As mentioned yesterday, the Writers Guild of America had an event last night presenting their member-selected list of the 101 Best-Written TV Shows of all-time. There was a panel discussion, as well, which was streamed over the Internet. In case you missed it, here are the Top 10 --
1. "The Sopranos"
3. "The Twilight Zone"
4. "All in the Family"
6. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
7. "Mad Men"
9. "The Wire"
10. "The West Wing"
An article here in the Los Angeles Times has the full list, and also notes that 17 of the shows are currently on the air.
I'm not going to debate the list, since all those in the Top 10 are wonderfully-written shows, and whether the order is what I would have selected, it's such a daunting, subjective task that I have to think they did a respectable job. Same for the full 101. I don't remotely agree with the order of everything there, but I didn't expect to -- but I think pretty much everything deserves a place. (The inclusion of a few shows surprised me, but since I didn't watch all of them, I can't fairly quibble.)
There were two series that I will say I was surprised by the order. Fawlty Towers was all the way down at #59, and it was below, for example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer at #49. And one of my all-time faves, The Andy Griffith Show, was at least on the list, but quite low at #70, far below Battlestar Galactica at #38. (During its initial run and even more so over the years, The Andy Griffith Show was considered with The Dick Van Dyke Show were to be the gold-standard of TV sitcoms of their era. And The Dick Van Dyke Show made it to #14. No qualms with that at all -- just a surprise that Griffith was so low in comparison to a show it's been so often paired with.) That said, I was glad to see the brilliant, and generally forgotten, The Prisoner, on the list, at #90.
I suspect that in lists like this, what is fresher tends to get remembered more -- though sometimes older shows get remembered out of fondness. But I have a feeling the former is more common. But from many lists I've seen like this, I do think the WGA generally got the names right and the order pretty good, with a good mix of the old and new.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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