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The Best of Premium Cable TV Series

Updated November 9, 2020 148.0k votes 23.4k 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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  • Game of Thrones1
    6,817
    1,626

    Game of Thrones

    Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey

    Premiered2011

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • The Sopranos2
    3,864
    1,395

    The Sopranos

    James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco

    Premiered1999

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • Band of Brothers3
    2,509
    953

    Band of Brothers

    Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis

    Premiered2001

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • Vikings4
    2,053
    724

    Vikings

    Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHistory

    Amazon buy button

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  • Ray Donovan5
    1,923
    720

    Ray Donovan

    Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson

    Premiered2013

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • Shameless6
    2,407
    936

    Shameless

    Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • The Wire7
    3,079
    1,370

    The Wire

    Dominic West, Lance Reddick

    Premiered2002

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • Homeland8
    2,714
    1,149

    Homeland

    Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin

    Premiered2011

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • True Detective9
    2,398
    957

    True Detective

    Mahershala Ali, Matthew McConaughey

    Premiered2013

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • Boardwalk Empire10
    2,333
    1,207

    Boardwalk Empire

    Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham

    Premiered2010

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand11
    1,915
    993

    Spartacus: Blood and Sand

    Eric McIntire, Daniel Spink

    Premiered2010

    NetworkStarz!

    Amazon buy button

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  • Westworld12
    1,287
    467

    Westworld

    Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton

    Premiered2016

    NetworkHBO

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  • Black Sails13
    1,324
    545

    Black Sails

    Jessica Parker Kennedy, Toby Stephens

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button
  • Deadwood14
    2,125
    1,306

    Deadwood

    Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane

    Premiered2004

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • Dexter15
    3,789
    2,411

    Dexter

    Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter

    Premiered2006

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • Outlander16
    1,682
    794

    Outlander

    Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan

    Premiered2014

    NetworkStarz

    Amazon buy button

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  • Rome17
    1,915
    1,250

    Rome

    Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson

    Premiered2005

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • The Tudors18
    1,273
    789

    The Tudors

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill

    Premiered2007

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

    Amazon buy button

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    #83 of 387 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#146 of 640 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch

  • Oz19
    1,292
    933

    Oz

    Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons

    Premiered1997

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • Six Feet Under20
    1,386
    943

    Six Feet Under

    Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall

    Premiered2001

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button
  • Billions21
    902
    321

    Billions

    Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti

    Premiered2016

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • True Blood22
    2,069
    1,709

    True Blood

    Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer

    Premiered2008

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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  • Penny Dreadful23
    1,052
    585

    Penny Dreadful

    Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton

    Premiered2014

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

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  • Weeds24
    1,603
    1,293

    Weeds

    Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish

    Premiered2005

    NetworkShowtime

    Amazon buy button

    More Weeds 

    The Best Seasons of Weeds#203 of 444 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

  • Silicon Valley25
    689
    465

    Silicon Valley

    Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller

    Premiered2014

    NetworkHBO

    Amazon buy button

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