The Best Shows on HBO (Nov 2020) - Featured

There are plenty of great shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but HBO still reigns king in the world of TV streaming. Since 1972, the ‘Home Box Office’, better known as HBO has produced dozens upon dozens of top-tier TV shows. We’re going to rank the best shows on HBO, from ‘72 to 2020 so that you can find a new series or a forgotten classic that is 100% worth viewing.

NoHo Hitman Comedy

1. Barry (2018-present)

Barry  •  Trailer

Created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader

Starring Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, and Henry Winkler

Barry follows traumatized war-vet ‘Barry Block’ as he transitions from a lethal hitman to an actor. At times Barry is downright tragic, at other times it’s joyous and playful. But if one thing is certain, it’s that Barry is one of the best shows on HBO right now.

During his years on Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader established himself as one of the premiere talents working in comedy. Hader parlayed his name-cache into several feature film roles from 2013-2018.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“Over the course of the season, Barry amounts to something, locating a hit man's shared humanity not in his competence, his guilt, or his remorse, but in his delusional belief that he's a decent person.” - Willa Paskin of Slate

Horrific Disaster Series

2. Chernobyl (2019)

Chernobyl  •  Trailer

Created by Craig Mazin

Starring Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Paul Ritter, and Jessie Buckley

The HBO mini-series Chernobyl recreates the nuclear disaster better than any film or show has ever done before.

The Chernobyl nuclear explosion was a disaster of epic proportions. People died in the midst of the explosion, dozens more died in the months that followed, and countless more died in the 30+ years since. The air of death quite literally still radiates on those grounds.

Best Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“Chernobyl is a thorough historical analysis, a gruesome disaster epic replete with oozing blisters and the ominous rattle of Geiger counters, and a mostly riveting drama.” - Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic

Papal Corruption

3. The Young Pope & The New Pope 

The New Pope  •  Trailer

Created by Paolo Sorrentino

Starring Jude Law, John Malkovich, Diane Keaton, and Silvio Orlando

Technically The Young Pope and The New Pope are different shows. How,  you ask? I couldn’t tell you. The New Pope follows the events of The Young Pope but it’s about a new Pope… or is it?

It’s all semantics but this much I can tell you: The [insert adjective here] Pope is great. All of the episodes are directed by renowned Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino and he adds his signature visual flair throughout. Few shows in recent history are better looking than Sorrentino’s visual treatise on the Catholic Church.

Best TV Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“Lush, often surreal, filled with contradictory characters and backstabbing intrigue, The Young Pope is one of the more remarkable television shows in memory.” - Tom Long of the Detroit News

Insane Docu-Filmmaking

4. The Jinx

The Jinx  •  Trailer

Directed by Andrew Jarecki

Featuring Andrew Jarecki and Robert Durst

Has there ever been anything more crazy than The Jinx? Okay, I know it’s a hyperbole to ask that, but seriously The Jinx is about as insane as filmmaking gets. Andrew Jarecki directs the series as he seeks to unravel the mystery of Robert Durst, a wealthy socialite who’s been linked to several high-profile murder cases.

What follows is a descent into the depths of Durst’s mind. It’s chilling, disturbing, yet engrossing to watch. Oh, and it just so happened to conclude with one of the most unforgettable endings in television history.

Any and every documentary ethics class should study Andrew Jarecki’s masterpiece The Jinx.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“It's the ultimate in reality television... But Andrew Jarecki accomplished even more... He created a new version of true-crime television, exploring an unresolved case in a series centered on interviews with the eccentric, self-destructive prime suspect.” - Eric Deggans of NPR

Sitcom Like None Other

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm 

Curb Your Enthusiasm  •  Trailer

Created by Larry David

Starring Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, and J. B. Smoove

Okay, who can hate Larry David? Well besides all the characters in Curb Your Enthusiasm that is. Larry David, AKA TV’s most opinionated personality, decided to jump in front of the camera with Curb rather than stick to the pen and paper he used to co-create Seinfeld.

And what a good thing he did. For the past 20 years, Curb Your Enthusiasm has been one of the best comedy shows on television. A tenth season aired in 2020 and showed that there’s no signs of David slowing down.

Best Shows on HBO Go

Critic Review Highlight

“The show's great strength is the continued ingenuity and audacity of the writing. Not every joke sizzles, yet the average episode still features an exceptionally high quotient of laugh-out-loud moments.” - Liam Fay of The Times (U.K.)

Tales From the West

6. Deadwood (2004-2006, 2019)

Deadwood  •  Trailer

Created by David Milch

Starring Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, and Molly Parker

Deadwood is about a series of fictionalized events that took place in the old west settlement of the same name. Despite being one of HBO’s most acclaimed dramas, the story of Deadwood was never concluded – that is until the release of Deadwood: The Movie in 2019.

Deadwood ran for three seasons in its initial run on HBO and won eight Emmy Awards. Several of the show’s Emmy awards were given for production design in costuming, hairstyling, and non-prosthetic makeup.

Best Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“The terrifically bold series never shies from violence while rewarding viewers with resonant story lines and a terrific populace of characters, some more historically based than others.” - Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post

Tennessee Williams Meets Conglomerates

7. Succession (2018-present)

Succession Season 1  •  Trailer

Created by Jesse Armstrong

Starring Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Jeremy Strong

To say that the writing in Succession is sharp would be an understatement. Dialogue in Succession cuts like a diamond thanks to some excellent work from creator Jesse Armstrong and the show’s writing team.

Succession also benefits from a tremendous ensemble cast, including Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and of course, Brian Cox. Casting director Francine Maisler knocked it out of the park finding such perfectly fitted actors.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“What makes Succession feel particularly rich and rounded - and very sad - is the depravity, rarely played for laughs, of every moment in which this family touches normal people.” - Linda Holmes of NPR

Dragons and Disappointment

8. Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Game of Thrones  •  Trailer

Created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, Based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Starring Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams

Oh Game of Thrones how I loved thee. Through seven seasons, Game of Thrones achieved some cloud-peaking highs and some deep-sea lows as it explored a chess game of shifting loyalties, brutal backstabs, and lots and lots of love. But through it all, I found myself glued to the TV screen on Sunday nights desperate to see how it would all come together.

Then season eight happened. Needless to say, fans and critics were left underwhelmed. Game of Thrones breathed new life into the fantasy genre, but sadly, by the end its lungs were extinguished by ice amidst the fire.

Best TV Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“Game of Thrones finally finished, the last episode aptly titled The Long Night and it was a terrible ending, disappointing for fans, causing a collective cringe around the globe.” - Graeme Blundell of The Australian

New Jersey Mafia

9. The Sopranos (1999-2007)

The Sopranos  •  Trailer

Created by David Chase

Starring James Gandolfini, Lorraine Braco, Edie Falco, and Michael Imperioli

The late, great James Gandolfini stars as the titular Tony Soprano – a violent mob-boss who also has a sensitive side. Few shows on television are celebrated more than The Sopranos, evident by the show’s 21 Emmy Award wins.

Without The Sopranos, HBO would’ve never become the juggernaut service it is today. Perhaps no show on HBO is more iconic than David Chase’s mafia masterpiece The Sopranos.

Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“It shouldn't work, yet somehow it does... It's an absurdist comedy about criminal behavior and suburban life that gently mocks its targets while taking its characters and their emotions seriously.” - Vinessa Erminio of the Newark Star-Ledger

Interdimensional Assassin

10. The Leftovers (2014-2017)

The Leftovers  •  Trailer

Created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, Based on The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

Starring Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston

The Leftovers asks the question: what if 2% of the world’s population disappeared? The first season of The Leftovers was okay. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. Oftentimes, when a show struggles to find its footing, it just kind of meanders along the same path until it eventually fades into obscurity. That’s not what happened with The Leftovers.

After season one, Damon Lindelof and the writers went back to the drawing board and reinvented The Leftovers. And thank God that they did, because the next two seasons of the show are some of the greatest television ever made. The Leftovers raises many of the same themes that Lindelof explored with his previous show Lost, but does so in an even more nuanced and profound way.

Justin Theroux gives a career performance in the role of Kevin Garvey, a Christ-like figure caught in the storm of a cosmological rapture.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“There's still something about this program that can't be put into words. There's something almost religious about in the way you just need to see it, feel it, and believe.” - Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com

Late-Night Satire

11. The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998)

The Larry Sanders Show  •  Trailer

Created by Garry Shandling and Dennis Klein

Starring Garry Shandling, Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, and Penny Johnson

The Larry Sanders Show deftly satirizes the late-night talk show tropes that were all too common in 90’s TV. The show stars Garry Shandling in the title role as a comedian/late-night host who juggles his personal and professional lives in front of the camera.

The influence of The Larry Sanders Show on sitcoms and late-night shows has been enormous. For anybody considering a foray into either genre, The Larry Sanders Show is a must-watch.

What Shows are on HBO?

Critic Review Highlight

“Garry Shandling went 'behind the scenes' of a fake late-night talk show and created a comedy diamond.” - William Thomas of Empire Magazine

Relationship Drama in LA

12. Insecure (2016-present)

Insecure  •  Trailer

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore

Starring Issa Rae, Jay Ellis, and Yvonne Orji

Co-creator, writer, and star Issa Rae absolutely knocked it out of the park with Insecure – a show that takes a deep dive into the contemporary setting of Los Angeles.

Insecure strikes a great balance between comedy and drama while showing us the life of its two main characters, Issa and Molly. Insecure is further aided by some excellent cinematography and production design.

Insecure has garnered tons of critical acclaim through its four season run, including an AFI award for Best TV Program of the Year (2018).

Best Shows to Watch on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“It's an honest, unflinching look at dating, relationships and life, told from a refreshing and hilarious perspective.” - Amber Dowling of The Wrap

Criminal Justice Series

13. The Night Of (2016)

The Night Of  •  Trailer

Created by Richard Price and Steven Zaillian, Based on Criminal Justice by Peter Moffat

Starring Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, Bill Camp, and Michael K. Williams

There are plenty of great mini-series on HBO, but The Night Of may very well be the best of them all. The Night Of follows the story of a young man named Naz who’s arrested on suspicion of murder. Did he do it? We don’t know, at least at first we don’t. By framing the story in this way, writers Steven Zallian and Richard Price really enrapture us into the film-world.

The Night Of never dumbs itself down for the viewer which results in an engrossing portrait of the criminal justice system in America.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“A gripping collision of race, religion, justice, incarceration and violence wrapped into a modern-day murder mystery, The Night Of may be the best limited series HBO has pulled off since the first season of True Detective.” - Tom Long of the Detroit News

HBO Classic

14. The Wire (2002-2008)

The Wire  •  Trailer

Created by David Simon

Starring Dominic West, John Doman, Idris Elba, Frankie Faison, and Larry Gilliard Jr.

The setting of The Wire may be relatively small but the scope of its story is near-endless. David Simon created The Wire after years of being a police reporter. Perhaps that’s one reason why the show seems so much more grounded and believable than its contemporaries do.

The Wire is widely hailed as one of the great epic drama series of the 21st century for the ways in which it depicts police and gang life.

Best TV Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“The Wire isn't the most accessible series. The show lays out a lot of plot strands, forcing the question: Where are we headed? Stick with it, though, and you'll see a remarkable tapestry.” - Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel

Existential Detective Thriller

15. True Detective (2014-present)

True Detective  •  Trailer

Created by Nic Pizzolato

Featuring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, and Mahershala Ali

The first season of True Detective was brought together within a perfect storm. It was written entirely by a largely unknown writer (Nic Pizzolato), directed by a major up-and-coming talent (Cary Joji Fukunaga), and featured two resurgent dramatic actors (Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey). So for many, myself included, True Detective season one felt like watching a masterpiece fly out of left field.

Then there was season two. Spoilers, it’s bad, bad in a way only incomprehensible dialogue and extensive vape use can be. But then season three brought the series back to a recognizable level of prestige. Although it wasn’t as good as the first, it was still mostly riveting.

It’s hard to judge any anthology series, let alone one with as many ups and downs as True Detective. But season one of the show remains some of the best television of the past 10 years.

Best Shows on HBO Go

Critic Review Highlight

“It's about whether our lives really matter at all. That's scarier than the scariest monster.” - Tim Molloy of The Wrap

Death is the Family Business

16. Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

Six Feet Under  •  Trailer

Created by Alan Ball

Starring Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, and Freddy Rodriguez

What is family? What does it mean to walk in the footsteps of those who came before us? How do we begin to make sense of death? These are the questions at the heart of Six Feet Under – a familial drama of life and death in Los Angeles.

Six Feet Under has developed a major cult following in the fifteen years since it ended in large part due to some great performances from Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, and Lauren Ambrose.

Best Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“The show confronts death -- and, of course, life -- with an artful mix of irony, gallows humor, and heartbreaking poignance.” Michael Sauter of Entertainment Weekly

War Never Changes

17. Band of Brothers (2001)

Band of Brothers  •  Trailer

Created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, Based on Stephen A. Ambrose’s Band of Brothers

Starring Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Scott Grimes, and Donnie Whalberg

The HBO epic Band of Brothers is a harrowing recreation of the Easy Company’s journey across battles in World War II; a visceral insight into the horrors of war and the bonds of fraternity that are built because of them.

With a massive ensemble cast, Band of Brothers truly displays the giant scope of war. Several WWII vets were brought in to consult on Band of Brothers which has largely been credited as a major reason for the show’s historical accuracy.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“In a sense, "Band of Brothers" is a lot like the war: it seems to go on forever, and you're glad when it's finally over. And, in a sense, that kind of authenticity may be the highest tribute that the filmmakers can pay the members of Easy Company.” - Nancy Franklin of The New Yorker

Raining Cats and Squids

18. Watchmen (2019)

Watchmen  •  Trailer

Created by Damon Lindelof, Based on Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Starring Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Irons, and Don Johnson

The original Watchmen graphic novel from Alan Moore is one of the most revered graphic novels in the world. In 2009, Watchmen was adapted as a film by Zack Snyder and it received strong reviews from critics. However, many fans of the original comics weren’t as quick to praise the movie.

Enter 2019’s Watchmen HBO series – a bold reimagining of the universe from Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers). Perhaps the best thing about the show is that nobody really knew what it was going to be about, nor when it was going to take place in the film-world. HBO’s Watchmen was certainly a surprise, but in all the best ways.

What Shows are on HBO?

Critic Review Highlight

“Lindelof's show is a marriage of pulpy mythmaking and grim reality, telling a weighty story under the guise of mass-market entertainment.” - David Sims of The Atlantic

Award Season Sweeper

19. Big Little Lies (2017-present)

Big Little Lies  •  Trailer

Created by David E. Kelly, Based on Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern

Big Little Lies is a nuanced drama/thriller about a group of women who are intricately linked in a murder investigation. The first season of Big Little Lies dominated at the Emmys by winning eight awards.

Big Little Lies made waves upon release for all the big names in its ensemble cast and the twists and turns of its story. Series creator David E. Kelly followed up season one by adding the great Meryl Streep to the cast.

Good Shows to Watch on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“A disturbingly clear-sighted satire of aspiration, competitive parenting and social perfectionism.” - Lauren Carroll Harris of The Guardian

Follow the Blood-Stained Brick Road

20. Oz (1997-2003)

Oz  •  Trailer

Created by Tom Fontana

Starring Lee Tergensen, Ernie Hudson, Terry Kinney, Harold Perrineau, and J. K. Simmons

Oz is the show that started it all for HBO dramas. This uber-graphic series brings us into “Emerald City,” a carefully constructed new section of a fictional prison system.

Oz is a graphic show that isn’t afraid to delve into some deep discussions on religion, crime, martyrdom, redemption, and sexuality. The complex commentary that Oz makes on the prison system is just as pertinent now as it was in 1997.

Best Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“At times brutally grounded and surreally poetic, the show uses its fictional environment as a microcosm for our society at large, showing how the divides and conflicts manifested in prison first start in the neighborhoods we live in.” - Zack Shark of IndieWire

The American President

21. Veep (2012-2019)

Veep  •  Trailer

Created by Armando Iannucci

Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, and Matt Walsh

It’s no secret that Julia Louis-Dreyfus became one of the winningest actors of all-time for her performance as Selina Meyer – the fictional Vice President of the United States – in Veep. Louis-Dreyfus is no stranger to acclaim from critics going all the way back to her days on SNL, but Veep is truly her finest work.

The similarly lauded Armando Ianucci (In the Loop, The Death of Stalin) created the series and wrote or directed many of the episodes. Ianucci is one of the premiere political satirists in the world today and Veep is one of his greatest works.

Best Shows on HBO Go

Critic Review Highlight

“At this point in the show's run and our democracy's wobbles, Veep doesn't simply evoke real life. Real life inevitably evokes Veep.” - Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic

Gangsters on the Dock

22. Boardwalk Empire (2009-2014)

Boardwalk Empire  •  Trailer

Created by Terence Winter, Based on Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson

Starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, and Shea Whigham

Atlantic City was a hot-bed for bootlegging, speakeasies, and other prohibition related crimes. Boardwalk Empire transports us into that world with sweeping visuals and tremendous production design.

How can you not love Steve Buscemi in the role of a prohibition era gangster? Boardwalk Empire not only features Buscemi, but other great actors like Michael Shannon and Stephen Graham as well.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

This is gritty Warner Bros. gangland done up in ritzy Paramount style... Give Boardwalk time, and it'll take you away to another time.” - Tim Appelo of IndieWire

True Story Drama

23. Show Me a Hero (2015)

Show Me a Hero  • Trailer

Based on Show Me a Hero by Lisa Belkin

Starring Oscar Isaac, Carla Quevedo, Jim Belushi, Peter Riegert, and Alfred Molina

Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” That’s the line that begins HBO’s miniseries Show Me a Hero. It’s also largely credited to author F. Scott Fitzgerald and is associated with the follies of the American dream.

In the 2010’s, Oscar Isaac emerged as one of the great actors in the world. He starred in big-budget blockbusters like Star Wars and acclaimed dramas like A Most Violent Year, but perhaps his best performance was in Show Me a Hero as former Yonkers mayor Nick Wasiscko, who was at the time of his election the youngest “city mayor” in America. The true story of Show Me a Hero is a crushing reminder of the social injustices and financial inequalities that plague America.

What Shows are on HBO?

Critic Review Highlight

“Show Me a Hero is Wasicsko's show. The appealingly earnest and soulful Isaac plays him as a pragmatic man who does not subscribe to some kumbaya vision of racial harmony.” - Vicki Hyman of Slate

Historical Biopic

24. John Adams (2008)

John Adams  •  Trailer

Based on John Adams by David McCullough

Starring Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane, David Morse, and Tom Wilkinson

Widely regarded as one of the most historically accurate shows ever made, HBO’s John Adams is a great lesson in reconstructing period detail. Everything from wardrobing to set dressing to hair and makeup is masterclass.

Paul Giamatti stars in the title role as the man who would become the second President of the United States. The miniseries follows over 50 years in the life of Adams from the Boston Massacre in 1770 to his death in 1826.

BEST TV SHOWS ON HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“Quite simply, as good as TV gets.” - David Hinckley of the New York Daily News

Neon-Infused Drama Series

25. The Deuce (2017-2019)

The Deuce  •  Trailer

Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos

Starring James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and Chris Bauer

The most recent series from David Simon, a near ubiquitous name with HBO, follows the founding days of the porn industry. James Franco stars in a double role as two brothers, similar to Ewan McGregor in Fargo and Tom Hardy in Legend.

The Deuce may start slow but once it picks up steam, there’s almost no stopping it.

The Best Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“This generosity of spirit is the show's greatest gift. Where other series use sex as titillation, The Deuce prefers to examine the nature of desire, both fantasy and reality.” - Sarah Hughes of The Guardian

Making of Masterful Music

26. The Defiant Ones (2017)

The Defiant Ones  •  Trailer

Directed by Allen Hughes

Featuring Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Ice Cube, Alonzo Williams, and Stevie Nicks

In 2014, Apple bought Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s audio company Beats for more than $3 billion dollars. To this day, Beats is the most expensive acquisition Apple has ever made. The deal made the already-rich Dre and Iovine wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

The Defiant Ones traces the duo from humble beginnings to the highest highs of success. It also features interviews with some of the music industry’s most famous faces, including: Eminem, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Nicks, Ice Cube, and Bono. The Defiant Ones is the perfect documentary series for fans of the music industry.

Must Watch Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“The Defiant Ones is nothing if not entertaining, shot slick and edited sharp; it's no chore for anyone seeking a chaperoned visitor's pass to music history.” - Andrew Flanagan of NPR

Neon-Infused Drama Series

27. Mr. Show (1995-1998)

Best of Mr. Show

Created by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross

Starring Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Tom Kenny, Jill Talley, and Jay Johnston

Long before Bob Odenkirk was Saul Goodman, he was making sketch-comedy with his friend David Cross on HBO. Mr. Show is a 30 minute sketch series that features some off-the-wall comedy.

Many modern sketch series have credited Mr. Show as one of their biggest influences.

Good Shows to Watch on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“The closest American approximation to the stream-of-consciousness rhythms and absurdist sensibilities of Monty Python's Flying Circus.” - Will Harris of The AV Club

Neon-Infused Drama Series

28. My Brilliant Friend (2018-present)

My Brilliant Friend  •  Trailer

Created by Saverio Costanzo, Based on Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

Starring Elisa Del Genio, Margherita Mazzucco, Ludovica Nasti, and Gaia Grace

My Brilliant Friend is based on the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, which is a pseudonym for an unknown author. There are four 'Neapolitan Novels.’ Each season of My Brilliant Friend follows one of the books.

The series follows two friends from childhood to their elder years. Critics have given the show rave reviews for its first two seasons.

Good TV Shows on HBO

Critic Review Highlight

“The announcement of a new TV adaptation... led many of Ferrante's fans to question how the miniseries could possibly capture the heart of the books. Miraculously, though, it does.” - Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic

Neon-Infused Drama Series

29. Sex and the City (1998-2004)

Sex and the City Anniversary

Created by Darren Starr, Based on Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Catrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon

Sex and the City made HBO more popular than many at the time thought possible. Through its six-season run, Sex and the City was nominated for 54 Emmy Awards, and won seven.

The influence of Sex and the City on sitcoms and popular culture can’t be quantified. Sarah Jessica Parker does a great job of carrying the series in the role of Carrie Bradshaw – an imperfect protagonist looking for love in the big city.

Top Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“SATC undercut the portrayal of women as catty and petty [...]. It helped to pave the way for ensemble shows like Girls, Broad City and Insecure, which portray complex women and their relationships sympathetically.” - Sanjana Varghese of the New Statesman

Neon-Infused Drama Series

30. Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009)

Flight of the Conchords  •  Trailer

Created by James Bobin, Jermaine Clement, and Bret McKenzie

Starring Jermaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal, and Arj Barker

Flight of the Conchords (Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement) made their first appearance on TV in 2000. Seven years later, HBO gave the musical-comedy duo the freedom to make their own series. The result was a mixed bag of mash-up and mismatches – but it was never boring.

Over two seasons, McKenzie and Clement created a few bonafide techno-rap-folk hits. Once could even say Flight of the Conchords turned the amp up to 11 on musical sketch-comedy.

Top Shows on HBO Now

Critic Review Highlight

“The cockeyed charms of Clement and McKenzie are the ha-ha heart and droll soul of Flight of the Conchords.” - Mike Duffy of the Miami Herald

UP NEXT

Best Shows on Netflix

HBO may be the king of TV streaming but Netflix isn’t too far behind. With dozens of original series being produced every year, Netflix has been building a catalogue of some excellent TV. In this next article, we rank the best shows on Netflix right now so you can find that next great series to watch.

Up Next: Best Netflix Shows →
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