15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (2023)

In terms of critical acclaim and mainstream impact, HBO has had quite a successful record with its miniseries. Even though FX, Showtime, and now Netflix and Amazon Prime Video pose as worthy competitors in this regard, HBO hasn't lost its charm, with Emmy-winning miniseries including the likes of Watchmen, Chernobyl, and more.

Even in the early 2000s, HBOlimited series like Angels In America, John Adams, and Band of Brothersare all considered as some of the best shows of all time. Most of these miniseries fall under the category of drama, with occasional stylistic influences from other genres, like superhero series (Watchmen) and legal dramas (The Night Of).

Updated on August 28th, 2021 by Kevin Pantoja:The networkis so good at delivering impressive miniseries that it's hard to just cap them out at 10. The history of HBO miniseries dates back decades but they've really hit their stride in the past few years. In fact, some of them will go down as a few of the best HBO series ever crafted. Some are twisted mysteries, most feature some of the most respected actors around, and all received critical acclaim across the board.

15 Sharp Objects (2018) - 8.1

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (1)

Based on Gillian Flynn's novel of the same name, 2018'sSharp Objects proved to be another hit for HBO. The show followed Camille Parker (Amy Adams), a troubled reporter who returns to her hometown and looks into the murder of two local young girls.

Though the audience returned every week for the twists and turns of the story, the performances of the fantastic cast grabbed everyone. Adams scoredmultiple award nominations, Patricia Clarkson won a Golden Globe as her mother, and the likes of Eliza Scanlen and Sydney Sweeney cemented themselves as future stars.

14 I May Destroy You (2020) - 8.1

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (2)

2020'sI May Destroy You isn't entirely an HBO original, considering it was produced by both BBC and HBO. However, the British drama is the brainchild of writer, creator, and leading lady Michaela Coel and it delves into a traumatizing incident from her past.

The story shifts between past and present as the protagonist seeks to rebuild her life and career. At times, the realistic tone also gives way to a satirical take on today's internet-driven socio-political climate. Heavily praised by critics all over, I May Destroy Youhas helped launch Coel's international career and was another HBO limited series hit.

13 Angels In America (2003) - 8.2

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Arguably one of the best stage play adaptations, Angels In America was conceptualized by the original's Pulitzer-winning writer Tony Kushner, while Mike Nichols took charge of the directorial duties. The AIDS epidemic, the subsequent increases in homophobia, Reagan-era politics, and magical realism collide in this monumental miniseries that swept all major Emmys it was nominated for, including all four acting categories.

Even though the titular plot is centered around Prior Walter (Justin Kirk), a gay man who encounters an angel, the star-studded ensemble is utilized for other parallel storylines.

12 I Know This Much Is True (2020) - 8.2

Adapted from the novel of the same name,I Know This Much is True was going to be as successful as the performance of Mark Ruffalo. He pulled double-duty, playing both Dominick and Thomas Bradley, a pair of twin brothers. Thomas's schizophrenia leads him to cut off his own hand and Dominick attempts to help him through the follow-up.

Thankfully, Ruffalo delivered great work that helped him win an Emmy award. Though not as high profile as some other HBO miniseries,I Know This Much is True was a grim watch bolstered by the impressive cast including Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, and Melissa Leo.

11 Watchmen (2019) - 8.2

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (5)

A modern update on Alan Moore'strailblazing graphic novelof the same name,Watchmenserves as a continuation to this saga, mixing the narrative with issues of present-day relevance ranging from police brutality to the threat of nuclear annihilation. It rebrands beloved characters, like Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons) and Doctor Manhattan (Yahya Abdul-Mateen III), and also introduces new ones, like Sister Night (Regina King).

Featuring a talented ensemble and a multi-faceted philosophical premise,Watchmenstands out in its own right, despite the shadow of its source material.

10 Olive Kitteridge (2014) - 8.3

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Starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge is an interesting character study of a misunderstood protagonist. McDormand sinks her teeth into the character, a strict teacher dealing with depression and familial issues.

Winning eight Emmys, Olive Kitteridge is also quite faithful in its adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's novel of the same name. To capture the novel's biography-like approach, the show is presented as four parts, with each part covering a particular aspect of Kitteridge's life. It makes for a worthy watch, especially for those who are interested in consuming slow-burning human dramas.

9 The Pacific (2010) - 8.3

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WhileBand of Brothers had already set a high precedent for war drama on TV,The Pacificwas a worthy follow-up to it, subverting the genre's familiar tropes in the duration of 10 episodes.

Unlike Band of Brothers, The Pacific shifts the focus from soldiers of the Easy Company to Marines fighting in the Pacific theater. The time period of both the series is quite similar, but different regiments and landscapes prevent it from getting too derivative. As expected, it offers a visually gripping, realistic, and humanized version of war that was once glorified in jingoistic portrayals.

8 The Young Pope (2016) - 8.4

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Jude Law seems to be one of those actors who finds success in almost anything that he does. That was the case again with 2016'sThe Young Pope, where he took on the difficult role ofLenny Belardo, a pope who is known to disrupt the usual chain of events.

He was helped by his confidant Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) and continually challenges the established order. The 10-episode miniseries was met with high praise from almost everyone and Law received an Emmy nomination for his performance. The series itself made history by being the first Italian show to get an Emmy nod.

7 The Night Of (2016) - 8.5

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Even though Peter Moffat created The Night Ofas a British legal thriller, the American HBO variant by Steven Zaillian went on to garner more popularity and praise. In what is often ranked as his best TV show role, Riz Ahmed plays Nasir, a man falsely incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. John Turturro portrays his lawyer who's convinced of Nasir's innocence.

As all the concerned parties try their best to find the actual criminal, Nasir unwillingly accepts his metamorphosis as a changed man in prison. With enough thrills and social commentary, The Night Of is a largely relevant miniseries that reveals the social biases and stereotypes often faced by Muslim immigrants in the West.

6 Generation Kill (2008) - 8.5

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (10)

Based on journalist Evan Wrights's memoir on the 2003 Iraq invasion, Generation Kill is a war drama that tends to explore the mental toll of warfare on American soldiers, most of whom are passionate, young recruits. While the conflict in Iraq and its agendas have been interpreted and reinterpreted in some of the best war movies of the 21st century so far, Generation Kill utilizes its seven-part miniseries format to build a uniquely atmospheric world, riddled with violence and uncertainty.

While no war miniseries seems to match the cult status of Band of Brothers, this 2008 miniseries has cultivated a popular following. It's also noteworthy for introducing AlexaderSkarsgård (who plays a Marine Staff Sergeant) to a mainstream audience.

5 John Adams (2008) - 8.5

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Paul Giamatti plays the second President of the United States in John Adams, a miniseries that focuses on Adams' role in the nation's founding. Director Tom Hooperis a perfect fit for the story, given his expertise with period dramas like HBO's Elizabeth Iand The King's Speech.

Even though the show continues to have a favorable public reaction, as can be seen from its IMDb rating, John Adams still divided critics in terms of its casting choices and overall style. If anything, the miniseriesis quite educational for viewers wishing to know more about its muse.

4 Mare Of Easttown (2021) - 8.5

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (12)
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The most recent hit HBO miniseries isMare of Easttown, which was perfect for their new streaming service, HBO Max. The show featured a mystery that had more and more layers revealed with each episode, which captivated audiences as they got closer to the truth.

Racking up 16 nominations and being the talk of social media and the water cooler, the series was something everyone seemed to be talking about. Kate Winslet delivered her typical masterful performance, while Evan Peters was likely never better. Throw inthe network'strademark production value and this is essential viewing.

3 The Corner (2000) - 8.6

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb (13)

Over time, it has gotten lost in the shuffle but 2000'sThe Cornerremains one of the best things HBO has ever put out. Based on the nonfiction bookThe Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, the show tells the emotional tale of a poor family living in Baltimore.

The series was raw and unwavering in the way it depicteda rough lifestyle spent around drug-addicted neighborhoods. Given the setting and some of the cast members, it could also be seen as a good introduction for fans ofThe Wire. Though not as famous or popular as other HBO miniseries, this did win three Emmy awards.

2 Chernobyl (2019) - 9.4

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Chernobyl is a modern achievement in terms of its storytelling and technical prowess. As is evident from the title, it covers the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, its subsequent tragedy, and relief efforts. Unflinchingly raw and disturbingly real in its portrayal of the aftermath, Chernobyl plays out in a glum and critical fashion, revealing how it's always the ordinary people who face the brunt of the devastation.

The plot also pays significant attention to the efforts of state-sponsored Soviet media to tone down the scale of the incident, a decision that only worsened the situation of the locals. All in all, Chernobyl isn't just a critique of how the incident was handled, but it also tends to serve as a universal warning, of sorts.

1 Band Of Brothers (2001) - 9.4

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Produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, Band of Brothers is widely considered one of the best war stories to be put to screen. With a massive ensemble cast and high-end production value, the landmark miniseries focuses on members of the Parachute Infantry Regiment nicknamed "Easy Company" during World War 2.

Along with wartime action, it succeeds at showcasing their metamorphosis from youngsters craving for action to weary soldiers wishing to get out of the conflict. For those who areinterested in realistic war drama films like Spielberg's own Saving Private Ryan,Band of Brothers makes for a flawless viewing session.

NEXT: The 10 Best HBO Max Original Series From 2020, Ranked By IMDb


15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb? ›

15 Best HBO Miniseries, Ranked According To IMDb
  1. 1 Band Of Brothers (2001) - 9.4.
  2. 2 Chernobyl (2019) - 9.4. ...
  3. 3 The Corner (2000) - 8.6. ...
  4. 4 Mare Of Easttown (2021) - 8.5. ...
  5. 5 John Adams (2008) - 8.5. ...
  6. 6 Generation Kill (2008) - 8.5. ...
  7. 7 The Night Of (2016) - 8.5. ...
  8. 8 The Young Pope (2016) - 8.4. ...
Aug 29, 2021

What is the most-watched HBO series? ›

After recently surpassing the viewership of Game of Thrones, Euphoria has become the most-watched TV show on HBO.

Which miniseries are most-watched? ›

The eighteen-hour 1983 miniseries The Winds of War was a ratings success, with 140 million viewers for all or part of the miniseries, making it the most-watched miniseries up to that time.

What TV series should I watch on HBO? ›

The 40 Best Shows On HBO Right Now
  • The White Lotus. 1 season, 6 episodes | IMDb: 7.6/10. ...
  • Watchmen. 1 season, 8 episodes | IMDb: 8.1/10. ...
  • Euphoria. 2 seasons, 18 episodes | IMDb: 8.4/10. ...
  • Barry. 3 seasons, 23 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10. ...
  • The Leftovers. 3 seasons, 28 episodes | IMDb: 8.3/10. ...
  • Lovecraft Country. ...
  • The Wire. ...
  • Game of Thrones.
Jul 28, 2022

What is the highest rated miniseries ever? ›

Best TV Mini-Series of All Time
  • Band of Brothers (2001) TV-MA | 594 min | Drama, History, War. ...
  • Chernobyl (2019) TV-MA | 330 min | Drama, History, Thriller. ...
  • Persona (2018) ...
  • When They See Us (2019) ...
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995) ...
  • Over the Garden Wall (2014) ...
  • Lonesome Dove (1989) ...
  • I, Claudius (1976)

What is the most watched series on HBO Max? ›

The most-watched show on HBO Max is apparently Comedy Central's South Park, a series that not only is not an HBO original, but doesn't actually even belong to WarnerMedia.

What is the most in demand show on HBO Max? ›

'South Park' Edges Out 'Game of Thrones' for Most In-Demand Show on HBO Max | Charts.

What is the most watched series on Netflix? ›

Netflix's 10 Most Popular TV Series, Ranked By Viewership
  1. 1 Squid Game (Season 1) - 1.6 Billion Hours.
  2. 2 Money Heist (Part 5) - 792 Million Hours. ...
  3. 3 Bridgerton (Season 2) - 656 Million Hours. ...
  4. 4 Stranger Things 3 - 582 Million Hours. ...
  5. 5 Lucifer (Season 5) - 569 Million Hours. ...
  6. 6 All of Us Are Dead (Season 1) - 560 Million Hours. ...
Jun 11, 2022

What's the top 10 on Netflix? ›

Global Top 10
#TV (English)Weeks in Top 10
1The Sandman: Season 11
2Keep Breathing: Limited Series2
3Virgin River: Season 43
4Stranger Things 411
6 more rows

Why are mini series so popular? ›

Miniseries are longer than a movie, but not so long that they require a long-term commitment. They also tend to be released all at once to allow the watcher to binge-watch all episodes quickly. Thanks to streaming series like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc., miniseries are more popular and accessible than ever.

What's a limited series on Netflix? ›

Also known as event series or mini-series, these shows only run for a single season seeking to tell their story in a succinct package. The “limited series” or “miniseries” is not a new concept but has been allowed to flourish with the proliferation of streaming services.

Are there any good series on HBO Max? ›

Below are all of the HBO Max originals series ranked by Tomatometer, including new-to-the-service series like Search Party, Harley Quinn, and Doom Patrol, late 2020 splashy releases The Flight Attendant and Raised By Wolves, and historical LGBTQ miniseries Equal.

Why are HBO shows the best? ›

HBO series are good because of its brand. They maintain their brand value by airing good shows and entertaining viewers that I really like about HBO. Moreover as few of the people over here said it hires good scripts and writers that is also the main reason behind why the shows are so great.

What was the first series on HBO? ›

After having only produced a limited amount of unscripted programming since the debut of its first weekly series, Inside the NFL, in September 1977, 1983 saw HBO venture into original scripted programming.

What is a limited scripted series? ›

July 2020) In television programming, a limited-run series (or simply limited series) is a program with an end date and limit to the number of episodes.

What is the difference between a limited series and a mini series? ›

Eileen O'Neill, Discovery: “Limited” can be anywhere from three to eight episodes; it means it's not coming back. A miniseries tends to be three hours or three nights.

How long is a mini series? ›

A miniseries, or limited series, has at least two episodes and a total running time of at least 150 program minutes. These shows tell a complete, nonrecurring story. The format can be helpful for entertainment platforms that rely on subscribers.

What is the number 1 Netflix series 2022? ›

Stranger Things

Is black mirror worth watching? ›

Black Mirror is one of the most original and best Mini-Series ever created! Each episode tells a different story and while not all, most of them are fascinating. There are a few that are not so good when compared to the others but most of them are fantastic!

Which Netflix series has only one season? ›

All the Netflix Shows That Only Lasted 1 Season: 'The Society,' 'Julie and the Phantoms' and 'Cowboy Bebop'

What is the 10 most popular series on HBO Max? ›

18 Best HBO Max Original Series
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls. Created by: Mindy Kaling & Justin Noble. ...
  • Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults. Directed by: Clay Tweel. ...
  • Tokyo Vice. Created by: J.T. Rogers. ...
  • South Side. ...
  • Doom Patrol. ...
  • Search Party. ...
  • Ravi Patel's Pursuit of Happiness. ...
  • Our Flag Means Death.
Aug 4, 2022

Is Titans popular? ›

Titans reign supreme not only as the DC's Most-Watched Superhero Offering of 2021 but it is also currently the Most-Watched Comic Book TV Series in the World.

Is Games of Thrones on HBO Max? ›

HBO Max users worldwide can now stream all eight seasons of Game of Thrones in 4K resolution with HDR color — both Dolby Vision and HDR10 — and Dolby Atmos surround sound, HBO announced Monday.

Is HBO showing Game of Thrones? ›

Game of Thrones is the second most in-demand show on HBO Max.

What is the best series on TV right now? ›

Most Popular TV on RT
87%The Sandman: Season 1
97%Black Bird: Season 1
100%The Bear: Season 1
60%Locke & Key: Season 3
99%Better Call Saul: Season 6
5 more rows

What are the top 3 Netflix movies? ›

Global Top 10
#Films (English)Weeks in Top 10
1Day Shift1
2Purple Hearts3
4The Gray Man4
6 more rows

Does HBO Max have anything good? ›

The Bottom Line

HBO Max offers an impressive on-demand library, excellent apps, and a cheaper, ad-supported tier. In addition, its ad-free plan supports 4K streaming, offline downloads, multiple profiles, and other useful and entertaining features.

How many episodes of miniseries are there? ›

Limited series last longer, usually between 6 and 12 episodes, while a miniseries is typically 4-6 episodes, sometimes broadcast in blocks of two to create more of an event for the viewer.

Does HBO Max have series? ›

Whether you love action, comedy, drama, anime, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, reality or sports, you'll find the best streaming movies and TV series on HBO Max.

What is the most popular crime drama? ›

30 Best Crime Drama Shows That Will Keep You on the Edge of Your...
  • 1 Mare of Easttown. Amazon. $25 AT AMAZON. ...
  • 2 Broadchurch. Amazon. $17 AT AMAZON. ...
  • 3 Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story. Amazon. ...
  • 4 Happy Valley. Amazon. ...
  • 5 Cruel Summer. Amazon. ...
  • 6 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Amazon. ...
  • 7 NCIS. Amazon. ...
  • 8 True Detective. Amazon.
Apr 28, 2022

What is the best true crime? ›

The 20 Best True Crime Documentaries Ever Made
  • The Thin Blue Line (1988) Miramax. ...
  • The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer (1992) HBO. ...
  • Paradise Lost Trilogy (1996, 2000, 2011) HBO. ...
  • The Staircase (2004) ABC News. ...
  • The Imposter (2012) Indomina Releasing. ...
  • The Act of Killing (2012) ...
  • Citizenfour (2014) ...
  • The Jinx (2015)
Jul 6, 2022

What is the name of an HBO crime drama? ›

Boardwalk Empire

HBO presents this epic new drama series that follows the birth and rise of organized crime in 'the world's playground' at the dawn of Prohibition. Steve Buscemi heads up the cast as Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson, the city's undisputed czar who is equal parts politician and gangster.

Which is better Netflix or HBO Max? ›

Netflix wins for new originals, but HBO's got game and quality. The first thing to know about HBO Max is that it has everything on HBO. That includes not only Game of Thrones but every newer show, including Euphoria, Winning Time and The Gilded Age.

What's better Hulu or HBO Max? ›

While you can choose to purchase the HBO Max subscription through the app, it's faster, easier, and provides an overall stronger viewing experience to do it through Hulu. For the quality of your viewing experience alone, it's worth paying the extra $5 through Hulu's plan instead of the base HBO Max subscription price.

Which is better HBO or HBO Max? ›

The biggest difference between HBO Max and HBO is what you can stream. HBO Max. Stream HBO, plus SO much more. Stream all of HBO together with a collection of classic TV favorites, even more blockbuster movies, and new Max Originals.


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