Even the most cynical among us have to admit that sometimes a promotional statement gets it right. Take HBO's most famous slogan – "It's not TV, it's HBO" – a phrase that sums up the enduring appeal of the cable channel which was launched on 8 November 1972 and celebrates its 40th birthday this month.
Think of your favourite shows of the last 20 years and chances are at least one of them, probably more, is an HBO creation. From Oz to Boardwalk Empire, Sex and The City to Girls, HBO has consistently demonstrated a knack for creating shows people talk about, even if it's only to say how much they don't care.
It wasn't always this way. Viewers in the 1970s and '80s didn't have too much to shout about – unless they were