These are the 23 best HBO shows of all time, according to critics

HBO has made many of the best television shows of all time, including “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” and “The Wire.”

And the network is often credited with jump starting the Golden Age of television with its dark, ambitious dramas.

But drama isn’t HBO’s only strength. It also has excellent half-hour comedies including “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Insecure,” and “Silicon Valley.”

But which HBO shows are the best of the best?

We ranked its shows according to their ratings on Metacritic, which aggregates critic reviews and assigns each season of a show a score.

For shows with multiple seasons, we averaged their scores. And to break ties, we brought in the audience score.

Here are HBO’s best shows of all time, ranked:

(Note: We left off animated, children’s, documentary/reality, and foreign programming, as well as miniseries, with a few notable exceptions.)

23. 'Dream On' (1990-96), six seasons

HBO/Dream On

Metacritic score: 80

'This is a rare TV union where cast, writers, and directors appear to be of a single comedic mind; the humorous results speak for themselves.' -- LA Times

22. 'High Maintenance' (2016), one season


Metacritic score: 81

Audience score: 6.2

''High Maintenance' stands out, not just because it's on the front end of what is apparently a reefer TV trend, but because it's so precisely made and has such an ambling, open heart.' -- Vulture

21. 'Getting On' (2013-15), three seasons

Average Metacritic score: 81

Audience score: 7.8

'It's a dark and astonishing gem of a show, with a bravely skillful cast juggling the petty obsessions of the workplace with Much Bigger Issues.' -- LA Times

20. 'The Leftovers' (2014-17), three seasons


Average Metacritic score: 81

Audience score: 8.3

'None of this would work without compelling characters. Fortunately, 'The Leftovers' has bunches of them.' -- The AV Club

19. 'Boardwalk Empire' (2010-14), five seasons

Macall B. Polay / HBO

Average Metacritic score: 81.2

'Like a good whiskey, it's rough and smooth in all the right ways. By a few episodes in, you'll want to order it by the case.' -- Time

18. 'Treme' (2010-13), four seasons

Average Metacritic score: 82.3

'From scene to scene, 'Treme' is novelistic in the best sense -- a long, complex, involving story that takes a while to settle into, but that you can't put down and don't want to end.' -- Salon

17. 'Veep' (2012-present), six seasons

Average Metacritic score: 83.1

'The series reserves its most blistering humour for the universal narcissism on display, always distracting from the real work at hand.' -- Slant Magazine

16. 'Enlightened' (2011-13), two seasons


Average Metacritic score: 84.5

Audience score: 7.2

'A black comedy working many shades of grey, 'Enlightened' is about dark mornings of the soul and the fool's-golden glow of the new convert, and it measures the weight of the world with an eccentric scale.' -- Slate

15. 'Extras' (2005-07), two seasons


Average Metacritic score: 84.5

Audience score: 8.5

'The most original and brilliant show on television.' -- The New Republic

14. 'Show Me a Hero' (2015), one-season miniseries


Metacritic score: 85

'It's like a procedural drama, about the drama of procedure -- it isn't ever dry. There are some superbly mounted, loud, crowded big scenes -- (David) Simon is a great orchestrator of chaos -- but there is an intensity to the quieter, more private moments as well. I wouldn't trade it for a bushel barrel of tortured detectives or all the kings and queens in Westeros.' -- LA Times

13. 'Game of Thrones' (2011-present), seven seasons


Average Metacritic score: 85.1

'The show beautifully depicts a massive game of musical chairs, a world at war with doom ever present just across the border.' -- The Boston Globe

12. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' (2000-present), nine seasons

Average Metacritic score: 85.4

'An insanely funny romp thanks to its unique storytelling technique and an inspired performance by the star.' -- Chicago Tribune

11. 'Mr. Show with Bob and David' (1995-99), four seasons

Metacritic score: 86

Audience score: N/A

'Manages to be outrageous and innovative at the same time.' -- New York Daily News

10. 'The Deuce' (2017-present), one season


Metacritic Score: 86

Audience score: 7.6

'A dark character drama, it's a show for viewers who enjoy a deep dive into a culture, one that in this instance, happens to be ugly and exploitative.' -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

9. 'The Pacific' (2010), one-season miniseries

Metacritic score: 86

Audience score: 7.7

'Certain moments may verge on cliche (and once in a while, the dialogue is a little corny), but overall, 'The Pacific' is crafted and acted with such loving devotion that it's hard to find fault with its sincerity and sentimental forays.' -- Chicago Tribune

8. 'Deadwood' (2004-06), three seasons


Average Metacritic score: 86

Audience score: 9.2

'To call 'Deadwood' great television doesn't begin to do it justice.' -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

7. 'Band of Brothers' (2001), one-season miniseries

Metacritic score: 86

Audience score: 9.3

'It doesn't even look like a TV miniseries -- it's more like 10 theatrical films that do an amazing job re-creating battles.' -- Deseret News

6. 'Silicon Valley' (2014-present), four seasons


Average Metacritic score: 86.3

'Silicon Valley is a comedy, certainly, and a very funny one, but it doesn't spend all its time reminding you of the fact.' -- LA Times

5. 'Insecure' (2016-present), two seasons


Metacritic score: 87

'It's a smart and often funny look at young people looking for love and professional satisfaction in Los Angeles, which is about as common a genre as TV has to offer these days. But taken in the totality of the TV landscape, Rae's voice is one that wasn't being heard and that voice is what makes 'Insecure' stand out, not necessarily as better than the Emmy winners or critical favourites in the field, but as gratifyingly distinguishable.' -- The Hollywood Reporter

4. 'The Night Of' (2016), one-season miniseries

Barry Wetcher/HBO

Metacritic score: 90

'As complicated and layered as life itself, 'The Night Of' is an instant classic.' -- TV Insider

3. 'The Wire' (2002-08), five seasons

Average Metacritic score: 91.8

'It slowly develops into an engrossing look at the methodical nature of police work and the limits of individualism.' -- Time

2. 'The Sopranos' (1999-2007), six seasons

Will Hart / HBO

Average Metacritic score: 94.5

'Combining dark comedy and psychological drama, the show achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept.' -- The New York Times

1. 'The Larry Sanders Show' (1992-98), six seasons


Average Metacritic score: 95

'Razor-edged satire of late-night talk TV from people with an ear for truth and a taste for blood.' -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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