Showtime series have proven to be some of the best quality original programming of all genres. When thinking about whether or not to upgrade to Showtime, consider that this is the network that gave us these fantastic shows.
Showtime just got even better with its Showtime Anytime app, that allows you to watch most of their series online or through your tablets and smartphones, much like the HBO Go app. (Speaking of HBO, make sure you also take a look at the “13 Best HBO Series Ever … So Far.”
Great Showtime Series to Relive
9. Queer as Folk (2000)
Though it was adapted from the UK series of the same name, this Showtime series was still groundbreaking. The show follows a group of friends living in Pittsburgh; their ups, downs, births, deaths, trials and tribulations. It earned the network high praise and the distinction of being the first American network to show a realistic portrayal of two gay men. It also set Showtime up as a serious prime-time contender.
8. Sleeper Cell (2005)
Before Homeland there was this stunning thriller about a federal agent who goes deep undercover inside a terrorist operation in Los Angeles. This particular ring is headed by an extremist who asserts that violence is just another tool for getting out his message. Captivating and highly topical.
7. Web Therapy (current)
Originally produced as a Web series, Lisa Kudrow is Fiona Wallice, a “therapist” who has decided to create her own niche market by doing three-minute sessions via video chat. In the early episodes,it seems as if she left her former position mostly due to personal issues dealing with her husband (Victor Garber), who is not-so-secretly gay and having an affair. Fiona is not nearly as put together as she would have you believe. The format is unique (a simulated iMac screen showing each chat window), with performances that are all improvised under the guidance of Don Roos and Dan Bucatinksy.
6. The United States of Tara (2009)
A short-lived but powerful exploration of living with one of the most frightening conditions of the psychological realm. Toni Collette is marvelous as the eponymous Tara, ultimately portraying eight different characters. By the way, this is a comedy – or as showrunner Diablo Cody calls it, a “traumady.”
5. Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2008)
Based on the memoirs of real-life call girl “Belle de Jour”, this somewhat controversial Showtime series was really more a of a cross between the British sex comedies of the 1960s and rival network HBO’s Sex and the City. Billie Piper is both fearless and sympathetic in the title role. Belle is always in control, always secure and unapologetic in her chosen profession. But this can lead to some issues in her personal life.
4. Dead Like Me (2003)
Another short-lived series, but its unique concept and well-founded mythology has garnered it a solid cult following in the intervening years since its cancellation. George is killed in a bizarre toilet seat mishap that gets her recruited to the External Influence Division of the reapers, where she must assist an unknown requisite number of souls in crossing over before she, herself, can move on. All this while working her day job.
3. Californication (current)
Manchild Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is a successful, even well-respected author; yet he can’t resist doing things that will only get him into hot water. A dark comedy about the consequences of refusing to grow up that has been met with a certain amount of controversy for its unflinching depiction of a man who can’t say no.
2. Homeland (current)
In this award-winning, complex counter-terrorism thriller, there are so many plot twists and character revelations it’s hard to keep allegiances straight. Who the real “bad guys” are is often a wide gray area, while who is acting in the best interest of the people is equally unclear. Compelling, multi-layered performances, topical writing and illicit romance.
1. Dexter (current)
Based on the Jeff Lindsay novels and arguably the most unique take on the crime drama ever produced, the current flagship series has captivated both critics and audiences for seven seasons (the forthcoming eighth season has been announced to be the last). Dexter Morgan’s double life as a forensic blood spatter analyst/serial killer is intriguing enough, but add to the mix his own sister working in the same department, his other colleagues being suspicious of his true nature, and it makes for a very potent recipe for suspense.
Showtime series often depict subject matter that other networks are more likely to turn away: terminal illness, drug abuse, hedonism, serial killers, etc. The premium channel has also produced a number of documentary series covering everything from sports to unusual relationships. Whether dark comedy, intense drama, or even a little horror get your blood pumping, Showtime series have a little bit of everything.
Check the Digital Landing Deals page to see which Cable TV service providers are offering deals in your area. Some might even be offering Showtime for free for a few months as an incentive to buy.