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BEST HBO SHOWS

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  24.09.2018

LOOKING

Although it ran but a brief two seasons (there was also a subsequent movie), Looking burned brightly, garnering praise from critics and love from a small but enthusiastic audience. Looking is a slice-of-life series about three gay men living in San Francisco: Game designer Patrick (Jonathan Groff), artist’s assistant Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), and waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett). Each of the protagonists — all of them in their late 20s or 30s — struggles with the fact that their lives haven’t turned out quite...

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  24.09.2018

RANDOM ACTS OF FLYNESS

Created by the daring Terence Nance, Random Acts of Flyness is a show that tackles issues of sexuality, white supremacy, and the patriarchy through short, thought-provoking sketches. Recent trailers have provided a taste of what the late-night series will offer, with short bursts of eye-opening clips. “We definitely try and not to have creative no-go zones,” said Nance. “What I’m most excited about in the show is how much we engage with the irresolute.” The series looks to be a visual and audio experience...

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  24.09.2018

SHARP OBJECTS

Sharp Objects, a brand-new miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel of the same name, is the best kind of slow burn. The eight-episode drama stars Amy Adams (Arrival, Enchanted) as one Camille Parker, a distraught reporter who has recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital and sent to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the murder of two young girls. She is welcomed back with less-than-open arms by her mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), who forces her to confront some of her...

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  24.09.2018

OLIVE KITTERIDGE

Few people outside of diehard HBOers knew what Olive Kitteridge was before it swept the the 67th Primetime Emmy’s with eight awards. Taking place over the course of four hourlong episodes, this miniseries concerns the life of retired schoolteacher Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) and her husband, Henry Kittredge (Richard Jenkins). As each episode of the show focuses on a different period of the Kitteridge’s life, viewers get an up-close and personal look at the depression, jealousy, and family tension...

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  24.09.2018

TREME

David Simon is no stranger to the HBO network, having worked on The Wire, Generation Kill, The Corner, Show Me a Hero, and this New Orleans-themed drama, Treme. Set just three months after the events of Hurricane Katrina, Treme follows the eclectic mix of people living in New Orleans who attempt to repair and rebuild their lives after the catastrophic storm. Featuring some familiar faces from some of Simon’s other works on the network, the show received most of its critical praise for accurately portraying...

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  24.09.2018

THE NIGHT OF

Writer Steven Zaillian (Gangs of New York, Schindler’s List) delivers some of his most poignant material in this 2016 miniseries starring British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, who portrays a Pakistani-American student who quickly finds himself in prison after a blurry one-night stand turns into a mysterious and brutal murder. The show chronicles his descent from innocent youth to hardened inmate, with the help of Michael K. Williams (The Wire). The latter plays prison kingpin Freddy, who’s more than willing...

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  24.09.2018

THE YOUNG POPE

Before it premiered on HBO, The Young Pope — which originally aired on Italy’s Sky Atlantic — was a subject of puzzlement or outright mockery in the media; many thought the name implied an edgy show, one aimed at capturing the attention of young viewers. That’s a shame, as The Young Pope turned out to be one of the most bizarre, stylish dramas on television. The show follows Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), born Lenny Belardo, an orphan from America. Pius reaches the throne thanks to puppet masters in the Vatican...

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  24.09.2018

LUCK (2011-2012)

A drama set in the world of horse racing focusses on the owners, trainers, jockeys and gamblers. In this series, "Ace" Bernstein meticulously chalks a plan to bring to life a California racetrack that has of late been going through a rough patch. The series depicts the real-life drama that revolves around this sport. The pressure on all those involved in the races especially the horses is all there to see.

Creator: David Milch

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  24.09.2018

The Wire (2002-2008)

You've heard this one before: The Wire is the best show HBO's ever made. During its five-season run, David Simon and George Pelecanos' Baltimore-based drama earned heaps of critical praise, but suffered from poor ratings and a lack of mainstream awards (it won zero Primetime Emmys), all of which combined to make Wire fandom a cultural signifier. It went so far as to become parody; oh, you like The Wire? You must be so cool and smart! Stepping back from the show's reputation, however, you can find what made...

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  24.09.2018

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

From the quacking ducks to the the wandering Russian gangster in the woods, The Sopranos is often discussed as a show of highly ambiguous symbols. And, yes, the dream sequences and therapy sessions between the show's protagonist Tony (James Gandolfini) and his psychiatrist Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) make it a rich psychological text, but David Chase's mafia drama, which ran for 86 episodes from 1999 to the end of the Bush administration, is also filled with surface-level pleasures: the sound of Little Carmine...

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  24.09.2018

Veep (2012-Present)

"That's like trying to use a croissant as a fucking dildo." "Epileptic Picasso painting." "Jonad." Long before Trump took office, Armando Iannucci created a series that managed to capture Washington, DC at its dirtiest and most profane. Not only has Veep been one of TV's most consistently funny comedies for six seasons now, it's the one that somehow gets closest to the core of our current nightmare. Selina Meyer's exact politics have never really mattered; it's her unending quest for power that drives the...

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  24.09.2018

Deadwood (2004-2006)

Compared to the two other major early HBO dramas created by guys named "David," Deadwood can be a harder sell to the casual prestige television viewer looking to brush up on the 21st century canon. Like David Chase's mafia drama The Sopranos and David Simon's cop saga The Wire, Deadwood is a twist on a familiar Hollywood genre -- it's a Western filled with boots, spurs, and cowboy hats -- but creator David Milch's profanity-packed, quasi-Shakespearean dialogue takes some getting used to, and the show's lack...

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  24.09.2018

The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998)

More than 25 years after the debut of this iconic series set at a talk show, certain elements do seem a bit dated. All the clothing, for one thing. But also some of the celebrities: anyone watching now would be hard-pressed to know the then-zeitgesty details about the guests who turn up to tape their appearances. But that's half the fun of rewatching: why did this person appear on the show again? The writing is next level -- to be expected from a writers room that, over the years, boasted Judd Apatow, Bob...

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  24.09.2018

Sex and the City (1998-2004)

Of all the series that premiered during HBO's heyday in the 1990s, Sex and the City may not be the most serious, but it arguably had the greatest impact on the cultural lexicon. Twenty years later, people are still categorizing themselves as Carries, Mirandas, Samanthas, and Charlottes. Breaking up with someone via Post-It is still heresy. "I couldn't help but wonder" is still one of the most evocative preambles in the English language. And Miranda even ran for governor of New York. Not all of Sex and the...

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  24.09.2018

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present)

wo years after Seinfeld went off the air, its bumbling, socially ignorant, very wealthy co-creator turned up on HBO as the star of a show about nothing. Who cares that it doesn't reinvent the wheel? Curb is so laugh-till-you-cry funny that it can continue building storylines out of thin air, taking Chekhov's gun writing to absurd extremes as Larry David commits one social assassination after another for nine seasons. It mines all of Larry's idiosyncrasies, which bounce off an equally hilarious cast anchored...

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  24.09.2018

Game of Thrones (2011-Present)

Were this ranking based on how inspired you are to write fake lyrics about your cat to the sing during the theme song, then Game of Thrones would be number one with a bullet. By far the most popular and successful program in HBO's long history, the epic series based on the novels of George R. R. Martin, track the rise and fall and stumble and rise again of the Stark family, as they do battle with ancestral rivals, murderous skin-flayers, back-stabbers and front-stabbers, and mystical creatures known as White...

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  24.09.2018

The Leftovers (2014-2017)

More than any other HBO show, The Leftovers leaves you feeling gutted. Based on a Tom Perrotta novel, the series follows the aftermath of the "Sudden Departure," a cataclysmic event where 2% of the population vanishes into thin air with no explanation. A small-town sheriff (Justin Theroux), a reverend (Christopher Eccleston), and a grieving mother (Carrie Coon) are left to sort out the emotional and psychological wreckage. Most recommendations of the show arrive with a caveat about how the first season doesn't...

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  24.09.2018

Eastbound & Down (2009-2013)

The deranged saga of the washed-up, narcissistic relief pitcher Kenny Powers from Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green (among others) resulted in one of the funniest and most profane TV shows of the past decade, hands down. Kenny (McBride) is a singular anti-hero, his self-destructive tendencies capable of ruining any upward momentum he's caught, whether he's coping with fame or bottoming out with drugs and alcohol, spending money he comes into on things like jet skis and pet wolves, or treating...

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  24.09.2018

Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

Most of the praise Six Feet Under receives focuses on its finale, and rightfully so: It's the rare end to a series that stays true to the characters, offers a sense of resolution, and avoids saccharine sentimentality. But that kind of finale was only possible thanks to the sensitivity with which creator Alan Ball treated the people involved with Fisher & Sons Funeral Home, a place where death and grief were the norm, not the exception. They're daring topics for American television in particular, entertainment...

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  24.09.2018

Enlightened (2011-2013)

Buried under higher-profile and much-lauded work like Big Little Lies, for which Laura Dern won an Emmy, is perhaps Dern's best HBO performance: Enlightened, about a corporate executive who gets demoted to basement-dwelling work after self-destructing in spectacular fashion, and which earned microscopic ratings during its two-season run before getting the axe. The series, created and written by Mike White (School of Rock), gives Dern total freedom to teeter on the edge of a breakdown while manically insisting...

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  24.09.2018

Silicon Valley (2014-Present)

Mike Judge's biting satire about tech-world douchebaggery is a bit long in the tooth now -- and it's a testament to how well-defined the characters are that that sounds like a set-up for a Gilfoyle joke. Focusing on five dudes working at a start-up for a data-compression app its thin-skinned genius developer, Richard Hendricks, decided to call, to much derision, Pied Piper, Silicon Valley successfully created a universe of would-be power-players and confirmed back-stabbers, and excels when things never go...

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  24.09.2018

Insecure (2016-Present)

One of the questions that will go down as one of the most divisive of the late 2010s: Lawrence or Daniel? Though Insecure is so much more than its on-and-off-again relationships, Issa Rae's hunky love interests, played respectively by Jay Ellis and Y'lan Noel, yank out existential questions of our own malleability: What kind of person do we want our partners to help us be? Insecure's thoughtfulness about How to Act in Your Late 20s is part of what makes the show so brilliant, a theme that's carried on from...

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  24.09.2018

True Detective (2014-Present)

The conventional wisdom says that Season 1 of Nic Pizzolatto's cop anthology is Very Good, and Season 2 is Very Bad. But! (Hot take alert!) Season 2 is also good, though it certainly lacks the charming rapport between Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, not to mention the moody, supernatural bayou aesthetic cultivated by director Cary Fukunaga in the show's first season. The sneaky truth of True Detective is that, for all the cop show tropes it riffs on, it's much more about developing mood, tone, and...

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  24.09.2018

Succession (2018-Present)

Roystar Wayco is a Fox-analogous titan of the entertainment industry in Succession, and the moneyed family behind the media conglomerate is a fucking mess. Unlike the main players in Showtime's Billions, a roster stacked with Machiavellian geniuses, the Roys are mostly so, so bad at being in charge. After the aging patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) suffers from an incapacitating stroke, the siblings -- Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Connor (Alan Ruck) -- conspire against...

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