WGA Names 'Sopranos' Best-Written TV Series Ever

The Sopranos

In between murdering other gangsters and even family members, loansharking "friends" and skimming money off HUD projects, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) has time to think about his family. He cheats on his wife with strippers from his mob hangout, kicks his daughter's boyfriend out of the house for not being Italian, and his own mother tries to have him killed. But don't worry -- he does love animals.

Tony Soprano is a made man.

The Writer Guild of America East and West on Sunday night revealed its list of 101 best-written TV series ever, and David Chase's The Sopranos, which aired on HBO from 1999-2007, came in at No. 1.

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Landing at No. 2 was Seinfeld, created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, which aired on NBC from 1989-98.

Rounding out the top five are the original Twilight Zone, All in the Family and M*A*S*H.

"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," WGAW president Chris Keyser and WGAE president Michael Winship 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 top 10 shows, as determined through online voting by WGAW and WGAE members, can be found below. For the entire list, click here.

1. The Sopranos (HBO), created by David Chase

2.  Seinfeld (NBC), created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld

3. The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959), season one writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Presnell Jr., Rod Serling

4. All in the Family (CBS), developed for television by Norman Lear, Based on Till Death Do Us Part, Created by Johnny Speight

5. M*A*S*H (CBS), developed for television by Larry Gelbart

6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS), created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns

7. Mad Men (AMC), created by Matthew Weiner

8. Cheers (NBC), created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows

9. The Wire (HBO), created by David Simon

10. The West Wing (NBC), created by Aaron Sorkin

The "TV 101" list, a follow-up to the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays, honors "classic, trailblazing series and miniseries, as well as current and critically acclaimed programs, from comedies and dramas to variety/talk and children’s programming."

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On Sunday night, the WGAW hosted a special tribute event, panel discussion and reception to formally unveil the list at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. The event featured a lineup of panelists including iconic TV series creators, showrunners and writers whose shows made the list, including Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues), James L. Brooks (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life), Norman Lear (All in the Family), Steven Levitan (Modern Family), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Gail Parent (The Carol Burnett Show), Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men)  and host-moderator Merrill Markoe (Late Night With David Letterman).

The WGAE is set to host its event to celebrate the list on Wednesday on the rooftop of the Guild’s headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Event participants include guild members Seth Meyers, John Markus, Tom Fontana, Bill Persky and Liz Tuccillo.

The WGAW’s “101 TV” committee, which conceived the initiative, includes guild members Aaron Mendelsohn (chair), W. Bruce Cameron, Michael Conley, Diane Driscoll, Gary Goldstein, Katherine Fugate, Margaret Howell, Ken Pisani, Ari Rubin and Susan Walter.