HBO: The greatest channel to grace television

Dylan Mininger, Entertainment Editor

Home Box Office, a landmark in cable TV, has been around for nearly 46 years. When most people think about HBO, they think about the hits: “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones” and “OZ,” but it’s so much more than just amazing television shows. The network has been and still is a total wrench in the system of television and movies.

Originally titled “The Green Channel,” HBO had humble beginnings, using microwave antennas  to broadcast movies and sporting events. The first special live broadcast from HBO in 1973 was the Pennsylvania Polka Festival. Some 8,000 subscribers tuned in, and by 1975, HBO had 100,000 subscribers.

HBO continued to be the only television channel that continuously delivered their signal via satellite, one of their landmark broadcasts being the “Thrilla in Manilla” fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The network grew to prominence, only broadcasting nine hours each day and creating original content such as “Fraggle Rock” and many other shows.

HBO truly gained a big following around the late 1980s and early 1990s, creating shows such as “The Larry Sanders Show,” which is widely considered to be one of the best shows ever created.

Around 1997, HBO forever changed television and turned it into an art form. “Oz,” a prison-style drama that took on an hour-long block, became one of the first long-form television shows. It paved the way for most highly praised shows in modern television.

HBO didn’t stop there. In 1999, with writer David Chase, the network created the most important television show in history, “The Sopranos.”  With James Gandolfini playing anxiety-ridden mob boss Tony Soprano, and Lorraine Bracco playing his therapist, “The Sopranos” left a mark on history. It was one of the first cable network shows to win best drama series at the Emmys. During its first season, it took home 16 nominations altogether.

HBO went on to create other landmark television shows, most notably, “The Wire” and “Six Feet Under.” Both shows gathered massive amounts of awards and are regarded as some of the best television shows of all time. The network has only picked up speed with its original content, acquiring some of the most talented writers, directors and actors in the industry. Their most popular show in recent years is “Game of Thrones,” which has a massive fan base and many successful seasons. It will soon to be wrapping up with its final season.

The network’s incredible content has not stopped, thanks to shows such as “True Detective,”  “Big Little Lies” and a sleeper hit, “Crashing.” HBO’s creative endeavors have paved the way for every television show being broadcast today and will continue to be a model for streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. These platforms try to create their own original content in the same vein and using the same techniques as HBO, but the truth is evident: no one does it as well as Home Box Office.