Entertainment
23.6k voters

The Best of Premium Cable TV Series

Updated April 20, 2021 141.8k votes 23.6k 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
    6,482
    1,583

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

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  • 2
    3,701
    1,343

    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

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  • 3
    2,398
    927

    Band of Brothers

    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis

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  • 4
    1,922
    701

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

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  • 5
    1,836
    704

    Ray Donovan

    Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson

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  • 6
    2,290
    912

    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey

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  • 7
    2,950
    1,310

    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

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    The Best of The WIRE Characters#1 of 97 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time

  • 8
    2,277
    929

    Shameless

    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

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  • 9
    2,576
    1,109

    Homeland

    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin

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    The Best Characters On 'Homeland'#44 of 293 The Best Female-Led TV Shows

  • 10
    2,241
    1,157

    Boardwalk Empire

    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham

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    The Best Seasons of 'Boardwalk Empire'#188 of 277 The Most Overrated TV Shows Of All Time

  • 11
    1,837
    948

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

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    #19 of 124 TV Shows with the Hottest Casts#76 of 158 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

  • 12
    2,038
    1,238

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

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    #64 of 71 The Best Crime Fighting Duo TV Series#310 of 508 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

  • 13
    3,610
    2,281

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

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  • 14
    1,244
    516

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

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  • 15
    1,224
    457

    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

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  • 16
    1,585
    748

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

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    #57 of 74 Sci-Fi Shows You Should Be Watching Now#3 of 121 The Best Shows Currently On The Air

  • 17
    1,834
    1,186

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

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    #105 of 112 The Greatest TV Title Sequences Ever#88 of 129 Canceled Shows We'd Most Like to See as Movies

  • 18
    1,212
    753

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

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    #148 of 397 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch#77 of 311 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

  • 19
    1,228
    896

    Oz

    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons

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  • 20
    1,328
    903

    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

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    #37 of 103 The Best Dramedy TV Series#89 of 224 The Greatest TV Shows for Women

  • 21
    871
    309

    Billions

    Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti

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  • 22
    982
    553

    Penny Dreadful

    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton

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  • 23
    1,965
    1,630

    True Blood

    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer

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  • 24
    1,530
    1,234

    Weeds

    Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish

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    The Best Seasons of Weeds#121 of 340 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

  • 25
    654
    440

    Silicon Valley

    Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller

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