HBO, originally a cable TV service exclusively for movies, has made a greater name for itself with its varied original series featured in this HBO series list. Since the network isn't bound by censorship standards other networks work under, these shows have a freedom to push boundaries when it comes to drama, comedy and character development. 

  1. "Six Feet Under." This HBO series is about the Fisher family who run a funeral home in Los Angeles. Death is ever present in their lives and affects each family member differently. But when the patriarch dies, everything changes as death becomes more personal. A sense of magical realism snakes through this show.

  2. "Sex and The City." Focusing on a 30-something newspaper columnist and her three 30-something best friends, this HBO series is about relationships, romantic or otherwise, and the lives of single people in Manhattan. Well developed characters, though sometimes too archetypal, snappy dialog and a clear love of New York City define this show.

  3. "True Blood." This HBO series is based on a series of books. Taking place in a small Louisiana town, in a world where vampires are real and an oft-grudgingly accepted minority in society, this show examines what happens when the vampire and human world collide because of romance. Good horror and even some comedy exist here as well.

  4. "Curb Your Enthusiasm." This long-running HBO series is a comedy from Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, where he plays Larry David. But its a semi-fictionalized portrait of him and his friends and family. Taking a cue from Seinfeld, the show is about his daily life and everything that can go wrong usually does.

  5. "Extras." British comedian Ricky Gervais, the creator on The Office, returns in this HBO series about a struggling actor and screenwriter. Because of a terrible agent, he's forced to work as an extra, constantly trying to prove his worth. This usually ends in the cringe-worthy embarrassment comedy Gervais does so well. Famous actors often guest-star.    

  6. "Big Love." This HBO series is based on the FLDS, a fundamental sect of Mormonism that still practices polygamy. The main character has three wives and the show is about the underlying tension between the wives and one man's struggle to have a normal family life with three women simultaneously. Themes of family vs. religion vs. secularism abound.

  7. "Flight Of The Conchords." This hilarious HBO series is about a hapless musical duo of best friends from New Zealand who move to New York City to make it big. But their ignorance of aspects of American culture, in-fighting and their inept manager often get in the way. The main themes of each episode are often expressed, showcased as their inner thoughts, in funny musical numbers. The show exhibits a unique sense of humor.

  8. "Deadwood." Taking place in a South Dakota town in the 1880s, this HBO series is a western about characters steeped in sin and corruption. A couple of do-gooders ride into town with the intention of cleaning it up but find themselves at odds with the unofficial boss on the town, a saloon and hotel owner. The town of Deadwood feels real without resorting to western stereotypes.

  9.  "Entourage." An HBO series that examines Hollywood fame and how it affects people, this show is about a group of buddies, bros even, that go to Tinseltown to make it big. Some strive to be famous actors, others more behind the scenes. The show is a good parable of the ins and out of the movie business.

  10.  "The Sopranos." Much like the "Godfather" movies, this HBO series is about family, both professional and personal. The show revolves around a New Jersey mob boss struggling with issues of morality, family and business. The narrative is mainly first person so its shown how life affects him and how he affects the lives of others. Dark comedy and violence define the show.

-Stephen Lloyd