|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
NOTE: This is to gush about the show, not to bash people for not liking it.
Compare Gushing About Characters You Like.
Anime and Manga
- The writing in general for the first half to two-thirds of Neon Genesis Evangelion made a real effort to make the main characters as three dimensional as the show could, which was really refreshing. It really surprised me, when I was expecting an overrated show (not claiming it's the best ever, though) that was full of itself and the characters did things because the plot said so. So glad to be proven wrong.
- The twenty-fourth episode of Sailor Moon was one of my personal favorites. It focused on a minor character, but still show the other main characters at this point, have a rather touching moment, in a Stockholm-ish in a way and was one of the only few works of fiction that managed to make me cry. The only complaint I had for this was If Nephrite was human, why is his blood green? Did the animators didn't had red on them or something?
- Trinity Blood has the most amazing writing staff ever. D: I'm in love with that show/manga, honestly (though more the anime, since manga's so pricy D:) I'm not a very emotional person but Gyula's death made me cry.
- Code Geass has a lot of good dialogue in both versions, but after Lelouch beats Schneizel, his speech all over the world is EPIC.
Lelouch: Attention, entire world! Hear my proclamation! I am Lelouch vi Britannia! Emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire and your only ruler! Schneizel has surrendered to me! As a result of this, I am now in control of both the Damocles and the FLEIJA weapons, and even the Black Knights no longer possess the strength to oppose me now. If anyone dares to resist my supreme authority, they shall know the devastating power of the FLEIJAs. Those who could challenge my military rule no longer exist. Yes. From this day, from this moment forward, the world belongs to me! Lelouch vi Britannia commands you...Obey me subjects, OBEY ME WORLD!
Jeremiah Gottwald: ALL HAIL LELOUCH!
Britannian Soldiers: ALL HAIL LELOUCH! ALL HAIL LELOUCH! ALL HAIL LELOUCH! ALL HAIL LELOUCH!
- Arakawa's writing skills really shine through Fullmetal Alchemist, especially her skills at foreshadowing. When things like a joke Villian Of The Week and the shape of a hallway from somewhere between sixty and eighty chapters ago become very important, you know you've got a good author.
- Amen. What I found the most impressive is how there are like, several dozens of characters and ALL of them managed to contribute significantly to the plot in some ways or another without being thrown away. I think Tite Kubo can REALLY learn from her.
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes is 110 episodes long and has a cast of hundreds yet it's never slow or crowded. The characters on both sides are three-dimensional with ambitions you can root for, the narrator talks to the viewer about politics but never talks down to them and biggest of all is that the show can remain interesting even when it kills off it seemingly most important characters.
- When an anime with only 26 episodes is considered one of the best of all time, you know something was done right in regards to the writing.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena. Mind Screw symbolism aside, these are some of the most unforgettable, flawed, and interesting characters I've seen in an anime, and the ending left me breathless.
- Rika Nakase definately must have had Steven Foster as an influence for writing Kanamemo, because the dialogue is no doubt the most clever dialogue I've heard in an anime comedy ever. It feels exactly like watching an english dub, with some notable small slang uses in some scenes, already with the hilarious slapstick, and also the fact that she wrote the Musical Episode entirely by herself. She was no doubt like a Japanese Lauren Faust here.
- Chris Claremont's 1975-1991 run on X-Men was full of spectacular stories and characters. His collaborations with artists John Byrne, Alan Davis, and Dave Cockrum were imaginative and fresh, and really codified the Bronze Age of comics in my opinion.
- Frank Miller really got the Darker and Edgier Nineties Anti Heroes off the ground, and I love him for it. I'm basing several characters off of his interpretation of Batman alone, and a villain off of his Joker. I'd just like to give him a huge Shout-Out here, because he's really magnificent at what he does.
- Neil Gaiman. The Sandman. Need I say more?
- Grant Morrison may be... controversial... when it comes to his X-Men work, but I thought his run on JLA was nothing short of spectacular. Fascinating plots that delved into the psyches of iconic characters, and deepened them while keeping them recognizable. I still look at that run as the best way to handle a team composed of characters that, in any other writer's hands, would quickly devolve into a Thirty-Sue Pileup.
- You can hand Peter David any team of characters at all, from the scrappiest to the most underappreciated, and he will come up with a way to make them work. He's just that versatile.
- Warren Ellis is one of the funniest and most imaginative writers today. His tried and tested approach to writing involves getting his hands on an already popular concept, injecting it in the retinas with bizarre technologies, hilarious dialogue, surreal settings and then turning the whole thing up to 11 makes him a writer to definitely look out for. Case in point: Transmetropolitan, Nextwave and the JLU episode "Dark Heart."
- Jillian Tamaki, who wrote Skim, a small graphic novel about a teenage girl, is my idol. She deserves to be as well known as any of the above writers (not that they aren't also completely awesome).
- Those Lacking Spines. A well-written piece of Kingdom Hearts fanfiction which excellently deconstructs many aspects of bad fan writing. I am subjected to amazing Fridge Brilliance when recalling lesser events. E.g, blindly using fancy, long strings of words as a humorous point in the story.
- "Dog Will Hunt". Never thought I'd find myself like a Joker fanfic, but just read it. It sounds like the writer worked on the script for The Dark Knight Trilogy. Takes the best parts of every incarnation of the Joker and Harley Quinn, mixes them up, and lets it flow.
- Elecktrum writes some of the best Narnia fics on the web. They remain faithful to Lewis while delving into more difficult topics. Her stories are populated by engaging original characters who manage to support the main cast without stealing the spotlight. And her writing is exquisite, well worded, but not overly flowery.
- Warrior4 has written a some of the best Redwall fan fiction I have ever read. A Mask and a Song is, in short, a Fix Fic that involves reviving Martin's Love Interest, Rose. However, the subject is dealt with with such tact and skill (and without breaking canon), that it feels like it could have fit right into the official story.
- Winter's Flowers, the direct (and Even Better) sequel, involves Martin and Gonff having to rescue Rose and Columbine from the All Pack. The story features dozens of characters from both Martin The Warrior and Mossflower and manages to keep them all in character. There is plenty of Character Development to go around (for both canon and Original Characters), and Warrior4 manages to capture some of Brian Jacques' feel with several well-written poems.
- Pom Pom's Eleven is perhaps the best Homestar Runner fanfiction ever. It has that Homestar Runner charm to it, the dialogue is very funny, it perfectly imitates the characters personalities(with the exception of The Cheat), which is HARD to do, and it has a nice and cool story. It is quite simply the greatest Homestar Runner fanfic ever made....THAT IS NOT BASED ON STRONG BAD X HOMESTAR RUNNER YAOI FANFICTION!!!
- In the Code Geass fanfic Dauntless, the way that Lelouch OWNED the Purist Faction and Jeremiah Gottwald, making him his Knight of Honor in the process, in chapter 50 is simply professional!
- Of Love and Bunnies, as seen here. It's quite easily the greatest Power Rangers fanfic ever written (for a long time, it was the only positively-received PR fanfic with it's own article on TV Tropes). Apart from the general wacky humorous nature, the characters are so on-point and the plot is so perfectly interwoven with what was seen on-screen that it's easy to consider it behind-the-scenes canon.
- Unequally Rational and Emotional starts with what should have been a simple premise (Negi has different odd couple roommates), and not only used it to its full potential, delving into two favorite characters, but also used it to explore a usualy ignored character and flesh her out beautifully. Then, when that was exhausted, it didn't die or degerenate into trite cliches; it moved up and introduced an enourmous plot and a massively crossover world, and not only made both fit in seemlessly, it also made the world more real. Then, instead of going for the popualr characters, it began exploring all the minor characters that became overshadowed in the manga, plaving them in the forefront (to the point that it's a unning gag in the series that Asuna complains she used to be the main female lead). Absolutely beautiful. This is what any fic, standalone or Mega Crossover SHOULD be like.
- The writing in Coraline manages to help create a fantastically strange atmosphere that somehow feels real, and is every bit as massively successful as the animation in eliminating the feel of Uncanny Valley commonly associated with stop-motion.
- Inception is just so well-written, the pacing is excellent, it's philosphical without getting too bogged down or not feeling accessible enough, and it makes you care about the characters along with providing some nice shifts into psychological horror or action.
- For me it's just the fact that Christopher Nolan made it all up that makes it truly amazeballs. It's not adapted from anything, it just came out of his brain. And somehow he managed to translate it coherently and beautifully for the rest of us. Just...wow.
- The Social Network is incredible. It's not specifically based on real-life, but it's doing a great job of being a real-life exploit. It captures the energy and the times we live in so well, from multiple different context, and Sorkin manages to make it all relatable and meaningful.
- C'mon, who else can write a Crazy Awesome, profanity laden, Reference Overdosed screenplay better than Quentin Tarantino?
- KA Applegate; seriously, Animorphs is one of the best children series ever written (it's certainly the best scifi children series). It's dark and deep and absolutely beautiful. Everworld is fabulous and interesting and was cut short waay before its time. The fact that the ghostwritten books in both of these series are so much less awesome only speaks to how truly amazing and unique a writer she truly is.
- Shogun and Noble House by James Clavell. I'm sure some of his other novels are just as rich in world building and characters, but these are the two I've read, and they are pleasures to read because of that.
- For all the bashing he had endured for The Da Vinci Code, you gotta admit that Dan Brown really knows to write thrillers. ;)
- Terry Pratchett's writing is the best the world has ever seen!
- I am an English major. I have read several examples of the world's classic literature, including Dickens, Faulkner, and Robert Frost. To hold Terry Pratchett against such a long, renowned list is incredible. I agree with you 100 percent.
- J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the few authors who can do Purple Prose well.
- Jacqueline Carey, if you don't mind a little S&M, is also terrific at Purple Prose.
- Diane Duane is a goddess. Go read The Wounded Sky and dare to disagree.
- Diane Duane is not a Goddess. She is a Goddess of Goddesses and deserves to be worshiped by anyone ever.
- Seriously, you owe it to yourself to read her work.
- I agree absolutely. I think that Young Wizards is her BEST work ever for writes for kids and adults both. Every single character is seriously real. Nobody can ever, ever say that DD doesn't know how to write any kind of character. She gives each of them individual personalities (some authors think all teenagers act the same) and makes them realer. Than. Real. They could be someone you just walk by on the street or have a casual conversation with while waiting in line at the grocery store. I can't tell you how well she writes. The best thing to do is go to the library and pick up the first few books in the series.
- Diane Duane is not a Goddess. She is a Goddess of Goddesses and deserves to be worshiped by anyone ever.
- The works of Neil Gaiman are most wonderful, with complex characters and smooth writing.
- If the last page of Time Regained does not give you a literary orgasm, you're an insensible monster (or possibly British).
- Last page? All three thousand pages of In Search of Lost Time consist of excellent writing and deep character development. (Don't see why it matters, but I'm British.)
- Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. The amazing story is one thing, but GOSH I wish I could wield verbs like him.
- Seconded, seconded, SECONDED. It is not surprising that The New York Times called this a book that could be LIFE-CHANGING.
- Thirded. It haunted me for days afterwards. The people, the themes, the story - that is what humanity is. It seemed... real. Not less real, not realer than real - realer than anything.
- Fourthed. I got so emotional that I actually had to put the book down. This is a person who stayed dry-eyed all through Titanic.
- Fifthed. One of the most beautiful last lines ever written, characters/writing/plot that engage you like you wouldn't believe, and the only book I've ever had to briefly stop reading because I couldn't actually see through my tears.
- And Death, the lovable narrator? Perhaps the greatest, most unique voice since Vonnegut.
- Seconded, seconded, SECONDED. It is not surprising that The New York Times called this a book that could be LIFE-CHANGING.
- I worship Phillip Reeve. His works are so far-fetched but he makes them really work.
- I can't believe I'm the first to mention Brandon Sanderson. Shame on you all! Brandon Sanderson has a literary Midas Touch, everything he writes is made of pure gold. His characters are brilliant, his magic systems are pure genius, and his plots take old tropes and take them in spectacular new directions. And he's finishing the Wheel of Time series and doing a darn good job of it, The Gathering Storm takes the decline in quality of the last several books in the series and reverses it and then some. If you like Egwene, you'll especially love it as it turns Egwene into a Crowning CHARACTER of Awesome!
- While we're at it, Robert Jordan's run of The Wheel of Time is damn good. I didn't start reading critically until I started reading the series, and when you really get into Robert Jordan's writing, you can see a lot of clever tricks and call backs. That's not even mentioning the culture building skill Jordan has, or how well you feel you know the characters after Eleven Thousand pages. They aren't really likable, but they're realistic, and also really badass.
- Watership Down has some of the most gorgeous description that the world has ever seen, and pacing like no other. The way Richard Adams fills the silences of his story with lyrical and vivid depictions of the surroundings is an inspiration.
- Lawrence Miles may be a textbook Small Name, Big Ego among Doctor Who fandom, but goddamn can he write. All of his books are absolutely crammed full of spectcular, HUGE, Mind Screw-y ideas, snarkalicious Magnificent Bastards, and off-the-charts HSQ.
- Trevor Braxendale's Doctor Who novel Prisoner of the Daleks is one of the best I have read, mostly because the Doctor manages to convince the Daleks that in order to win the war they are fighting, they have to help him find his keys, and when the Dalek High Inquisitor is exasperatedly trying to get him to remember where he left them, you can practically hear their vocal circuitry grinding in frustration as you read it.
- If I could marry P. G. Wodehouse's writing, I would.
- H.P. Lovecraft. Despite his Purple Prose and occasionally sparse descriptions, several of his stories have moments where they're genuinely disturbing. His livid, sometimes clinical visions of eldritch horrors and cities from beyond the stars are haunting and timeless. He also provided some lovely accounts of the New England countryside.
- Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is her only novel. It has no real action, no big plot twists nor any fantasy. It's about a young girl and her lawyer father who has to defend an innocent black man. This is a subject that on paper sound so Anvilicious that you'd look away. But once you read it, you find that it is probably the most sensitive story ever written. It is handled with subtlety and with a fantastic view: That of a grown up looking back at her childhood.
- It's also one of the books that suffers the stygma of being a "classic": Hype Backlash at its most egregious, hearing people go on about its "immortal message", blah, blah, blah, prevents so many people from giving it a chance. But if you actually read it, really read it rather than skimming or overanalyzing it, you'll see the real reason it's lasted all of these years: it's a good book. A really good book. The writing is honest, skillful, fun to read. Scout is real: the kind of kid you'd want to be friends with. Any lawyer, any father, any person who claims they don't aspire to be Atticus Finch is lying. One could gush for pages about the pure entertainment value of the book, pages more about the perfect way that Lee captures that child-voice in the back of your head, the part of your mind that never grows up, always calling out, "but that doesn't make sense!", baffled by injustice, coming up with ideas about how the world works, or ought to work. And how many authors can deal with such harsh subject matter realistically, yet still leave you with confidence in humanity, while simultaneously entertaining readers and breaking their hearts?
- J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter isn't one of the most sensational book series of the decade for nothing. And this was just her first series. I'm sure I'm not alone in eagerly anticipating her next offerings to the world of literature.
- Seconded. The Harry Potter series got better as it went because the writing was just that well written. She's incredibly talented and I pray she doesn't stop writing anytime soon.
- Thirded. And it's not just that the books are well-written (which they are). A lot of people can get clever or pretty words on a page, but Rowling also has the gift of storytelling.
- Barbara Hambly may get stick from the Fan Dumb over Callista, but her Star Wars novels are some of the most gorgeously written prose to come out of that Verse, and her Han and Leia moments are damn near spot-on.
- I've never read her Star Wars books, but her Darwath Trilogy is some damn fine writing, and some of the only high fantasy books I can stand reading (no offence to high fantasy fans, it's just not my cup of tea)
- He's been mentioned before, but Aaron Allston deserves special mention for his work on the Star Wars Expanded Universe X-wing series. Seriously, the Wraith Squadron books are the Buffy of EU stories.
- Diana Wynne Jones has a particular genius for making the most twisted and disparate subplots magically come together by the end of the book, and having things that you thought were random side elements turn out to be the key to a whole section of the plot. (A shining example, in my opinion, is Deep Secret. You think those two plots are unrelated? Think again.)
- Douglas Adams, perhaps the only person on Earth who can write Exposition that is entertaining and rambling at the same time. Forget the dialogue -- which is also incredible -- just having him describe a character almost but not quite preform a simple action is not entirely unlike hilarity.
- Not to mention the way he can manage to make an entirely hilarious anecdote also subtley yet powerfully meaningful without breaking the mood (or a sweat).
- Or his ability to perfectly describe actions and feelings that you previously thought you were alone in experiencing.
- woking: the experience of walking into a kitchen and forgetting what you wanted there
- George R. R. Martin writes the most real characters I've ever come across. He may also write an epic plot in a remarkably well build fantastical world, but it's the characters, who feel like real people that really gets to me. It makes me feel more immersed in the book than any other.
- Not to mention how he puts in enough description that you feel like the world he's invented is real without slowing down the narrative at all!
- Mark Z. Danielewski is god, to put it simply. House of Leaves and Only Revolutions were brilliant, as were The Whalestoe Letters.
- It might sound shallow, but I love any literature that has Perfect People saying Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right (or indeed, Screw The Rules, I'm Doing Whatever I Want), facing minor, impotent obstacles, and winning in a shutout. Give me Ayn Rand, give me Robert Heinlein, heck, give me Twilight. Life is so much better when life is good.
- Umberto Eco, especially Foucault's Pendulum, and especially the ending -- one of the most beautiful pieces of writing ever penned
- Seconded. Also, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, which I consider to be the Pendulum's mirror image. Bodoni and Belbo are opposites, one who writes remembering a life of sadness and the other writing about a full life he forgot. Eco also proves he can handle pop culture just like he can secret conspiracies. And the ending, oh god the ending.
- I love Kinoko Nasu's writing to death. Yes, two-thirds of his works are porn with plot, but the plot is not only the focus, but a well done plot on top of that. Deep and interesting characters that all have their time in the spotlights, an easy-to-read yet well-laden writing style that mixes purple prose into near undiscernable amounts, and a 'Verse of badass that still manages to make life interesting beyond explosions of power. The only thing wrong with the Nasuverse is arguably the fandom.
- Richard Dawkins, especially in Unweaving the Rainbow. Say what you like about his religious views, but the man is an AMAZING writer.
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series. It's often-corny escapist fantasy, but it's really, really awesome, happy-making escapist fantasy.
- Birdsong is a real Tear Jerker and a fantastic piece of post-modernist writing. The sex is totally not over-the-top - the rampant desire and lust makes a gorgeous contrast to the true comeraderie of the trenches and the emotions Stephen feels for Isabelle and later Jeanne. The final scenes in the trenches, and the ending section where Elizabeth has her baby and names it as Stephen promised Jack he would name it just made the book for me.
- Amy Tan is my idol.
- Haruki Murakami. He's just as likely to hit you with a Crowning Moment of Funny as he is a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. In particular, the short stories in The Elephant Vanishes epitomize this. "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" is one of the most crushing and romantic stories ever, and the monologue's climax in "The Silence" never, ever, ever fails to give me goosebumps.
- Raymond Chandler. From the man who gave us the First-Person Smartass Phillip Marlowe: "I was as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars." Beautiful.
- Tove Jansson is a Finnish writer and cartoonist, most famous for her Moomintroll books. She's also one of the best writers I've ever encountered. She does these simple, gorgeous stories that are perfect for children, without being condescending.
- Matt Stover is hands-down one of the best modern authors and my personal favorite. His prose is both gritty and poetic, and as far as action scenes go, he's one of the few writers who's Shown Their Work. Some of his best stuff is The Acts of Caine series and his novelization for Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, which was honestly better written and more engaging than the actual film.
- Anything by Kenneth Oppel. The guy's brilliant. He makes it realistic, detailed, and unable to be put down by readers while at the same time making it easy and fun to read.
- Earth (The Book).
- Jim Butcher. The man can take a relatively hackneyed premise (a wizard in the modern world or a roman based magic society) and turns it into a vessel for pure awesome, while managing to infuse amazing character moments into the work. For examples of awesome, just head to Dresden or Alera's Crowning Moment of Awesome pages. Examples of great moments for his characters are Molly's trial and Tavi's emotional and bitter breakdown in his tent when he realizes that the future for his people will be filled with petty bloodshed
- Dirt Music by Tim Winton. The prose is exquisite, the emotions moving but subtle. The characters feel so real and understandable.
- Stephen King isn't the king of horror for nothing
- Ryk E. Spoor's Grand Central Arena (careful, that's only half the book, you'll be hooked). Tropey and awesome. It's full of random allusions, magic, science and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and speeds along like an express train. Never have I read so many cliffhangers in one book. *fans self* Plus the protagonist, and several of the supporting characters, are completely Badass.
- Roger Zelazny's writing is usually pretty weird, but he is a master of the English language. There are more references in any given book than anyone can possibly get. He will work in an entire plotline in one book just for a good one-liner two books later, and still have it make perfect sense. He can make you cry about a completely ridiculous situation in under three pages. Every time I read one of his books, I notice something clever I hadn't seen before.
- I will worship Jane Austen forever. Her wit, sarcasm, and social commentary can't be matched, and she understands how love can blossom in different ways.
- T.H. White's The Once and Future King is my favorite book. The characters are the main reason for that, as one can sympathize with them even as they cause the downfall of a civilization because of selfish reasons. The prose is frank yet lyrical in that mid-20th century fantasy novel sort of way. Perhaps the biggest appeal of The Once and Future King is that it deals with such heartrending themes of war, hate, oppression, and cruelty while still retaining some hope and never losing sight of its moral compass. Also, the antics of King Pellinore, Sir Palomides, and Sir Grummore never fail to make me smile.
Live Action TV
- Russell T. Davies' writing on Torchwood Children of Earth was amazingly effective. The discussion the politicians had about what to do and which children to sacrifice was painfully well observed.
- Steven Moffat is the god of Mood Whiplash on Doctor Who. And he makes it work.
- Sherlock. You get Mark Gatiss AND Steven Moffat working together on remaking one of the greatest detectives ever made, and they just nail it. They create fantastic characters like Lestrade and Moriarty almost out of white cloth (given the minimum characterization they get in Sir Arthur's actual works). The dialogue is just brilliant and fits the characters and the modern universe perfectly, with as few slip-ups as humanly possible.
- If we're talking Moffat, we've got to mention Coupling still one of the most outrageously there-are-actually-tears-in-my-eyes funny shows out there. The storylines are wackily convoluted, and yet because of snappy dialogue and pristine comic timing, it just works. I mean, come on, "she thinks I collect women's ears in a bucket?" That's good shit.
- The storylines and dialogue that Chris Fredak and Josh Schwartz come up with for Chuck is unrivaled anywhere else on television.
- Pushing Daisies is responsible for some of the most clever and unconventional dialogue on television. Just look at the end of "Bitter Sweets", where comparing one's girlfriend to a severed limb is made into the sweetest, most romantic thing ever.
- I would like to praise the writing for Sanctuary's third season's third episode, "Bank Job." The dialogue is snappy, witty, clever, and colorful, and the episode is written as, for the most part, an Elevator Drama, so they were able to save hugely on budget. More of this please.
- NCIS: I laugh every week. The writing is funny and smart and unpredictable and sometimes totally heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It's just so amazing.
- Seconded: There's nothing boring. There are a lot of hilarious moments. I also love how the writers are able to somehow keep track of everything and still reference things back from season one in season nine. Two hundred episodes later and I'm still not bored.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Sure, both casts were stellar, but the writing... dear God, the writing!
- And don't forget Firefly!
- Well, this IS Joss Whedon we're talking about.
- And don't forget Firefly!
- The Big Bang Theory. The science gags are hilarious if you understand them. Sure, season 3 was fairly weak, but the first two seasons were wonderful and season 4 should be interesting from the details that have been leaked. It's the most intelligent sitcom on TV!
- Glee. On the surface, it seems like your standard, run-of-the-mill high school sitcom, but it soon reveals itself as a subversive, tongue-in-cheek, and yet surprisingly powerful and realistic view on high school life. Oh, and just so you know, the first real episode was the only thing on T.V to ever make me roll over laughing.
- Seconded. Glee was the first show to make me cry over something other than a character's death. On top of all that, it's the most relatable show on TV. Every theater geek can relate to something on this show. The show hasn't gotten 19 emmy nominations for nothing!
- The Sopranos has some of the best writing I've seen anywhere. The character development (in particular, the way the show spends years building a psychological profile for Tony), the way it sticks to and expresses its themes, its use of dark comedy and symbolism...It's just mind-blowing! If you don't believe me, watch the season one episode "College." It has every element I just described, with great pacing and character interactions.
- For me, Scrubs episodes from Seasons 1-5 were stellar. Great original cast, fantastic music, exciting guest stars, and thoughtful themes throughout.
- Twenty Four is basically a university class on how to write a thriller. The pacing, the cliffhangers, and the spot-on dialogue are the reasons it's the best hour of television.
- Seconding. Not to mention the Character Development that everyone gets, even random bureaucrats and villainous sidekicks. The writers make every second count and are masters of putting in key character details that go by quickly (in real time!) but add up to characters that feel like real people.
- The West Wing. The only show that's ever made politics absolutely fascinating, and it's down to incredible writing delivered by incredible actors.
- Boston Legal. David E. Kelley, you hilarious, Anvilicious, Magnificent Bastard. And Alan and Denny's conversation about love between two men was just extraordinary.
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Few people could have taken a series as both iconic and beloved as the Terminator mythos and expanded upon it in such depth, but dammit, the writing team did.
- The 2010 "Parenthood". The writing feels far more genuine than any other family drama currently on television. They talk over one another, the parents sound like parents I know and the kids sound like kids I know. The plotlines aren't always perfect, but they are well-written.
- For all it's brilliant comedians, The Daily Show wouldn't be nearly as funny or intelligent as it is now without it's writers (many of which are correspondents on the show).
- Modern Family captures the trials and tribulations of family life and parenthood without being corny, trite or put upon, and it's all credit to the writers.
- Star Trek the Original Series there is a damn good reason we are still talking about this show forty years later and that the others ran for almost twenty concurrent years . The various shows pioneered so many ideas from The Worf Effect to the Story Arc. There is such an amazing balance of morality play and monster of the week and action adventure, they have heart and soul and character and so MUCH of it. "Spock's Brain" and Wesley aside the good far outweighs the bad. I have no doubt that forty years from now people will still be talking about the awesome that is Trek.
- Battlestar Galactica Reimagined: say what you will about the ending there is no doubt this was one of the best shows on television period. From the breath taking pace of "33" to the brutal and horrific occupation to having some of the most amazingly fraked up characters around it was an fantastic emotional roller coaster ride that regularly had us saying WTF in the best possible way.
- Seconded. The characters in this story are amazingly written, so that even when they did absolutely horrible things, I always was on their side.
- While the ending, storywise, left a lot to be desired, character-wise it was an excellent close to their respective stories. The series was brilliant and even the weaker portions still had redeeming factors to them. In my opinion, the all time great sci-fi series.
- One other thing to praise is the use of Deus Ex Machinas, of which this series has MANY. The reason they generally work so well is because a heavy religious context is brought in from the very beginning and a central part of the plot. This allows the plot devices to feel less like Ass Pulls and more like a true part of the story that was planned out and leads to both incredibly awesome moments as well as gut-wrenchingly emotional moments.
- "Crossroads, Part 2" is a personal favourite, for having the best courtroom monologue in fiction in nearly 15 years.
- At least the first season of Damages. From the very first shot of the first episode to the closing shot of the season, it is a brilliantly plotted legal drama that manages to portray its characters in the most human, complex manner I've seen on TV. It turns a civil lawsuit into an epic drama with fascinating twists and turns.
- Doctor Who's premiere episode for the second Doctor The Power of The Daleks. It's unbelievable just how well written, modern and BRUTAL the script is. All the characters are well-realized and have fully-fleshed out world views and motives. Add to this the very first regeneration--a bitter pill for the Doctor's companions to swallow--and the scariest the Daleks have ever been as they display unbelievable cunning and ruthlessness. Then it culminates in a very understated Crowning Moment of Awesome where a confused Dalek asks one of the characters why humans kill members of their own race. It's too bad this episode is lost, and we only have the reconstructions and novelization to go by.
- Sweet Zombie Jesus, City Of Death. Especially the inspired combination of goofiness and sophisticated deadpan snarkery that is the beginning of episode two. Douglas Adams was a genius.
- Criminal Minds. This show is amazing. The writers have managed to think up a new (and disturbing) motivation for every serial killer for over a hundred episodes. But at the same time they've kept up a quirky, realistic cast of characters with some of the best ensemble chemistry on TV today. Plus the side characters; from the victims to the relatives and friends of the main characters are all so human and alive.
- Burn Notice. It's a spy drama that plays straight many of the tropes associated with spy dramas, but does so in brilliant ways that make them feel fresh and unique. The gambits concocted in each episode and over each season are very clever without being confusing or unbelieveable. The characters and their interaction are well-written. And of course, I can't talk about Burn Notice without mentioning just how much the writers know about spies and subject areas of interest to spies (surveillance, rigging explosions, infil/exfiltration, interrogation, reverse interrogation, gaining a mark's trust, etc.). This show is one of the best examples of Shown Their Work that I've ever seen. In fact, it's almost hard to believe that the writers weren't spies themselves at some point. Nearly everything about the show is amazing, but the writing is without doubt the best part.
- No music folder yet? Then I'll start it off by nominating Leonard Cohen, the greatest songwriter of the 20th century. He has an amazing gift for putting deep meanings into a very few words and making you look at things in a new way.
- Circle Takes the Square and A Silver Mt. Zion both have some of my favorite lyrics (and music) anywhere. They have very different styles, but they both sound like they're coming from another planet.
- So much by Vernian Process but especially "Her Clockwork Heart".
- Relient K. Especially in their last 3 albums and their last EP. Their lyrics often have an incredibley poetic feel to them. Seriously, read the lyrics for Part Of It.
- Soundgarden. Maybe it gets lost amid the admittedly awesome rocking out, but their lyrics often have a fantastically clean and elegant structure, without sounding overly clever about it. "Mailman" is one of the greatest fuck-you poems of all time.
- "The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot" by Brand New. The lyrics stick in my head for days after I hear it, it's my favorite song lyrically.
- The Decemberists. Good lord they are a magical band. Lush instrumentals, intelligent lyrics, and Colin Meloy's very pretty voice.
- This might be pushing it, seeing as the song in question has no lyrics, but I can't get enough of Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre. The way the music is written is so hauntingly beautiful. The song can be found here: 
- The Beatles, especially All You Need Is Love, Let It Be, and Across The Universe. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the greatest songwriters in the world, after all.
- Tom Waits. Incredible writing, inspired music, and a voice that does everything. I am not sure he's ever had a bad album.
- U2's music. All of it. The songs are wonderfully written and rich in meanings no matter how you interpret them. The themes are universal yet personal, and very often hit close to home. The delivery is bold yet gentle, and most of all, earnestly human. And the way all of it is incorporated into some of the most beautiful sounds humanity has ever heard is simply astonishing.
- No list of great songwriters would be complete without Maynard James Keenan of Tool. The Lateralus album qualifies as a 77 minute long Crowning Music of Awesome. Many of his songs may as well be poems set to music, covering a diverse range of topics.
- Gorillaz unique genre-busting antics made them famous, but their lyrics are often the best part of any given song. The combination of subtlety and bluntness, honesty and eloquence makes them immutable in my book.
- Great Big Sea does do some traditional music and the occasional cover, but their original pieces are what make them amazing. From the exuberant "When I Am King" to the haunting "Widow In the Window" to the Tear Jerker "Recruiting Sergeants", they prove over and over that they can tackle anything and not only do it, but do it brilliantly.
- Pretty much any song by The Offspring is made of awesome! Their songs are intelligent, with healthy doses of dry humor and/or pathos as necessary. Their songs cover just about every topic under the sun, from personal relationships to political plays, and they do it all flawlessly.
- I need to know why no one has said Brandon Boyd of Incubus yet. Both the lyrics and the music Incubus creates are pure beauty. Listen to "Drive" and tell me you aren't moved!
- The Airborne Toxic Event, full stop. Some of the most touching, haunting, and poignant lyrics and songwriting I will most likely ever hear.
- It has been noted that Billy Corgan's lyrics are more like poetry set to music. That observation's not half bad! Case in point: Thirty-Three
- Joss Whedon and/or Aaron Allston (I maintain they're actually the same person). Yes, everything they've ever written. The reason? Because they balance drama and comedy so well. A lot of writers wind up with Mood Whiplash when they try to do both things, but these guys are just that good.
- The Big Finish Doctor Who story "Neverland" develops the Zagreus rhyme, which had started off as a quiet nursery rhyme, into a full-blown epic. Using anaphora, epistrophe, parallelisms and a Where the Wild Things Are slant, it's well worth quoting.
Zagreus sits inside your head,
Zagreus lives among the dead,
Zagreus sees you in your bed,
And eats you when you're sleeping.
Zagreus at the end of days,
Zagreus lies all other ways,
Zagreus comes when time's a maze
And all of history's weeping.
And he set then his course
To a scar on the face of Creation
Where the stars lived and died in the churn of one night
Where the mountains might move in the blink of an eye
And decay was the only true constant.
And the gate of Zagreus opened before him
And all of the Antiverse was revealed to him
And its terrible beauty ached in his hearts.
Zagreus waits at the end of the world
For Zagreus is the end of the world
His time is the end of time
And his moment, Time's undoing.
- I find it inspiring that a video game like Bioshock can spark real-life debates about Objectivism and the like.
- I am very happy to have found a place to wax lyrical about Kingdom Hearts. It's one of the most emotional, nostalgic, heart-warming game series I've ever played.
- Seconded, particularly for the original game. Jun Akiyama, come back to us!
- Also, Ratchet and Clank. What Kingdom Hearts is to heartwarming moments, R and C is to funny ones.
- Raiden Trad. Just the title. The game is part of a series of vertical Shoot'Em Up games, which are decent, but I love how the title of this one just rolls off the tongue.
- The english translation (no idea about the original Japanese version) of Baten Kaitos Origins is amazingly brilliant. Not only is the dialogue very well written, the story's self-aware nature comes as a pleasant surprise. Then again, it was translated by Nintendo, who have a bit more money to spend on this sort of thing than Namco Bandai did for the first game, but still at times it's hard to believe that both games come from the same series.
- The last thing one might have expected from a Rated "M" for Manly game like Gears of War was the scene where Dom has to euthanize Maria. What was even more unexpected was how absolutely heartrending and beautifully tragic said scene was.
- Earthbound. The whole series in fact. There are so few games out there that manage to convey so much emotions in you. You can laugh, get scared, and maybe even cry. In the end, the series is so well-written that it's impossible not to feel something.
- Metal Gear Solid! Sure, the exposition is a bit silly, and the dialogue a little odd. But the absolutely on-the-money Deconstruction, wonderful characterisations, and deep satire running through the games is enough to cause palpitations in gamers. The Ho Yay alone is one of the best Ho Yay examples ever.
- TOO much info.
- Star Control 2. One of its most praised strengths is its stellar prose, full of humor and beautiful in style; it's like the Charles Dickens of video gaming. Each alien race you meet speaks in their own unique way. See it all here.
- The Ace Attorney writers are AMAZING. Seriously, how can you NOT love them? The characters are rich, the story lines are absolute madness, and every character is awesome is his/her own way. Especially the girls. Holy christ the girls. *_*
- From the same people at Capcom, Ghost Trick. That's how a mystery should be done: plot twist after plot twist, extremely far-reaching Foreshadowing and in the end, everything makes perfect sense in an unexpected way. And that's not even getting to the characters...
- Iji. You can whizz through the game without reading the logbooks at all, but if you take the time to explore them, they develop a whole world and make the ending even more of a Tear Jerker than it is anyway.
- for me rockstar (more specifically Dan Houser) Grew the Beard with this generation of gaming in terms of writing, while san andreas had great lines and a good story it wasn't nearly as interesting as niko bellic story. not only they manage to create a living world but they created a character with a reasonable amount of Mangst whose mission to find the man who betrayed him during the war is one of the most compelling stories i've ever heard, it's greatly written, funny motivates you to the end and makes you care for all the characters, and that says something when most series or Games manage to always have an scrappy, and the there's Marston who's pretty much John Wayne And Clint Eastwood Child, someone who's backstory is painful and his motivation it's pure but he's also an anti-hero, sure the story is weak (although your mileage may vary) during the first act but the second you hear far away you'll understand it's one of the greatest games of all time.
- Persona 3 and Persona 4 are both amazing dissertations of humanity, our flaws, our triumphs, and our connections to each other. Both games have recognizable main themes that are continually reinforced through the characters and social links, and have such varied insights into those themes that it never feels like you're being hit over the head with it. They're the only RPGs I have played that created a world with such emotional connections that I truly wanted to give everything I could to save it. Absolutely phenomenal.
- Professor Layton, particularly the second and third games. The plot just always sound so fantastic and farfetched at first, but they always manage to reach a "scientific", logical conclusion in the end without subtracting from the feeling of magic and hope throughout the story. The characters are simply full of life and interaction between characters are always greatly written. Full of many, many Crowning Moments of Heartwarming, Funny, and tearjerkers.
- The Mass Effect series, true to BioWare fashion. Everything is just so carefully thought out with detail, care, creativity and love that it has successfully reconstructed the Space Opera genre for many. The speeches in particular are very well-written, and the humour present for the entirety of the game adds to the story and characters rather than overshadow the main conflict. The plot is solid, everything builds up to a beatiful crescendo and resolves it just well enough to leave the player content yet wanting for more.
- Mass Effect 2 had one of the greatest cast of characters ever in a video game. They were so well-written, had so much depth, great backstories, and actually made you care whether they live or died. As a game meant to be bridging to Mass Effect 3 BioWare chose the perfect way to do it. They've always done excellent in terms of storytelling, character development, and overall writing, but they outdid themselves with Mass Effect 2.
- While Dragon Age II has a lot of flaws (something that I went over in a review) one thing that is so right about it is its storyline. It was arguably my favorite fantasy story since Pan's Labyrinth. The excellent cast of characters, the grey morality with every character and faction having enormous flaws, it was about as compelling of a fantasy story as I could ask for and it allowed me to overlook the flaws that it had.
- The writing in the Assassin's Creed series is pretty great, but special mention has to go to the underappreciated first game. The conversations you share with every target as they lie bleeding to death are nothing short of captivating. They can make you respect the men whose lives you've just taken and occassionally even pity them. The way Altair's Character Development comes from seeing these men defend their actions and realising that, even with a noble goal, men can commit acts of great evil, is far detached from the stigma the gaming industry has for being filled with Excuse Plots.
- Alpha Protocol has one of the most complex and tightly woven plots in gaming. It has a cast that runs the gamut from the deadly serious to the comically insane, with a dozen interweaving threads dealing with issues of betrayal, government control, trust, and deception. And on top of that, the sheer number of plot threads and paths you can follow, and the lack of established morality - only results that you're looking for - make it a stunning game.
- Penny Arcade has a writing style that reminds me a lot of Looney Tunes and Animaniacs: it uses references to games, but it structures the jokes so that you don't have to get the reference to get the joke. I can show my mother, who barely knows anything about video games or gamer culture a PA strip and she'll find the comic funny.
- Questionable Content did the same thing with indie culture in its early days. At the time, it was supposed to be a comic about indie music, but the characters' witty banter was what made it great, and still does. This helped the comic move beyond its original niche, and eventually the focus on indie music was dropped entirely.
- Digger. The characters are beautifully brought to life, the philosophical conversations are deep and unsettling, and the emotional climaxes leave lasting scars.
- Gunnerkrigg Court is one of the greatest webcomic series I have ever read.
- El Goonish Shive. The writing, like the art, gets better. DRASTICALLY better.
- Homestuck. Just...everything about Homestuck. The odd, occasionally dark, but ever-present sense of humour. The way every single character, no matter how small, has a clearly distinct voice and characterisation. The way Andrew Hussie manages to pack in so much information that just seems to set up the mood or a joke but then turns out to be incredibly important later on, and the way you can never tell the difference between when he makes shit up as he goes along and when he plans things years in advance. The way it is capable of making you laugh, cry, and d'awwww all at the same time. The way all the characters get to do something awesome, rather than there being just one hero and a bunch of sidekicks. The way the ridiculous number of Call Backs, Ironic Echos, and Continuity Nods all wrap together into an incredibly coherent work, making it fun both for casual readers and the more dedicated fans. Even just his writing style, which can run the gamut from over-the-top Purple Prose to the beigest of Buffy-Speak and all the while sound just so distinctly Homestuck. All of Homestuck. All of it.
- The numerous character moments in Avatar: The Last Airbender are some of the most well-written of any I've seen in any television show, particularly one intended for children. The dialogue has made me laugh, cry, and feel more than any other show in this medium. The entire show, but particularly Book 2, also had excellent pacing and plot development.
- In that same vein, Avatar Legendof Korra is amazingly well-written. Every episode just keeps getting better and better, with more twists and turns than a maze. In addition, the dialogue gives me so many feels at once.
- The characters in The Venture Brothers just get deeper and more three-dimensional as the show goes on, and then there's the incredibly clever dialogue! Every character sounds unique, and their personalities just shine through their Seinfeldian Conversation.
- Disney's Beauty and The Beast is wonderfully put together. The story's premise pretty much requires a subversion of Beauty Equals Goodness, and they did a marvelous job of it. No character feels extraneous or unnecessary to the plot, and every major moment hits just the right emotional chords. One of the best creative teams ever assembled worked on that film, and it shows to this day.
- The sweet little speech after the supernova sequence in Treasure Planet. I spent a near hour looking, but cannot find a single trope to describe that scene except for Heartwarming Moments. It's backed by wonderful music, great acting, and that hug! Intergenerational Friendship and Parental Substitute at it's freaking best.
- Justice League Unlimited is in so many ways a perfect superhero cartoon. The characters don't just spout catchphrases like "Great Hera" or "Holy Whatever." They have clearly defined personalities. They have relationships with each other. On occasion, they're at each other's throats, but they're still True Companions. See: the episode where Flash is almost lost to the Speed Force for proof. And lesser-known, never-before-animated characters, like Hawk, Dove, Green Arrow, and Black Canary, get to shine, too.
- The first Justice League's writing is just good. The first episode includes talks about nuclear disarmament, helping to prove a kid's show can talk about serious subjects and do it well without having to take away from the action.
- The beautiful, refreshing lack of Sibling Rivalry tropes in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan. Think about it-ten children, all with one main personality trait, in a show that's more about action than character. It could have gone wrong in so many ways, and yet look what we've got. Tomboy and Girly Girl sisters who aren't constantly at odds with each other, altercations that don't escalate into resentment and dysfunction, the kids care more about solving the cases and working together than their differences. Makes me smile just typing about it.
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: It's so refreshing in this day and age of cartoons featuring brainless sociopaths to see a show with such well developed and memorable characters and plots that don't end with needless cruelty. It's also rare to see a show that beautifully plays aesops straight, instead of cruelly parodying them. Best of all, despite having a mostly female cast, the show and it's characters are well rounded enough to appeal to all ages, of either gender.
- Phineas and Ferb is one of the best kids cartoons I've ever seen, and it airs on a channel showing mostly stuff I really dislike. The way they have managed to merge all the elements together into one show is astounding. I mean if you went to a TV Executive and said (say it in Doofenschmirz's voice) "Right, I have an idea for a show, it's about two boys who are step-brothers who build machines that break the laws of physics while their sister (who sees an invisible Zebra) tries to report them to their mother, and their pet Platypus is a secret agent who foils the plots of a Mad Scientist, usually causing whatever the boys are building/have built to be destroyed just before their mother comes back." I doubt it'd get off the ground.
- ↑ This line was not recorded