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The cable network remains a leading voice in the world of prestige television, and with HBO Max, you can stream your favorite TV series and movies. Streaming is also a great way to discover original programming currently offered on the platform.
Whether you are checking out these series for the first time or revisiting old favorites, owning the complete collection makes worthy additions to anyone’s Blu-Ray shelf, and a great gift item.
You knew we had to start here. David Chase’s mob drama is one of the most influential television shows of all time, and for good reason. The acclaimed drama combined the Shakespearean scale of “The Godfather” with the darkly comic realism of “Goodfellas” to create a piece of television magic. Every performance is excellent, but James Gandolfini’s portrayal of a violent mob boss who begins to confront his demons in therapy, is a masterclass in television acting.
“The Wire” is a show that can’t possibly be fully appreciated on its first viewing, so this box set is a great investment. Hailing from Baltimore crime journalist David Simon, this multifaceted look at the Baltimore drug trade is one of the most engrossing crime dramas ever written. Each season focuses on a different part of the city ravaged by drugs, and while each one is delightfully bingeable, they come together to form a tapestry you’ll want to revisit again and again.
The landscape of Deadwood, South Dakota might have been barren, but the language was more than colorful enough to make up for it. Although it only lasted three seasons, “Deadwood” possesses such a singularly unique voice that it is frequently mentioned in the same breath as more prestigious HBO series. The profanity-laced power struggles of Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock are just as thrilling on your 10th viewing as your first.
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg teamed up to produce these unflinching portrayals of of World War II. Both miniseries each manage to be utterly horrifying and addictive at the same time, but they also function as historical artifacts that you will almost certainly view differently as you get older. That alone is reason enough to own the shows on Blu-Ray, and this box set conveniently combines both of them.
Not since “The Sopranos” did an HBO series have such a dominant grip on pop culture. The violent, sexy drama was such a phenomenon that it’s almost hard to remember a time when high fantasy was considered uncool. Of all the great HBO shows, this might be one of the most important ones to own on Blu-Ray, due to the breathtaking production design and cinematography. Plus you can start a rewatch while you wait for the “House of the Dragon” spinoff to debut on HBO.
So far, this list has been pretty heavy on the crime and murder. If you need a break from all the darkness, you can’t go wrong with “Entourage.” Doug Ellin’s fictionalized account of Mark Wahlberg’s life boasts a plot that rarely transcends a group of friends going to partying around Hollywood. “Entourage” is the ultimate hangout show, and since it’s almost impossible to watch just one episode, you might as well pick up the complete series on Blu-Ray.
Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese teamed up for this period mob drama starring Steve Buscemi as a fictionalized version of New Jersey political boss Enoch Johnson. The crime and power struggles are as riveting as you’d expect from Scorsese and HBO, and the show’s meticulous attention to detail really shines through in its period production design. You’re likely to notice something new every time you watch it, so this is a purchase that gets better with time.
Fortunately for viewers, David Simon’s journalistic approach to television did not end with “The Wire.” He took on the impossible task of following up his masterpiece by returning to HBO for “Treme,” an ensemble drama about New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It’s a little more understated and slightly less quotable than “The Wire,” but it remains a rich drama that deserves to be watched (and rewatched).