My Top Ten TV Shows – Part Two


This is part two of my list of top ten TV shows with a focus on dialogue, which (as I explained previously) I decided I could create from the one show that towers over all others when it comes to this topic – The West Wing.

You might notice that all the episodes I’ve used are from the first three seasons. However, this is not a show that ever gets anywhere near to jumping the shark. All seven seasons are equally terrific and equally jam-packed full of wonderfully witty dialogue. I could have had an entry for every episode. In fact, I could have had a top ten list of dialogue from just the show’s first episode.

For anyone who is serious about mastering the art of writing dialogue, I would highly recommend watching The West Wing – over and over and over again. Continue reading


My Top Ten TV Shows – Part One


After constructing my Top Ten Movies list with a focus on dialogue, I thought I would do the same for TV shows. I easily came up with ten well-written, witty productions – Buffy, Angel, Firefly (yes, I’m a Joss Whedon fan), Veronica Mars, Frasier, Scrubs, The OC, Dawson’s Creek, The Newsroom and The West Wing (yes, also an Aaron Sorkin fan).

You can probably identify the common theme running through all of them. At the time of their original screenings, they were known specifically for their dialogue – verbal battles, perfect slap downs, quick comebacks, dry and highly intellectual humour, all those words we wished we could come up with on the spot but never did.

However, the more I thought about it, the more strongly I felt that although I love all these shows, I could easily find a top ten list of terrific dialogue that would outshine all others in just one of these shows. And that show is The West Wing. Continue reading

My Top Ten Movies – Part One


This is not a traditional top ten movies list. Even though many of them are my favourite movies, this is my list of top ten movies containing great dialogue with examples included. Sometimes great dialogue goes by so quickly you don’t have a chance to appreciate the beauty of its construction.

I’ve broken it into two parts because it got very long when I was typing it up. So here are the first five of my top ten movies in no particular order and some terrific pieces of writing. Continue reading

My Top Ten Albums


Last year on Twitter I tweeted my list of the top ten albums I enjoy listening to. It probably won’t come as any surprise that while there are particular types of music I prefer, it is often the lyrics that really hit home for me. So here’s the list replicated (in reverse order, as all good top ten lists are) with samples of the spectacular words that fill the songs.

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My Top Ten Books – Now


My previous post was a top ten books list I put together more than fifteen years ago and I knew that a current list would be very different, so here it is.

One thing I will say is that I feel I may be very much guided by my limited memory. So many of the books on this list now are recent reads – which is not to say I didn’t have very strong reactions to them; I did. But perhaps the very strong reactions I’ve had to other books I read a long time ago have dimmed in my memory, making this a top ten list of books I can remember rather than a genuine “best ever” list. Oh, well. Nothing’s perfect.

Again, this list is in no particular order because, as I said in my previous post, choosing one book over all others is just an impossible task for me.

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