HBO Turns 50: Its 50 Best Shows, Ranked

The television landscape looked quite different on November 8, 1972, the day HBO, also known as Home Box Office, launched and cemented its status as the oldest and longest continuously operating subscription television service.

At the time, there was little fanfare or press. The inaugural telecast was an NHL game between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks from Madison Square Garden, and immediately following was Paul Newman and Henry Fonda’s Sometimes a Great Notion. HBO was off and running.

The network continued to be a TV pioneer in the decades since. It was the first television service to be directly transmitted and distributed to individual cable systems. The first to push so many boundaries and talk so honestly. HBO created the blueprint for premium channel pay television services. And the stars, viewers, awards, and history-making followed.

Here we look back at HBO’s vast library of series and miniseries and rank the Top 50 to date.

50
49
48
47
46
45
44
43
42
41
40
39
38
Tales From the Crypt
37
36
35
Tracey Ullman’s Show
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
25
24
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
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