Sophie’s Choice: HBO or SHOWTIME?

With THE SOPRANOS reaching its conclusion (Tony’s Dead. Deal with it.) and SEX AND THE CITY a distant memory, this TV Addict thought he’d end the week off by giving you one question to ponder over what will no doubt be a gorgeous June weekend.

QUESTION: There’s only enough money in your household budget for one additional speciality channel. HBO or SHOWTIME, which channel do you choose?

Post away with your answers — answers which I imagine will give executives of both networks something interesting to read all weekend long.

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  • Ash

    Showtime, hands down! I’ve been saying for a long time now that Showtime is the new HBO. There is nothing on HBO that can compare to Weeds or Dexter. I was a huge SATC fan back in the day and that was the only time I watched HBO. Never was a fan of The Sopranos so that’s no loss to me.
    I tested out John from Cincinnati and was really disappointed. I felt like I was jumping into watching the middle of the season and didn’t care for any of the deeply flawed characters. Even Dylan McKay couldn’t save that show for me. I might give it one more try but it took a lot of effort to get through His Visit: Day One.
    Big Love is the only show worth watching on HBO since Extras has now played out its last season. Flight of the Conchords might be alright but I’m not clamoring to see it.
    Meadowlands and Californication should both be pleasant summer fare that will probably be better than any of HBO’s offerings.
    But that’s just my two cents…

  • If you’re having trouble deciding, you could do what I did and haggled with my cable/satellite company to get a bargain for both. Just a suggestion.

  • tcgc

    neither…I’m perfectly happy living in Canada and sacrificing the ability to get either channel.

  • Showtime without a doubt. I only watch Entourage on HBO while I watch both Dexter and Weeds on Showtime.

  • HBO is a mess right now after the boss beat up his girlfriend and was fired. They killed of Carnivale, Deadwood and few others before they were finished. Six Feet Under, Sopranos and Sex and The City are gone leaving the net with no new hits. John From Cincy is getting killed by critics and nothing on the horizon looks worthy at this point of being a ‘hit”. They still have cult faves Big Love, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm but the cult faves use to always offset a hit or two. And whoever thought it was a good idea to kill Deadwood and launch Cincy in the same breath is nuts.

    Meahwhile showtime has The L Word, Weeds, Dexter, The Tudors and Brotherhood and what will be the most buzzed about show late summer Californication. Not to mention a new personal fave Meadowlands.

    My vote is Showtime… by a long shot….

  • Linda B.

    A few years ago, i would’ve said HBO (back in the day when SATC was on and Sopranos was still good). Now, i’m SHO all the way. I loved season 1 of Dexter and can’t wait for its return in Sept. I’m also interested in giving Meadowlands and Californication a try. I watch Big Love, but last week’s episode was ho-hum.

  • seejayess

    I enjoy SHO much more, too bad Weeds & Dexter can’t be on for longer season runs…

  • plinstrot

    Showtime. No Question.

    …or just watch Weeds and Dexter online/DVD and spend the money on something pretty.

  • Ace

    I’d choose neither. If I was forced, I would choose HBO, but not for the actual programming. I’m not particularly into either channel’s current programming. I’m not huge on weeds. Weeds isn’t bad, but I don’t really find the show all that amusing. It struck me as hackish and boring, but that’s just how I saw it. I came into the L Word too late. I would have to watch four seasons of the show on DVD to even understand what’s going on. I actually like this show, but it’s a serial program which requires background knowledge that I just don’t have because I have to know backgrounds of characters and make personal investments. I did like queer as folk, but those days are over.

    Additionally, I’m not watching period shows because they don’t really interest me, so that takes Rome and the Tudors out of the running off the bat since I really don’t care about ancient Rome or Middle Ages England. The programming on HBO is slightly better to me. I do like big love and the wire. Flight of the Conchords might be interesting, but this is not why I’m choosing HBO.

    The reason I choose HBO is because the boxing coverage on HBO is light years ahead of Showtime. The fighters are better, the commentators are better, and the frequency is much higher. So, while showtime is doing its thing, I’d choose HBO over showtime.

  • Erica

    I’m uncomfortable phrasing this as a “Sophie’s Choice” given exactly what that is, but leaving my personal issues aside, go Showtime for the series.

  • sideofzen

    Showtime, definitely!

    I’m not sure what HBO have going for it besides Big Love.

  • Beth

    Definitely Showtime! I can’t wait for Dexter to return, and is anyone else excited about the whole Big Brother uncensored (I think it’s called Showtime after Dark where they’ll air uncensored footage from the Big Brother House from 12-3am). Sooo excited!!

  • Matt P

    Neither, don’t watch either of there original series enough if I had to pay for them myself.

  • CaroleJean

    We have both HBO and Showtime. If I had to eliminate one of them I don’t know what I would do. I like the movies and docu’s on HBO. Their regular shows has gone downhill, with that John from Cincin. Showtime has improved quite a bit with their regular shows, and they are getting better movies than they used to. I can not eliminate either one. I’m stuck with both.

  • its gotta be HBO. Showtime has the fantastic Weeds and Dexter and…oh wait, that’s it. HBO may not have any hits besides Entourage on this very second, but you know there will be more– HBO has been very consistent in its excellence for years, while Showtime is just starting to get good. I’d stick to the more reliable of the two.

  • Josh

    Showtime because of Big Brother. I also think Weeds and Dexter look appealing, I just haven’t bothered to download them to check them out.

  • Showtime by a mile… though i like Big Love, i LOVE Dexter.

  • DD

    We don’t have Showtime or HBO in Canada??

  • Danimal

    That is why Canada is so great! we get pretty much all the shows with the movie network

  • shanna

    I’m going to have to go with Showtime (if i absolutely had to make a choice). I have both now and I don’t really watch either of them for the movies (I have Netflix for that) and although I LOVE Entourage and Big Love, on Showtime I watch Weeds, Dexter, The Tudors, and will probably be watching Californication as well.

  • CC

    For me.. I love Big Love, but then I also love Dexter and The L Word. So 2 against one? It’s hard because who knows what series they’ll have next. Right now I’d go with Showtime.
    Isn’t it cheaper to just dl all series you like on itunes instead of paying a certain amount a month?..

  • Dave

    Dexter is one of the common arguments that Showtime is better. Please, the season 1 finale of Dexter was only good if you are completely retarded. It was so disappointing on many levels; do I even have to explain… It made me stop watching the show. The humor in weeds can be so cliche and predictable. Hmmm, she dates a DEA agent and her store catches on fire; now that’s creativity at its pinnacle. As one of the responses stated, “Showtime is the new HBO”… This statement alone proves that HBO is the standard for which all other programming is judged, and also shows the small mindedness of the author who thought that would further their argument.

  • Filmmaker

    So I have recently been in great debate with friends / colleagues over the question who has better television programs the conglomerate HBO, or SHOWTIME who since its inception has focused its energy to the promotion of boxing matches, and short independent films? Well, I have noticed that it has been quite sometime since anyone has remarked on this great topic, but for those who may stumble across this forum like myself, looking for an educated answer to the question, I would like to re open the topic for discussion throwing in my two cents.

    Before I divulge my answer I will first note that I am a college film student graduating in only 2 more short semesters, that being said I have made three films of my own, had my hand in too many other projects to count, and have taken an array of film critical studies courses. Needless to say I can make informed decisions on the topic at hand.

    Now, time for the nitty gritty! Before dropping trow and spewing fecal matter all over HBO, let me first say that Curb Your Enthusiasm is a fantastic show and the humor that spills from Larry David is pure genius! That being said clearly my informed vote goes to SHOWTIME as far as TV shows are concerned. Let’s go through the striking shows shall we? WEEDS, CALIFORNICATION (“The smarter answer to Entourage”), DEXTER, NURSE JACKIE, and UNITED STATES OF TARA, (these are just the multitiude of SHOW original series I feel are its strongest). Showtime is a network which has its strengths in areas that tv should. The writing is incredibly smart, unique, daring, and funny. If you want shows capable of making you think, love and enjoy, say no more showtime provideds this for you in ever show listed above. These shows are real and have there adults acting like adults. Weeds currently about to unveil season 6, has literally shown a family grow and develop through time. How fantastic that one can see how a character, like real people, growing, learning, changing, and adapting to new enviroments overtime. Not to mention the production value, with season 4 and 5 breaking the traditional intro formats to include completely original and experimental titles! And what about Californication which recently concluded its epic 3rd season? This show literally is one of the smartest shows I have ever seen. It is smart, it is sexy, and funny as all hell. If your a college frat boy looking for one liners by all means hbo will be the network for you with its mundane ENTOURAGE, but for al those looking for substance you can find it in Californication.

    One argument that arises with the topic of which network has the better shows is that HBO reigns supreme with shows like Sopranos and Sex and The City. Well let me give a quick reminder, all though both shows were fantastic… THEY ARE NO LONGER ON AIR!!!!!!!!!! These shows therefore are not in the running to defend the HBO network. Not to mention how many actors have jumped ship from HBO to Showtime? Take the marvelous Edie Falco for instance, HBO asked Falco to sign with them again for another series. The wise Falco however declined with the reasoning that she would NEVER AGAIN work for a network which gave her show the ending that it was given. Lets face it coming from a huge SOPRANOS fan the series ending was litterally abismal and quiet frankly an embarrasment to an otherwise fantastic series. Falco who opte to star in the SHOWTIME original NURSE JACKIE made the right choice. Nurse Jackie makes FOX’s HOUSE look like mary poppins. Jackie is a Nurse who is smarter than the doctors in her New York hospital but can not become a doctor because she’ll surely fail the drug tests as seeing shes severely addicted to opiates. How does she get the drugs you ask? Leave it to Showtime to have Jackie sleeping with the hospital pharmacist, while tearing at your heart strings as she also has a husband who adores her and a daughter who suffers from a devoid relationship with her mother due to the demanding hours of a Nurse.
    Once again showtime reining supreme with clever plots and whitty writing.

    Believe me I would love to go on more but I think i’ve already written enough. SHOWTIME wins no contest when it comes to deciding what network is better. If you find yourself asking for brilliant TV that is smart and captivating, look no more showtimes the answer plain and simple!