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The 50 Best HBO TV Shows of All Time, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Ellen Gutoskey
Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) about to sabotage his chances of getting a kiss from Daddy in season 2 of Succession.
Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) about to sabotage his chances of getting a kiss from Daddy in season 2 of Succession. / Zach Dilgard/HBO
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If you came to this list thinking it would tell you—like everyone else in your life no doubt already has—to watch The Sopranos, The Wire, and Veep, you were right. Those three series all made Rotten Tomatoes’ top 50 HBO shows, as did plenty of other classics you’ve been meaning to binge for quite a while.

You’ll also see a fair number of newer offerings that have ruled the ratings in the last few years (and that everyone in your life has probably also told you to just watch, already). There’s Succession, the family dramedy whose highly awaited third season is set to premiere in October; I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel’s searing miniseries loosely based on her own experience with sexual assault; and the Kate Winslet-led small-town murder mystery Mare of Easttown.

But that doesn’t mean the list lacks surprises. While HBO may be most well-known for its blockbuster dramas, the top three spots all went to comedies. Garry Shandling’s ’90s sitcom The Larry Sanders Show landed in first place, followed by two shows that both premiered in 2019: Robin Thede’s A Black Lady Sketch Show and Los Espookys, created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, and SNL alum Fred Armisen.

And it’s not all dramas, comedies, and dramedies, either—HBO has had some success in just about every genre, including documentary. Standouts include true-crime miniseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, based on Michelle McNamara’s investigation of the Golden State Killer murders; and The Lady and the Dale, about Elizabeth Carmichael’s 1970s fraud spree.

If the list proves anything, it’s that HBO has a very deep bench. To even make the top 50, a show had to have a 91 percent score or above, which means Game of Thrones (89 percent), Big Little Lies (also 89 percent), and Euphoria (90 percent) all missed the cut-off.

You can see the full list of 111 shows here.

  1. The Larry Sanders Show (1992) // 100 percent
  2. A Black Lady Sketch Show (2019) // 100 percent
  3. Los Espookys (2019) // 100 percent
  4. Random Acts of Flyness (2018) // 100 percent
  5. The Defiant Ones (2017) // 100 percent
  6. How to Win With John Wilson (2020) // 100 percent
  7. The Lady and the Dale (2021) // 100 percent
  8. Mr. Show With Bob and David (1995) // 100 percent
  9. Painting With John (2021) // 100 percent
  10. The Corner (2000) // 100 percent
  11. We’re Here (2020) // 100 percent
  12. Barry (2018) // 99 percent
  13. I May Destroy You (2020) // 98 percent
  14. High Maintenance (2016) // 98 percent
  15. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (2014) // 98 percent
  16. Betty (2020) // 98 percent
  17. Treme, New Orleans (2010) // 97 percent
  18. Sally4Ever (2018) // 97 percent
  19. Insecure (2016) // 96 percent
  20. Watchmen (2019) // 96 percent
  21. Chernobyl (2019) // 96 percent
  22. My Brilliant Friend (2018) // 96 percent
  23. Show Me a Hero (2015) // 96 percent
  24. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (2020) // 96 percent
  25. Tracey Ullman’s Show (2016) // 95 percent
  26. The Crime of the Century (2021) // 95 percent
  27. Silicon Valley (2014) // 94 percent
  28. The Wire (2002) // 94 percent
  29. Mare of Easttown (2021) // 94 percent
  30. The Night Of (2016) // 94 percent
  31. Olive Kitteridge (2014) // 94 percent
  32. Flight of the Conchords (2007) // 94 percent
  33. Band of Brothers (2001) // 94 percent
  34. Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (2020) // 94 percent
  35. 2 Dope Queens (2018) // 94 percent
  36. Veep (2012) // 93 percent
  37. The Deuce (2017) // 93 percent
  38. Music Box (2021) // 93 percent
  39. Our Boys (2019) // 93 percent
  40. Boardwalk Empire (2010) // 92 percent
  41. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) // 92 percent
  42. The Sopranos (1999) // 92 percent
  43. Succession (2018) // 92 percent
  44. Sharp Objects (2018) // 92 percent
  45. Deadwood (2004) // 92 percent
  46. Getting On (2013) // 92 percent
  47. Oz (1997) // 92 percent
  48. Da Ali G Show (2000) // 92 percent
  49. The Leftovers (2014) // 91 percent
  50. The Outsider (2020) // 91 percent

Do you love television? Do you spend most weekends lounging on the couch binge-watching your favorite TV shows? Would you like to learn some incredibly fascinating facts about the best series of the past 20 years and the people who made them? Then pick up our new book, The Curious Viewer: A Miscellany of Streaming Bingeable Shows from the Last 20 Years, out October 19!

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