Last week, the Writer’s Guild of American compiled a list of the best written television series of all time and it included many sci-fi fan favorites. However, not every list is perfect and there’s always some TV fave that’s left out. Here are the science fiction shows that did make the list and where they ranked:
- The Prisoner (#90)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (#79 Tie)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (#79 Tie)
- Dexter #(66)
- Freak and Geeks (#60)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (#49)
- Game of Thrones (#40)
- Battlestar Galactica (2005) (#38)
- Twin Peaks (#35)
- Star Trek (#33)
- Lost (#27)
- The X-Files (#26)
- Six Feet Under (#18)
- The Twilight Zone (#30)
It’s nice to see Battlestar Galactica recognized in such an esteemed list.
However, as with any list that categorizes something as “the best”, we can’t help but question what constitutes a good piece of writing? Does it follow all the rules of Robert McKee or Save the Cat? Does it adhere to the Aristotelian template which Western culture bases our general structure of storytelling? Or do we base good writing on how popular it is within our cultural lexicon and how a TV show adhesively grabs the emotions of its audience?
Now there are certainly other reasons why a TV show garners the admiration of others (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch.) However, these shows blossomed from a seed of an idea that was planted, ideally, by its writing.
This is all basically me trying to address the pink elephant in the room: You’re wondering, “Where is Doctor Who on this list?” The TV show is quickly becoming the biggest British import since the Beatles or even the Pilgrims. And that is certainly a valid question.
As a TV expert since the age of 3, here are some other contenders I believe should’ve made the list:
Batman the Animated Series:
Batman the Animated Series is superbly written and one of the best procedurals. It beautifully incorporates the tenets of film noir and never once did it dumb itself down for its audience.
Misfits combines so many genres and challenges just how reluctant the “reluctant hero” can be. A part of me is glad it didn’t make the list because that’s exactly what Misfits is – an original entity unto itself that refuses to follow any rule.
What can be said that hasn’t been said about the genius of Joss Whedon’s Firefly? Oh, nothing. Okay.
Futurama and Adventure Time:
I was very surprised to see the lack of animated shows on the list, as these two shows incorporate some of the smartest references, plot twists, dialogue and character arcs. Not only that, these shows manage to stick with me for days or even years. With that effect, I would say the writing stage of these TV shows is essential and brilliant. But that’s just me.
What do you think should’ve been on the list?