TV’s All-Time Greatest Writers

If you shut off Girls this past Sunday with a sigh of relief, you’re not alone. Between May and June we’ve all endured an emotionally exhausting line-up of season finales (not to mention penultimate and triumvirate finales), and frankly this week was a nice, quiet reprieve. Sort of. Knowing what’s ahead, it’s been impossible to get too comfortable. New seasons of Breaking Bad and Louie are slowly approaching, we can’t not watch Weeds‘ last season, there’s catching up to do on Bunheads, and of course this Sunday, Sorkin is back. So, in an exercise to get the juices flowing, we’ve decided to round up the writers we believe to be most responsible for putting us in this stressful state of TV addiction, starting with the king of TV confabulation himself.

Aaron Sorkin

“It’s not intelligence. It’s my phonetic ability to imitate the sound of intelligence.” — Sorkin on writing smart people)

Highlights: Sports Night (1998-00), The West Wing (1999-03), Studio 60 (2006-07), and HBO’s forthcoming The Newsroom. (You also may have heard of his films A Few Good Men, The Social Network, and Moneyball.)

Influence: He’s widely lauded for breaking long-form conversation on TV (see the “walk and talk”) and “Sorkinism” — a dramatized version of American politics and media that usually yields some greater truth. Any entertaining repartee characterized by the above is often referred to as “Sorkinesque.”

Supplemental reading: See @sorkinese, “A daily elocution safari with the wit & wisdom of Aaron Sorkin characters.”