Let’s Argue About the Best HBO Series of All Time

Nicole Pomarico
Photo credit: HBO

From Cosmopolitan

As impressed as we’ve been with the original content coming from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime lately, it’s hard to beat a solid HBO TV series—after all, the premium movie network has been doing it for actual decades longer than these streaming services have existed. Between shows like Game of Thrones and Sex and the City, there are a lot of unforgettable series that have come out of HBO, all of them worth bingeing a second (or fifth or sixth) time.

So what shows top the list? Here are the best HBO shows of all time.

Sex and the City

Sex and the City wasn’t just a show—it was a cultural phenomenon. Even now, people can’t stop debating whether they’re a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte, or a Miranda…and yes, it’s still totally mind-blowing that Carrie actually did get broken up with on a Post-it. After six seasons and two hit movies, this franchise launched the careers of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis (along with many, many famous guest stars).

The Sopranos

This long-running series about mobster Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini), his family, and a life of organized crime ran for six seasons and ended up having such a huge impact on pop culture that people still make references to the show to this day, even though it’s been over since 2007. It scooped up all kinds of Emmy awards and nominations, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Big Love

Before there was Sister Wives on TLC, there was Big Love on HBO. This series, which starred Bill Paxton, Amanda Seyfried, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Jeannie Tripplehorn, followed the Henrickson family and their plural marriage for five seasons.


Lena Dunham’s series about four friends living in New York City and trying to survive in their adult lives for the first time definitely made its mark on pop culture—and it did give us talents like Adam Driver and Allison Williams. Anyone who’s ever experienced how deep female friendship can be can relate to Hannah, Marnie, Shosh, and Jessa.

Big Little Lies

Starring Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern, Big Little Lies (which was based on the novel of the same name) gave us a mystery to solve surrounding an incident at a private school in an affluent California neighborhood…and a murder that led to some pretty scary consequences.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is another one of those shows that falls under the “cultural phenomenon” category…even if fans were seriously pissed at the way it all ended. Still, this series about George R. R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy novels was just about all anyone could talk about for the entire 8-season, 73-episode series run.

The Wire

Let’s add another crime drama to the list, because it’s obviously something that HBO does very well. Over the course of five seasons, The Wire took us into a different part of Baltimore each season, showing life from the perspective of both criminals and law enforcement.


Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, the vice president of the United States, Veep was a political comedy that ran for seven seasons. It managed to create one of the most unforgettable characters in HBO history, and anyone who wants to ignore the political reality of the U.S. as it stands today should give this one a try.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David plays a caricature of himself as a retired TV writer, and it’s been such a success that 10 years later, it’s still going. It offers up a satirical look at the Seinfeld writer and cocreator’s personal life…even if it’s just a fictional version.


Having recently returned for season 3, Westworld is still going strong. This series (starring Evan Rachel Wood) is based on a dystopian theme park from the future that relies on androids and a whole lot of technology we hope never actually exists in the real world, because, scary.

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