10 Shows to Watch on HBO
(That aren't Game of Thrones)
DON'T CANCEL JUST YET
Yes, we've all heard Game of Thrones Season 8 has basically given up. You can keep whining about poor lighting, plot inconsistencies, unloved dire-wolves, Starbucks cups, and more. You can cancel your subscription at the end of the month. OR you can take advantage of the incredible wealth of television greatness, both new and old, that HBO has to offer.
In this post, I will share just ten shows you can currently watch with your HBO subscription that are well worth the time. (These aren't in any particular order.)
Band of Brothers
Limited Series (2001)
Investment Level: 10 episodes.
Why you should watch: I'm pretty sure if I could only pick 10 out of the possibly thousands of hours of film and tv made about WWII to save for future generations to see, this would be my choice.
Investment Level: 3 seasons. (But you can just watch the first)
Why you should watch: If you loved The West Wing or any of Aaron Sorkin's other work you will probably love The Newsroom. It's also becoming increasingly relevant in the new world of "alternative facts" in American politics.
Anthology Series (2014-2019)
Investment Level: 3 seasons, 8 episodes each. (But skip season 2)
Why you should watch: This show (with the help of Fargo) launched the anthology series trend, defying traditional notions of television and creating a new form of storytelling that is more akin to an extended, 8 hour movie. Also, Matthew McConaughey!
Dark Comedy (2018-2019)
Investment Level: 2 seasons, 8 episodes each. (Season 2 is currently airing)
Why you should watch: I've already recommended Barry as one of the best new shows of 2018. Season 2 is now most of the way through and it is even better. It's deeper, darker, and more hilarious than ever.
Investment Level: 6 seasons. 80+ total episodes.
Why you should watch: The Sopranos is THE classic that put HBO on the map. In the ancient era of the 1990s HBO was just an expensive add-on channel that played movies. Almost all critics put The Sopranos in their top 10 greatest shows of all time, if not #1.
Big Little Lies
Investment Level: 1 season, 7 episodes. Season 2 premiers June 9th.
Why you should watch: What started as a critically acclaimed, award-winning miniseries is now returning for a second season. Now is the perfect time to catch up so you can be ready for Season 2 which adds Meryl Streep to an already phenomenal cast of women.
Investment Level: 1 season, 10 episodes. Season 2 coming this Fall.
Why you should watch: It's a show about America's 2 favourite things: Unscrupulous people with inherited wealth and for-profit news media conglomerates. Supposedly it's intended as a comedy according to the creators, but I feel bad laughing at most of it.
Limited Series (2018)
Investment Level: 8 episodes.
Why you should watch: I ranked Sharp Objects the 2nd best new series of 2018. If you liked the movie Gone Girl (or the book by Gillian Flynn) you are in for a treat. Sharp Objects is also directed by Jean-Marc Vallée of Big Little Lies.
Investment Level: 3 seasons. 28 episodes total.
Why you should watch: The Leftovers is arguably the highest level of art ever to have graced television. Created by Damon Lindelof, it's a bit of a spiritual successor to Lost, but with an ending both fans and critics agree is a masterpiece. The Max Richter score alone is enough reason to watch.
Limited Series (2019)
Investment Level: 5 episodes. (Currently airing)
Why you should watch: As of the time I'm writing this, only the first episode has aired, but even from the first episode you can tell this miniseries is phenomenal. Obviously it tells the story of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl over 30 years ago but it focuses on the spread of misinformation, making it increasingly relevant to the modern "fake news" era. The tagline reads: "What is the cost of lies?"