Writers Guild Chooses “101 Best-Written TV Shows Ever;” Did They Get It Right?
This week, the Writers Guild of America released its list of the 101 best-written television shows of all time. In a ranking that is sure to spark discussions and arguments, the group chose David Chase‘s family mobster epic The Sopranos as No. 1. But the list is so expansive and covers so many genres, it’s hard to think of any major omissions; the real debate is over the relative rankings.
The lists No. 2 choice might be the most controversial: the 90′s hit “comedy about nothing,” Seinfeld. The WGA list clearly tackled the unenviable job of comparing wildly different series: sitcoms, hour-long premium cable shows, variety and sketch comedy, police and medical procedurals, even showcases like Playhouse 90 (#65) and The Twilight Zone (#3). But it still seems odd to place a funny, influential, but intentionally aimless popular sitcom ahead of heavy dramas like Mad Men and more socially impactful shows like M*A*S*H* (#5) or All In The Family (#4).
(Of course, that doesn’t even go into the issue of the backlash Seinfeld has received in recent years.)
Like I said, the list is so expansive, it’s tough to find major omissions. But there’s still some criticism:
Though sketch comedy is well-represented, the choices aren’t as deep as could be. What about quirky, less-known shows like Mr. Show with Bob and David, The Kids in the Hall, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and The Boondocks?
And while 30 Rock is on the list, how about it’s contemporaries, Parks & Recreation and Community?
What about the less-popular works from great showrunners, like J.J. Abrams‘ Felicity, Joss Whedon‘s Firefly, or Aaron Sorkin‘s Sports Night?
And the list is overwhelmingly… well, white. But that could be the result of larger issues about the lack of diversity on TV.
Check out the full list here. What do you think?