Television continues to elevate to a cinematic position that’s never been achieved before, and one of the leaders in this revolution is HBO and their consistent production of great storytelling. Shows like True Detective, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and so many more have consistently raised the bar. We asked our staff members for their favorite HBO program ever, and we’d love it if you’d offer your opinion in the comments below.
The characters and stories told in the show were what kept me tuning in after I stumbled across the first episode of the show. I wasn’t just tuning in, I was telling everyone who would listen that HBO had a show that was so dead-on in its depiction of the streets. Although there were funny, lovable moments, Simon and company didn’t romanticize the streets so much as they humanized them. They also showed that everything f*cked up in the hood wasn’t necessarily the hood’s doing, which was also important to see portrayed at that time.
Every time I see HBO’s TV-turning-off-because-it’s-not-TV animation, the music for Curb Your Enthusiasm starts in my head. Ba-ba-ba-badaadatada, badatada… Does it beat GoT or The Wire? No, probably not — though having Larry at King’s Landing or Susie intruding on the Stringer-Avon relationship would have made both those shows even better. All I know is that this single scene is my favorite in comedy history:
I love damn near all of HBO’s shows, with special notice to Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones. But I don’t think Game of Thrones would exist without Rome, which was so damned good and not nearly appreciated enough. Rome was doing what a lot of serialized television is doing now 10 years ago.
Right now, I feel like Veep fulfills my dream of watching comedy geniuses riff and scat like legends, but because it’s also the perfect American complement to The Thick of It, that makes it even better to me. It just makes me so happy while making me want to be a comedy performer/writer again.
As far as dramas go, HBO’s dramas have never let me down; they’re exquisitely crafted, raw, cinematic, all that good stuff. But the first few seasons of Six Feet Under really resonate with the death hag in me. (I didn’t have HBO while it was on, so I’ve had to piece together my viewing experience over the years.) I love flawed characters, and that show was full of them. But I think it’s brave to address mortality the way that show did. We’re all going to die, after all. There’s no avoiding it, so we might as well tell stories about it! Six Feet Under proved that while it’s devastating, it can also be funny and beautiful. But also, that final sequence depicting everyone’s fate beyond the series was one of the most touching and honest conclusions I’ve ever seen.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your all-time favorite HBO show (YouTube clips welcome)?