Amanda Pendolino
June 03, 2013

TV Guide and Writers Guild of America Rank the 101 Best Written TV Shows of All Time

The Sopranos is the best TV show ever written, according to a new list from the Writers Guild of America.

The rankings, voted on by Writers Guild members, were revealed over the weekend at an event sponsored by TV Guide. The list, which includes both dramas and comedies, recognizes shows still on the air, like Mad Men (#7) and Breaking Bad (#13) while also shining the spotlight on classic shows like The Twilight Zone (#3) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (#6).

Here’s the top 10 best-written TV shows:

1. The Sopranos – Created by David Chase

2. Seinfeld – Created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld

3. The Twilight Zone – Season One writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Presnell, Jr., Rod Serling

4. All in the Family – Developed for television by Norman Lear, based on Till Death Do Us Part, created by Johnny Speight

5. M*A*S*H* – Developed for television by Larry Gelbart

6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show – Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns

7. Mad Men – Created by Matthew Weiner

8. Cheers – Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows

9. The Wire – Created by David Simon

10. The West Wing – Created by Aaron Sorkin

You can view the full list here.

Pete Hammond at Deadline Hollywood says the list “does not have any completely disastrous embarrassments among the shows chosen,” but leaves out many shows from “what many called the Golden Era of television – the 1950s and 1960s.” (Only one show from that era – Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone — cracked the top 10.)

It’s disappointing that none of the top 10 shows were created by women; beyond that, The Mary Tyler Moore Show is the only top 10 show featuring a female protagonist.  On the bright side, I Love Lucy ranked #12 and The Daily Show, created by Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead, ranked #17. 30 Rock, created by Tina Fey, came in at a respectable #21.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “minorities are underrepresented on TV staffs by a factor of 2 to 1 in comparison to their percentage of the population. Among executive producers, women are underrepresented by 2 to 1 and minorities by 5 to 1.” We need to get more women and minorities in TV writers rooms, and into the WGA!

Do you think The Sopranos is really the best TV show ever? Did your favorites make the list?