If someone were to call HBO the uncrowned King of cable entertainment in the United States, it would not be an overstatement. The network, now owned by the giant Warner Bros, is by far the most expansive and popular entertainment media giant in the country. And these are not mere marketing taglines, HBO’s absolute supremacy is rooted both in history and in facts.
Launched in November 1972, HBO is the longest continually running cable entertainment service in the United States.
It was the first channel to have the foresight of offering users a premium ads-free viewership experience. In other words, with the launch of HBO audiences could choose to pay directly for the channel content instead of suffering the disruptions caused by constant advertisements.
From its launch to this day, HBO remains the largest premium cable channel in the States. Now that is consistent performance and overarching achievement, right? No wonder the channel was able to rake in well over 7.5 Billion USD in revenues in 2021.
And HBO does not just enjoy market dominance not merely because of its business model, the content they churn it is also engaging and critically acclaimed. The fact that HBO productions were nominated for 108 Emmys in 2022 alone speaks volumes about their quality.
To keep up with the trends of the times, HBO recently joined the streaming industry with the launch of the popular platform HBO Max. The service has already garnered over 80 Million subscribers and the numbers are expected to balloon in the near future.
But the launch of HBO’s streaming service in no way takes away the giant audiences and viewership of its cable network.
As a direct result of the popularity of HBO many established cable providers like Spectrum have included the channel into their packages.
For instance, people with Spectrum Cable TV plans can access up to 8 HBO Max channels for the mere price of $15 a month. This is because even dominant players like Spectrum realize that thousands of Americans get cable solely to watch HBO and the variety of shows it has to offer.
So, let’s take a quick look at some of the shows that symbolize why HBO’s content is so popular in America.
GAME OF THRONES
Game of Thrones has been termed as the most popular season in the history of seasons. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world followed the season when it aired and those who did not are trying to catch up.
The season set the standard for large-scale fantasy series productions, a standard that the likes of Netflix and Amazon are trying very hard to meet, albeit unsuccessfully.
The season brings to life George R.R Martin’s best-selling series of novels called, A Song of Ice and Fire. The combination of Martin’s powerful and imaginative storytelling and HBO’s expert cinematography makes the season unlike any other.
It’s virtually impossible to summarize GOT in a few passages but let’s try to do so anyway. At the very basic level, the season tries to tell the story of a group of siblings born to a Lord of one of the seven great realms in the fictional region of Westeros.
Viewers watch as they grow out of their innocent childhoods and become Kings, Queens, and Assassins, with one falling in love with a ferocious dragon-riding queen from Esteros. And yes, who can forget about mankind’s battle for survival with icy demons leading armies of the dead.
The show has politics, drama, fantasy, action, and even tragic comedy and there is no metric it misses out on. GOT is truly the season of our century.
THE LAST OF US
An ongoing blockbuster season that has audiences around the world asking for more, The Last of Us is a masterpiece of cinema based on the globally famous video game of the same name. Despite its traditional zombie apocalypse theme, the show is far from being traditional.
First thing first, the acting is out of this world. Pablo Pascal plays the iconic role of the mercenary turned father figure to Bella Ramsay, a rebellious teen whose blood contains the cure to the fungus spread global Zombie pandemic.
Individually the two are extremely violent characters who develop a strange bond exactly because of their shared apathy for the world.
The show moves at a fairly slow pace with each episode picturized like a short film in its own right. Though all the episodes are connected by the broader story arch.
And the best part, the production team actually took out the time to create some stunning-looking zombies instead of merely relying on the drooling dummy cliché.
HBO has already okayed the show for a second season and thousands around the world just cannot wait.
THE BIG BANG THEORY
Let’s end the list on a lighter note. Big Bang theory is a masterful blend of comedy, science, and drama. The award-winning comedy show takes audiences by surprise because initially, no one can hope to imagine that a show centered around the sadly comic lives of four science nerds could be so funny.
The show offers plenty of, actually funny, science jokes, and has some pretty convincing performances. But the centerpiece of Big Bang Theory is Jim Parson’s Sheldon Cooper, a clueless super-genius with a heart of gold.
Sheldon’s character has, rightfully, risen to the level of legend and has inspired a long-lasting and loyal fan base, which many shows cannot help but covet.
HBO is the most defining cable entertainment network operating out of the U.S. From sports, to comedies, to romcoms to action blockbusters, the network has produced and aired a wide array of content.
The three series mentioned above are prime examples of why HBO’s productions stand out.