Prepare to be blown away!
If like us, you feel like you’ve rinsed through pretty much everything Netflix has to offer, then let us suggest a new world. A world of HBO creations that find their home on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Ireland. And, as you’ll come to realise, HBO have some absolute classics on their roster! [Featured Image: pixinoo, Shutterstock].
Here, you’ll find some of the greatest shows that have ever aired on television, along with some wonderful newer gems that are definitely worth your time. And, while we still face restrictions in Ireland, we can guarantee that many are still looking for some exhilarating TV to crack on as you dig into that takeaway.
1. The Wire
If you’re yet to witness Idris Elba and Dominic West with American accents, then let us lead you to the right place. Oh, and while you’re here, you’ll gain the knowledge The Wire is one of the greatest US crime dramas of all time. With five seasons, each focusing on a different institution in the city of Baltimore, and the systemic corruption that goes along the way. In each part, you’ll follow Detective McNulty (Dominic West), Greggs (Sonja Sohn) and co. as they attempt to infiltrate Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris), Stringer Bell (Idris Elba), Marlo Stanfield (Jamie Hector) and the other drug runners of Baltimore.
2. The Sopranos
Both The Sopranos and The Wire are always in the conversation for greatest TV Drama ever, and with good reason. Just don’t ever make me choose between them, okay? Follow Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he seizes control of his family business of organised crime while grappling with his own demons and trying to keep his family together. Prepare yourself to be in fits of laughter at the marvellous one-liners as often as you’re bowled over by some of the show’s tragic events that ensue.
Everyone has found themselves in a late-night conversation about the potential powers of robots in the future, right? Well, Westworld ventures down one such rabbit hole – a dystopian wild-west theme park made up of android “hosts” that identically resemble humans. As you can imagine, there’s plenty of scope for things to take a left-turn. Witness several hosts, including Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), discover how they were truly brought into the world by shady creator Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins).
Succession only has two seasons thus far, but it has taken viewers by storm. Set around an underhanded power-struggle, the show follows the frankly-quite-abhorrent family of media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Turns out, he’s not so nice himself, which makes for some excellent viewing. While it very much shows a darker side to US media powers, it’s very difficult to stop watching the pure shade go down in morbid fascination. Oh, and there’s some absolutely golden chemistry between family outsiders Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicolas Braun).
5. Game Of Thrones
You don’t need me to tell you that Game Of Thrones is one of the biggest smash hits on the telly from the last decade. For lovers of fantasy, it’s obviously just essential, following nine families battling for the region of Westeros. Plus, you know, there’s plenty of dragons and evil “white walkers” to keep you entertained along for the eight-season rollercoaster.
A stunningly captivating series, based on the 1986 DC Comics tale. While it draws from the original text, it acts as a sequel, taking place 34 years after the main events. It takes you into the world of masked vigilantes, who are treated as outlaws, while focusing in on racial violence in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
7. True Detective
With a star-studded cast to get to know, True Detective is a wild ride of secrets and lies that take place through police investigations, with every party forced to admit dark truths about themselves. The first series in particular, featuring Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Potts, and Tory Kittles, is one of the defining moment in US television of the 2010s.
A five-part mini-series documenting the harrowing events and aftermath of the Chernobyl Disaster of 1986. Featuring a phenomenal performance from Stellan Skarsgård as Boris Shcherbina, Chernobyl aims to take viewers through each branch of the political sphere before and after the tragedy.
9. Boardwalk Empire
When the early episodes of a show are directed by Martin Scorsese to establish the voice, you know you’ll be in for a good time. And, just for good measure, he stuck it out as an executive producer too. Boardwalk Empire gave us five great series set in prohibition-era America, and the crime and corruption that spawned as a result. Watch Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi) rise to prominence in Atlantic City and starts to get a handle on both sides of the law.
10. The Outsider
Like many other wonderful pieces of film, The Outsider has what has become a golden seal of approval, of sorts. Yes, it boasts the tag “based on the novel by Stephen King”; so really, you know what to expect. And this series is one of the finest recent adaptations going. Supernatural forces come into play during an investigation of a young boy’s murder, making those involve start to lose control. If that sounds like you’re kind of thing, it most definitely is.
11. The Night Of
The Night Of is a mysterious mini-series, depicting a nightmarish scenario of Nasir (Riz Ahmed) waking up to find a woman he spent the night with dead next to him. The following events detail the subsequent arrest and trial of the accused college student, who even begins to build up a speck of doubt about his own innocence.
An exhilarating and often heart-breaking drama set in a high-school in America, detailing struggles with addiction, gender dysphoria, trauma, sexuality and more. Filmed stylistically and depicting an intense and tumultuous relationship between Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer), Euphoria is an essential and thought-provoking piece of television. And, there’s good news for fans of the show: season two is in the works!
13. Lovecraft Country
Those who are itching for a horror drama to watch, Lovecraft Country is out there and begging for your attention. Beginning with a journey to find his missing father across segregated 1950s America, Atticus (Jonathan Majors) uncovers much more than he bargained for. Alongside his uncle (Courtney B. Vance) and friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollet), watch as his quest turns more and more unreal, in the form of dark and supernatural beings. Plus, it boasts Jordan Peele AND JJ Abrams as executive producers, so what else could you possibly need to persuade you to check it out?