There aren't many people that would argue with the Writers Guild of America selecting The Sopranos as the best written TV show ever. Sure, you could claim that other shows may deserve the top spot, but it's not exactly a controversial decision. Move down the guild's list of the "101 Best Written TV Series of All Time," however, and anyone who feels passionately about a certain TV program (whether that passion is full of love or hate) will find reason to gripe. And if you're going to gripe, you might as well gripe over this, the closest thing to a biblical list as we're likely to find—it's not unlike whenever the AFI announces a list. Let the nitpicking begin all over again.
The WGA's top 10 are as follow:
- The Sopranos
- The Twilight Zone (1959)
- All in the Family
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- Mad Men
- The Wire
- The West Wing
Those are followed by The Simpsons and I Love Lucy—shows we're sure many would advocate for inclusion in the top 10. The rest of the list is characterized by a mix of classics (The Honeymooners at No. 31), modern obsessions (Downton Abbey at No. 43), and cult favorites (Freaks and Geeks at No. 60).
But the discussion has already begun. "It's kind of fun to argue about such lists," Pete Hammond writes at Deadline. "But this one seems to be a list that sadly leaves off a lot of TV's finest series not to mention many of the writers who made the medium what it is today." He laments the lack of black-and-white series and points out that while David Letterman's late night show is on the list, Johnny Carson's is notably left off. Other comments have been centered on smaller details. Vulture's Joe Adalian lamented that Homeland was ranked higher than Buffy:
WGA members rank Homeland a better written series that Buffy. No offense to the fine writers on Homeland, but: Bull.— Joe Adalian (@TVMoJoe) June 3, 2013
The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg also had some rearrangements in mind:
Go to the comments section at Deadline for more outrage. People there have problems with the exclusion of Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls, and Grey's Anatomy.
As Hammond writes, lists are meaningless, but even when we know they are stupid we can't help arguing. So go forth and do just that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.