Sopranos named best-written US TV series

Last updated 09:08 04/06/2013
The Sopranos

BEST WRITTEN TV SHOW: The Sopranos

Opinion poll

The Writers Guild of America voted, but did they choose the right number 1? Which show do you think deserves the accolade of 'best written'?

The Sopranos

Seinfeld

The Twilight Zone

All in the Family

M*A*S*H

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mad Men

Cheers

The Wire

The West Wing

Other

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The New Jersey mob saga The Sopranos was listed as the best-written US TV series above comedy show Seinfeld in a list compiled by the Writers Guild of America.

The guild, which represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable and new media industries, released its ranking of the 101 best-written TV shows based on a poll of its members, with comedies and dramatic series evenly represented in the top 10.

The guild favored recently-produced shows. Only one top 10 entry, third-placed The Twilight Zone, pre-dated the 1970s and nearly half the entire list aired in the past decade.

In releasing the list with The Sopranos at the top, the guild's Paul Brownfield said: "No show has been more responsible for TV's storytelling renaissance." In the HBO hit, mobster Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, struggles with domestic life even as he orders mob hits and confides in his psychiatrist.

Comedies joining Seinfeld high in the poll included 1970s-era hits as All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M*A*S*H, along with bar-room comedy Cheers.

The West Wing, The Wire and Mad Men, the only currently airing show, rounded out the top 10.

Long-running animated show The Simpsons was ranked 11th, followed by the 1950s hit I Love Lucy. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart at 17 placed highest among series outside the scripted comedy or drama format.

Coming in 43rd, PBS' Downton Abbey was the highest-ranked non-US series, followed by the BBC's The Office in 50th place.

While most of the series on the list were hits in their day or at least enjoyed a steady run, the short-lived Twin Peaks (35), Friday Night Lights (22) and the cult series Arrested Development (16) also fared well.

And while NBC, CBS and HBO were all represented in the top 10 with multiple entries, the list's highest-ranked ABC series was the comedy Taxi in 19th, followed by Lost in 27th place. 

The Top 101

1. The Sopranos

2. Seinfeld

3. The Twilight Zone

4. All in the Family

5. M*A*S*H

6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

7. Mad Men

8. Cheers

9. The Wire

10. The West Wing

11. The Simpsons

12. I Love Lucy

13.  Breaking Bad

14.  The Dick Van Dyke Show

15.  Hill Street Blues

16.  Arrested Development

17.  The Daily Show

18.  Six Feet Under

19.  Taxi

20.  The Larry Sanders Show

21.  30 Rock

22.  Friday Night Lights

23.  Frasier

24.  Friends

25.  Saturday Night Live

26.  The X-Files

27.  Lost

28.  ER

29.  The Cosby Show

30.  Curb Your Enthusiasm

31.  The Honeymooners

32.  Deadwood

33.  Star Trek

34.  Modern Family

35.  Twin Peaks

36.  NYPD Blue

37.  The Carol Burnett Show

38.  Battlestar Galactica

39.  Sex and the City

40.  Game of Thrones

41.  The Bob Newhart Show

42.  Your Show of Shows

43.  Downton Abbey

44.  Law & Order

45.  Thirtysomething

46.  St. Elsewhere

47.  Homicide: Life on the Street

48.  Homeland

49.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

50.  The Good Wife

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51.  The Colbert Report

52.  The Office (British version)

53.  Northern Exposure

54.  The Wonder Years

55.  L.A. Law

56.  Sesame Street

57.  Columbo

58.  The Rockford Files

59.  Fawlty Towers

60.  Moonlighting

61.  Freaks and Geeks

62.  Roots

63.  Everybody Loves Raymond

64.  South Park

65.  Playhouse 90

66.  The Office (U.S. version)

67.  Dexter

68.  My So-Called Life

69.  Golden Girls

70.  The Andy Griffith Show

71.  The Shield

72.  Roseanne

73.  24

74.  Murphy Brown

75.  House

76.  Barney Miller

77.  I, Claudius

78.  The Odd Couple

79.  Star Trek: The Next Generation

80.  Alfred Hitchcock Presents

81.  Upstairs Downstairs

82.  Monty Python's Flying Circus

83.  Get Smart

84.  Gunsmoke

85.  The Defenders

86.  Sergeant Bilko

87.  Justified

88.  Band of Brothers

89.  Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

90.  The Prisoner

91.  The Muppet Show

92.  Absolutely Fabulous

93.  Boardwalk Empire

94.  Will and Grace

95.  Family Ties

96.  Lonesome Dove

97.  Soap

98.  The Fugitive

99.  Louie

100.  Late Night With David Letterman

101.  Oz

- Reuters

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