The phrase, “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” has turned from a simple marketing campaign into a symbol of what the pay cable and streaming network has truly become. If your show is on HBO, that means you are at the cream of the crop in terms of critically acclaimed television viewing. While not all of HBO’s shows are huge rating successes, the network has brought in a ton of Emmy awards for its shows, and many of them, such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, The Wire and others, are true TV classics.
When it comes to HBO series, there is no lack for quality options, whether you are looking for drama, comedy, or something in between. Here are the best HBO series right now.
Game of Thrones
Based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books by George RR Martin, Game of Thrones is essentially about various powerful families vying for control of the seven kingdoms in the fictional continent of Westeros. But that is a very simplistic description of a show that is chock full of family drama, intrigue, love, betrayal, politics, corruption, epic battles, dragons, and death, lots and lots of death. Game of Thrones is easily one of the best HBO series in existence right now and frankly one of the most popular TV shows around the globe.
There are currently seven seasons of the show available on HBO and HBO GO. The eighth and final season is about to start production, but it won’t be shown until early 2019. HBO is already developing as many as five Game of Thrones spin-off series that could begin airing after the main show ends its run.
Looking for an HBO series that focuses on comedy? Silicon Valley is a satirical look at the ultra-competitive startup culture in the Bay Area, and brings to the fore the unfortunate fact that the struggle is very real, and for every success story, there are a dozen failures left in its wake. While some situations are exaggerated for comedy, anyone who has ever tried to take their tech company off the ground will easily relate to the trials and tribulations suffered by this group of engineers as they navigate world of tech forums, fundraising, and more, all in the face of intense competition.
There are currently four seasons of the show available on HBO and HBO GO, and a fifth season is all set to begin on March 25, 2018.
What happens 2% of the world’s population, around 140 million people, disappear with no real answer? Chaos, of course. In this HBO series, the rest of the population struggles to figure out what happened to those that are gone. If you enjoyed the mysterious elements and situations of Lost, you will definitely enjoy The Leftovers, and the show does a great jobat rolling out the answers to secrets at the right time, while asking new questions that leave viewers asking for more.
The Leftovers recently completed its run of three seasons, but it’s still one of the best HBO series out there if you are looking for something a bit mysterious.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a weekly HBO series that focuses on news with John Oliver, previously a correspondent and temporary host of the similar “The Daily Show,” at the helm. Apart from a satirical look at the current events, politics, and news, Oliver spends a large chunk of the program on a single key, important issue that isn’t often tackled by other satirical or real news shows. LWT is incredibly funny, and you might just learn something new along the way as well. It’s not a drama or a sitcom, but it’s an excellent show that needs to be on our best TV shows on HBO list.
Only season 4 episodes are available on HBO NOW and HBO GO, and the fifth season of the show starts February 18. Of course, if you don’t subscribe to HBO or their apps, the nice thing is that the majority of the show’s long form segments are free to watch on its official YouTube channel, and are uploaded almost immediately after the episode airs.
In this HBO series two competing Vice Principals at a high school are forced to work together when an outsider gets the Principal job instead. It’s a dark, obscene, and extremely witty show featuring co-creator and star Danny McBride at his best. The entire run of the show was shot in one go and split into two seasons of nine episodes each.
The entire show, 2 seasons, is currently available for viewing on HBO GO and HBO NOW. It’s too bad that we won’t see more seasons of Vice Principals as it is truly one of the best TV shows on HBO.
Veep follows the inner workings of the office of Selina Meyer, a fictional Vice President, and eventual President, of the US. The show is a satirical look at the political maneuvering that is required to stay ahead in the game of politics that is Washington DC without tripping up along the way.
There are six seasons available on HBO and HBO GO. Production will begin soon on the seventh and final season of Veep, but it has unfortunately been delayed until 2019. Still, it has brought in a ton of Emmy awards and is a must on any best TV shows on HBO list.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm features Seinfeld co-creator Larry David who plays himself. Anyone familiar with Larry David’s humor will instantly be at home with this tongue-in-cheek HBO series. There are tons of celebrity cameos where they play exaggerated versions of themselves, and one of the highlights of the show is the fact that the actors improvise the lines for the most part, based only an an outline created by David.
All seasons of the show available on HBO NOW and HBO GO. The show returned for its season 9 run last year after a six year hiatus. The great news is that Curb has been renewed for a tenth season as well, but the actual release date is still unknown. It definitely should be on any best TV shows on HBO list.
True Detective is an anthology crime drama, with each season structured as its own story, with a new cast, characters, and settings appearing every season. The first season of the show received rave reviews and high viewership, but the I, like many others, found the second season to be a mixed bag, even if it did have its moments.
Both seasons of True Detective are available on HBO NOW and HBO GO. While the second season may not be as good as the first, both are still excellent TV shows and need to be on your best TV shows on HBO list. The network has announced that a third season of True Detective is in the works, with yet another all new cast, but there’s no word on when it will be shown.
Westworld is a science fiction, western, and thriller show set in a technologically-advanced wild west-themed amusement park, with the park workers all androids. The park caters to rich guests who are allowed to indulge in anything without fear of any repercussions. Of course, everything goes horribly wrong, and makes for excellent TV. There is a host of big names behind the show, including Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams, and unsurprisingly, Westworld is one of the most watched HBO shows around, behind only Game of Thrones.
The first season is available now on HBO and HBO GO. The second season is now in production and will be shown sometime in 2018. It’s a worthy addition to our best TV shows on HBO list.
This semi-autobiographical show follows Pete (Pete Holmes) as he attempts to get his stand-up career going after finding himself homeless and alone after his wife cheats on him. Of course, things don’t always go as planned, and he has to rely on a bunch of famous comedians to show him how things work.
Pete Holmes’ comedy isn’t for everyone, but the show has been very well received with as many laugh out loud moments as it does heart warming ones. Plus, a slew of guest appearances by famous comedians playing exaggerated, fictional versions of their already larger-than-life selves is hilarious. The first season of Crashing can be watched on HBO NOW and HBO GO. The second season is currently airing on HBO, and you can also catch the first four episodes on the HBO apps.
Based in 1970’s New York and centered around Times Square, this show gives a gritty portrayal of the prostitution business that was so prevalent at that time. A police crack down results in the characters being forced to more discreet avenues, eventually leading to the rise of the billion-dollar porn industry.
From the creative minds behind other huge HBO shows like The Wire and Treme, and featuring a stellar star cast that includes James Franco (in a double role) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce really captures the essence of the 70’s and the highs and pitfalls of a burgeoning industry. The first season admittedly has its ups and downs and the story does drag sometimes. That said, the star cast absolutely shines always, and it’s definitely worth a watch. The first season is currently available on HBO GO and HBO NOW, and the show has been picked up for a second season that is expected to air later this year.
Believe it or not, this list is not complete; there are a bunch of other original shows, along with many exclusive movies, that could be added to our best HBO series list. Which current show on the network is your favorite and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!