The Best of Premium Cable TV Series

120k votes 14k voters 871k views 85 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Premium cable refers to subscription-based channels including HBO, Showtime, Epix, Cinemax, Encore, Starz and PPV

Best cable series on premium cable includes some of the greatest TV shows in history. This list of premium cable original programming is ranked by TV fans around the world. What are the best original shows on premium cable? These are all the best cable series, past and present, that ever aired. The best premium cable series are often good enough to persuade consumers to pay extra money to watch them. Shows like Game of Thrones, The Wire, and The Newsroom have such loyal followings that single episodes can affect entertainment news cycles. For television lovers, many of these top cable series are must-see.

This list of original programs on premium cable feature the best dramas and comedies according to ratings, awards, and fan bases. Even though Showtime's crime drama series Dexter ended with a poorly received season, the overall response was mostly positive, making it high on this list. Even shows that were canceled like Penny Dreadful and Dead Like Me are found on list of the best premium cable TV series of all time.       

What are the best premium cable TV series? Vote for your favorites - comedy, sports, or drama - and for real impact on the list order, rank your own list of series or just nominate a show you think should be represented. Networks like HBO and Showtime have been churning out some of the highest rated programming in recent history, so much so that these channels have begun to sweep many of Hollywood's most prestigious award. But the only metric that really matters is your opinion. Which of the most popular premium cable shows are you willing to pay big bucks for? Vote for your favorite below!

Collection Photo:  via hbo
  • 100 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 5,905
    - 1,003

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington

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  2. 2
    + 3,426
    - 1,701


    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

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  3. 3
    + 2,975
    - 1,087


    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

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  4. 4
    + 2,418
    - 1,017


    Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

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  5. 5
    + 1,669
    - 983


    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

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  6. 6
    + 1,650
    - 883


    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

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  7. 7
    + 2,033
    - 909


    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

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  8. 8
    + 1,939
    - 756


    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

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  9. 9
    + 1,786
    - 1,397

    often listed
    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

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  10. 10
    + 2,322
    - 800


    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

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  11. 11
    + 1,236
    - 251

    added by JennySobonski
    Travis Fimmel, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård

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  12. 12
    + 1,956
    - 611

    added by Elise Hennigan
    Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams

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  13. 13
    + 1,022
    - 326

    added by lemonhead
    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies

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  14. 14
    + 1,454
    - 1,069


    Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould

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  15. 15
    + 1,631
    - 789


    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink, Matthew Felker

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  16. 16
    + 1,094
    - 1,019


    Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin

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  17. 17
    + 1,327
    - 354

    ranked low on reranks
    Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan

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  18. 18
    + 1,097
    - 713


    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

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  19. 19
    + 1,025
    - 794


    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

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  20. 20
    + 1,259
    - 984


    Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon

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  21. 21
    + 1,705
    - 669

    ranked low on reranks
    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky

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  22. 22
    + 1,159
    - 943


    David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Evan Handler

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  23. 23
    + 772
    - 440


    Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger

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  24. 24
    + 943
    - 569


    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

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  25. 25
    + 733
    - 180

    ranked low on reranks & added by kattron
    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens, Hannah New

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  26. 26
    + 954
    - 822


    Danny McBride, Steve Little, Katy Mixon

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  27. 27
    + 687
    - 1,122

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis

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  28. 28
    + 859
    - 658


    Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr.

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  29. 29
    + 622
    - 524


    Hugh Ambrose, Ed Tracy

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  30. 30
    + 597
    - 241

    added by kattron
    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

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  31. 31
    + 481
    - 402

    added by sebbzor
    Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

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  32. 32
    + 540
    - 677


    Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny

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  33. 33
    + 635
    - 656


    Edie Falco, Merritt Wever, Paul Schulze

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  34. 34
    + 522
    - 273

    added by LanaYoshii
    Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen

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  35. 35
    + 501
    - 676


    Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy

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  36. 36
    + 577
    - 854


    Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington, Andrew Sullivan

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  37. 37
    + 276
    - 696


    Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Wallace Langham

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  38. 38
    + 303
    - 109

    ranked low on reranks & added by RyanBarber
    Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Kathrine Narducci

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  39. 39
    + 538
    - 578


    Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown

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  40. 40
    + 409
    - 673

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Penn Jillette, Teller, George W. Bush

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  41. 41
    + 408
    - 718

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Thomas Jane, Jane Adams, Charlie Saxton

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  42. 42
    + 264
    - 157

    added by kattron
    Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos

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  43. 43
    + 197
    - 104

    added by kattron
    Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston

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  44. 44
    + 196
    - 101

    ranked low on reranks & added by theuniverse
    Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener

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  45. 45
    + 174
    - 625

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis

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  46. 46
    + 263
    - 512


    Zach Thomas, Darren Woodson, Eddie Kennison

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  47. 47
    + 354
    - 408

    added by mark123
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale

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  48. 48
    + 199
    - 127

    added by MichaelTrueblood
    Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald

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  49. 49
    + 203
    - 108

    ranked low on reranks & added by MichaelTrueblood
    Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney

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  50. 50
    + 191
    - 570


    Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant

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