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Top 10 HBO Shows of All Time

VO: Rebecca Brayton
It’s not TV; it’s HBO. That premium cable channel changed the way television was produced, thanks to its high quality programming and success in the medium. With shows like "Game of Thrones," "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" leading the pack, there’s no shortage of series to binge watch thanks to this network. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 HBO shows of all time. For this list, we’ve combined dramas and comedies, but have eliminated one-time specials or miniseries – so "Band of Brothers" fans you’re outta luck. Special thanks to our users Esther, Ričards Priedītis, Gregg Johnson and FilipNyg for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest 

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Top 10 HBO Shows of All Time

It’s not TV, it’s HBO. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 HBO shows of all time.

For this list, we’ve combined dramas and comedies, but have eliminated one-time specials or miniseries – so “Band of Brothers” fans you’re outta luck.

#10: “True Blood” (2008-)

Supernatural, super-strange and super-sexy, this HBO creation capitalized on the vampire craze – only they aimed squarely at adults. Following Sookie Stackhouse and her circle of acquaintances around Louisiana, this Golden Globe and Emmy-winning series blends mystery and fantasy with problems like addiction and minority rights. Set in a world where vampires, humans and other creatures knowingly live side-by-side, “True Blood” can be over-the-top, but it’s always thrilling.

#9: “Sex and the City” (1998-2004)

Leading the charge for series like “Girls,” this was HBO’s first female-centric effort, and it pervaded pop culture like nobody’s business. Centered on sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw, her girlfriends and their endless parade of men, this award-winning show defined an era with its frank sex talk, fashion, Cosmos and Manolos. Though its legacy was tainted by some substandard movies, “SATC” remains one of the most sharply-written series ever.

#8: “Deadwood” (2004-06)

File this one under “cancelled before its time.” A gritty western set in 1870s South Dakota, “Deadwood” chronicles the development of a town that houses the baddest guys around. Blending historical figures into a fictional story, it’s celebrated for its awesome acting, wonderful writing, and crazy cursing. With an excellent ensemble cast and eight Emmys won, it’s a head-scratcher to think HBO axed this one after three-seasons.

#7: “Oz” (1997-2003)

This was HBO’s first offering to fully exploit the lack of restrictions offered on premium cable. Taking place at the Oswald State Correctional Facility, this series liberally features the profanity, violence and uncomfortable-to-watch situations expected in jail – meaning rape and murder comes standard. A visceral tale of prison life, race relations and survival with an ensemble cast personifying its flawed heroes, “Oz” is definitely no place like home.

#6: “Six Feet Under” (2001-05)

At first glance, this show is about family dynamics; but the theme of death cannot be ignored. The Fisher family runs the local funeral home, and this tragicomedy examines their daily lives as they repeatedly confront mortality. Sounds depressing, but it earned critical acclaim with a talented cast, as well as smart and darkly funny writing. Plus, with one of the most universally-loved finales in recent memory, it left fans resting in peace.

#5: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-)

This is what “Seinfeld” would’ve been if it hadn’t aired on network TV. Starring “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David as a fictionalized version of himself, “Curb” evolved from cult secret to hugely celebrated hit. Like its predecessor, it deals with daily minutiae and social awkwardness that’s uncomfortable to the nth degree. With celebrity guest-stars improvising dialogue so raw it has to be HBO; this show is pretty good.

#4: “Boardwalk Empire” (2010-)

Don’t let the Prohibition Era setting fool you: there are plenty of wild times to be had on the Boardwalk. Led by Steve Buscemi as Atlantic City politician Nucky Thompson, this period piece meshes history with fiction to create a visually-stunning, richly-populated show full of characters you don’t wanna meet in a dark alley. With women, booze, corruption and violence as the order of the day, this ain’t your father’s gangster show.

#3: “The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

It’s called one of the greatest, most groundbreaking, most game-changing shows ever. With a cast of largely unknown actors depicting the ins-and-outs of Italian-American mob life, this show is about everyday Americans more than most would care to admit. With brutal violence, personal demons and one of TV’s most beloved antiheroes, “The Sopranos” is the series that gave television as much credibility as films – despite its ambiguous end.

#2: “The Wire” (2002-08)

Thanks to dismal ratings, it was labeled “the best show no one watched.” But that doesn’t speak to its quality: outlining the harsh reality of inner-city Baltimore drug life from the lowliest dealer to the toughest politician, “The Wire” strives for realism in its dialogue, characters, settings and storylines. Brought to life by little-known character actors and real-life Baltimore residents, this series has a depth few can match.

#1: “Game of Thrones” (2011-)

With its ambition and huge budget, HBO’s “Rome” made way for “GoT” – and thank the Lord Stark it did. George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy story is challenging to adapt; but if fan interest is any indication, they’re doing a bang-up job. Spanning a vast universe that’s brimming with characters you both love and loath, “GoT” touches on various sociopolitical themes – with enough intense sex and violence to keep anyone interested.

Do you agree with our list? Which HBO show do you think is best? For more top 10s about your favorite series, be sure to subscribe to

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