101 Best Written TV Series

Aired: ABC, 1970-1975

Neil Simon's hit Broadway play was directed by Mike Nichols and starred Walter Matthau and Art Carney. The hit film, directed by Gene Saks, again starred Matthau but this time opposite Jack Lemmon. The sitcom, developed by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, was never a hit in its five seasons. But hearing the names "Oscar and Felix" today, you picture Jack Klugman drying his hands on the kitchen curtains while Tony Randall gives the camera a weary stink eye. If decades of syndication explain why the TV series has overshadowed the stage play and movie, it also suggests the premise was marvelously suited for the sitcom form: Two adult male friends, veterans of their foibles, coming together in beautiful disharmony. The series had masterful old-soul joke writing and the kind of chemistry between its stars that seldom develops. Opposite Klugman's hangdog notes, Randall's fussbudget body language was both hilarious and poetic.

Credited Writers

Bill Angelos
Art Baer
Marlene Barr
Jerry Belson
Richard Bensfield
Bob Brunner
Frank Buxton
Martin Cohan
Harry Dolan
Martin Donovan
David W. Duclon
Michael Elias
Peggy Elliott
Ruth Brooks Flippen
Ron Friedman
Jim Fritzell
Lowell Ganz
Joe Glauberg
Hal Goldman
Al Gordon
Carl Gottlieb
Perry Grant
Everett Greenbaum
Bob Howard
Bill Idelson
Ben Joelson
Arthur Julian
Lee Kalcheim
Dennis Klein
Carl Kleinschmitt
Buz Kohan
Michael Leeson
Albert E. Lewin
Alan Mandel
Bill Manhoff
Garry Marshall
Dale McRaven
Harvey Miller
Philip Mishkin
Gordon Mitchell
Rick Mittleman
Martin A. Ragaway
John Rappaport
Sidney Reznick
Larry Rhine
Bob Rodgers
Mickey Rose
Mark Rothman
Barry Rubinowitz
Ed Scharlach
Charles Shyer
Neil Simon
Lloyd Turner
Harry Winkler
Jack Winter
Steven Zacharias