15 greatest HBO series of all time

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Image: HBO

13. The Kids in the Hall

If you like Saturday Night Live, you might not like The Kids in the Hall.  Despite the fact that they share two writers and the support of Lorne Michaels, this five-person Canadian sketch comedy troupe is firmly in the realm of the bizarre — more on the side of Monty Python than Mad TV.

Kids featured recurring characters like the friendly ax murderer, Mr. Tyzik the head crusher, Cabbage Head, the Flying Pig, and gay socialite Buddy Cole. There are almost no jokes or sketches based on pop culture or political personalities and they often played themselves in sketches.

On the other side of the spectrum, they have a song based on the completely mundane topic of the different “Daves” Bruce McCulloch knows.

Thia HBO series ran for five seasons, but 24 years later you can still catch Scott Thompson, Kevin McDonald, Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, and Mark McKinney on the occasional reunion tour — which I can personally recommend with highest regards.

Image: HBO

12. Angels in America

HBO brought high theater to television when Mike Nichols directed the miniseries based on Tony Kushner’s sweeping play Angels in America.

It took over 10 years for the 1991 play to reach the screen with Al Pacino committed to the role of Roy Cohn starting in 1993. It took a decade to hit HBO because the series wasn’t released until 2003.

To have a big actor attached to a project for that long speaks of more than dedication, it speaks of passion. And that passion shines through every frame of this smart, emotional, and intellectual material that tackles the very difficult subject of AIDS in the 80s and the Reagan era politics.

Every actor in this series is magnificent — especially Meryl Streep. I often think that Streep is at least a little overrated, but not this time. If anyone needs a reminder of just how good Streep actually is, all they need to do is watch Angels in America.