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23.3k voters

The Best of Premium Cable TV Series

Updated November 9, 2020 146.1k votes 23.3k voters 1.2m views146 items

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

The 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 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!

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  • 1
    Game of Thrones
    6,770
    1,598

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • 2
    The Sopranos
    3,823
    1,383

    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

    Premiered1999

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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    The Best Characters on The Sopranos16 Small Details That Make 'The Sopranos' That Much Better

  • 3
    Vikings
    2,033
    700

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHistory

    Amazon buy button

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    Turns Out The Real Inspiration For 'Vikings' Lagertha Is Even Tougher Than The TV Version11 Historically Inaccurate Details From History Channel's 'Vikings'

  • 4
    Ray Donovan
    1,898
    699

    Ray Donovan

    Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson

    Premiered2013

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More Ray Donovan 

    Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Ray Donovan'#273 of 389 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

  • 5
    Band of Brothers
    2,489
    945

    Band of Brothers

    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis

    Premiered2001

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • 6
    Shameless
    2,387
    915

    Shameless

    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button
  • 7
    The Wire
    3,042
    1,358

    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

    More The Wire 

    The Best of The WIRE CharactersThe Best Seasons of 'The Wire'

  • 8
    Homeland
    2,693
    1,133

    Homeland

    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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    The Best Characters On 'Homeland'The Best Homeland Characters of All Time

  • 9
    True Detective
    2,376
    942

    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • 10
    Westworld
    1,267
    442

    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

    Premiered2016

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • 11
    Spartacus: Blood and Sand
    1,899
    977

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz!

    Amazon buy button

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    #190 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#82 of 160 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

  • 12
    Boardwalk Empire
    2,316
    1,193

    Boardwalk Empire

    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham

    Premiered2010

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 13
    Black Sails
    1,308
    532

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • 14
    Deadwood
    2,106
    1,299

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • 15
    Dexter
    3,755
    2,401

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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    Small Details That Made 'Dexter' Even BetterThe Best Seasons of 'Dexter'

  • 16
    Outlander
    1,661
    781

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • 17
    Rome
    1,909
    1,240

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 18
    The Tudors
    1,257
    779

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

    Premiered2007

    NetworkBritish Broadcasting Corporation, Showtime, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Television, TV3

    Amazon buy button
  • 19
    Oz
    1,280
    926

    Oz

    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons

    Premiered1997

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 20
    Six Feet Under
    1,369
    934

    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

    Premiered2001

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • 21
    True Blood
    2,044
    1,701

    True Blood

    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer

    Premiered2008

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

    More True Blood 

    The Best True Blood Characters of All TimeThe Best Seasons of 'True Blood'

  • 22
    Penny Dreadful
    1,039
    575

    Penny Dreadful

    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton

    Premiered2014

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More Penny Dreadful 

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  • 23
    Billions
    884
    314

    Billions

    Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti

    Premiered2016

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More Billions 

    The Best Seasons of 'Billions'#37 of 85 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows

  • 24
    Weeds
    1,595
    1,283

    Weeds

    Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish

    Premiered2005

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More Weeds 

    The Best Seasons of Weeds#80 of 639 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch

  • 25
    Silicon Valley
    680
    456

    Silicon Valley

    Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller

    Premiered2014

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

    More Silicon Valley 

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