12 of Our Favorite Old School HBO Shows

KC Frankenburger

Read Time 3 minutes

HBO brings us Deadwood
Ian McShane in “Deadwood” from HBO.

Don’t you ever just long for the days of old-school HBO? I know I do. Not that we don’t love the network’s current line-up. On the contrary – we definitely can’t get enough of Westworld, Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies, and more. But some days you just miss the heydays of Tony Soprano, Carrie Bradshaw, and The Fisher Family.

The television landscape was different back then. For one, it was smaller. And for another, the types of characters that populated it were vastly different. HBO was a pioneer in bringing the concept of the anti-hero to the small screen. And the network cleaned up nicely at the Emmy’s because of their daring storytelling choices.

The following is Reelgood’s ode to all of our favorite old school HBO shows.

Entourage

Let’s hug it out. While Entourage is slightly dated (a notable Friendster reference gives it away), there is also something so fresh about it. What this show lacked in class, it made up for in sharply drawn characters that the audience will always root for.

Carnivàle

Set in the backdrop of the 1930s dust bowl, Carnivàle is a stylish, grimy road tale that sadly only lasted two seasons. The show follows a young man from Milfay who joins with a passing-by traveling circus after losing his mother and a preacher from California in the midst of a crisis of faith. The two men share an other-worldly connection that they slowly begin to understand as the series progresses.

Six Feet Under

This series about a family of undertakers which lasted for a luminous five seasons is exceptional television at its finest.  

The Sopranos

Tony Soprano is one of the most remembered television characters in all of history. With a controversial ending and a slew of Emmy wins, The Sopranos arguably changed the television landscape forever.

Sex and the City

Sex and the City was undoubtedly the precursor to shows like Girls. While SatC is definitely set in a more upper-class, Manhattan world, the story of four single girls trying to find their way in the big city is a timeless one.

The Wire

David Simon’s The Wire is set in Baltimore’s drug scene and is often hailed as one of the greatest television series of all time.

Oz

Gritty and at-times hard to watch, Oz is set in a men’s maximum security prison and is an unapologetic look at the life and times of the men who occupy it.

Big Love

Starring the late Bill Paxton, Big Love is a family drama surrounding a polygamist and his three wives, each in different houses, with one shared backyard. The way this story is handled truly makes this series both relevant and addicting.

True Blood

True Blood is camp at its most unapologetic, sexy, and downright disgusting. And we would not have it any other way.

Boardwalk Empire

Set during the tumultuous time of prohibition in Atlantic City, Boardwalk Empire stars Steve Buscemi, Michael Shannon, and Kelly Macdonald.

Deadwood

For three glorious seasons in the early aughts, Deadwood told the dale of a lawless mining town in South Dakota. It would appear that neither fans nor HBO, got enough of this show, because HBO just greenlit a Deadwood movie.

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