Every HBO show ranked from worst to best, according to critics

HBO has brought us some of the greatest TV shows of all time — like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Wire,” and “Game of Thrones” — throughout its history of original programming, which started in the early ’80s.

But which HBO shows are 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.

The list is competitive. But like any other television network, HBO has released some stinkers in its lifetime.

Does your favourite HBO show top the list?

Here’s how HBO’s shows rank, from worst to best, according to critics on Metacritic.

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

72. 'Ja'mie: Private School Girl' (2013), one season

Metacritic score: 40

'It's a painfully obvious shtick, so camp and arch it's impossible to enjoy the joke.' -- TV Guide

71. 'Real Time with Bill Maher' (2003-present), 15 seasons


Average Metacritic score: 43

'Why would HBO, cable's most innovative network ... think it's a good idea to let Bill Maher bring the skeleton of his canceled ABC show, 'Politically Incorrect,' and stuff it into the tattered corpse of 'Dennis Miller Live'?' -- Entertainment Weekly

70. 'Lucky Louie' (2006), one season

YouTube/Lucky Louie

Metacritic score: 47

'A show so vile, it makes you think the company's arrogant It's Not TV -- It's HBO slogan isn't a brag -- it's a threat.' -- USA Today

69. 'Angry Boys' (2011), one season

HBO/Angry Boys

Metacritic score: 50

Audience Score: 7.3

It 'leaves only the flashes of comedic brilliance, and even they don't light up the sky very often.' -- The Wall Street Journal

68. 'John from Cincinnati' (2007), one season

Metacritic score: 50

Audience Score: 7.4

'Watching HBO's surfing drama 'John From Cincinnati' is like sitting through a bad play at a tiny experimental theatre. ... In short, if Gary Busey were a TV series, he would be 'John From Cincinnati.'' -- The Boston Globe

67. 'Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons' (2016), one season


Metacritic score: 51

'His interview style is an effective one -- opinionated without being overbearing, with just enough smugness to give some of his questions a provocative edge.' -- Yahoo

66. 'The Brink' (2015), one season


Metacritic score: 52

Audience Score: 7.6

'The show operates at a tone of constant hysteria, which, as justified as that may be, begins to feel exhausting.' -- Variety

65. 'Sex and the City' (1998-2004), six seasons

Getty Images

Metacritic score: 52

Audience Score: 8.0

'Parker's irresistible charm keeps us on Carrie's side even as the character's act grows old.' -- People

64. 'Tell Me You Love Me' (2007), one season

HBO/Tell Me You love Me

Metacritic score: 58

Audience Score: 6.0

'Unfortunately, it is difficult to stay interested in what happens to any of these characters because most of them are so absurdly unlikable.' -- Los Angeles Times

63. 'Hello Ladies' (2013), one season

Metacritic score: 58

Audience Score: 7.4

'We've seen this show before, in fresher settings, with stronger comic structure -- from, in fact, the same creators: (Stephen) Merchant and American 'Office' writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.' -- Newsday

62. 'How to Make It in America' (2010-11), two seasons

Metacritic score: 59

'As a portrait of struggling Manhattanites, 'How to Make It' effectively homes in on that hope-filled effervescence historically associated with the idealised American dream.' -- Slant Magazine

61. 'Ballers' (2015-16), three seasons

Average Metacritic score: 59.3

'(Dwayne) Johnson himself is the best part of 'Ballers,' a charismatic, mostly responsive force that is our window to the precarious world of retirement from football. His perspective on the life of the partying ball player is one of nostalgia. But in the absence of forward momentum, the camera turns to looking for shock value anywhere it can.' -- Salon

60. 'Unscripted' (2005), one season


Metacritic score: 60

Audience Score: N/A

'A faux documentary on actors who are not famous but who are struggling to be isn't inherently interesting to non-actors ... 'Unscripted' isn't a complete flop. It's just rare that HBO fails like this.' -- The San Francisco Chronicle

59. 'Divorce' (2016-present) one season

Macall B. Polay/HBO

Metacritic score: 60

Audience Score: 5.2

'The laugh-out-loud viciousness of the opening, which involves both a gun and vomit, is clearly the work of series creator Sharon Horgan, who also co-writes and stars in Amazon's brilliant 'Catastrophe.' But 'Divorce' isn't always as biting as it is in those moments, leading to a solidly acted but somewhat mundane exploration of a breakup.' -- The AV Club

58. 'Carnivale' (2003-05), two seasons

Average Metacritic score: 61

'A bloated mess ... 'Carnivale' is a little too full of itself. Believing that it has a fascinating story to tell with all the complex themes you could imagine, the series nevertheless fails the first test of television: Move forward.' -- SFGate

57. 'The Newsroom' (2012-14), three seasons


Average Metacritic score: 61.7

'The series is kind of a mess ... but one you can't really look away from.' -- SFGate

56. 'Doll & Em' (2014-15, two seasons)

Metacritic score: 63

Audience Score: 4.9

'Despite its refreshing commitment to realism, 'Doll & Em' is ultimately too relaxed and meandering for its own good. There are times when you may wish it had embraced the occasional cliches with more gusto.' -- Vulture

55. 'Da Ali G Show' (2003-04), two seasons

Average Metacritic score: 63

Audience Score: 7.7

'It's a nice gimmick, actually. Too bad the results seem so childishly undeveloped.' -- SFGate

54. 'Life's Too Short' (2011 and 2013), one season

HBO/Life's Too Short

Metacritic score: 64

Audience Score: 7.2

'Measured against the yardstick of their own lofty standards, the show comes up a little short.' -- Variety

53. 'Bored to Death' (2009-11), three seasons

Metacritic score: 64

Audience Score: 7.3

''Bored' sometimes lags and drags, as if it took a few tokes, too. But when it's funny -- and 'Bored' certainly can be -- it's a winner.' -- Newsday

52. 'The Comeback' (2005 and 2014), two seasons


Average Metacritic score: 64.5

'It would all be terribly sad it if it weren't so incredibly funny.' -- TV Guide Magazine

51. 'Hung' (2009-11), three seasons

Average Metacritic score: 65.5

'I feel that there's a really good dark comedy about the decline of the American dream struggling to emerge from the often-forced plots.' -- Time

50. 'Entourage' (2004-11), eight seasons


Average Metacritic score: 66.8

'The show is vulgar, adolescent, and sexist -- and seems proud of it.' -- The Baltimore Sun

49. 'Vice' (2013-17), five seasons

Metacritic score: 67

Audience Score: 6.5

''Vice' tries to go where other news, documentary, and magazine shows do not. That's ok, though it does at times overstate its pioneering prowess.' -- New York Daily News

48. 'Summer Heights High' (2007), one season

HBO/Summer Heights High

Metacritic score: 67

Audience Score: 8.7

'A funny/sad 'Office'-style mockumentary depicting a year in the life of an Australian public high school, this wildly talented writer-star loves making you squirm (à la (Ricky) Gervais) while submerging himself inside the skin of characters so diverse (à la (Tracey) Ullman) you can hardly believe it's the same guy.' -- TV Guide

47. 'Vice Principals' (2016-2017), two seasons


Metacritic score: 67.5

'The two leads remain horribly entertaining as small men with huge chips on their shoulders.' -- Entertainment Weekly

46. 'True Blood' (2008-14), seven seasons

HBO screenshot

Average Metacritic score: 68

Audience Score: 7.0

'It's creepy, steamy and funny at times, and it's also a muddle, a comic murder mystery that is a little too enthralled with its own exoticism.' -- The New York Times

45. 'The Young Pope' (2017), one-season miniseries


Metacritic score: 68

Audience Score: 7.4

''The Young Pope' is TV's equivalent of a dorm-room poster of Bob Marley blowing smoke or the Lenny Bruce mugshot: a depleted symbol of a radical reaction to society that finally most clearly represents the status quo.' -- Collider

44. 'Rome' (2005-07), two seasons

Average Metacritic score: 69.5

''Rome' is most entertaining when it laces its wild, ancient antics with winks of the pedestrian.' -- Entertainment Weekly

43. 'Oz' (1997-2003), six seasons


Metacritic score: 70

''Oz' is flat-out the most violent and graphically sexual series on TV. By contrast, it makes ABC's 'NYPD Blue' look and sound like dancing Barney.' -- LA Times

42. 'Vinyl' (2016), one season


Metacritic score: 71

''Vinyl' will leave you dancing to the music, but may leave you wondering why you should care.' -- New York Post

41. 'Crashing' (2017), one season

Mary Cybulski/HBO

Metacritic score: 73

'There is a lot of talk -- practical and philosophical -- about comedy, and 'Crashing' is very good with the details of low-level nightlife. But what most makes the show entertaining are Pete's episodic adventures with characters who will help form him, challenge him and wake him from his self-satisfied sleep into a better sort of happiness.' -- LA Times

40. 'Aril$$' (1996-2002), seven seasons


Metacritic score: 74

Audience score:N/A

'A pallid imitation of 'The Larry Sanders Show,' the series works best when its real-life guests are funny.' -- People

39. 'Family Tree' (2013), one season

Metacritic score: 74

Audience Score: 7.2

'A quirky and hilarious gem.' -- The Hollywood Reporter

38. 'Six Feet Under' (2001-05), five seasons


Metacritic score: 74

Audience score:7.7

'This challenging show offers the viewer nary a morsel of TV comfort food. But uncommonly good writing and acting are satisfying too.' -- People

37. 'True Detective' (2014-15), two seasons

Average Metacritic score: 74

Audience score: 7.8

'It's an ok cop drama, to be sure, but it's definitely a cop drama you have seen many, many times before.' -- Vox

36. 'Flight of the Conchords' (2007-09), two seasons


Average Metacritic score: 74

Audience score:8.1

'There are no big sociopolitical statements here, no guerilla-style confrontations, no scenes of squirmy awkwardness, no multilayered pop culture references. It's just a very smart, very funny show.' -- Entertainment Weekly

35. 'Westworld' (2016-present), one season


Metacritic score: 74

Audience score: 8.8

'It's the kind of trippy conceptual project that would be unbearable if it weren't so elegantly made. So far, it works, mostly -- not because it's perfect but because it gets under your skin.' -- The New Yorker

34. 'Big Love' (2006-11), five seasons

Playtone Productions

Average Metacritic score: 75

Audience score: 6.9

'A very original, extremely well-acted and complexly written drama.' -- SFGate

33. 'Togetherness' (2015-16), two seasons

Jaimie Trueblood/HBO

Average Metacritic score: 76

Audience score: 7.4

'It's a slower-paced, smaller-scale show about the sad reality of sticking it out in Hollywood into middle age. It also veers into weirder territory that would feel impossible outside California. But thanks to the chemistry between (Amanda) Peet and (Steve) Zissis, it's endlessly engrossing.' -- Entertainment Weekly

32. 'Luck' (2011-12), one season

Metacritic score: 75

Audience score: 7.5

'The parts that do work possess the doom-laden yet strangely optimistic romanticism of (David) Milch's best work.' -- The Huffington Post

31. 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' (2014-present), four seasons

Metacritic score: 76

Audience score: 8.0

'Oliver is terrific at mining humour from the most popular topics of the day, that is, the idiocy of the media and politicians. He's funny when he's knocking our intelligence.' -- The Denver Post

30. 'Big Little Lies' (2017), one-season miniseries

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO

Metacritic score: 75

Audience score: 8.0

'Just when you worry the show is a pageant of ugly cliches about female rivalry, it gives you a poignant, nuanced scene to deepen the whole.' -- Entertainment Weekly

29. 'Looking' (2014-15), two seasons

Melissa Moseley/HBO

Average Metacritic score: 75

Audience score: 8.0

''Looking' doesn't make the mistake of arguing that gay men are just like straight women, or straight men, or gay women, or even each other. Instead it tells the story of three guys who are friends in a strangely wonderful and difficult time and what that looks like. To them.' -- LA Times

28. 'The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst' (2014), one-season docuseries


Metacritic score: 76

Audience score: 8.3

''The Jinx' is wickedly entertaining: funny, morbid, and sad, at once exploitative and high-minded, a moral lasagna of questionable aesthetic choices (including reconstructions of ghastly events) and riveting interviews (of Durst, but also of other eccentrics, like his chain-smoking-hot second wife).' -- The New Yorker

27. 'John Adams' (2008), one-season miniseries

Metacritic score: 78

'Both the book and the miniseries sketch admirably human portraits of historical figures such as Adams, Jefferson and Franklin.' -- Chicago Tribune

26. 'Eastbound & Down' (2009-13), four seasons

Average Metacritic score: 78.3

''Eastbound & Down' holds together so well that it's worth looking past the ugly for the solid performances and the charcoal-black humour beneath.' -- The New Yorker

25. 'Girls' (2012-17), six seasons

Average Metacritic score: 79

'It definitely has a voice, and it's a great one: witty and wise and warm and not exactly like anything you've heard before.' -- Uproxx

24. 'In Treatment' (2008-10), three seasons

Average Metacritic score: 79.3

'The acting is brilliant, the problems are relatable, and the truths Dr. Weston is chasing are profound. On the other hand, 'In Treatment' is the epitome of American self-indulgence, both for the actors and the characters they're playing.' -- Chicago Sun-Times

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. '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

17. '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

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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