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Top 10 Showtime Shows of All Time

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Tiffany Ezuma. In the battle of cable TV, it always comes down to Showtime versus HBO. If you’re stuck between the two, our list just might sway you. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 Showtime shows. For this list, we’ve chosen the original Showtime shows that had the most acclaim and success, as well as those that we thought had the strongest characters, best writing and killer acting. Special thanks to our users Alexander David Bourns, sarahjessicaparkerth, Mohammed Al-hooti, Andrew A. Dennison, quintinridgaa22 and Vigilante Will for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Tiffany Ezuma.

Top 10 Showtime Shows of All Time


In the battle of cable TV, it always comes down to Showtime versus HBO. If you’re stuck between the two, our list just might sway you. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Showtime shows.

For this list, we’ve chosen the original Showtime shows that had the most acclaim and success, as well as those that we thought had the strongest characters, best writing and killer acting.

#10: “Nurse Jackie” (2009-)

Normally, doctors get all the glory on TV shows. Showtime mixed it up and created this dramedy, which follows Edie Falco as the titular character, as she works shifts in an NYC emergency room. Street-smart, unethical Jackie isn’t your average nurse since it’s her dependence on prescription drugs like Vicodin that gets her through her hectic shifts. But her interactions with the other eccentric members of the hospital staff make this show top quality.

#9: “Queer as Folk” (2000-05)

Showtime isn’t afraid to break the rules of TV programming. This show was the first of its kind to follow the lives of gay men and women looking for love in Pittsburgh. The show is acclaimed for its honest, non-stereotypical portrayal of gay people and their relationships. During its run, it didn’t shy away from controversial topics like same-sex marriage, HIV/AIDS, or drug use. If only more shows were this honest!

#8: “Masters of Sex” (2013-)

As soon as this show debuted, it set the expectations high! Based on the lives of true-life doctor William Masters and his partner Virginia Johnson, the show revolves around their groundbreaking research in the topics of sex and behavioral studies. Sure, the sex on the show is great, but the relationships are even better. Plus, viewers can’t get enough of the will-they-or-won’t-they vibe between the two researchers.

#7: “United States of Tara” (2009-11)

Cancelled too soon, this quirky show focuses on the life of Tara, a housewife who struggles with multiple personality disorder. Her alters include promiscuous T, Vietnam vet Buck, and therapist Shoshana; but the childlike, Chicken, is by far the most interesting. Every character on this show has a compelling plotline and character arc, which isn’t the case in a lot of shows. It’s character study at its finest.

#6: “The Tudors” (2007-10)

Never has beheading been so sexy! Showtime took Henry the VIII, the British monarch responsible for the Church of England’s split from the Roman Catholic Church, and made him even more of a rock star. The series focuses on his reign and his marriages to six different women. Henry’s temper and passions run hot as those around him do their best to appease his many moods. While it wasn’t always historically accurate, the drama of the high court kept viewers watching.

#5: “Dead Like Me” (2003-04)

Though it was with us for only two seasons, this show – like the dead – will live on in our memory. After college-dropout George’s untimely death, she finds herself in the afterlife with a new job as a grim reaper for the External Influence Division. George collects the souls of those societal misfits that died in either comical or depressing circumstances. And, turns out, the souls she meets teach her more about life than she ever learned living.

#4: “Weeds” (2005-12)

We’re used to seeing shows about drug dealing focus on gritty, urban life; but Showtime took drugs to the suburbs. “Weeds” focuses on Nancy Botwin, a newly widowed mom who begins selling pot to support her kids. Her operation starts small but Nancy uses her sex appeal and wits to rise high in the drug world, taking her family along for the ride. The plot got iffy in later seasons but ridiculousness is where the fun’s at!

#3: “Californication” (2007-)

Going out west used to be the cure for everything, but after writer Hank Moody leaves New York for California, his life only seems to get more complicated. This show is a great character study as Hank struggles with writer’s block and the multiple women in his life, including a bratty teenage daughter. After seven seasons, it was exciting to see just how much Hank had really grown.

#2: “Homeland” (2011-)

Talk about edge of your seat TV! Even after only a few seasons, “Homeland” was one of the most talked about shows on any network. The plot revolves around a CIA operative who’s bipolar and an American soldier who may or may not be a terrorist. Tension is always high and viewers never know what to expect. It’s no wonder this show is an awards darling.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Shameless” (2011-)
- “Ray Donovan” (2013-)
- “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” (2007-11)
- “The Borgias” (2011-13)

#1: “Dexter” (2006-13)

We’ve had TV shows with antiheroes before, but never quite like Dexter. He’s a serial killer with a conscious since his targets are other serial killers. But still. To complicate matters even further, Dexter works for the Miami Metro Police Department. Despite the show’s struggling with plot in later seasons, we still watched because the show was THAT good. The series finale brought in the network’s largest audience to date – despite its lukewarm reception.

Do you agree with our list? Which Showtime show is on your must-watch TV list? For more can’t miss Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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