The 29 HBO shows that critics and audiences both agree are wonderful

HBO‘Big Little Lies’ was so popular with critics and audiences that the limited series is getting a second season.

HBO has given us the gift of 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.

But HBO has also released a lot of prestige shows that critics love, but normal people don’t. And the other way around.

When audiences and critics agree, however, you know the show is definitely worth your time. This is especially relevant now that old shows are available to binge-watch on HBO Now or HBO Go.

So which shows do both groups agree on? There’s “Game of Thrones,” of course, but there are also 28 more that make the cut.

We ranked these universally beloved HBO shows according to their scores on Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregates critic reviews and audience scores and assigns each show a score. We chose shows with a combined score average of over 80 per cent, then ranked them by those averages (with audience score breaking any ties).

Here are all the HBO shows that critics and audiences agree on, according to their scores on Rotten Tomatoes:

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


29. “Big Love” (2006-11), five seasons

Playtone Productions

Critic score: 85%

Audience score: 77%

Average: 81%

“A very original, extremely well-acted and complexly written drama.” – SFGate


28. “The Young Pope” (2017), one-season miniseries

HBO

Critic score: 78%

Audience score: 85%

Average: 81.5%

“‘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


27. “Vice Principals” (2016-2017), two seasons

HBO

Critic score: 82%

Audience score: 85%

Average: 83.5%

“The two leads remain horribly entertaining as small men with huge chips on their shoulders.” – Entertainment Weekly


26. “Luck” (2011-12), one season

HBO/’Luck’

Critic score: 87%

Audience score: 80%

Average: 83.5%

“The parts that do work possess the doom-laden yet strangely optimistic romanticism of [David] Milch’s best work.” – The Huffington Post


25. “The Pacific” (2010), one-season miniseries

YouTube/’The Pacific’

Critic score: 89%

Audience score: 81%

Average: 85%

“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


24. “Crashing” (2017), two seasons

Mary Cybulski/HBO

Critic score: 90%

Audience score: 80%

Average: 85%

“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


23. “Togetherness” (2015-16), two seasons

Jaimie Trueblood/HBO

Critic score: 90%

Audience score: 83%

Average: 86.5%

“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


22. “The Deuce” (2017-present), one season

YouTube/HBO

Critic score: 92%

Audience score: 83%

Average: 87.5%

“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


21. “Eastbound & Down” (2009-13), four seasons

Critic score: 83%

Audience score: 92%

Average: 87.5%

“‘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


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

HBO

Critic score: 90%

Audience score: 87%

Average: 88.5%

“None of this would work without compelling characters. Fortunately, ‘The Leftovers’ has bunches of them.” – The AV Club


19. “Getting On” (2013-15), three seasons

HBO/’Getting On’

Critic score: 86%

Audience score: 92%

Average: 89%

“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


18. “Enlightened” (2011-13), two seasons

HBO

Critic score: 87%

Audience score: 91%

Average: 89%

“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


17. “Westworld” (2016-present), one season

HBO

Critic score: 88%

Audience score: 92%

Average: 90%

“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


16. “Looking” (2014-15), two seasons

Melissa Moseley/HBO

Critic score: 89%

Audience score: 91%

Average: 90%

“‘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


15. “Rome” (2005-07), two seasons

HBO/’Rome’

Critic score: 87%

Audience score: 95%

Average: 91%

“‘Rome’ is most entertaining when it laces its wild, ancient antics with winks of the pedestrian.” – Entertainment Weekly


14. “Veep” (2012-present), six seasons

Critic score: 91%

Audience score: 91%

Average: 91%

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


13. “Boardwalk Empire” (2010-14), five seasons

Macall B. Polay / HBO

Critic score: 91%

Audience score: 95%

Average: 93%

“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


12. “Big Little Lies” (2017), one-season miniseries

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO

Critic score: 92%

Audience score: 94%

Average: 93%

“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


11. “The Night Of” (2016), one-season miniseries

Barry Wetcher/HBO

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 92%

Average: 93%

“As complicated and layered as life itself, ‘The Night Of’ is an instant classic.” – TV Insider


10. “Game of Thrones” (2011-present), seven seasons

HBO

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 94%

Average: 94%

“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


9. “Show Me a Hero” (2015), one-season miniseries

HBO

Critic score: 97%

Audience score: 91%

Average: 94%

“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


8. “Treme” (2010-13), four seasons

HBO/’Treme’

Critic score: 98%

Audience score: 91%

Average: 94.5%

“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


7. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-present), nine seasons

HBO/’Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 96%

Average: 95%

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


6. “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” (2014), one-season docuseries

YouTube/HBO

Critic score: 94%

Audience score: 97%

Average: 95.5%

“‘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


5. “Silicon Valley” (2014-present), four seasons

HBO

Critic score: 98%

Audience score: 94%

Average: 96%

“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


4. “The Wire” (2002-08), five seasons

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 96%

Average: 96%

“It slowly develops into an engrossing look at the methodical nature of police work and the limits of individualism.” –Time


3. “The Sopranos” (1999-2007), six seasons

Will Hart / HBO

Critic score: 96%

Audience score: 97%

Average: 96.5%

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


2. “Deadwood” (2004-06), three seasons

HBO

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 95%

Average: 97.5%

“To call ‘Deadwood’ great television doesn’t begin to do it justice.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer


1. “Band of Brothers” (2001), one-season miniseries

Critic score: 100%

Audience score: 99%

Average: 99.5%

“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

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