Over the past few decades, HBO has been releasing some good quality programming. When the premium channel first came about in the 1970s, it only showed movies to customers with a subscription. Customers could also get sports that no other channel had (like the famous “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier) which set it apart. It rose during the 80s and in the 1990s started launching its own original shows.
Today, HBO produces the most engaging original shows out of all the networks combined and has taken home numerous awards for programming. While a vast majority of them are amazing, some of them are, well, a tad bit on the fake side.
Here are 11 HBO shows that fall on the fake line, and 8 which are too real for words.
20 So Fake: Game of Thrones
Don’t get us wrong – Game of Thrones was the most captivating and amazing shows on the face of the planet, but when most people would describe it, they commonly used the words “dragons” and “three-eyed ravens” and such. Okay, so it IS a fantasy show, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t way ahead of its time storyline wise.
19 Too Real: Six Feet Under
The drama about a family who runs a funeral home in Los Angeles is dangerously unsettling and deals with the complexities of death on an everyday basis. The Fisher family consists of characters who are all too real and were basically brought up to deal with the fall out of death, so much so that they’ve become strangely numb to it.
18 So Fake: Sex And The City
You want audiences to believe that a writer, who only writes a SINGLE column once a week can afford to not only rent in Manhattan, but afford designer clothing, and live her nightlife partying with her friends? This was the premise of a show that centered on Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her three best friends (who had way better jobs, btw). Ok, sure.
17 Too Real: The Wire
Even though the drama series ended over 10 years ago, The Wire still remains a masterpiece in the television world. It focuses on the underbelly of Baltimore through both the eyes of law enforcement and the eyes of criminals. It earned numerous Emmy awards and shot Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, and a bunch of others to fame.
16 So Fake: Westworld
While this show is wildly brilliant, we pray it’s not a looking glass into a distant future for the world where you can’t really tell apart artificial intelligent from actual human beings. The show starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and Jeffrey Wright is certainly enticing and smart, but it’s not a world we want to live in.
15 Too Real: Euphoria
The drama Euphoria premiered this year to rave reviews thanks to a realistic portrayal of being a teenager in a very technological age. The show starring Zendaya, new coming Hunter Schafer, and Sydney Sweeney, is notoriously hard to watch – especially if you’re a parent to a teenager. It’s very brutal and eye-opening in a strangely beautiful way.
14 So Fake: True Blood
This fantasy/horror series actually premiered back in 2008 when all of Hollywood seemed to be on that “vampire kick” that the Twilight books seemed to kick off. And while it was WAY better than those books (and movies), it was still, well, revolving around vampires. It helped that the cast (Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell) was awesome.
13 Too Real: Divorce
This comedy shows both the dark and light sides of when a marriage just falls apart after so many years and how you can actually function in the aftermath with the family that you created together. The show stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church as Frances and Robert, the couple whose marriage is slowly failing and their therapy sessions.
12 So Fake: The Sopranos
The Sopranos will go down in history as one of the best, most complex show on television, but that doesn’t mean it got EVERYTHING right. The show, based around Tony Soprano’s (James Gandolfini) personal life and mob life, seemed to upset Italian-Americans who claimed the show stereotyped them and was not at all true to life.
11 Too Real: Chernobyl
The mini-series that premiered earlier this year focused on the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that happened in April of 1986. The show focused on the gritty aspects that went on during the fallout and how the government attempted to cover it up. It’s still insanely controversial today because the government still is claiming things were NOT as bad as they appeared.
10 So Fake: VEEP
VEEP, a political satire based around Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s foul-mouthed vice president Selina Meyer and her chaotic staff of equally as foul characters. Louis-Dreyfus won so many Emmys for her portrayal of Meyer, but a lot of the scenarios in the show seem a tad too unbelievable for words. But, nevertheless, it was a genius show.
9 So Fake: The Leftovers
Creatively, this show was epic in its own right. Realistically? Meh, not so much. The show is about how the world is after, what they call, the “Sudden Departure” where two percent of the world’s population just suddenly disappeared. Naturally, religions believe it to be a reaping of sorts as the show focuses on the Garvey family and their fallout from the event.
8 Too Real: Silicon Valley
If you’ve ever worked in the tech field or know any tech people – you’ll know that the characters on this particular comedy are spot on. The show is actually based on co-creator Mike Judge’s life as an engineer in Silicon Valley in the 80s. The show revolves around a group who attempt to cash in on an app they created.
7 So Fake: Girls
The show Girls was just Sex and the City for millennials. The show, created by Lena Dunham, was about an aspiring writer and her group of friends living in New York. Of course, it’s as unrealistic as SATC was in terms of the lifestyles of the characters. Not to mention that it was notoriously hard to watch due to the personalities of each character.
6 Too Real: Insecure
The comedy Insecure is being hailed as an “all-too-real” masterpiece that centers on two best friends who deal with the uncomfortableness of everyday life. The show was created by its star, Issa Rae, who wanted to show the hardships that come along with being a black woman in the modern-day world.
5 So Fake: The Young Pope
This drama starring Jude Law was about the first-ever American Pope being elected. The thing is, he’s as mysterious as they come and because of this and the fact that he’s so very young, he has attracted the wrong types of followers – or is it he who’s actually the “wrong type”? Either way, it’s a fake premise and not likely to happen AT ALL.
4 Too Real: The Comeback
We know Lisa Kudrow as dizzy Phoebe from Friends fame, but in The Comeback, she plays a B-list actress desperately trying to revive her career in Hollywood, so she decides to take the reality-TV route (as most B-list actors who have fallen off the radar do). Not only that, but she’s desperately attempting to hold on to her youth, which is pretty typical too.
3 So Fake: Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies is a phenomenally engaging show with a stellar cast and a great storyline – I only have one caveat: If you’ve ever been to Monterrey Bay in Northern California, you know that houses can’t exactly be DIRECTLY on the beach as some are in this show (come to find out, some scenes are shot in Southern CA) due to the strong waves.
2 So Fake: Ballers
This show focuses on the glamorous life of the sports world from the eyes of a former-football-player-turned-manager (played by the Rock). While he does dig into the dark side of the wealth and fame that comes along with young athletes, it’s a little too far fetched and feels like an Entourage spin-off.
1 Too Real: Succession
While through the eyes of your average, everyday hard-working individual, Succession might be a bit far fetched. But in reality, it’s how billionaires with too much time on their hands actually act (not to mention how they toy around with their family members, such as this particular show displays). Plus, it’s darkly hilarious as well.
References: hbo.com, imdb.com, tvguide.com, indiewire.com, ew.com