Tuesday, June 04, 2013
The 101 Best Written TV Series
Here is the complete list.
Some random thoughts:
I wonder how many writers who have contributed so much to the success of these gold standard shows can’t get work today.
Anytime you put a list together and rank them you’re going to get disagreement. Especially when you’re combining genres. You have BAND OF BROTHERS just above LAUGH IN. How often is SESAME STREET and OZ on the same chart? Personally, I think FRASIER should have been higher but I'm not exactly an objective bystander.
I have no quarrel with any of the top ten. Yes, there are some other shows equally as deserving, but I can’t think of one of the chosen ten I’d slide down to accommodate something else.
When I was a radio DJ in the ‘70s, stations would often ask listeners to send in their three favorite all-time songs and they would be compiled for a BEST 300 SONGS OF ALL-TIME countdown (usually on holiday weekends). We’d receive thousands of post cards. And the songs most listed were the current hits. Really? Your favorite all-time song is “The Night Chicago Died?” So what we did was just throw out all the post cards and make up the list ourselves. At least the WGA survey was put together by industry writers. Otherwise, THE VOICE might be considered the best written series.
There will always be slights. Personally, I thought WINGS was better written than a number of the sitcoms that did make the list. Same with BUFFALO BILL, RHODA, BECKER, and MAUDE. I’m sure one or two of your all-time faves that didn’t make the cut. But if the chart was the top 202 BEST WRITTEN TV SERIES there would still be four deserving ones left off.
I was thrilled that some shows that weren’t mega hits still found their way onto the list. MY SO CALLED LIFE for one.
I wouldn’t know where to place SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE because there were years it was the best written show on television and years it was the worst.
And finally, if there are shows on this list that you are not familiar with, treat yourself. Seek them out. I hope THE DEFENDERS is available somewhere. But between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a number of nostalgia channels like Cozi, MeTV, and Antenna TV you should be able to track a fair number of these gems down.
And once again. It's an honor to be among the exceptional writers whose work appears on this list. Even the ones who can't get arrested.