Entertainment

The Best HBO Dramas of All Time  

Ranker TV
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List Rules Any drama that aired on HBO, including original HBO dramatic series

There's no denying it: HBO makes some of the best shows on TV. This list ranks the best HBO dramatic series, best to worst. With riveting storylines, grade-A acting, and high grade production value, the best HBO shows are popular favorites, even though the prime cable series costs a little extra. HBO's domination in the drama genre began in the late 1990s with prison series Oz (1997) and continued with fan-favorite mafia show The Sopranos (1999). The 2000s brought cult shows like Carnivale (2003) and Deadwood (2004) - both of which were canceled too soon - as well as long-running popular HBO dramas The Wire (2002), Big Love (2006), and True Blood (2008). More recently, fantasy series Game of Thrones (2011) has captured audiences all over the world, and the crime drama show True Detective (2014) became almost an overnight classic.

What is the best HBO drama show of all time? Vote up the series that grabbed up your attention fastest, held it the longest, and maybe even made you mad at the TV when a favorite character died.
list ordered by
1
Game of Thrones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011) is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, based on the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. Nine noble ...more
2
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn
The Wire is an American drama television series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was ...more
3
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco
The Sopranos is an American drama television series created by David Chase. Revolving around the fictional New Jersey-based Italian-American Tony Soprano, the show portrays the difficulties he ...more
4
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Alexandra Daddario
True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.
5
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Deadwood is an American western television series created, produced, and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, ...more
6
Six Feet Under is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy
Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001, and ended on August ...more
7
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston
Band of Brothers is a 2001 American WWII drama miniseries based on historian Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 non-fiction book of the same name. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom ...more
8
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza
Boardwalk Empire is an American period drama television series created by Terence Winter. Airing on premium cable channel HBO, the series is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the ...more
9
Oz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen
Oz is an American television drama series created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the series' 56 episodes. It was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced ...more
10
Rome is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker
Rome is a British-American-Italian historical drama television series created by Bruno Heller, John Milius and William J. MacDonald. The show's two seasons were broadcast on HBO, BBC Two, and ...more
11
True Blood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell
True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the ...more
12
Carnivàle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown
Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching ...more
13
The Newsroom is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr.
The Newsroom is an American television political drama series created and principally written by Aaron Sorkin that premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012, and concluded on December 14, 2014, ...more
14
Entourage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon
Entourage is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on HBO on July 18, 2004 and concluded on September 11, 2011, after eight seasons. The series was created and largely ...more
15
The Pacific is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Hugh Ambrose, Ed Tracy
The Pacific is a 2010 television series produced by HBO, Seven Network Australia, Sky Movies, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on 14 March 2010. The series is a ...more
16
Big Love is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny
Big Love is an American television drama that aired on HBO between March 2006 and March 2011. The show is about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. Big Love ...more
17
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett
John Adams is a 2008 American television miniseries chronicling most of U.S. President John Adams' political life and his role in the founding of the United States. Paul Giamatti portrays John ...more
18
Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis
This show is an American television romantic sitcom created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of 94 episodes. ...more
19
In Treatment is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Forbes
In Treatment is an American HBO drama, produced and developed by Rodrigo Garcia, about a psychologist, 50-something Dr. Paul Weston, and his weekly sessions with patients, as well as those with ...more
20
Generation Kill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen
This series is a British-American seven-part television miniseries produced for HBO, based on the 2004 book of the same name by Evan Wright about his experience as an embedded reporter with the ...more
21
Angels in America is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Angels in America is a 2003 HBO miniseries adapted from the play of the same name by Tony Kushner. Kushner adapted his original text for the screen, and Mike Nichols directed. Set in 1985, the ...more
22
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright
Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and based on the 1973 film. In a technologically advanced Wild ...more
23
Luck is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz
Luck is an American dramatic television series created by David Milch and starring Dustin Hoffman. The pilot episode was directed by Michael Mann. The series premiered on January 29, 2012. HBO ...more
24
Treme is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Kim Dickens
Treme is an American television drama series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer that aired on HBO. The series premiered on April 11, 2010, and concluded on December 29, 2013, comprising ...more
25
The Corner is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Khandi Alexander, Lance Reddick, Tasha Smith
The Corner is a 2000 HBO drama television miniseries based on the nonfiction book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Ed Burns and adapted for ...more