HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (2023)

In the '90s, premium cable network HBO decided to try something a little different.The network began to put more money and time into creating its own original series, and through the years, the network mastered it. Take a look at Game of Thrones to see an HBO original series that eclipsed anything anyone in the '90s could have foreseen.


HBO has pushed boundaries, creating a series about a mobster seeking therapy, a drama set in a family-owned funeral home, and a spin-off series from the hit sitcom Seinfeld. HBO has grown to such heights thanks to its original offerings that they are now entering the streaming wars with HBO Max. With over two decades of quality original programming, here is a look at the 10 best HBO original series, ranked according to IMDb scores.

10. ROME (2005-2007) - 8.7

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (1)

Rome was an HBO original series that lasted two seasons. It was a shared production, also airing on BBC Two and Rai 2, and aired from 2005-2007. The show did something most television viewers had never seen. The network re-created ancient Rome but chose not to deliver an epic.

Instead,Rome saw HBO create a political drama set in ancient Rome,and it played out as a history of the Roman Empire, as seen through the eyes of two soldiers. Because of the cost of re-creating Rome, the series couldn't last more than two seasons, but those two remain highly rated by fans.

9. SIX FEET UNDER (2001-2005) - 8.7

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (2)

Created by Alan Ball, Six Feet Under was both a critical and a ratings' success for HBO. It was one of the highest-rated shows of its era (2001-2005) for the network and pulled off a feat where many other HBO shows failed. It had a series finale that critics and audiences praised.

Six Feet Underwas a family drama, with dark secrets and old grudges constantly pulling them apart. The cast was great, the show was always surprising, and the funeral home setting provided some dark and twisted imagery as well.

8. WESTWORLD (2016-) - 8.7

It is a little surprising to see Westworld ranked so high when it comes to viewers on IMDb. The show, as far as social media is concerned, is polarizing to fans. Based on the Michael Crichton story from 1973 that was originally a movie with Yul Brynner, the HBO original series brought it to life in a fresh new way.

The first season saw the original story retold in a new way, with an amusement park where people could live out their wild west fantasies against android "hosts" who could not retaliate. However, by the end of season 1, everything went wrong, and the hosts fought back, with season 2 showing the aftermath.


HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (4)

John Oliver got his start onThe Daily Show and impressed enough people that it finally earned him his own original television series on HBO. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver proved there was lifefor the comedian after leaving John Stewart's series.


Much likeThe Daily Show, John Oliver's show slanted toward politics with a touch of humor. It should be noted that political humor polarizes more people than any other, so the fact that his show ranks so high with IMDb voters shows how smart the humor is on this specific HBO original.

6. TRUE DETECTIVE (2014-) - 9.0

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (5)

Honestly,True Detective might rank higher on this list if not for the second season of the anthology murder mystery series. The first season was a critically acclaimed and fan-loved event series, with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as two detectives trying to find a serial killer over 17 years.

The second season saw a drop in both critical acclaim and viewership totals before season 3 slowly pulled fans back in with Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali taking on the lead role as a detective in the deep south trying to find a child murderer.

THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007) - 9.2

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (6)

BeforeGame of Thrones, it wasThe Sopranos that caused mainstream America to stop what they were doing and follow an HBO original series. The series did something very different with the gangster genre. It took the mob boss, that dominating character who takes everyone's lives in his hands, and put him in a psychiatrist's office.

As the series went on, Tony Soprano grew darker and darker and had no qualms about ordering hits on his friends and family members, sending him into a spiral to the depths of hell. The ending, as is usual for critically acclaimed series, split viewers, but on all, the show maintained its quality to the end.

THE WIRE (2002-2008) - 9.3

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (7)

While it sits in the fourth spot on the list of best HBO original series based on IMDb voters,The Wire might be the most prestigious series in HBO history. Check out Rotten Tomatoes to see its 94% fresh rating from critics and a 97% fresh rating from the audience.

RELATED:True Detective: The 5 Best And 5 Worst Episodes (According To IMDb)

Created by David Simon,The Wire tells the story of Baltimore, and each season took on a different aspect of the crime in that city, from schools to politics to the police. It featured luminaries like Idris Elba, Seth Gilliam, and Michael B. Jordan, and ran for five seasons.

GAME OF THRONES (2011-2019) - 9.3

If ranked simply by the number of people who watched the HBO original series, Game of Thrones would sit on the proverbial throne. However, some things dragged the IMDb score down somewhat, not least of which is a final season that polarized its millions of fans.

The show mixed the ideas of a political drama, with families fighting for the all-important throne, with fantasy, as it created some of the best dragon action seen on television. The acting was uniformly excellent, and the characters sucked people in so deep that no finale could ever satisfy everyone.

2. BAND OF BROTHERS (2001) - 9.5

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (9)

Band of Brothers was going to be a hit, and people knew it from the start. This was a war miniseries written by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, just a few short years after they teamed up for Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg and Hanks then chose to fill the series with familiar faces, but not stars, to keep everyone's eyes on the story.

Band of Brothers aired in 2001 as an HBO original series and told the story of "Easy" Company, from their training in the United States to their participation in World War II. It was a critical success, with 10 million viewerswatching the premiere. It also picked up 20 Emmy nominations, winning seven of them.

1. CHERNOBYL (2019) - 9.5

HBO's 10 Best Original Series, Ranked By Their IMDb Scores (10)

WhileBand of Brothers was a series about the horrors of war,Chernobyl was an HBO original series about the horrors of a nuclear disaster — and the scary thing is that it was based on a true story as well. The 2019 series told the story ofthe Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.

What was most impressive was that the show looked at it from every angle. It dealt with the incompetence in the management of the facility. It touched on the political corruption in covering it up. However, most horrifically, it also dealt with the people affected by the radiation as they slowly died. Itwon both the Golden Globes and Prime Time Emmy Awards for outstanding limited series.

NEXT:The 10 Best HBO Storylines Of The Decade, Ranked

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duane Harber

Last Updated: 04/22/2023

Views: 5716

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Duane Harber

Birthday: 1999-10-17

Address: Apt. 404 9899 Magnolia Roads, Port Royceville, ID 78186

Phone: +186911129794335

Job: Human Hospitality Planner

Hobby: Listening to music, Orienteering, Knapping, Dance, Mountain biking, Fishing, Pottery

Introduction: My name is Duane Harber, I am a modern, clever, handsome, fair, agreeable, inexpensive, beautiful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.