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The Best HBO Dramas of All Time 

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Updated January 13, 2020 7.8k votes 1.2k voters 20.8k views 49 items

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.
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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

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 73

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Medieval fantasy, Drama, Adventure film, Epic, Action, + more

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

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2
The Sopranos is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

Premiered: 1999

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 86

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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3
True Detective is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Alexandra Daddario

Premiered: 2013

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama

True Detective (HBO, 2014) is an American anthology drama television series created by Nic Pizzolatto. Each season focuses on detectives investigating violent offences.

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4
The Wire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn

Premiered: 2002

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 60

Network: BBC Four, HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Drama

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

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#91 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #342 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time The Best Seasons of 'The Wire'

5
Band of Brothers is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Scott Grimes, Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston

Premiered: 2001

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: British Broadcasting Corporation, HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, Action/Adventure, Drama, Military, Adventure film, + more

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

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#59 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #180 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

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

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 63

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Drama, Comedy-drama

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

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#315 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #22 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

7
Deadwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Western, Drama, Historical fiction

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

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#48 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #128 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

8
Oz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen

Premiered: 1997

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 56

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Crime Fiction, Police procedural, Suspense, Drama, + more

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

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#118 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #106 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing The Best Seasons of Oz

9
Boardwalk Empire is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 36

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Drama, Costume drama

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

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#89 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #164 of 396 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate The Best Seasons of Boardwalk Empire

10
Rome is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 22

Network: Rai 2, British Broadcasting Corporation, HBO

Genres (Tv): Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Historical drama, Action

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

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#102 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #34 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

11
True Blood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 63

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Paranormal romance, Supernatural drama, Supernatural, Black comedy, + more

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

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#70 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #90 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time The Best True Blood Characters of All Time

12
Carnivàle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Michael J. Anderson, Adrienne Barbeau, Clancy Brown

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 2

Number of Episodes: 24

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama, Mystery, Fantasy

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

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#146 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #154 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

13
The Pacific is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Hugh Ambrose, Ed Tracy

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, War film, Drama

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

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14
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett

Premiered: 2008

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, Drama, Historical drama

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

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#502 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #161 of 260 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time The Best John Adams Quotes

15
The Newsroom is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr.

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 1

Number of Episodes: 10

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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#155 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #488 of 594 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #198 of 578 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

16
Entourage is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 96

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Drama, Comedy-drama, Comedy

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

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17
Big Love is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 53

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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18
Westworld is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright

Premiered: 2016

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Sci-fi, Drama, Western

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

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19
Angels in America is listed (or ranked) 19 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

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20
Sex and the City is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis

Premiered: 1998

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 94

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Romance Film, Black comedy, Blue comedy, Sitcom, Romantic comedy, + more

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

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#92 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #107 of 281 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #171 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

21
Generation Kill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Alexander Skarsgård, James Ransone, Lee Tergesen

Premiered: 2008

Number of Episodes: 7

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, War film, Action/Adventure, Drama, Military, + more

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

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22
The Corner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Khandi Alexander, Lance Reddick, Tasha Smith

Premiered: 2000

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, Drama

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
23
Mildred Pierce is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, Guy Pearce

Premiered: 2011

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Miniseries, Drama

Mildred Pierce is a five-part miniseries that first aired on HBO on March 27, 2011. Adapted from James M. Cain's 1941 novel of the same name, it was directed by Todd Haynes, and starred Kate ...more

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#24 of 34 The Best HBO Miniseries Of All Time #63 of 177 The Best Miniseries in TV History

24
In Treatment is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Forbes

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 106

Network: HBO

Genres (Tv): Drama

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

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25
The Deuce is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best HBO Dramas of All Time
James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gbenga Akinnagbe

Genres (Tv): Drama

The Deuce (HBO, 2017) is a television drama series set in and around Times Square, New York. It tells the story of the legalization and ensuing rise of the adult industry in New York beginning ...more