They say staying in is the new going out. If that's true then people need to be a little more discerning in their televisual consumption. There are too many shows to keep up with and everybody wants to force their own personal poison on you. With Game of Thrones coming back to our screens this weekend, we take a look at the top 10 HBO shows to binge watch for your next big night in:
Based on producer Mark Wahlberg's experiences when trying to break Hollywood, the show follows Vinnie Chase on his journey to stardom and the adventures of his (yup you guessed it) entourage. Hilarity ensues!
9) Curb Your Enthusiasm
Written by and starring Larry David, who made his name as the producer of Seinfeld, this is the epitome of cringe comedy. Every week Larry manages to find himself in the most awkward of situations and totally humiliates himself in the worst ways imaginable. You'll have to watch it through your fingers, but you'll laugh hysterically til the credits roll.
8) True Blood
While Twilight took the sex right out of vampire fiction, True Blood put it right back in again. And then some. Sure, each season has its own mystery arc running through it and there's more entertaining subplots than you can shake a stake at, but its appeal is largely due to its sheer sexiness. With each episode containing about three sex scenes a piece, the undead have never been this horny.
7) Boardwalk Empire
Set in Atlantic City during the prohibition era, we witness the trials and tribulations of corrupt politician and master bootlegger Nucky Thompson. A brainchild of cinematic genius Martin Scorsese and starring the reptilian looking Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire makes for damn fine crime TV.
6) The Wire
It's so often lauded as the greatest thing ever, and there's no denying that The Wire has to be one of the most realistic cop shows ever made. It depicts the harsh realities of crime in Baltimore through a police department blighted by budget problems, incompetence and laziness in the face of overwhelming social decline. Granted it's slow to get into, but totally worth it.
5) The Sopranos
An example of truly brilliant storytelling in general, there's a reason The Sopranos finds itself on so many 'top ten shows of all time' lists. Tony Soprano is a psychologically troubled mobster whose rise to power and family dynamic is masterfully charted over six seasons, culminating in an ending that still leaves people debating whether it was pure genius or an absolute cop out. We can only hope the internet won't be the death of quality TV like this.
4) Flight Of The Conchords
A TV show about a Kiwi comedic double act moving to New York that's punctuated with musical interludes; it's as weird and wonderful as it sounds. Unfortunately it's just two seasons long, but it's quality stuff.
3) True Detective
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have crazy good chemistry in this detective drama, and it alerted the world that the so-called "McConnaissance" had begun. It unites an enthralling cat-and-mouse story with McConaughey's surprisingly entertaining philosophical ramblings resulting in a truly winning combination.
2) Band Of Brothers
For a TV show set during World War 2, Band of Brothers somehow manages to be littered with moments of humour, without sacrificing all the intense emotional stuff you'd expect in a war zone. If this is your bag, this shit's better than Saving Private Ryan by a long mile.
1) Game of Thrones
And of course, everybody's favourite back-stabbing, sibling-fucking, favourite-character-killing show. It's kinda like Lord Of The Rings, only with a lot more cursing and graphic sex scenes. Yup, it's that good.