The Ultimate Guide to the Best TV Shows on HBO Max
Are you ready to be hooked on a streaming service that offers the best TV shows? Look no further than HBO Max, where you can immerse yourself in a world of captivating narratives and unforgettable characters. From timeless classics like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones to exciting contemporary hits like Succession and Euphoria, HBO Max has curated a collection of outstanding series that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Get ready to indulge in the ultimate binge-watching experience as we dive into the best TV shows on HBO Max!
Recommended for: Fans of humorous hangout comedies, wigs, and the White SoxNumber of seasons: 3
Sultan Salahuddin and Kareme Young in South Side
Comedy Central's South Side follows the journey of two friends in Chicago who aspire to become venture capitalists but find themselves trapped in mundane day jobs until their dreams come true. Created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, the show presents a uniquely charming world. It falls into the hangout comedy genre, where not much "exciting" happens, but the humor is undeniably hilarious, and the characters are exceptionally well-developed. It's the kind of show that makes you question why you didn't start watching it sooner. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
Recommended for: Fans of lighthearted and poignant TV shows that explore identityNumber of seasons: 2
Amanda Cordner and Bilal Baig in Sort Of
HBO Max's Sort Of is a touching dramedy that follows the life of a non-binary millennial who leaves everything behind to take care of the children they nanny after the mother has an accident. It's a quietly groundbreaking gem of a series that avoids overemphasis and flows naturally with everyday life. The brilliant star and co-creator Bilal Baig, brings droll honesty to the exploration of identity, while the jokes catch you off guard with their subtlety. It's like a breath of fresh air in the form of a TV show. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
The Sopranos (1999-2007)
The Sopranos launched a new era of television, becoming HBO's blueprint for dark, character-driven dramas. While it wasn't the first great show from HBO, it set the stage for a generation of shows like Deadwood, Six Feet Under, and The Wire. Renowned for its complex characters and intricate plots, The Sopranos also features mind-bending dream sequences, side-splitting humor, and outstanding performances from a talented ensemble cast. James Gandolfini delivers a standout performance as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, supported by an exceptional cast that includes Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, and more. The show's impact goes beyond its historical significance, providing an engaging and entertaining viewing experience. All six seasons are essential viewing, although the 2021 prequel film The Many Saints of Newark falls short. — Judy Berman
The Last of Us
Credit: Liane Hentscher / HBO
Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin's remarkable adaptation of the beloved video game The Last of Us brings a gripping and self-contained story across nine hour-long episodes. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star as Joel and Ellie, a pair of survivors in a post-apocalyptic America ravaged by a relentless fungal infection that turns people into zombie-like creatures. To save humanity, mercenary Joel must safely escort immune teenager Ellie to a rebellion group capable of developing a vaccine. Along the way, they must navigate not only dangerous creatures but also sinister humans who redefine evil. The series combines hair-raising horror, clever humor, and an unforgettable soundtrack, delivering some of the most emotionally devastating moments of 2023. Embrace it and be prepared for a good cry. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: The Last of Us is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
The Last of Us (2023-present)
It's rare to find a successful adaptation of a video game, but HBO's The Last of Us breaks that mold by expanding upon the gripping story of the original game. The first season closely follows the live-action journey of Joel and Ellie, portrayed by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, through a post-apocalyptic world plagued by a fungal infection called Cordyceps. Ellie's immunity to the infection drives Joel's mission to bring her to a rebel group in hopes of developing a vaccine. The show also features guest appearances by actors from the game, such as Ashley Johnson and Merle Dandridge. The series captures hair-raising horror, witty puns, and a memorable soundtrack, providing some of the most emotionally impactful moments of 2023.
Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
Game of Thrones is arguably one of the most significant cultural phenomena on television since The Sopranos. The series premiered to high viewership numbers, with an average of 32.7 million viewers per episode in seasons 1-7, and a jump to an average of 46 million viewers in its eighth and final season. It offers a thrilling experience from start to finish, although the final season has caused divided opinions among fans. Based on George R.R. Martin’s novels, the show intricately weaves multiple storylines that revolve around the fight for the Iron Throne in the ancient continent of Westeros. Besides the remarkable performances, the fight sequences and fantasy elements alone make this eight-season masterpiece worth investing time in. Although the show has received criticism for its excessive use of rape and violence against women, it never fails to provide gripping moments, with the Red Wedding being one of the most astounding moments in television history. It comes as no surprise that Game of Thrones is the second most-awarded television series at the Emmys.
Including this show is a must, especially since its fourth and final season just concluded tragically. Succession, which has been described as a “sitcom disguised as a drama," follows Logan Roy, the chairman of Waystar RoyCo., a powerful media company that bears similarities to real-life Fox News. As Logan grows older, three of his four children eagerly vie for the top position as CEO. Throughout four seasons, audiences witness family betrayals, reunions, backstabbing, tears, divorces, acquisitions, and sales. What truly stands out are the stellar performances by the entire cast, including Brian Cox as the ruthless patriarch, Jeremy Strong as the heir presumptive Kendall Roy, Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy, Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wamsbgans, and Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy.
The Wire (2002-2008)
The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad primarily centered around male characters, while The Wire focused on men navigating corrupt systems. This show, set in Baltimore's war on drugs, introduced some of the most iconic characters in television history, such as Michael K. Williams' gunslinger Omar Little, Idris Elba's aspiring entrepreneur Stringer Bell, and Dominic West's self-righteous and gritty cop Jimmy McNulty. However, creators David Simon and Ed Burns went beyond just exploring their characters' failures. Instead, they exposed the failures of Baltimore as a whole by examining broken practices within policing, politics, and education throughout each season. With each tragedy that befalls a beloved character or every pyrrhic victory achieved by a would-be reformer, viewers grasp the impossibility of reforming the city's interconnected and broken institutions. The fourth season, set in Baltimore's schools, particularly showcases how children fall through the cracks, serving as a damning indictment of what American cities offer their most vulnerable citizens. Entertaining yet unflinching, The Wire is unparalleled in terms of its scale and intelligence.
Credit: Mark Hill / HBO
Damon Lindelof's reimagining of the iconic comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen, takes place years after the events depicted in the comics. The show revolves around Sister Night (Regina King), a Tulsa police detective who wears a nun-like costume to fight crime. In this bold adaptation, she battles against the rise of a white supremacist group known as the Seventh Kavalry. Sister Night is not alone in her mission, as she is joined by a team of super-powered individuals, including Tim Blake Nelson, Jean Smart, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Irons, and Hong Chau. These characters are complex, outrageous, and utterly captivating. Alongside the mature themes, the show incorporates graphic violence and daring socio-political commentary, earning critical acclaim, a devoted fan following, and 11 Emmy Awards, including one for Regina King.
How to watch: Watchmen is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Steven Universe (2013-2019)
Steven Universe, an animated series for both young and mature audiences, offers a heartwarming and wholesome adventure. The story follows a young boy named Steven as he embarks on a journey to discover more about his mother and his purpose in life. Assisting him are the Crystal Gems, a group of super-powered celestial beings named after actual gems, such as Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst. Together, they teach Steven valuable life lessons about family, love, and the importance of self-discovery. Although the episodes are short, only lasting 10 minutes each, they are filled to the brim with heartfelt moments. While the show primarily targets a younger audience, it has wide-ranging appeal due to its messages of love and acceptance.
Sex and the City (1998-2004)
Sex and the City goes beyond being a show about the four main protagonists, Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. It delves into the vibrant character of New York City itself. Over the years, much has been written about the show's legacy since it first aired, including two movies, an offscreen feud between cast members, a run for governor by one of the actresses, and now a spin-off series. However, for many viewers, Sex and the City remains a time capsule of New York City life from the late '90s to the early 2000s, while also being a captivating tale of love and friendship. It is filled with iconic outfits, memorable lines, dramatic breakups and makeups, and ultimately serves as a love letter to the greatest city in the world.
The Sex Lives of College Girls
For fans of: The comedy stylings of Mindy Kaling, embarrassing college exploitsNumber of seasons: 2
Amrit Kaur, Pauline Chalamet, Alyah Chanelle Scott, and Reneé Rapp, The Sex Lives of College Girls
Mindy Kaling's production of The Sex Lives of College Girls offers a comedic exploration of the lives of eccentric teenage girls. This series serves as a break from the mortifying high school experiences depicted in Never Have I Ever, delving into the equally awkward and humorous college years instead. It revolves around a quartet of friends who become roommates during their freshman year and navigate the newfound freedom of college together. As the title suggests, sex is a recurring theme, but it is approached in a fun and refreshing way that captures the awkwardness of those transitional years between adolescence and adulthood. With a focus on the core friendships, The Sex Lives of College Girls delivers relatable and entertaining moments for viewers of all backgrounds and ages.
Credit: Dan McFadden / HBO Max
Imagine a superhero team engaging in group therapy, and you have Doom Patrol. This adult animated series, which premiered on Adult Swim in 2000, and its spinoff Birdgirl, introduces a collection of peculiar and melancholic super-powered characters. Together, they navigate through their personal issues, the world, and most importantly, themselves. However, the show is not just a continuous sob fest. Doom Patrol expertly balances serious depictions of trauma with a dark sense of humor. It fearlessly embraces bizarre and unexpected elements, including vengeful rats, interdimensional donkey portals, teleporting sentient streets, and more.
How to watch: Doom Patrol(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law offers a unique and hilarious take on Hanna-Barbera cartoons. This adult animated series, which originally aired on Adult Swim in 2000 and spawned the spinoff Birdgirl in 2021, presents a nonsensical legal drama. Superheroes like Harvey Birdman defend and prosecute iconic characters from shows like The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo on behalf of the Sebben & Sebben law firm. If this concept instantly captivates you, the show's catchy theme song will further solidify its appeal.
How to watch: Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Credit: Diego Araya Corvalán / HBO
Los Espookys revolves around a group of horror enthusiasts who create and stage spooky scenarios for various clients. For example, they might fabricate a fake sea monster to attract tourists to a seaside town. However, the "real" world these characters inhabit is already incredibly strange. In any given episode, they might find themselves showing a water demon the 2010 Colin Firth drama The King's Speech, plotting an escape for an American ambassador trapped in a supernatural mirror world, or warding off the advances of a duke whose only shortcoming is that he is not a cartoon prince. Whatever challenges come their way, these best friends handle them with ease and continue to haunt for another day.
How to watch: Los Espookys(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Avenue 5 takes the dry and acerbic comedic style of Veep, also created by Armando Iannucci, and launches it into outer space. This intensely relatable comedy follows a luxury space cruise ship that veers off course, turning what was meant to be a months-long journey into a years-long one. Led by the brilliant performances of Hugh Laurie, Zach Woods, Suzy Nakamura, and a talented ensemble cast, Avenue 5 delivers a series of escalating disasters that result in one of the funniest seasons of recent TV.
How to watch: Avenue 5(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
The 2014 show "True Detective" became an instant hit when Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were cast as a pair of detectives on the hunt for a mysterious killer. This neo-noir mini-series captivated audiences with its unsettling visuals, immersive cinematography, and mind-bending philosophy. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the premiere season created a world of Southern-fried intrigue, blood-curdling violence, and captivating storytelling. The success of the show led to subsequent seasons and critical acclaim, but it all began with one exceptional mini-series. *- K.P.
How to watch: True Detective is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Before Michaela Coel created the powerful series "I May Destroy You," she wrote and starred in "Chewing Gum." This laugh-out-loud show follows the story of Tracy, a 24-year-old woman on a mission to lose her virginity. Coel's quick humor and expressive talent shine through in her portrayal of Tracy, offering a refreshing and creative take on a London that diverges from traditional portrayals. - A.N.
How to watch: Chewing Gum is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Eastbound and Down
"Eastbound & Down" is a comedy series that captures the essence of a specific subgenre of white male American bluster. Danny McBride stars as Kenny Powers, a washed-up baseball pitcher desperate to regain his former glory. Flaunting his obnoxious and crude personality, Kenny isn't easy to like, but McBride's portrayal makes him enjoyable to watch no matter how low he sinks. The show stands as the first installment in what McBride calls his "misunderstood angry man" trilogy, alongside "Vice Principals" and "The Righteous Gemstones." - A.H.
How to watch: Eastbound & Down(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
For a good laugh, look no further than "Miracle Workers." This 2019 show takes a unique approach, following two bumbling angels on a mission to save the world. The show trades in the epic quest format for an office comedy, where the angels are listless and God is a needy oaf. With a talented cast led by Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Steve Buscemi, the show delivers absurd turns, visual gags, and hilarious one-liners that will keep you entertained. Like "True Detective," this mini-series evolved into an anthology, with subsequent seasons exploring new settings. The fact that this bonkers but brilliant show exists is nothing short of a miracle. - K.P.
How to watch: Miracle Workers is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
My Brilliant Friend
Based on Elena Ferrante's novels, "My Brilliant Friend" is a breathtaking drama that immerses viewers in the lives and emotions of its characters. Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace brilliantly portray the lifelong friendship between Lenu and Lila, two best friends from a small town near Naples. Filmed on location with a native cast and Neapolitan dialogue, the show captures the essence of Italian summers, teenage dreams, and familiar neighborhoods. As the friends grow up and face life's hardships, their characters, played with elegant stoicism by Mazzucco and Girace, captivate viewers. - Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: My Brilliant Friend is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
"Pushing Daisies" is a television masterpiece that combines death obsession with aesthetic whimsy. The show centers around Ned the Piemaker, played by Lee Pace, who has the ability to bring dead people back to life with a touch. Anna Friel portrays Chuck, Ned's dead childhood sweetheart who benefits from his power. The world of "Pushing Daisies" is a colorful and fantastical landscape filled with unique characters and tongue-twister names. The show's two seasons offer a delightful and unforgettable experience that will leave viewers wanting more. - Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Pushing Daisies is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Sort Of (2021-present)
"Sort Of" is a heartwarming sleeper hit that is a must-watch. Co-created by Bilal Baig, who also stars as Sabi Mehboob, the show follows the life of a genderqueer resident of Toronto. Sabi balances various identities as the child of Pakistani Muslim parents, a nanny, a bartender, and a loyal friend. The series explores Sabi's journey of self-acceptance, relationships, and personal growth. Through its genuine and relatable storytelling, "Sort Of" offers a touching and authentic portrayal of Sabi's experiences.
The Flight Attendant (2020-present)
Kaley Cuoco stars in "The Flight Attendant" as Cassandra Bowden, a disheveled flight attendant who wakes up in a hotel bed with a dead man. As she tries to unravel the events leading up to the man's death, she realizes that her excessive drinking is also a significant issue she must face. "The Flight Attendant" is a story of self-discovery and reflection as Cassandra grapples with her flawed character and confronts her traumatic past. With moments of comedy and a murder mystery at its core, the show offers a compelling and engaging narrative.
The Other Two (2019-present)
"The Other Two" is a stellar example of satire at its best. The show follows the lives of two siblings, portrayed by Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke, as they navigate their way through the fame and superstardom of their younger brother, a pop star named Chase Dreams. "The Other Two" hilariously mocks the absurdities of the entertainment industry and captures the essence of sibling dynamics. Molly Shannon and Ken Marino also deliver outstanding performances in this underrated comedic gem.
How To With John Wilson (2020-present)
Created by documentary filmmaker John Wilson, each episode of "How To" initially presents itself as a straightforward how-to video, only to take unexpected and fascinating turns. Similar to Nathan Fielder's work on "Nathan For You" and "The Rehearsal," Wilson explores various questions and topics, ranging from battery disposal to cooking risotto. Through his interactions with real people, Wilson addresses his own personal issues and offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective. "How To" is an entertaining and captivating watch.
Station Eleven (2021)
"Station Eleven" follows a group of traveling actors and musicians as they strive to find a sense of normalcy in a post-apocalyptic world, 20 years after a devastating flu outbreak. Based on Emily St. John Mandel's novel, the show received critical acclaim and garnered nominations for prestigious awards. With its exploration of how art connects people even in the most challenging circumstances, "Station Eleven" is a gripping and moving series that spans multiple timelines.
Despite debuting a decade ago, "Enlightened" remains a fresh and relevant series. The show revolves around Amy Jellicoe, played by the brilliant Laura Dern, who returns to work after a nervous breakdown and rehab stint. Determined to change the world, Amy confronts workplace harassment and corporate irresponsibility at her corrupt employer. The show tackles complex themes and features a captivating performance by Dern that keeps viewers engaged.
How to watch: Enlightened is now streaming on Max. (opens in a new tab)
We Own This City
"For fans of: The Wire, corrupt cops, Jon Bernthal
Number of seasons: 1"
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"Jon Bernthal and Jamie Hector, We Own This City"
The creators of "The Wire," David Simon and George Pelecanos, return to Baltimore with "We Own This City," a limited series that explores the rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force, exposing corruption within the police department as a symptom of institutional decay in the city. Jon Bernthal, Jamie Hector, and Josh Charles lead the cast in this gripping tale. Bernthal delivers a remarkable performance in this thrilling series. - Liam Mathews
The Gilded Age
"For fans of: Downton Abbey, fancy hats
Number of seasons: 1"
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"Carrie Coon, The Gilded Age"
If you're a fan of period dramas, especially "Downton Abbey," you won't want to miss "The Gilded Age." Created by Julian Fellowes, the mastermind behind "Downton," this HBO series boasts an impressive cast, including Carrie Coon, Christine Baranski, and Cynthia Nixon. Set in 1880s New York City, the show follows the rivalry between two old-money sisters and their new-money neighbor. With a lineup of Broadway stars in recurring and guest roles, "The Gilded Age" offers a captivating and opulent production. - Kelly Connolly
"For fans of: Tense thrillers, stylish crime, Australia
Number of seasons: 1"
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"Jamie Dornan, The Tourist"
"The Tourist" is a mystery thriller that stars Jamie Dornan as a British man suffering from amnesia after a car accident in Australia. As he tries to uncover the truth behind people's attempts to kill him and his own presence in Australia, the show combines sleek direction with sly comedy. Dornan delivers a winning performance alongside Danielle Macdonald, who portrays a sheepish cop involved in his case. "The Tourist" is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition. - Tim Surette
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
For fans of: The energetic atmosphere of the late '70s/early '80s, basketball, Michael CooperNumber of seasons: 1
Quincy Isaiah stars as Magic Johnson in Winning Time, a captivating HBO series chronicling the legendary Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers. The first season delves into the team's journey, from Magic Johnson's draft selection to the acquisition of the Lakers by Jerry Buss, brilliantly portrayed by John C. Reilly. The series skillfully captures the essence of the era with its filtered cinematography reminiscent of the time. Whether you're a fan of basketball or simply engrossed in the captivating world of sports, Winning Time is guaranteed to leave a lasting impact. It's like Boogie Nights, but with the electrifying intensity of basketball. -Tim Surette [Watch the Trailer | Read the Review]
For fans of: Julia Child, the art of French cuisine, stories of women overcoming challengesNumber of seasons: 1
Sarah Lancashire stars as the iconic celebrity chef, Julia Child, in the HBO Max series Julia. Set in 1960s Boston, the show chronicles Child's remarkable journey to becoming a beloved television personality renowned for introducing French cuisine to American audiences. The series goes beyond celebrating Child's culinary achievements, shedding light on the sexism and ageism she faced throughout her career. Lancashire delivers a stellar performance, accompanied by the talented David Hyde Pierce as her husband, Paul Child. Prepare to indulge in the delectable world of Julia, a feast for both food enthusiasts and those captivated by inspiring stories of resilience. Bon appétit! -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Moody crime thrillers, stunning cinematographyNumber of seasons: 1
Prepare for the return of acclaimed director Michael Mann with Tokyo Vice, his first venture into television in over a decade. This gripping crime drama, based on the memoir by American journalist Jake Adelstein, unveils the dark underbelly of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the pervasive corruption that lurks beneath Japan's surface. Ansel Elgort shines in the role of Adelstein, accompanied by an exceptional cast including Rinko Kikuchi, Ken Watanabe, and Rachel Keller. Immerse yourself in the hypnotic visuals and captivating narrative of Tokyo Vice as it delves into a world where crime and high-stakes journalism collide. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer | Read the Review]
For fans of: The juxtaposition of murder and actingNumber of seasons: 3
Bill Hader mesmerizes in the titular role of Barry, a hitman grappling with depression and an unexpected desire to pursue a career in acting amidst the enticing backdrop of Los Angeles. This groundbreaking series effortlessly shifts between hilarious comedy and intense drama, offering a unique exploration of complex and flawed characters. Over the course of three seasons, Barry has established itself as a captivating character study that delves into the depths of human vulnerability. Supported by an exceptional ensemble cast, including Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, and Stephen Root, Barry guarantees an unforgettable viewing experience that skillfully balances humor and pathos. Prepare for a rollercoaster ride through the darkly comedic world of Barry. -Tim Surette [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Mysterious murder cases, exceptional performances, intriguing narrativesNumber of seasons: 1
Join Colin Firth in his remarkable portrayal of author Michael Peterson in The Staircase, a gripping miniseries that dissects a perplexing murder case. Accused of killing his wife after claiming her death was a result of a staircase fall, the series follows the tumultuous legal battle that ensues. Alongside Firth, the star-studded cast includes Toni Collette, Parker Posey, Sophie Turner, and Michael Stuhlbarg. While staying true to the acclaimed documentary of the same name, this adaptation adds new layers of intrigue, including a behind-the-scenes exploration of the documentary's creation. Prepare for a riveting journey into the enigmatic world of The Staircase. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Confronting the unknown, thought-provoking mythologyNumber of seasons: 3
From the creators of Lost, Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, comes The Leftovers. This captivating series challenges the narrative conventions of conventional storytelling, creating an immersive experience that leaves viewers pondering the mysteries of life. Set in a world where 2 percent of the global population vanishes without explanation, The Leftovers transcends its bleak beginnings to explore a deeply nuanced and quietly magical narrative. As the characters navigate the unrelenting anguish of their reality, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and rebellion against their tumultuous circumstances. The Leftovers captures the essence of life, not as it is, but as it feels. It stands as a powerful testament to the human spirit amidst chaos. -Kelly Connolly [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: When TV shows transcend into stunning cinematic experiences, thought-provoking meta commentaryNumber of seasons: 1
Prepare to be captivated by the elegant and layered storytelling of Irma Vep, a limited series adaptation of Olivier Assayas' acclaimed 1996 film. Alicia Vikander takes center stage as a disillusioned actress filming a remake of a classic French silent film called Les Vampires in France. The series effortlessly blends meta commentary on the film industry with mesmerizing visuals, all while showcasing Vikander's undeniable talent as an Academy Award-winning actress. Immerse yourself in the world of Irma Vep, where fashion, music, and introspection intertwine to create a truly cool and memorable viewing experience. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal
For fans of: The allure of prehistoric times, breathtaking animation, unexpected bondsNumber of seasons: 2
Embark on a visually stunning journey through time with Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal. This Emmy-winning series takes its time, delivering an awe-inspiring exploration of a prehistoric world filled with danger and wonder. The story revolves around the unlikely friendship between Spear, a resourceful caveman, and Fang, a fearsome Tyrannosaurus. Together, they navigate a brutal landscape teeming with man-eating dinosaurs, savage primates, and supernatural beings. While the series is devoid of dialogue, the emotional impact is palpable, showcasing Tartakovsky's mastery of storytelling through visuals. Prepare to be enthralled by one of the finest shows on television, where every episode immerses you in the astonishing world of Primal. Episodes premiere on Adult Swim and stream on HBO Max the following day. -Tim Surette [Watch the Trailer]
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
For fans of: The allure of the original Pretty Little Liars seriesNumber of seasons: 1
Return to the captivating world of Pretty Little Liars with Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. This reboot follows a new group of teenage girls haunted by an anonymous figure seeking revenge for sins committed by their parents two decades earlier. While the series is set in a new town with fresh faces, it remains connected to the original Pretty Little Liars universe, enticing fans to delve deeper into the mysteries that await. Even if you're new to the world of Pretty Little Liars, the series has received solid reviews, making it a compelling choice for suspense enthusiasts. Prepare for a thrilling journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Watching Selena Gomez's culinary adventures, feeling inspired to cookNumber of seasons: 4
Step into Selena Gomez's world in Selena Chef, a delightful series that showcases her culinary skills and passion for cooking. Filmed during the pandemic, the show offers an intimate look into Gomez's life as she takes on various roles, from operating cameras to preparing mouthwatering dishes. Witness her growth and determination as she learns the art of cooking, showcasing her inexperience and occasional mishaps that add a touch of humor. Gomez's commitment and willingness to get her hands dirty inspire viewers to embrace their own culinary journeys. Join her and a lineup of guest chefs for a heartwarming experience that feels like gathering with friends. In the fourth season, they even venture to the beach for even more culinary adventures. -Tim Surette [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Enlightening portrayals of teachers, hopeful narratives, mockumentariesNumber of seasons: 1
Step into the hilarious and heartfelt world of Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary series that follows the lives of dedicated teachers in an underfunded public elementary school in Philadelphia. Led by the idealistic and passionate Janine Teagues, played by series creator Quinta Brunson, the show explores the challenges faced by educators as they strive to provide the best education possible without succumbing to burnout. Each episode is a testament to the resilience and unwavering commitment of teachers, showcasing their triumphs and humbling moments. With a sweet-and-salty sense of humor and a cast of relatable characters, Abbott Elementary stands as a beacon of hope and showcases the transformative power of education. Prepare for a delightful and authentic viewing experience that will leave you both laughing and inspired. -Liam Mathews [Watch the Trailer]
For fans of: Muscles, violence, perverted jokesNumber of seasons: 1
HBO MaxJohn Cena brings his DC Comics character Peacemaker to the small screen. Peacemaker is a muscular guy who is obsessed with achieving peace, even if it means resorting to extreme violence. The show is written by James Gunn, who is also directing five episodes. If you enjoyed The Suicide Squad, you'll love the tone of this show. It's filled with gross-out humor and tells the origin story of one of the best characters from the film. John Cena delivers a magnetic performance as a doofus meathead. Superhero purists may not appreciate it, but if you're a fan of muscles, violence, and perverted jokes, this show is perfect for you. -Tim Surette [Trailer]
For fans of: Twentysomething actors playing badly behaving teens, sparkly makeup, ZendayaNumber of seasons: 2
HBO's Euphoria is a show that portrays the dark side of being a teenager. The series focuses on Rue, played by Zendaya, a high school student fresh out of rehab who has no intention of staying sober. The toxic friendship between Rue and Jules, portrayed by Hunter Schafer, is at the center of the story. As they navigate parties, drugs, and general debauchery, the show presents a realistic depiction of teenage despair. It also stands out for its stunning cinematography. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
Mare of Easttown
For fans of: Wawa, Philadelphia accents, family tension with a side of murderNumber of seasons: 1
Kate Winslet stars in Mare of Easttown, a crime show with a twist. The series follows Mare, a Pennsylvania detective investigating the murder of a local teenage girl while dealing with her own personal trauma. While it may seem like a typical crime show on the surface, Mare of Easttown is much more than that. It's a captivating mystery, a character study of damaged individuals, and at times, a heartwarming mother-daughter story. The exceptional storytelling keeps you engaged until the final shot, as Mare starts to confront her own troubled past. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
Six Feet Under
For fans of: Feeling the full spectrum of human emotion, family dramasNumber of seasons: 6
Six Feet Under is a series created by Alan Ball that follows the lives of the Fisher family, who inherit their father's funeral home in Los Angeles. Known for its iconic series finale, the show explores the dysfunctional dynamics of the Fisher family and delves into deep discussions about death and grief. Despite its dark themes, Six Feet Under is a must-watch for its compelling storytelling. Each episode provides a unique perspective on mortality, and the show's willingness to address difficult topics sets it apart. Don't be deterred by its darker tone, as there is something truly special about this series. -Allison Picurro[Trailer]
For fans of: The horrors of real life mixed with Lovecraftian monster horrorsNumber of seasons: 1
Lovecraft Country is a thrilling series based on Matt Ruff's book. Set in 1950s Jim Crow America, the story follows a young Black man who embarks on a journey to find his missing father. Little does he know, the world he explores is filled with both racist humans and horrifying creatures from literature. This genre-bending show is a mix of sci-fi horror and social justice drama, delivering a riveting adventure that tackles both real and imagined monsters. Despite its short run of one season, it leaves a lasting impact. -Tim Surette [Trailer]
You don't need to know about, let alone like, the long-running CBS legal drama this 2020 reboot was based on to appreciate its impeccable execution.
Matthew Rhys stars as Perry Mason, a tough private investigator working for a defense attorney's office in 1932. He finds himself investigating the murder of a baby boy, delving into a world of Prohibition-era misconduct and religious fervor. This gritty and intense eight-episode series features knockout performances from a talented cast, including John Lithgow, Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Wigham, Tatiana Maslany, Gayle Rankin, Stephen Root, Lili Taylor, and more. The writing is top-notch, making it perfect for a weekend binge or nightly viewing. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Perry Mason(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Based on Bruce Lee's original treatment, Warrior is a kung fu crime action drama that has been in the making for almost 50 years. The show stars Andrew Koji as Ah Sahm, a Chinese immigrant in 1870s San Francisco. Ah Sahm's martial arts skills earn him a position as a hatchet man for a dangerous Chinatown gang. While the setting may be in the past, the themes of immigrant exploitation, xenophobia, and the search for family resonate with today's America. It's a show that combines historical elements with thrilling fight scenes and tackles important issues. — A.N.
How to watch: Warrior is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
For fans of: Difficult women, complicated family dynamicsNumber of seasons: 2
Frayed is a spiky dramedy set in the late '80s. The show follows Sarah Kendall as a woman who is forced to move herself and her children from London back to her hometown in Australia after her husband's death leaves the family broke. She moves in with her alcoholic mother and is confronted with unresolved issues from her past. The show strikes a balance between comedy and drama, featuring complex characters and sharp writing. You'll find yourself wishing there were more than just two seasons of this enjoyable series. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
The Way Down
For fans of: True crime, cult leaders, tall hairNumber of seasons: 1
The Way Down is a true crime series that explores the story of Gwen Shamblin Lara. Gwen founded the Remnant Fellowship Church, a religious group that combined the worship of Jesus Christ with a weight-loss program. The church was accused of being a cult and faced criticism for its emphasis on appearance and its use of religion for personal gain. This series delves into Gwen's rise to power as an author and church leader, as well as the controversies and challenges she faced. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]
Scenes From a Marriage
For fans of: Unhappy people in unhappy relationships, monologuesNumber of seasons: 1
Scenes From a Marriage is a remake of Ingmar Bergman's 1973 miniseries. The show stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as a couple trapped in an unhappy marriage. Their complex relationship is explored through powerful monologues and intimate moments. The chemistry between Isaac and Chastain brings their characters' history to life as they navigate between love and hate. This series presents a raw and realistic portrayal of a troubled relationship that keeps viewers engaged until the end. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
David Makes Man
For fans of: Coming-of-age stories, magical realismNumber of seasons: 2
David Makes Man is a unique coming-of-age drama created by Tarell Alvin McCraney, co-writer of Moonlight. The series follows the life of 14-year-old David, brilliantly portrayed by Akili McDowell, as he navigates between his magnet school and his challenging home life in the projects. The show explores themes of academic pressure, poverty, and the lure of the drug trade in David's surroundings. With its combination of magical realism and a sun-soaked South Florida setting, David Makes Man stands out as a remarkable and unforgettable series. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]
The Righteous Gemstones
For fans of: Danny McBride's comedy style, Succession for ChristiansNumber of seasons: 2
The Righteous Gemstones is a dark comedy series created by Danny McBride. It revolves around a world-famous televangelist family led by Eli Gemstone, portrayed by John Goodman. Eli has built his fortune preaching and opening megachurches, often at the expense of smaller churches. The show follows Eli's three adult children, played by Danny McBride, Edi Patterson, and Adam DeVine, who are constantly competing for their father's approval and control over the family empire. The loathsome brother-in-law, played by Walton Goggins, further adds to the dysfunctional dynamics. The Righteous Gemstones balances comedy and drama, making you laugh while witnessing the characters' despicable behavior. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]
Recommended for: Fans of Kristen Bell's omniscient voice and flip phonesNumber of seasons: 6
Blake Lively and Leighton Meester in Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl, the crown jewel of late aughts TV, revolves around a group of wealthy kids attending an elite Manhattan high school. Meanwhile, their scandalous private lives are monitored and exposed by the enigmatic Gossip Girl. This show is frivolous, absurd, and absolutely perfect. It launched the careers of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley, catapulting them to stardom. In 2021, HBO Max released a revival that, to put it nicely, didn't quite live up to the original's perfection. It introduces an entirely new cast. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Recommended for: Larry David enthusiasts and curmudgeonsNumber of seasons: 11
Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm
John P. Johnson/HBO
Curb Your Enthusiasm needs no introduction, but let me give you one anyway. Larry David, playing a fictionalized version of himself, navigates through life while constantly being annoyed by mundane everyday situations. In 11 seasons, the show hasn't really changed, and that's the beauty of it. It's truly remarkable that it has managed to remain funny after all these years. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
Recommended for: Fans of polite British people committing murder and twisty genre-bendingNumber of seasons: 1
Olivia Colman in Landscapers
If you've been craving a prestigious miniseries based on real crime cases, look no further. Landscapers, inspired by the true story of Christopher and Susan Edwards, stars Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as a married couple sentenced to life in prison for murdering Susan's parents and burying them in their own backyard. Personally, I would be entranced watching Olivia Colman read a lengthy CVS receipt, and you can rarely go wrong with an HBO crime series. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
Ten Year Old Tom
Recommended for: Fans of adult animation and adults voicing children Number of seasons: 1
Ten Year Old Tom
Many people may not remember The Life & Times of Tim, an animated series on HBO from 2008 to 2012. However, creator Steve Dildarian is back with a new series that maintains the unique animation and perspective of his previous work. Ten-Year-Old Tom retains the essence of Tim's humor and style while introducing new elements. Expect less mature themes compared to its predecessor. UPDATE: I was wrong! -Tim Surette [Watch the Trailer]
Sex and the City/And Just Like That...
Recommended for: Fans of classic, beloved shows and their inevitable rebootsNumber of seasons: 6 (Sex and the City), 1 (And Just Like That...)
And Just Like That...
Even if you haven't seen Sex and the City, you're probably familiar with it. The show follows four best friends navigating love, life, and the fashion trends of the late '90s and early 2000s in New York City. While it has always been immensely popular, it hasn't always received the credit it deserves as an important show, often dismissed as "for women." However, it truly is a great show despite its flaws. Its 2021 revival, And Just Like That..., catches up with three of the four women in their 50s. It may not be as amazing as the original, but as a fan (like myself), it's hard to resist. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
The Knick, set in turn-of-the-century New York City, tells the story of a medical staff at the forefront of surgery. It focuses on the transition from barbers performing surgeries to doctors taking over the practice. The show takes you to the heart of the Knickerbocker hospital as its brilliant surgeons, played by a remarkable cast including Clive Owen and André Holland, develop life-saving procedures for diseases that used to be fatal, such as appendicitis.
What makes The Knick particularly relevant, especially during the pandemic, is its visceral portrayal of the impossible task of outsmarting death. It captures the unbearable anguish that medical professionals face daily on the frontlines of this battle against an invisible and unknowable enemy.* — Jess Joho, Staff Writer
How to watch: The Knick is now streaming on Max.
Recommended for: Fans of cartoons with social commentary and Regina King's voice actingNumber of seasons: 4
Aaron McGruder's satirical cartoon, The Boondocks, centers around Huey, a precocious 10-year-old living in a predominantly white suburb with his younger brother, Riley, and their grandfather. Regina King lends her voice to both Huey and Riley, while John Witherspoon portrays their grandfather. The show brilliantly explores various aspects of the Black experience in the United States. Huey carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, possessing a keen understanding of the issues around him. He constantly challenges a broken system, though often without success. One of the remarkable aspects of The Boondocks is its enduring relevance. It tackles topics of race, class, identity, and government, which have remained pertinent even though the show initially aired in 2005. -Allison Picurro [Watch the Trailer]
With an impressive lineup of diverse and captivating shows, HBO Max continues to dominate the streaming world. From the iconic crime drama of "The Sopranos" to the fantasy realm of "Game of Thrones," there is something for everyone. Current hits like "Succession" and "Mare of Easttown" showcase the network's commitment to delivering top-notch storytelling. And with upcoming series like "House of the Dragon" and "The Gilded Age," it's clear that HBO Max isn't slowing down anytime soon. So, sit back, grab some popcorn, and immerse yourself in the unrivaled world of entertainment that HBO Max has to offer.
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