I have absorbed, digested and can quote hefty chunks from The Wire. I have watched most (sadly not all) of Sex and the City, I also recently re-watched Band of Brothers for probably the fifth time. I have laughed at Flight of the Conchords and been gripped by The Sopranos, and I can guarantee that every single person reading this has seen at least a snippet of one of these shows. What they all have in common is HBO.
HBO started in 1972 as another television production company, and was bought out by Time Warner in 1973. Its name of Home Box Office has turned out to be highly accurate, as HBO has become known for blurring the lines between cinema and television, putting money and effort into producing high quality programmes. Their up and coming The Pacific, the long awaited follow up to Band of Brothers, is more like a film in terms of budget and marketing. Critics regularly cite The Wire as the best television show of all time, and I would have to agree to some extent. It is an absolutely fantastic, gripping drama from beginning to end. This is due in no small part to having HBO behind it, willing to go where other production companies may have faltered. The Sopranos, again often cited as one of the best dramas ever made, was gritty and realistic and drew in vast numbers of viewers.
Even if The Wire is not for you, HBO’s work spans many genres, and it is always at the forefront of fantastic television. Whichever way you look at it, you cannot argue that HBO bring cinema to the small screen.