Best HBO shows of all time

HBO has been one of the most well-respected content creators and broadcasters across the world for many decades now. A premium cable network, its output is synonymous with quality and many of the shows that have come from HBO have not only become enormous hits in the United States but have gone on to be some of the biggest series to be broadcast all over the world.

And over many years, HBO have created different types of shows across a wide range of genres, from comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep and Silicon Valley to gripping Dramas like The Night Of, The Sopranos and The Wire. And there have of course been more than few fantasy series from the cable network, including shows like Westworld and Raised by Wolves – as well as perhaps one of the most famous shows of its genre ever to be made (and certainly in the category of worldwide export), the epic Game of Thrones.

Some might say that even attempting to list the top ten HBO shows of all time is a bad idea because you can’t possibly boil down such a brilliant set of work into such a short list. And of course, some might be right – but we here at Screen OD are happy to try the impossible, especially when it comes to TV and film so we’re going to do it anyway.

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Below you’ll find our video list of shows, which we think is one of the best ways to enjoy our content. If you agree, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the Screen OD YouTube channel for daily videos on the best things to watch on your streaming services. However, if you don’t want to watch the video, haven’t got time, or just want a reminder of the shows that are listed within it, we’re also offering you this handy written list too. I know, we really are too kind!

Now, as discussed, it wasn’t an easy task making this list, and inevitably there will be shows that you think should be on there, that, well aren’t! I mean shows like The Night Of, which didn’t quite make the final ten, and Sex and the City, which again, we know that people really like.

So before you have too much time to get annoyed about what might not be on the list, let’s take a look at what did make it!

The Top 10 HBO Shows Ever Made

10. Silicon Valley

From the pen of Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, this biting satire on the world of technology ran for six seasons and won an army of fans for the way it poked fun at an industry that often takes its mission to change the world a little too seriously. Following the story a young startup attempting to grow amongst cutthroat establishment companies, the story of Pied Piper is silly, cynical and seriously good TV.

9. Six Feet Under

Proving that there is entertainment, drama and dark humour in death, this seminal HBO show follows the lives of several generations of the Fisher family, owners of a funeral home in Los Angeles. Quite rightly this show has won almost every award going, and is widely considered by critics to have one of the best endings in TV… so another incentive beyond the gripping storyline and fabulous acting to make it to the end.

8. Veep

Armando Iannucci’s satire on American political life is an adaptation of his hit UK comedy The Thick of IT, and tells the story of Vice President Selina Meyer (played with excellence by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as she attempts to make a mark on the political system and create a legacy while always playing second fiddle to the President. Expect razor sharp wit and laughter on tap in this brilliant show which remains as relevant today as the day it was first made.

7. Barry

Perhaps not one of the most well known HBO shows, this dark and beautifully constructed crime drama comedy stars Bill Hader as Barry Berkman, a hitman from Cleveland who travels to LA to perform a job before falling in love with acting and joining a regular class. An offbeat classic, this is certainly a show you should be seeking out for your next binge.

6. Game of Thrones

Without a doubt one of the most talked-about, discussed and debated shows of the last few decades around the globe, HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s novels has made stars of swathes of actors and entertained the world with a gripping fantasy drama about politics, power, love, loss and… well, dragons. It may not have had the ending that all fans wanted, but we certainly enjoyed the journey to get there.

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm

What did Larry David do after he made his fortune as co-creator of Seinfeld? Well in this fictionalised version of his life, he spent most of his time causing himself trouble due to his own nature. One of the great comedies of the modern era, Curb continues to deliver extraordinary laughs 11 seasons in, and attracts everyone who is everyone from the world of celebrity to guest in this brilliant farce.

4. Succession

The story of a media mogul whose failing health means he needs to seriously consider which one of his children will take over his vast empire when he’s gone, this is a dark, twisted and brilliantly put together drama that has humour and intrigue at every beautiful turn in the story. A true worldwide phenomenon, Succession is a show that will be remembered fondly long after it has stopped being produced (which luckily at the moment, it still is being!)

3. The Wire

This show – considered one of the greatest box sets of all time- was created by David Simon, a former police reporter and focusses on the gritty and violent Baltimore crime scene, and the institutions charged with controlling it. A stunning piece of television, the show made household names of the likes of Dominic West and Idris Elba amongst others.

2. Band of Brothers

Based on Stephen E Ambrose’s book of the same name, this exceptional multi award-wining series created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks focusses on the plight of Eazy company, from their training in the US to their participation in conflict in Europe during the Second World War. Based on interviews with real servicemen, this is a stunning and hard-hitting piece of television that has rightly been recognised as one of the very best ever made

1. The Sopranos

The late great James Gandalfini’s performance as Tony Soprano, a mobster in therapy struggling to deal with work and his family, is one of the most impressive, nuanced and frankly brilliant you will ever see on television. Considered by many to be the best box set ever made and to be a turning point where television truly became cinematic in its storytelling – the Sopranos is unmissable television that will have you glued to your screen from the very beginning to that exceptional ending.

Tim Glanfield

Tim Glanfield is a journalist, editor and broadcaster with more than 15 years experience writing about television, film and the entertainment business. He has been editor of RadioTimes.com, a writer for The Times (of London) and the Guardian as well as a freelance contributor to newspapers, magazines and websites across the world. He is author of the book Digital Economy or Bust: The Story of a New Media Startup and makes regular appearances on TV and radio in the UK.

Tim Glanfield has 40 posts and counting. See all posts by Tim Glanfield