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Top 10 HBO Shows Not Named 'Game of Thrones'

You’ll have to wait until April for the final season of Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean you have to watch season 8’s teaser trailer on a loop.

There are many hours of HBO programming to binge, revisit, or discover—enough to get you through the bleak months of winter and the painful longing for the GOT premiere. Here are 10 HBO shows that are worth a look (and just may get you hooked):

10. High Maintenance

Started as a web series created by Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, High Maintenance was expanded on HBO in 2016. Each episode follows Sinclair, a New York City marijuana dealer, as he interacts with his unique and diverse clientele. The format makes for a beautiful pastiche of modern city life, ever-changing between the comedic and the dramatic, the weird and the poignant.

9. Six Feet Under

Centered at a family-owned funeral home, Six Feet Under is a soap-operatic look at death, love, and family, offering a brilliant mix of black comedy and This Is Us-style family drama. Creator Alan Ball has gone on to make other shows for HBO, but none have had the emotional resonance or staying power.

8. Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley successfully achieves the difficult task of inviting viewers into the strange and alienating world of the tech boom, without dumbing down the tech. Even if you don’t understand the coding language or nerd-speak in the show, the Shakespearean dramatic stakes and broad character comedy makes it a madcap thrill ride.

7. The Larry Sanders Show

One of HBO’s first comedies, The Larry Sanders Show stars the great Garry Shandling as a late-night TV host. The behind-the-scenes aspects and meta humor have become greatly influential for single camera docu-style comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation.

6. The Leftovers

Its inconsistent first season introduces an ultra-bleak world in the aftermath of an unexplained event that disappeared 2% of the world’s population. But The Leftovers continues to grow into a beautifully morose exploration of the damaged people left behind. While the show tackles the big philosophical and religious questions, it’s always at its best as an intimate character drama about grief.

5. Deadwood

HBO has always been interested in painstakingly detailed worlds, but Deadwood stands alone as a re-creation of a small town at the end of the "Wild West." Full of colorful characters (and dialogue), this is a unique vision for television, as Western shows have never been so profane or so artistically driven.

4. Veep

When Veep premiered in 2012, there was no way to know that its slapstick look at modern governance would be so prophetic. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has shaped one of the best characters on television—Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States. Meyer seems like a reasonable figure surrounded by complete incompetence…until you realize she fits right into this crazy world.

3. Curb Your Enthusiasm

How do you follow up one of the most beloved and culturally relevant sitcoms of all time? Well, for Larry David, with Curb Your Enthusiasm. Like a look inside the mind of a raving lunatic, the show’s improvisational style gives David a more direct interpretation of his cynical and neurotic worldview.

2. The Wire

Many great television shows fully explore a social institution, like a hospital or a law firm, but The Wire is able to do so multiple times over during its five-season study of Baltimore’s drug trade. From the low-level street dealers to the high pressures on police officers and politicians, The Wire is the most complete examination of a city ever put on television.

1. The Sopranos

The granddaddy of the “golden age of television,” The Sopranos (alongside Sex and the City) is HBO’s first cultural phenomenon, transforming the premium cable movie network into weekly must-see viewing. With Tony Soprano, audiences were given a bona fide anti-hero—a murderous criminal whom you can’t help but love, paving the way for so many of the last decade’s best television programs.

So while you wait for the families of Westeros to reemerge, don’t forget about the many other gems you can find on HBO.

Aaron Pinkston is a freelance writer from Chicago who covers film and television for Xfinity. He enjoys watching films in the theater, binging television with his wife, getting way too invested in sports, and tackling the challenges of being a new dad.

Last Updated: April 22, 2019