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The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked 

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Updated August 7, 2020 13.3k votes 3.8k voters 128.3k views 50 items

List Rules Shows that originally debuted on Showtime.

At their peak, the best Showtime shows and series are on par with some of the best big screen movies and HBO original series. While movies only have two or three hours to introduce characters and develop a plot, Showtime shows are given many hours to present characters and storylines. This gives the audience a stronger connection to characters that isn’t replicated in film. But that doesn’t mean all Showtime series are exactly film-quality. So to find out which original Showtime show is the best, fans have voted for their favorites below.

Though Showtime still broadcasts plenty of films, more and more people are turning to them for original series content. Shows such as Dexter and Homeland drew in millions of viewers and have had multiple seasons. In fact, Dexter is probably one of the most popular Showtime shows of all time, peaking at 3 million views for the season eight premiere.

They have no sign of slowing down, with new shows premiering and old shows returning every Fall season. Recently, their hit shows have included Ray Donovan, Shameless, Homeland, and House of Lies. Not only are they some of the best Showtime shows ever, they’re among the best TV shows ever. All three have starred actors that have won or been nominated for awards. For a more recent look at the best Showtime shows, you’ll want to check out this ranking of their 2016 show lineup.

As for the best Showtime series ever however, this list is the one to look at. Below, vote for your favorite shows that originally premiered on the Showtime network. Looking for a particular show? Use the search box at the top of the list to find it. If you don’t see it listed, then please add it so that others may vote for it.

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1
Dexter is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Psychological thriller, Mystery, Dark comedy, Police procedural

Dexter (Showtime, 2006) is an American crime drama mystery series developed by James Manos Jr., based on the 2004 novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. When he's not doing forensic work ...more

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Dexter Morgan’s Infamous ‘Work’ Rooms, Ranked By Practicality #12 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #23 of 200 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

2
Homeland is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Rupert Friend

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Suspense, Drama, Thriller

Homeland (Showtime, 2011) is an American political drama thriller series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Hatufim, which was created by Gideon Raff. A CIA ...more

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The Best Characters On 'Homeland' #40 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #159 of 200 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

3
Shameless is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy, Ethan Cutkosky

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Comedy, Drama

Shameless (Showtime, 2011) is an American comedy-drama television series developed by John Wells, based on the 2004 British series. Led by drunk patriarch Frank (William H. Macy), the poor and ...more

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Every Season of 'Shameless', Ranked Best to Worst #10 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #164 of 200 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

4
Weeds is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould

Premiered: 2005

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

Weeds (Showtime, 2005) is an American dark comedy-drama television series created by Jenji Kohan. A suburban widow (Mary-Louise Parker) starts selling marijuana to support her family, but soon ...more

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The Best Seasons of Weeds #66 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #154 of 200 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

5
Ray Donovan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Liev Schreiber, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Crime drama, Family drama

Ray Donovan (Showtime, 2013) is an American drama television series created by Ann Biderman. Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber), a professional "fixer" for the rich and famous in Los ...more

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Ranking the Best Seasons of 'Ray Donovan' #146 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #282 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

6
Californication is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
David Duchovny, Natascha McElhone, Evan Handler

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Comedy-drama

Californication (Showtime, 2007) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Tom Kapinos. A writer (David Duchovny) tries to juggle his career, his relationship with his daughter ...more

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The Best Seasons of Californication #180 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #27 of 90 The Best Dramedy TV Series

7
Penny Dreadful is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green

Premiered: 2014

Genres (Tv): Horror, Supernatural, Mystery

Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014) is a British-American horror drama television series created by John Logan. Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh ...more

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12 Easter Eggs In 'Penny Dreadful' Designed For Brainy Viewers #157 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #104 of 302 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time

8
Billions is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff

Premiered: 2016

Genres (Tv): Drama

Billions (Showtime, 2016) is an American television drama series created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, loosely based on the legal battles between Preet Bharara and ...more

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The Best Seasons of 'Billions' #243 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #42 of 92 The Best Current Dramatic TV Shows

9
The Affair is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
fernandorox23 added Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney

Genres (Tv): Drama

The Affair (2014, Showtime) is an American television drama series created by Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi. The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah ...more

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#425 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #354 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #92 of 109 The Best TV Shows Set In New York City

10
Nurse Jackie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Edie Falco, Merritt Wever, Paul Schulze

Premiered: 2009

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

Nurse Jackie is an American medical dark satirical comedy-drama series. It premiered on Showtime on June 8, 2009. The show's seventh and final season will premiere April 12, 2015. The show stars ...more

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The Best Seasons of Nurse Jackie #244 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #186 of 298 The Best Female-Led TV Shows

11
The Tudors is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy

Premiered: 2007

Genres (Tv): Historical drama

The Tudors (Showtime, 2007) is a historical fiction television series created by Michael Hirst. In 16th-century England, King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) protects his throne from enemies ...more

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#120 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #133 of 334 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #116 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

12
Masters of Sex is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald

Premiered: 2013

Genres (Tv): Black comedy, Drama

This series is an American period drama television series that premiered on September 29, 2013, on Showtime. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, the series tells the story of Dr. William Masters and ...more

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#477 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #103 of 118 The Best Historical Drama TV Shows #76 of 128 The Best TV Shows Based on Books

13
House of Lies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Don Cheadle

Premiered: 2012

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

House of Lies is an American comedy-drama television series created by Matthew Carnahan. It follows a group of management consultants who stop at nothing to get business deals done.

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#472 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #72 of 90 The Best Dramedy TV Series #285 of 448 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

14
The Borgias is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Drama, Historical fiction

The Borgias (Showtime, 2011) is a historical-fiction drama television series created by Neil Jordan. In the fifteenth century, Pope Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons) tries to control all power in ...more

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#396 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #332 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #143 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

15
United States of Tara is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Toni Collette, John Corbett, Rosemarie DeWitt

Premiered: 2009

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

United States of Tara is an American television comedy-drama created by Diablo Cody, which began airing on Showtime in 2009. The series follows the life of Tara, a suburban housewife and mother ...more

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#460 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #269 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #210 of 298 The Best Female-Led TV Shows

16
Stargate SG-1 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping

Premiered: 1997

Genres (Tv): Military science fiction, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction, + more

Stargate SG-1 is an adventure and military science fiction television series and part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Stargate franchise. The show, created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, is ...more

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#150 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #3 of 302 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Timelisted on Longest Running Sci-Fi TV Shows

17
Dead Like Me is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy

Premiered: 2003

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

Dead Like Me (Showtime, 2003) is an American comedy-drama television series created by Bryan Fuller. After being hit on the head by a toilet seat, Georgia "George" Lass (Ellen Muth), a ...more

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#190 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #80 of 302 The Best Sci-Fi Television Series Of All Time #34 of 90 The Best Dramedy TV Series

18
The L Word is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman

Premiered: 2004

Genres (Tv): Drama

The L Word is an American/Canadian co-production television drama series portraying the lives of a group of lesbian, bisexual, straight and transgender people and their friends, connections, ...more

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#124 of 298 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #62 of 124 TV Shows with the Hottest Casts #24 of 60 The Best LGBTQ+ Shows & Movies of All Time

19
Episodes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
LanaYoshii added Matt LeBlanc, Tamsin Greig, Stephen Mangan

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Sitcom, Comedy

Episodes (BBC Two/Showtime, 2011) is an American-British comedy television series created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik. After married couple Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) ...more
20
Brotherhood is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Jason Isaacs, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish

Premiered: 2006

Genres (Tv): Crime Fiction, Action/Adventure, Drama

Brotherhood is an American television drama series created by Blake Masters about the intertwining lives of the Irish-American Caffee brothers from Providence, Rhode Island: Tommy is a local ...more
21
Queer as Folk is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Gale Harold, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison

Premiered: 2000

Genres (Tv): Soap opera, Drama, Comedy-drama

Queer as Folk is a drama television series. An American–Canadian co-production, the series ran between December 2000 and August 2005 and was produced for Showtime and Showcase by Cowlip ...more

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#329 of 535 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #260 of 311 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #141 of 145 The TV Shows Most Loved by Hipsters

22
Twin Peaks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
hideo1212 added Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan, Russ Tamblyn, Sherilyn Fenn

Premiered: 1990

Genres (Tv): Drama, Crime, Mystery

Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990) is an American mystery horror drama television series created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, despite being canceled after two seasons, sparked a cult following that ...more

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Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Twin Peaks #147 of 643 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #62 of 200 The TV Shows with the Best Writing

23
The Big C is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Comedy-drama, Comedy

The Big C is a Showtime original television series which premiered on August 16, 2010. It drew the largest audience for a Showtime original series premiere. The second season premiered on June ...more

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#68 of 90 The Best Dramedy TV Series #207 of 298 The Best Female-Led TV Shows #597 of 1,320 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

24
The Chi is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Jason Mitchell, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Jacob Latimore

Premiered: 2018

Genres (Tv): Drama

The Chi (Showtime, 2018) is an American television drama series created by Lena Waithe. A coming-of-age story centering on a group of residents of the South Side of Chicago who become linked by ...more
25
City on a Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Showtime Shows of All Time, Ranked
Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge, Kevin Chapman

Premiered: 2019

Genres (Tv): Crime drama

City on a Hill (Showtime, 2019) is an American television series created by Chuck MacLean. District Attorney Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) and corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran Jackie Rhodes ...more