TV The TV Shows with the Best Writing  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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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559 458
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Sopranos 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

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596 528
Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Seinfeld 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

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789 512
Breaking Bad is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Breaking Bad 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

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642 567
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Game of Thrones 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
438 518
The Simpsons is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Simpsons 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

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432 380
The Twilight Zone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Twilight Zone 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

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380 394
M*A*S*H is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
M*A*S*H 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

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303 379
Cheers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Cheers 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

9
348 392
Mad Men is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Mad Men 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

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213 399
Downton Abbey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Downton Abbey 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

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363 447
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Dexter 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

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272 447
30 Rock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
30 Rock 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

The Most Beloved Grumps in TV History

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The X-Files is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The X-Files 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

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301 452
The Daily Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Daily Show 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

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360 428
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 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

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316 364
Monty Python's Flying Circus is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Monty Python's Flying Circus 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

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370 425
House is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
House 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

The Best Disney Princess Movies

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Sherlock is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Sherlock 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

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280 356
The West Wing is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The West Wing 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

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223 375
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Six Feet Under 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

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398 440
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Arrested Development 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

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The Wire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Wire 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

The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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South Park is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
South Park 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

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Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Deadwood 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

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Saturday Night Live is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Saturday Night Live 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

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The Mary Tyler Moore Show is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Rinkydink added The Mary Tyler Moore Show 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

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Modern Family is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Modern Family 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

These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

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Northern Exposure is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Northern Exposure 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

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Star Trek: The Original Series is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Star Trek: The Original Series 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

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The Office is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Office 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

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Taxi is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Taxi 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

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Supernatural is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
slumerican added Supernatural 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

The Best AMC TV Shows

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Friends is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Friends 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

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Late Night with David Letterma... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Late Night with David Letterman 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

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128 244
Hill Street Blues is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Hill Street Blues 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

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Fringe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Fringe 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

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Lost is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Lost 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

The Greatest Breakout Characters in TV History

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All in the Family is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
All in the Family 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

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155 198
House of Cards is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
House of Cards 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

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158 232
Star Trek: The Next Generation is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Star Trek: The Next Generation 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

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The Wonder Years is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
The Wonder Years 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

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152 317
Battlestar Galactica is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Battlestar Galactica 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

Newer Shows with the Most Impressive Writing

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Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Band of Brothers 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

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Absolutely Fabulous is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Absolutely Fabulous 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

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L.A. Law is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Linus added L.A. Law 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

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Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Law & Order 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

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143 189
Fawlty Towers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Fawlty Towers 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

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The Dick Van Dyke Show is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
DolittleD added The Dick Van Dyke Show 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

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Columbo is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
Columbo 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

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True Detective is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The TV Shows with the Best Writing
rdrxscm added True Detective 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.