From its beginnings in the 1940s through present day, American television has been shaped by the words and stories of writers. In recognition of the role of writing in sustaining this extraordinary medium, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are launching 101 Best Written TV Series, the WGA’s list of outstanding television writing. Writers will be able to vote for their choices beginning on May 15, and results will be announced in the fall.
The “101 TV” list will celebrate the craft of television writing over seven decades and follows the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays list announced in 2006. In casting their votes for “best written,” Guild members will have a broad and dynamic field to choose from – any series that aired from the early years of television through the present, on broadcast, basic or pay cable.
All genres of scripted series are eligible for consideration, including animation, children’s, comedy, daytime/serial, drama, scripted anthologies, miniseries with six hours or more of programming, and variety/talk series. (Individual episodes, specials, non-serialized or individual programs including telefilms/movies-of-the-week, and miniseries with less than six hours of programming, are not eligible.) The only other criteria: the series must have been written in English, have aired in the U.S., and featured onscreen writing credits.
“The best television shows are so much more than ‘popular’ entertainment. They’re touchstones that can both reflect and impact the culture,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship in a joint statement. “And they all have one thing in common – they begin with the words of the writers who have created them. It is the writer who sets the blueprint for what becomes a memorable TV show. With ‘101 TV’ we look to honor that.”