If I could, I would have every channel. I would have the biggest cable package with all the bells and whistles. I love TV, I love diving into new TV shows and becoming completely immersed in that universe.
Alas, I cannot afford even the mid-level cable package. So, I have to be really choosy about which channels I can access. It used to be an all or nothing situation, but with premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, you can now pick and choose which ones you want to splurge on.
While I can make the case for all of them being with it, here’s a look at what’s on each, to help you make an informed decision.
15 TV Shows Totally Worth the Extra Price of Those Premium Channels:
1. “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Dragons. Strong Women. Lots of killing. Oh, and lots of sex, but let’s not focus on that. Unless you like that, then focus on that. Game of Thrones is an epic tale of intertwined stories that shocks and surprises at every turn.
2. “Last Week Tonight” (HBO)
A way to get smarter while laughing a lot. Yes, this is a political show hosted by a Brit. It’s funny, though, and host John Oliver usually doesn’t pull any punches or follow party lines.
3. “Outlander” (Starz)
A woman from post World War II England is sent back to 18th century Scotland, need I say more? Without giving anything away, the twists and turns she experiences as she tries to survive in a land of hot Scottish men will leave you enthralled.
4. “Black Sails (Starz)
Pirates. It’s set in the West Indies in the, again, 18th century. Oh, and it’s the prequel to Treasure Island.
5. “Homeland” (Showtime)
This show has been on the air for nearly six seasons, but you should start it if you haven’t already. The original premise is that a Marine returns home after being a prisoner of war and a CIA agent is convinced that he’s been turned by his captors.
6. “Ray Donovan” (Showtime)
If you’re a big deal in Hollywood and you need something fixed, you call Ray Donovan.
7. “The Knick” (Cinemax)
Medicine was a different world at the beginning of the 1900s. It’s House in a pre-antibiotic world.
The other plus side to paying for these channels is that they usually allow you to watch any series that is no longer producing new episodes. You can go on their On Demand pages or online components and simply watch some of the greatest TV shows ever made. A few shows to catch up on are:
1. “Dexter” (Showtime)
He’s a serial killer, but you like him.
2. “United States of Tara” (Showtime)
She’s a mom. She’s a wife. And she’s got multiple personalities.
3. “Weeds” (Showtime)
Suburban mom starts selling pot.
4. “Strike Back” (Cinemax)
Section 20 is an elite, secretive branch of British Intelligence that partners with a disgraced American soldier to dissolve terrorist plots and beat the bad guys.
5. “Party Down” (Starz)
You want to work in Hollywood but you need to pay the bills? Welcome to the catering company that subsides the income of this cast of characters.
6. “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
It’s Atlantic City at the dawn of the prohibition with gangsters and thugs.
7. “The Wire” (HBO)
A look — from all sides — at the narcotics scene in Baltimore.
8. “Flight of the Conchords” (HBO)
Two Kiwis try to make it in New York, while writing quirky songs.