'The Sopranos' is the best-written TV show, says the WGA

'The Sopranos' was chosen as the best-written TV show ever in a recent ranking by the Writers Guild of America. 'The Sopranos' aired from 1999 to 2007.

Abbot Genser/HBO/AP
'The Sopranos' stars James Gandolfini (r.) and Vincent Curatola (l.).

The Writers Guild of America chose the HBO series “The Sopranos” as the best-written television series ever, the WGA announced on Sunday.

The guild had selected a list of what it considered the 101 best-written TV shows of all time. “Seinfeld,” the NBC sitcom often called the show “about nothing,” earned the number two spot on the WGA list. Meanwhile, the show that earned the highest spot on the list which is currently still on television was AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Numbers three, four, and five on the list went to “The Twilight Zone,” “All in the Family,” and “M*A*S*H,” respectively.

“At their core, all of these wonderful series began with the words of the writers who created them and were sustained by the writers who joined their staffs or worked on individual episodes," Chris Keyser, who is president of the Writers Guild of America West, and Michael Winship, who is president of the Writers Guild of America East, said in a joint statement. "This list is not only a tribute to great TV, it is a dedication to all writers who devote their hearts and minds to advancing their craft.”

“The Sopranos” was the newest show in the top five, having debuted in 1999, while “Zone” was the oldest, having hit the air in 1959.

“Sopranos” followed mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who lived in New Jersey with his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) and tries to succeed at his job while also keeping his family happy.

The rest of the top ten list included “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which came in at number six, as well as “Mad Men,” which took the number seven spot. “Cheers,” “The Wire,” and “The West Wing” came in at numbers eight, nine, and 10, respectively.

The rankings were determined by voting by WGA members which took place online.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.