HBO may gotten its start in movies and sports broadcasts, but the cable giant has now aired more than 100 series and 20 miniseries in its 42-year history. And looking at that lineup of shows, it’s not an overstatement to say the channel helped usher in the current golden age of television. We took a look at four decades of HBO shows (not miniseries) and picked our favorite 20.
20. Boardwalk Empire
It’s this wide-ranging spotlight, drifting from the highest levels of political office down to lowly bootleggers and prostitutes, that makes the show something special, offering up morality plays that hold the lives of millions at stake, while putting an actual face on those being affected.
Certainly a “water cooler show” if there ever was one, Oz made waves with its violence and sexual content early on and its equally deep and disturbing storytelling once people got over the fact that it was set in a maximum security prison.
18. Sex and the City
It remains a phenomenon, and as cliché as it may sound, it opened the door for more complex narratives about women and sex, and it did so unapologetically thanks in large part to Kim Cattrall’s role as Samantha Jones.
它已经成为一种文化现象，虽然听起来像老生常谈，但这部剧的确开了一个先河，让人们可以用更复杂的方式来描述女人和性，而这毫无疑问很大一部分得益于金·凯特罗尔（Kim Cattrall）扮演的萨曼莎·琼斯（Samantha Jones）一角。
17. Mr. Show with Bob and David
Before alternative comedy was a recognized thing, there was Mr. Show with Bob and David, a genius sketch comedy show that had a criminally short run on HBO from 1995 to 1998.
16. Eastbound & Down
It’s one of the few comedies I can think of where I was often afraid of what was about to happen, like I was watching a horror film or thriller.
15. The Leftovers
Few shows have ever achieved such intoxicating sensations of pure hopefulness and near-simultaneous hopelessness in its plots and themes.
The one thing I really love about Girls is that it refuses to conform to identity politics.
13. Flight of the Conchords
This is a show that you sink into, and that sweeps you along in its own relaxed rhythms, dispensing the sort of calm, surprising laughs that feels almost therapeutic.
12. The Larry Sanders Show
It blurred the line between reality and TV show, with real-life actors playing themselves on the talk show within the show, and often sending up their public personas.
11. Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley isn’t crincringe ge comedy, but it has the same level of antipathy towards much of its cast, which makes the show feel real in a way that sets it apart from other sitcoms.
10. Bored To Death
Those of us who watched Season One and immediately fell in love with the ridiculous NYC misadventures of Brooklyn writer/part-time faux detective Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) and his pals Ray (Zach Galifianakis) and George Christopher (Ted Danson) felt like we were a part of something special—something off the grid, but better than practically anything on TV.
Veep satirizes the political world by distilling it down to what the public likes to watch most: the screw-ups.
8. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
John Oliver has lapped all the other news satire shows by focusing on global issues and devoting up to half of each episode on a single main story.
David Milch created a sprawling, fastidiously detailed world in which to stage his gritty morality plays and with it has come as close as anyone to creating a novel on-screen.
6. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb can be hard to watch at times, but it was always hilarious, and was HBO’s trademark comedy throughout the last decade.
5. Six Feet Under
Six Feet Under is a television show that attempts to find reason and order in death, but then every episode totally fails.
4. Game of Thrones
The geopolitical drama that unfolds in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is so epic in scope that it can make Lord of the Rings feel like Cliff’s Notes.
这部改编自乔治·R·R·马丁《冰与火之歌》系列奇幻小说的地理政治剧可算一部史诗巨作，相比之下，《指环王》都感觉像是Cliff’s Note学习指南了。（注：Cliff’s Notes是一家出版社品牌，有一整套学习指南丛书，都是小册子。）
3. True Detective
True Detective was never about its central mystery, the mcguffin of the Yellow King’s identity, rather it was a meditation on masculinity, obsession, and—perhaps above all else—craft.
2. The Sopranos
Murderers aren’t one-dimensidimensionalonal; they have feelings, aspirations, justifications, families.
1. The Wire
Series mastermastermind mind David Simon conceived The Wire as a modern Greek tragedy, a morality play set in a drug-infeinfested sted urban war zone where convenconventional tional good guys and bad guys barely exist.