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Caravanfan's avatar

In your opinion, what are the best written TV series of all time?

Asked by Caravanfan (10727points) May 6th, 2019

My two choices are obvious, The Wire and Breaking Bad. Both were extremely tight, where pretty much every shot and every bit of dialogue added to the story. The story had a beginning, middle and end and you walked away knowing you’ve seen something special.

GoT wins for production value, but the writing is very uneven.

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35 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

- Six Feet Under
– Better Call Saul
– Fargo
– Breaking Bad

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

“Psycho dad” theme song for Married With Children.

ragingloli's avatar

Star Trek.

zenvelo's avatar

West Wing and Sports Night.

JLeslie's avatar

West Wing
All in the Family
Designing Women
Golden Girls

stanleybmanly's avatar

The Wire. The West Wing Mad Men

jca2's avatar

I haven’t watched the majority of current series (current being in the past 20 years LOL). Therefore, it’s hard for me to compare anything. I know when I was young, there were some very entertaining shows like All in the Family which discussed social issues of the day. When I got older, I remember enjoying NYPD Blue and ER. After that, I got busy with other distractions like work and unionism so everything from Friends to Sopranos to Breaking Bad to Mad Men to so many that people talk about now on everything from conventional TV to HBO to Netflix to Hulu to Prime, so many to see, so many I haven’t seen.

janbb's avatar

West Wing

Kardamom's avatar



Grace & Frankie

The Big Bang Theory



Doogie Howser



Boston Public

Star Trek The Next Generation

Chicago Hope

NYPD Blues

Allie McBeal

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

LOST. There are two reasons that made it so successful:

1. There were multiple writers. They provided a wide variety of personalities versus what one writer can offer.

2. The writers listened to the feedback of the fans. Scripts were written to eventually answer all questions, while keeping the audience in suspense.

Stache's avatar

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The X-Files
The Twilight Zone

Demosthenes's avatar

Breaking Bad may be my personal favorite. It’s one of the few shows where I enjoyed all the seasons about equally. I never felt a “slump” in any part of the show. The Wire was phenomenal, never seen anything like it, but the fifth season was noticeably weaker (the “corrupt journalist” story didn’t do much for me).

A good show shouldn’t feel like the writers made it up as they went along (even if they did), and while Lost remains one of my shows, its tendency to feel that way in certain story arcs makes me hesitate to add it to this list. It’s certainly the strangest and most fascinating show I’ve ever seen, however.

Others where the strength of the writing shows:

Freaks and Geeks
Mozart in the Jungle
30 Rock
The Leftovers
Homeland (first 2 seasons)
Arrested Development (original 3 seasons)
Parks and Recreation
The Simpsons (first 8 seasons)

I have not seen The Sopranos, The West Wing, or Mad Men, but I have a feeling if I ever do, I will consider them among the best.

Zaku's avatar

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Expanse
Crazy Ex Girlfriend (for the songs)
Better Call Saul
Breaking Bad
Band of Brothers
Prime Suspect (maybe not the last one)
Sherlock Holmes (1984–1994)
Jeeves and Wooster
Fawlty Towers
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
The Bob Newhart Show (not Newhart)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Twilight Zone

also very well written:
The Crown
Happy Valley
Foyle’s War
Hill Street Blues
Tales of the Unexpected

Ones mentioned above that I haven’t seen, but now am curious to try:
Six Feet Under

LuckyGuy's avatar

Thanks for the viewing suggestions!!!

Braking Bad tops the list for me.
As already mentioned the story was tight well written and continuously good. At no point did it “jump the shark”.

Also you needed to actually watch the show without distractions to get the most out of it. Why did some of the episodes have black and white intros? Where did colors show up in the story? What is the significance of the object in the pool? . What does it mean when someone is seen talking in front of a mirror? What is the significance of the camera’s point of view?
There were things going on at so many different levels. i loved it!

And Seinfeld. The story almost always wrapped around to something insignificant said in the beginning. fusilli pasta, the joy of hitting golf balls off the beach, the difference in returnable bottle prices between states. foreigner’s decision to opening a restaurant, etc.
Many story lines have entire episodes that loop back The finale managed to tie the entire show together. It was a real and spectacular masterpiece of writing.
I just wish the show didn’t have a laugh track.

ucme's avatar

Fawlty Towers
Boys from the Black Stuff

Caravanfan's avatar

These are all great answers. @zaku mentioned Maisel. I really like that show too.

filmfann's avatar

Battlestar Galactica
Game Of Thrones
Breaking Bad
Boston Legal

Caravanfan's avatar

@filmfann I’m not familiar with Sportsnight.
Boston Legal was very sharp. William Shatner was great in it.

flutherother's avatar

Only Fools and Horses.

Caravanfan's avatar

@flutherother I’ve never heard of that one.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Sports night was another series with Aaron Sorkin doing the writing.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The new Netflix series “Dead to Me” sucked me in. You need to really watch it.
The writing and acting is excellent. It feels real. Christina Applegate shows incredible dynamic range.
I watched the first 2 episodes and was hooked. I figured I watch it like I eat a box of fine chocolates – spread out over a week or so. Nope! I had control for the first 2 days but ended up finishing the box the 3rd day.

jca2's avatar

Ugh. So many series I need to binge! This works out well in the winter, when I may be stuck in the house in a snowstorm. Now with summer coming, so many series, so little time. :)

Caravanfan's avatar

@LuckyGuy I have always liked Christina Applegate ever since Married with Children. Thanks for the recc!

Kardamom's avatar

Christina Applegate was really good in Jesse too.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Kardamom Jesse was great. That’s actually when I became a big fan of hers.

flutherother's avatar

@Caravanfan It’s British humour which doesn’t always go down well in the States. Here’s an example

janbb's avatar

^^ It wasn’t that subtle!

Caravanfan's avatar

@flutherother I like British humour. Blackadder was one of my favorite shows.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You think those are British accents loli?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Possibly Australian or New Zealand with 1Mmurican

janbb's avatar

Certainly not British; sound pretty American to me.

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