For the television fanatic, it’s no surprise to assume that HBO is one of the world’s biggest and arguably one of the best television networks. HBO (Home Box Office) was launched in 1972 as has now grown into the largest American network with approximately 30 million television subscribers in America itself. HBO was the first to introduce original, fresh and gritty television programs at a time when other networks such as NBC and CBS focused on family-shows. Their TV series epitomize what can be called ‘quality television’- they have magnificent sets, fantastic actors, engaging directors and lastly- extremely intelligent producers. The network has undoubtedly created some of the most loved television series with millions of viewers and fans all over the globe.
Here is a list of the shows that you must take out the time for, especially if you are someone who is always on the lookout for a gripping TV series.
Game of thrones:
Viewers who have already watched this series would understand why it tops the list. Based on the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” books by George R R Martin, this is a show that can blend intelligence, emotion, drama, violence and wit in just the right proportions. The story is set in an alternate medieval universe- the land of the seven kingdoms, also known as Westeros. With many shocking dramatic twists in the plot, the power structure that holds the seven kingdoms together falls, and the seven kingdoms are at war. Without revealing any further, we’ll leave it up to you to watch as the political power-dynamics unfold and you’ll be hooked in no time!
A very famous quote from the show, “When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die” seems to clearly define what this fantastic show is all about.
The Sopranos :
This series boasts of having the highest number of viewer ratings received by any HBO show. The story-line revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and provides a deep, psychological insight into the dangerous world of the Italian mafia in America. Marked by its dark humor and fantastic acting, this show has been regarded by many as one of the greatest television series of all time, winning a multitude of awards including five Golden Globe Awards, twenty-one Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards. In fact, the series was so popular that it led to the conception of a video game, several books, a high-charting soundtrack and merchandise based on the show. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named it the best-written series in television history. The show is a must-watch, especially for fans of The Godfather.
Sex and the City:
An extremely popular series of the late 90’s, especially amongst women, this show can be viewed as the feminist revolution of television. Based on the novels by the same name by Candice Bushnell, the show was probably the first ever on television to talk about sensitive gender issues and dealt openly with the sexual and relationship problems of women. Set in New York City, the show follows the life of Carrie Bradshaw, a weekly columnist who writes about sex and relationships, and three of her friends, all being in their mid-thirties. It beautifully portrays the trials and tribulations of being a single woman living alone in New York City. A fantastic drama-comedy, this is a classic you can’t miss.
This show is often jokingly called ‘Sex and the City for men’, and gives us a taste of the lives of the rich and the famous of Hollywood, through the eyes of film star Vincent Chase, his entourage of friends and his super-agent Ari Gold. Characterized by its realism in depiction of the struggles of an actor in Hollywood, what’s commendable about the show is its fantastic and witty dialogues and the guest appearances by several real-life celebrities. The show is also said to be loosely based on Mark Wahlberg’s life as an up-and-coming film star, who is also one of the producers of the show. This fantastic series which deals with friendship and the Hollywood lifestyle has garnered great reviews from critics and fans alike, being nominated for 25 Prime time Emmy Awards and 14 Golden Globe Awards amongst many others.
A compelling political drama that takes us into the behind-the-scenes working of a fictional news channel called ACN. The show revolves around news anchor Will McAvoy, and deals with not only the ethical broadcasting of the news and its content but also the themes of honor, idealism, love and loyalty. The turning point of Will’s character and his speech in episode 1 is a phenomenal leap that introduces us to the ideals of this brilliantly written show with a perfect cast. It provides a true depiction of the media in America which is battling with its principles of quality news vs. higher ratings for the channel. Now running in its second season, this is definitely a fresh and gritty show to watch out far.
This show, with its dark and cynical humor, is an American comedy-drama series that deals with the lives of four girls in their early twenties, figuring out their lives after graduating from college with the background of the economy being in a terrible state. It starkly and honestly depicts the phenomenon known as a ‘quarter life crisis’ that affects most young people in their mid-twenties, being an extremely vulnerable and transitional period in their lives. Few have compared to the show ‘Sex and the City’, a ‘darker’ version of it, but this comparison has be shammed by critics and fans alike, for unlike the glamorized, unrealistic and light hearted series, ‘Girls’ is funny, fresh and a lot more realistic. It’s worth noting that the protagonist of the show, Lena Dunham, has written, produced, acted and directed this phenomenal show.
A few other shows by HBO that are worth a mention are- The Wire, Oz, Boardwalk Empire, Eastbound and Down and True Blood, all of which are definitely make for fantastic entertainment.
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