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Ranking my Top Three Favorite HBO Original Series

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

With all of the recent talk about the HBO show “Euphoria,” I have been thinking about other HBO shows that have impressed me over the years. In this article, I have compiled my top three HBO shows (and limited series) that I adored and highly recommend.

3. “Barry”

“Barry” is a phenomenal show that originally aired in 2018. The third season of the show is set to be released sometime in 2022.

The hilariously enticing premise is that of the titular character, Barry (played by Bill Hader), being a hitman who goes to Los Angeles with the intention of finishing a job. However, he soon finds himself widely off-track as he joins an acting class and falls in love with the art form.

The show is often characterized as “dark comedy,” as it perfectly walks the line between its contrasting themes of compassion and violence.

What I love most about “Barry” is the way that they have depicted Barry’s moral quandaries. He often contemplates the consequences of killings and the nature of callings.

What if killing is the only thing Barry is good at? Will acting save him from his day job? What happens to the dangerous people he works for if he ever quits?

These are all great questions that you’d have to watch the show to figure out. With so much up in the air, I am beyond excited to see what season three has in store for Barry.

Bill Hader Hbo GIF by Barry - Find & Share on GIPHY
HBO, Barry via GIPHY

2. “Sharp Objects”

“Sharp Objects” is a 2018 limited series starring Amy Adams, Eliza Scanlen, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, etc. It is an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name (a fantastic book, by the way).

This series is absolutely brutal. It is only eight episodes long and yet every episode leaves you on the edge of your seat.

I remember constantly wanting to know more but simultaneously wishing for the discomfort and stress of the show to end. Spoiler: it never truly does.

This series is simply enchanting. It beautifully portrays an immensely complex family with a history comparable to a minefield.

The main character, Camille, is one that everyone can sympathize with, as she returns to the hometown where her traumatic past took place. The depictions of mental illness in this show are so raw that it hurts to watch.

In December of 2021, the director of this show, a hugely talented filmmaker named of Jean-Marc Vallée, passed away and his death once again got me thinking about the masterpiece that is this show. Although Vallée is no longer with us, he has cemented his legacy through his beautiful art.

I cannot recommend “Sharp Objects” enough. I guarantee that the ending will leave you with your jaw on the floor (the people who have seen the show or read the book will understand that this statement has more than one interpretation).

Amy Adams GIF by Sharp Objects - Find & Share on GIPHY
HBO, Sharp Objects via GIPHY

1. “Succession”

“Succession” is hands down my favorite HBO original show of all time. In fact, it’s one of my favorite shows of all time period.

With season three just having been released last year, I have to say that I am continually in awe of the ensemble cast of this show, as well as the fantastic writers and producers and crew members. “Succession” is a show that had me right from the beginning and is seemingly getting better and better with time.

The show is about a right-wing media mogul named Logan Roy who is trying to pick one of his children to be the next CEO of his company, Waystar Royco. Logan is a downright vicious and cruel person.

In fact, most of the characters in the show are objectively bad people. This is exactly what makes the show so fascinating.

The complex scenarios showcase the characters at both their worst and most villainous, but also their most dejected and vulnerable. “Succession” succeeds in making you care about these bad, bad people.

Each and every character in the show is extremely memorable and has something to contribute. The writing is sharp and witty and funny in ways both straightforward and ironic. The fight for power feels like a modern-day Shakespeare drama, and it is ridiculously addicting to watch.

I promise that every chance that someone in this show has to twist the knife is taken— although you might writhe and cringe, you will not want to stop watching.

If you take anything away from this article, I hope that it is that this show is a must-watch. Come and join me on Team Kendall!

Video via @succession

It was hard keeping this list so short since HBO has produced many of my favorite shows of all time. There are still many shows that didn’t make the cut for my top three like “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “Big Little Lies,” “Insecure,” “Genera+ion,” “Industry,” etc. The list goes on… and on.

So, now that “Euphoria” is wrapped up and you’re left thinking that you have nothing to watch on HBO, make sure to check out some of these wonderful recommendations.

Hello! My name is Annika and I'm a first-year English major who loves to write and watch movies.