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The TV Shows with the Best Writing

Updated September 3, 2020 54.7k votes 4.5k voters 67.2k views201 items

List RulesVote 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
    1,103
    708

    Breaking Bad

    Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul

    Premiered2008

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

    Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008) is an American neo-Western crime drama television series created by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    699
    640

    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama

    The Sopranos (HBO, 1999) is an American crime drama television series created by David Chase.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Better Call Saul is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    277
    187

    Better Call Saul

    Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks

    Premiered2015

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama, Comedy

    Better Call Saul (AMC, 2015) is an American television drama series created by Vince Gilligan... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Fargo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    171
    131

    Fargo

    Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman

    Premiered2014

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Drama, Crime

    Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    The Wire is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    452
    480

    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

    The Wire (HBO, 2002) is an American crime drama television series created and written by David... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    The Office is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    467
    469

    The Office

    Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Mockumentary

    The Office (NBC, 2005) is an American mockumentary sitcom television series developed by Greg... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Stranger Things is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    103
    76

    Stranger Things

    Winona Ryder, David Harbour

    Premiered2016

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

    Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) is an American science fiction-horror web television series... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Frasier is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    296
    244

    Frasier

    Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves

    Premiered1993

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom

    Frasier (NBC, 1993) is an American sitcom television series created by David Angell, Peter... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    505
    559

    Sherlock

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Crime drama, Mystery

    Sherlock (BBC One, 2010) is a British crime television series created by Steven Moffat and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    502
    521

    The Twilight Zone

    Rod Serling, Robert McCord

    Premiered1959

    Genres (Tv)Anthology, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction

    The Twilight Zone is a 1959 American television anthology series created by Rod Serling. It is... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    400
    453

    The West Wing

    Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Political drama, Drama, Serial drama

    The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    House is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    523
    442

    House

    Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Medical drama

    House, M.D. (Fox, 2004) is an American television medical drama created by David Shore. An... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Mr. Robot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    115
    80

    Mr. Robot

    Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin

    Premiered2015

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Techno thriller, Psychological thriller

    Mr. Robot (USA Network, 2015) is an American drama-thriller television series created by Sam... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    179
    194

    Fawlty Towers

    John Cleese, Prunella Scales

    Premiered1975

    Genres (Tv)Comedy

    Fawlty Towers is a BBC television sitcom that was first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975 and 1979.... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    466
    523

    Mad Men

    Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss

    Premiered2007

    Genres (Tv)Period drama, Serial drama

    Mad Men (AMC, 2007) is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    The Americans is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    42
    27

    The Americans

    Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys

    Premiered2013

    Genres (Tv)Period drama, Thriller

    The Americans (FX, 2013) is an American period drama television series created by Joe... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    762
    878

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

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

    Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    38
    26

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Rachel Brosnahan, Michael Zegen

    Premiered2017

    Genres (Tv)Comedy-Drama, Period drama

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Video, 2017) is an American period comedy-drama web... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Anne with an E is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    184
    39

    Anne with an E

    Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James

    Premiered2017

    Genres (Tv)Drama, Coming of age

    Anne with an E (2017, Netflix) is a Canadian television series created by Moira... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    84
    84

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

  • 21
    Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    191
    211

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner

    Premiered1987

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

    Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    637
    745

    Seinfeld

    Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Premiered1989

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally ran for nine seasons on NBC from... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    The Mentalist is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    95
    79

    The Mentalist

    Simon Baker, Robin Tunney

    Premiered2008

    Genres (Tv)Police procedural, Mystery, Drama

    The Mentalist (CBS, 2008) is an American police procedural television series created by Bruno... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    444
    525

    M*A*S*H

    Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers

    Premiered1972

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

    M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    3rd Rock from the Sun is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
    68
    52

    3rd Rock from the Sun

    John Lithgow, Jane Curtin

    Premiered1996

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy, Science Fiction

    3rd Rock from the Sun is an American sitcom that aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC. The show is... more on Wikipedia
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