Canada’s Crave is known for its top-shelf television show library, but why waste time browsing when we’ve picked out the best of the best here?
Though Crave has recently added movies to its service, the main course of its library has always been quality television and episodes upon episodes of HBO’s finest franchises. You could literally spend a year sitting in that favourite armchair of yours consuming all of this top-tier TV. It’s downright excessive.
The only problem with having access to a ludicrous amount of entertainment hours: the very finite time the average human has to spare for watching. So we thought it would be best to zero in on the absolute must-watch shows that no viewer should be without. Be it comedy, drama or horror, this list of the crème de la crème of Crave has something for every taste…
Need more TV?
The top 10 TV shows on Crave
- Game of Thrones
- True Detective
- The Sopranos
- The Wire
- The Expanse
- Band of Brothers
- South Park
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
1. Game of Thrones 2011
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
From the outside looking in (via a fancy map), the political machinations of Westeros look by-the-numbers enough. Seven noble families are making underhanded moves to control seven kingdoms. It’s quite a subtle game of chess that escalates into bloody, open warfare in which major characters meet very untimely ends in gruesome ways.
Prepare to be riveted to some of the best backstabbing twists in TV history, not to mention one of the greatest slowburn threats in any fantasy ever. An ancient and icy horror has awakened just beyond the borders of this petty human squabble. Winter is coming.
2. True Detective 2014
- Matthew McConaughey as Detective Rust Cohle
- Woody Harrelson as Detective Marty Hart
- Michelle Monaghan as Maggie Hart
Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster – for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart are standing on the precipice of a darkness rising in Louisiana that will come to span multiple decades.
When a ritualised murder once thought solved by them is repeated years later, the question becomes: is this a copycat killing? Or is one of these officers a wolf playing as a sheepdog?
3. Letterkenny 2016
- Jared Keeso as Wayne
- Nathan Dales as Daryl
- Michelle Mylett as Katy
- K. Trevor Wilson as Dan
Wayne is a good-ol’ boy who was born in Letterkenny, Ontario, and he’s fixin’ to die there as well. The only major fight in his life is against change – the evolving world outside that keeps trying to seep into his hillbilly slice of heaven. But, to be fair, there’s also some side conflict in the form of The Hicks, Skids and Hockey Players, the three archetypes that everybody in town has to slot into when it comes time for fussin’ and a-feudin’. Expect plenty of both, plus a ton of ass-whoopin’.
4. The Sopranos 1999
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Robert Iler as A.J. Soprano
Welcome to the story of New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces while trying to keep his criminal enterprise in line and his family out of his thinning hair. It’s a tough gig, so Tony decides to do an Analyze This with psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. Along with some fascinating and eerily authentic insights into the mind of a part-time sociopath, The Sopranos delivers some of the best crime-drama twists and turns this side of The Wire.
5. The Wire 2002
- Dominic West as Jimmy McNulty
- Lance Reddick as Cedric Daniels
- Sonja Sohn as Kima Greggs
- Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale
The American war on drugs was a fugazi. We know this now but in the simpler times of 2002 there was still plenty of hope left in law enforcement and the general public. Initially The Wire chronicles a group of Baltimore homicide and narcotics detectives and their targets, but this soon expands to include the many other corrupt, self-sustaining bureaucracies that are plaguing the city. You should also expect to fall in love with a bunch of characters who constantly shift between good and evil.
6. The Expanse 2015
- Steven Strait as Jim Holden
- Cas Anvar as Alex Kamal
- Dominique Tipper as Naomi Nagata
- Wes Chatham as Amos Burton
Forget geopolitical strife – that’s amateur stuff. Two hundred years from now our solar system has been colonised and interplanetary relationships are a tinderbox of thermonuclear problems. The spark that’s about to set it all off: the seemingly innocuous case of a missing young woman on an asteroid outpost who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race to expose a shocking conspiracy.
7. Band of Brothers 2001
- Damian Lewis as Richard D. Winters
- Ron Livingston as Lewis Nixon
- Donnie Wahlberg as C. Carwood Lipton
- Matthew Settle as Ronald Speirs
Forget the blockbuster WWII fiction of Saving Private Ryan. For Band of Brothers, co-producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks drew from the real life heroics and interviews of Easy Company, an elite paratrooper unit out of Georgia. Band of Brothers follows the unit’s full journey from insertion behind enemy lines in Normandy early on D-Day morning to participation in the Battle of the Bulge, and then as they become the first discoverers of the hidden horrors of the Nazi regime. This is authentic and essential viewing.
8. South Park 1997
- Trey Parker as Eric Cartman / Stan Marsh (voice)
- Matt Stone as Kyle Broflovski / Kenny McCormick (voice)
- Mona Marshall as Sheila Broflovski (voice)
- April Stewart as Sharon Marsh (voice)
Spawned from a crude, politically incorrect short about Jesus fighting Santa, South Park has since become a 22-season animation juggernaut. On the surface it follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado, but behind all the construction paper and fart jokes is some razor sharp commentary on current events. Not for the easily offended – nor the potty averse – South Park is like nothing else on television.
9. Curb Your Enthusiasm 2000
- Larry David as Larry David
- Jeff Garlin as Jeff Greene
- Susie Essman as Susie Greene
For the few of you who didn’t know it, off-kilter, no-filter-having Larry David was the real-life inspiration for Seinfeld‘s George Costanza. David more or less plays himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm, a comedy series that sees him nit-picking and over-analysing his way through the uber-correct intimacies of the LA tinsel town.
Everything gets a look in here: politeness, casual day-to-day-spite and just about every no-go topic in modern society. David finds a way to blunder his way into it all in hilarious fashion.
10. Deadwood 2004
- Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock
- Ian McShane as Al Swearengen
- Molly Parker as Alma Garret
- Jim Beaver as Whitney Ellsworth
This early HBO series set the standard for western TV series. Life comes at you fast in Deadwood, South Dakota, a brutal frontier mining encampment with aspirations of becoming cosmopolitan. History buffs will love this to death as the narrative is woven around actual historic events with most of the main characters based on real people (Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok and E.B. Farnham to name but a few). Drama fans will fall for it, too, thanks to the frequent power plays made by local “entertainment proprietor” Al Swearengen and Seth Bullock, a hot-tempered ex-lawman who begrudgingly puts back on a star to keep some modicum of law and order in town.