Right off the bat, I’m not going to claim to be an expert in screenplays or tv show critiquing or even writing. I don’t study this stuff heavily, but I do know what I like and what great writing looks like to me.
I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but TV shows have become much more popular in the past ten years or so. TV used to be where stars got their start before moving on to the real world of movies. Now, we’re seeing major movie stars making the move from movies to TV! It’s bizarre! But I love it because 2-hour movies have never really been enough for me anyways. I mean, it’s really great when a director can pack enough emotion, interest, and intrigue into such a short amount of time and still tell a well-balanced story, but I’ve always preferred delayed gratification. Movies like Pride and Prejudice that pretty much torture you for 7 hours before the male and female protagonists finally get together! As a romance author, I strive to be one of those writers who can maintain interest for ages with readers just begging for the characters to finally be at peace.
So when TV shows started moving from the Law & Order lots-of-episodes-in-no-particular-order format to hour-long continuous stories that make you wait in agony for an entire week before resolving the last cliffhanger, I was ecstatic! And we’ve seen some amazing shows with some amazing writers come out of the woodwork to create these shows that are loved everywhere.
So, without further adieu, here are my personal Top 5 TV Shows With Amazing Writers
1) Breaking Bad
This one has sadly met its demise, but in conjunction with some unbelievable acting and direction, this extremely well-written drama about the crystal meth industry may be my favorite show of all time. If you haven’t seen it, do it now.
2) The Fall
I’m completely in love with this show right now. Chances are, you haven’t heard of it unless you’re a fan of 50 Shades of Grey (Jamie Dornan plays both Christian Grey and the main character, Paul Spectre in The Fall), but it’s well-worth your time. X-Files actress, Gillian Anderson, kills it as the main character alongside Jamie Dornan, and the writing dives into the psychology of a serial killer and his attempts to escape capture. I know, seems like a very cliche storyline but these writers make it feel completely new. There’s nothing like finding writers talented enough to make an old script feel fresh and new. It’s on Netflix, so check it out!
3) Modern Family
This is the only comedy on this list, but I just adore this show. I feel like writing quirky, original, and believable characters who interact in realistic but hilarious ways is perhaps one of the most difficult writing exercises in existence. And with 10+ characters to work with, these writers have had their work cut out for them! But they’ve done an amazing job, accomplishing what only Friends and Seinfeld have managed to pull off.
4) House of Cards
There’s no doubt that the incredible acting of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are at the core of this franchise’s success, but let face it, their character interpretations would be nothing without good writing. The main character, Frank, quickly becomes someone you loath but can’t seem to get enough of, and they way they wrote his wife, Claire, blows my mind. She’s taken on a female character I’ve never seen before – complicated, evil and good at the same time, seeming to have good intentions and then throwing people under the bus without warning. I still don’t understand her yet but I’m determined to figure her out! Three thumbs up to the writers who went outside the box and built a three-dimensional female character who navigates politics with ease.
5) Walking Dead
Okay, okay, this one seems so typically because this show is ridiculously popular right now but I’m on the zombie train with everyone else! This show is difficult because it’s hard for me to tell how much of its quality can be attributed to the writing. But I also can’t imagine a show with bad writing could be this successful. And actually, with the cast made up of only no-name actors (well, not anymore I guess), the writing must be great! So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here. The show is amazing. Period.
So there you have it. Great writing at best, and incredible opportunities to escape reality at worst.
What would be your top 5?