Learn about the best Showtime shows and watch some great television. Showtime is a premium cable channel that started in 1976. Showtime has the following channels in its line-up: the original Showtime (SHO), Showtime 2 (SHO2), Showcase (SHO3), Showtime Beyond (SHOB), Showtime Extreme (SHOX), Showtime Family Zone (SHOF), Showtime Next (SHON), and Showtime Women (SHOW). The best Showtime shows are often television shows that stretch what network television airs and is always entertaining.

  1. "Californication." This Showtime original TV series has been on the air for three seasons. The main character is Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny. Hank is a novelist who moved from New York to Los Angeles for a more wild lifestyle. Hank has a rough go of it when his popular book is made into a medicore movie. "Californication," of the best Showtime shows, keeps the audience guessing what outrageous thing Hank will do next.

  2. "Dexter." The Showtime show "Dexter" is based on the Dexter books by Jeff Lindsay. "Dexter" ended season five in early 2011. Dexter Morgan is a Miami Metro Police Department blood splatter analyst. He's also a serial killer. He takes it upon himself to kill the truly evil. These are the bad guys who slip through the grip of justice. But deciding who is most deserving and covering up his crimes is a continual source of drama for Dexter.

  3. "The Tudors." This Showtime show tells the story on a personal level of King Henry VII. "The Tudors" features fabulous costumes, superb acting, and a great history lesson all in one. The history may be made fictional in part to bring it to live, but the show is dramatic and watchable. King Henry VII is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and some of his many wives are played by Joss Stone, Katherine Howard, and Joely Richardson.

  4. "United States of Tara." This inventive Showtime show features Tara Gregson, played by Toni Collette, who happens to be a DID. That is, she has Dissociative Identity Disorder. She has multiple personalities. And you never know when a new one will surface. Tara lives in her own world, or worlds, along with her husband played by John Corbett, son and daughter. The third season of "United States of Tara" airs the end of March 2011.

  5. "Weeds." Mary-Louise Parker plays Nancy Botwin, the single mother who turns to selling pot when nothing else seems to work. Nancy's life is a train wreck making this one of Showtime's best television shows of all time. The danger Nancy faces each episode brings her and her family makes her life more and more fragile and exciting. "Weeds" will begin airing season seven episodes later in 2011.

- Peggy Hazelwood