Whenever a season of an HBO drama ends and fans and critics begin wondering whether or not (fill in the blank) series will return for another season, human blogger nature begins ranking the show in the grand scheme of all HBO dramas.
Fans of True Blood and newbie The Newsroom both breathed a sigh of relief this past summer as their lovelies were given the green light for another season, and even us Boardwalk bums get worried every time it comes time for renewal, but there it is....renewed for season four.
Game Of Thrones? It can never end. Those books are massive, and the creators of the show know how to draw everything out for season after season.
As for Luck this past spring, it wasn't so lucky, even with Nick Nolte and Dustin Hoffman on board.
Plus with each year that passes, other cable channels like AMC, BBC America, FX, and others debut their own series, but nothing is as prestigious as an HBO series. Can you imagine Breaking Bad on HBO? Would it be more violent, or were the cable restrictions just right?
As far as HBO comedy series' go, that's a job for another blog. Curb, Larry Sanders, Flight of The Conchords....the list can go forever.
10. Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)
The common thread of the Crypt Keeper, wry humor, and sometimes horrifying imagery made Tales a must-watch, and no doubt helped develop a whole generation of horror and T&A fans.
9. True Blood (2008-Present)
True Blood has benefited from coming around in that sweet spot for people who think Twilight is too dull and childish, and who need waaaaay more (televised) sex and/or violence in their Sunday night routine. It's hard to think of another recent non-reality show that has spawned so much fervor. Our own Jef With One F has done a steady job of recapping the show too, and people love reading about Sookie and the gang. Creator Alan Ball already had some experience making landmark HBO television, as you will see later on this list.
8. Rome (2005-2007)
A lot of folks didn't get into this one until it was too late, and canceled. Based around two Roman soldiers and chronicling just a short time in the history of the empire, the show was filmed on grand (and richly-elaborate sets) in Rome. It remains one of the most expensive television productions in history.
7. Deadwood (2004-2006)
You'd have to be a lame, sore cocksucker not to like this fuckin' show, full of cursing, hard-bitten and crusty characters in the Old West.
6. Boardwalk Empire (2010-Present)
This one has been a hard sell for some, but those of us who have bitten into this Prohibition-era ribeye haven't let go. I can't bear to watch the show in only weekly morsels, and instead I have watch it in massive blocks.
5. Game Of Thrones (2011-Present)
Some have said that this fantastical and violent series set in the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos is confusing, but those people are stoopid. This one will only get better and more violent. Bring out your dead!
4. Oz (1997-2003)
Prison, and everything, and we mean everything, that goes with it, was explored in this man-friendly locked-up drama.
3. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)
Before he was conflicted, avenging Dexter Morgan, actor Michael C. Hall was a part of Six Feet Under's ensemble cast. The show chronicled a family-run mortuary, and aired at a time in America where death -- terrorism, war -- weighed heavy on everyone's minds. That may be why the memories of this show run so deep and fond. Plus, the two soundtrack discs that came from the show's run helped break bands like Arcade Fire and Phoenix. Creator Alan Ball would return to HBO for True Blood a few years later. 2. The Sopranos (1997-2007)
Who would have known in the beginning that this show would last another decade, launch a mobster renaissance in pop-culture, and shut its doors with one of the most confusing endings in TV history. (insert some sort of cute mobster lingo here)
1. The Wire (2002-2008)
What begin as a mini-series (The Corner) evolved into a six-year stay on HBO, and became a cult of the highest order. Men and women have been known to take a week of work just to re-watch the crime series. You rarely here anyone doing the same for the rest of the shows on this list.
The world wasn't quiet ready for this carnival drama/oddity and it can argued that it was ahead of it's time. In 2012 it would probably be must-see on par with True Blood.
Big Love (2006-2011)
This polygamist drama had a cast to die for, with husband Bill Paxton, sister-wives Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin, plus Amanda Seyfried, creepy-as-fuck Harry Dean Stanton and Mary Kay Place rounding out the cast. This one flew under the radar for most of its run, and ended just as religious zealotry in the country was about to climb out from under its rock.
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SHOW ME HOW
This is a dark horse cult hit. This post-Katrina New Orleans drama doesn't get the massive adoration that the others may get, but each season is a stunner. Extra points for showing sides of NOLA that tourists probably don't sign up to see.
John From Cincinnati (2007)
At least they canceled the show after the season finale? I liked this one, but then again I also like ham and cheese loaf, so don't listen to me.