• The Two Best-Written Shows on TV

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    Yesterday Brett covered the first three on her list of the five television shows with the highest-quality writing. Today, we get the top two.

    Disagree with Brett’s picks? Duke it out with her in the comments section below.



    2. The Vampire Diaries

    Okay, bear with me here. I too thought this show would simply be some ill-written teenage manifesto about vampires. I have to admit, I was wrong. Though yes, this show is a wee bit teeny-boppery, it’s also tightly written, especially for a CW series. I never knew how many successful plot twists writers could pull off at the commercial breaks until I watched Vampire Diaries (which touts a six act structure—very different from the classic four act TV structure and much harder to create successful beats at the breaks). And let’s face it, something’s gotta give me my CW fill now that Buffy is but a distant memory. The Vampire Diaries, though certainly no Buffy, is a decent filler (for the time being).

    What it’s about: Brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) were turned into vampires by shared love interest Katherine (Nina Dobrev), who just so happens to be an exact doppelganger to the brothers’ current shared love interest Elena Gilbert (also Dobrev). Crazy shit goes down, blah blah blah, some werewolves are thrown in, blah blah blah, lots of hot topless dudes appear, blah blah blah, no character is really safe from being killed off or turned into a vampire, and overall it’s mindless, yet totally watchable, TV.

    Why you should watch it: This show has plot twists galore, and most of them, I have to admit, are well-crafted and shocking. Though Vampire Diaries has its share of poor acting thanks to main leads Nina Dobrev (remember Mia from Degrassi?) and Ian Somerhalder (Boone from Lost!), at least its other main lead, Paul Wesley is a decent actor. I have to say though, I love this show for its mediocre acting, it’s kind of what you come to expect from a CW show. However, I can’t deny that the one ingredient which truly matters to me, the writing, is above average thanks to Scream scribe Kevin Williamson, and it makes this show totally worth tuning into on a weekly basis. Without a doubt, Vampire Diaries is better than half of the putrid crap written for network television, so check it out for your weekly teen fangirl fill.

    When it airs: Thursday on the CW at 7.


    1. Modern Family

    If you aren’t watching this, what is wrong with you? This is the best sitcom on television, hands down. Not only is Modern Family hilarious, it’s charming, clever and ultimately an uber-modern take on the old family sitcoms of the 50s and 60s.

    What it’s about: Three inter-related families, Claire and Phil Dunphy, who have three children, gay couple Cam and Mitchell, who have adopted a Vietnamese baby, and the older Jay and his younger, knock-out Colombian wife Gloria, who has overly pretentious son, Manny. Hilarious mishaps ensue, all of which are completely relatable to any modern family.

    Why you should watch it: Ty Burrell alone is worth the time spent, but fortunately, Modern Family has several compelling actors like Sofia Vergara (the hysterical Colombian spitfire trophy wife), Julie Bowen (who I’ve secretly loved since Ed), Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet (the first truly realistic feeling, and totally adorable, gay couple on television, imo), and Ed O’ Neill (famous for his days on Married with Children). The show is smartly written and often times laugh out loud funny. Plus, it always manages to end on a feel-good note.

    When it airs: Wednesdays on ABC at 8. Check it out.


    As a contributing member of both The New Movement Improv Theater and the Austin Screenwriters Group, an immense fondness for and love of pop culture starting from an unhealthy age has equipped Brett Fowler with the skills necessary to avoid facing reality. One day she hopes to finally end her six-year-long “journey of self-discovery” at the University of Texas at Ausin and funnel her liberal arts degree into a screenwriting career, or at the very least, gainful unemployment.

    In her spare time (when not making preparations for the inevitable zombie apocalypse), Brett enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter, watching marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica, and, of course, writing.

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    Brad Green

    Deadwood is, by leagues and barleycorns, the best written show on television.


    Have to agree with you about Vampire Diaries. I was pleasantly surprised that the show came in leagues ahead of the books (if you’re into mediocre, read those babies!) The first season started off slow but by the last few episodes had hit its stridde and was very watchable. Season two? Much better. Best vampire drama on the Tube? BBC 3’s Being Human, followed by the somewhat tamer US version on SyFy

    Haven’t seen Modern Family but teen daughter loves it. I am a fan of The Big Bang GTheory myself, although lately it’s become a trifle …blah

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