Sky Atlantic, launches on today (at 8pm) with some of the most anticipated American shows of the year on its schedule. The attraction for quality TV-loving Brits to buy subscription packages has never been so strong, but is it worth it? To find out, we rate some of the channel's upcoming shows.
Boardwalk Empire: 9/10
What better way to launch a channel than with a mobster series created by The Sopranos' Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese? With big names like this behind the scenes it's no wonder the prohibition drama has drawn so much attention.
Boardwalk Empire's 90-minute pilot will be the first programme shown on Sky Atlantic (airing at 9pm on Tuesday, February 1 after an hour of almost certainly cringe-worthy celeb endorsments and PR waffle). It's visually stunning and the acting (by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Stephen Craham) is fantastic, but it loses marks for making our American team (who've seen it all) bored by the finale.
Blue Bloods: 8/10
Blue Bloods gets great reviews and ratings in the States, but it's no better--in our opinion--than More4's Southland or Fiver's Justified, which are already available on freeview. It does have Tom Selleck in it though. The series starts on Sky Atlantic straight after Boardwalk Empire on February 1 at 10.30pm.
When ITV2 decided to stop airing Entourage, when it reached its seventh season, we were scared the UK would never (legally) see the comedy again. Thankfully, the series about the career of fictional actor Vince Chase, will return on Sky Atlantic (from Thurs 3 at 10.30pm). It's an original comedy, with a great list of guest stars, but the show's lost momentum in recent seasons.
Talking of losing momentum… this comedy series is really fizzling out. Weeds used to air on Sky, but it got canned without much complaint. Now, almost three years after it was first shown, the drug-dealing series' fourth season will finally air in the UK (February 7, 10:15pm). To be fair, this season isn't the worst, but it's not that great either.
Bored to Death: 6/10
This comedy, about a recently dumped alcoholic, isn't for everyone. Some international viewers criticise the show's slow pace, while others praise its original concept. The series, which stars Jason Schwartzman and Zach Galifianakis, needs you to invest your time in it because it doesn't really get going until the fifth episode. To help decide if this show is for you check out these preview clips.
Game of Thrones: ?/10
Four years in the making, Game of Thrones finally premieres this April. As one of the most anticipated new series of the year this show's got a lot to live up to. Thankfully, Sky Atlantic will be airing the Sean Bean-fronted series in the same month as HBO in the US, so we won't have to wait long to see for ourselves if lives up to the hype. Until then, we've got plenty of preview videos to keep us entertained.
Scheduled alongside the new acquisitions will also be classic HBO shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. If you've not watched them yet, you most definitely should--whether that be on Sky Atlantic or not.