

Network: NBC

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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12
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
rdrxscm added Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

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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13
House is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 177

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Medical drama, Procedural drama, Drama, Mystery, + more

House (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. The show's main character is Dr. Gregory House, a pain medication-dependent, unconventional, misanthropic ...more

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14
Frasier is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce

Premiered: 1993

Number of Seasons: 11

Number of Episodes: 264

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Farce, Comedy

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

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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

Number of Seasons: 3

Network: AMC

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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16
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser

Premiered: 2007

Number of Seasons: 7

Network: AMC

Genres (Tv): Drama, Period piece, Costume drama

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

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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

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 68

Network: Fox

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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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

Number of Seasons: 16

Network: Comedy Central

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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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

Number of Seasons: 9

Network: CBS

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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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, 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
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 96

Network: Showtime

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Police procedural, Suspense, + more

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) 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 ...more

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22
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Premiered: 1989

Number of Seasons: 31

Network: Fox

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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23
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs

Premiered: 1975

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 12

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation

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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24
The 100 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
jennalovesfivesecondsofsumme added Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell

Premiered: March 19, 2014

Network: The CW

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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25
Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson

Premiered: 2017

Genres (Tv): Drama

Anne with an E (2017, Netflix) is a Canadian television series based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) is a good-hearted, earnest ...more

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