The 50 Best TV Shows on HBO Max

Laura Dern in Enlightened.
Photograph: HBO

This text is up to date regularly as titles go away and enter the service. New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

HBO Max launched on the finish of Could 2020 with one of many deepest catalogues within the streaming recreation from day one, thanks largely to the historical past of HBO and Warner Brothers, the 2 entities that function the Max basis. Most individuals are spending hours digging by means of the dense library of function movies that features new releases, TCM Classics, Criterion, and even Studio Ghibli. However, evidently, there’s additionally loads of nice TV to be watched. In fact, most of what you will see that underneath the Sequence tab of HBO Max comes with the pay cable community’s authentic programming, however additionally they have a collection of alternates from the WB cartoon networks, sci-fi hits, and even some beloved sitcoms produced by the corporate.

To even the taking part in area a bit, we’ve eradicated something at present working on HBO, so that is extra of a have a look at the perfect of the HBO Max archive as a substitute of only a spotlight of what was on the community final evening. So exhibits like Final Week Tonight, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Euphoria, Insecure, and Westworld might be thought-about after they’re finished. Till then, there ought to be greater than sufficient to maintain you busy.

Top-of-the-line cartoons of the fashionable period is this creative and progressive fantasy series from Pendelton Ward that aired on the Cartoon Community for a lot of the 2010s. It’s the story of a boy named Finn and a canine named Jake, who reside within the Land of Ooo with creatures of all kinds. It’s an journey collection that by no means talks all the way down to youngsters and engages them with deep concepts and surreal visuals.

Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play was became an Emmy-winning juggernaut by Mike Nichols in 2003, when a status miniseries like this wasn’t as frequent as it’s now. Actually, even this sort of pedigreed solid isn’t frequent now as Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk, and Jeffrey Wright turned Kushner’s masterpiece right into a TV occasion for the ages.

Top-of-the-line restricted TV collection of all time, 2001’s Band of Brothers was the sort of tv occasion that feels uncommon even right this moment. This landmark within the medium was created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, tailored from the WWII historical past e-book of the identical title by Stephen E. Ambrose, and it’s fairly merely top-of-the-line issues that ever aired on TV. Pay tribute to the courageous males who fought in WWII on this deeply private, shifting mix of historical past and filmmaking.

It took too lengthy however HBO Max is lastly beginning to embrace the second half of its title, dropping a few of the essential and business darlings from the Cinemax a part of the model in February 2021. Many of the press went to Steven Soderberg’s superb The Knick, however this thriller is certainly price your time too, particularly when you’re a fan of Amazon’s The Boys. The star of that present, Antony Starr, leads this drama about an ex-con invading Amish nation.

HBO Max has been pushing the faces of this massive CBS hit’s solid to promote their product (together with the regulars at Central Perk and the children of South Park). Exclusivity to a sitcom that ran for over 275 episodes is an enormous deal within the trade, and the individuals who love The Massive Bang Concept actually love The Massive Bang Concept. Placed on all 12 seasons and zone out to the adventures of Leonard, Sheldon, and Penny for days on finish. Nobody will decide you.

HBO’s household drama by no means acquired the eye it deserved, usually falling within the shadow of different giants on the service like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Deadwood. It appears like viewers couldn’t fairly get previous the icky issue inside the idea of spending time with a person who has a number of wives, however this have a look at trendy Mormon tradition has top-of-the-line ensembles of the Peak TV period, together with nice work from Invoice Paxton, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Harry Dean Stanton.

Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese teamed up for this mesmerizing interval piece that by no means fairly broke by means of the critically or commercially. Steve Buscemi stars as Nucky Thompson in some of the lavishly detailed historic dramas ever to air on tv. Buscemi is great, however this one hums due to its supporting solid, together with nice turns from Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Kenneth Williams, and, most of all, Jack Huston.

Aaron McGruder’s sketch was became a progressive, revolutionary collection on Grownup Swim within the 2000s that by no means acquired the essential consideration it deserved. That might all change within the 2020s. Not solely are the unique 4 seasons on HBO Max, however the firm has commissioned two new seasons — overseen by McGruder — that may start airing this Fall. We are able to’t wait both.

One of many exhibits that we fervently consider wants a closure movie just like the one granted Deadwood followers, Daniel Knauf’s period drama–fantasy feels prefer it has extra devoted followers now than it did when HBO axed it after solely two seasons. Minimize in a wave of cancellations of programming deemed too costly, Carnivale was by no means actually given an opportunity to seek out an viewers when it aired within the aughts. Perhaps HBO Max could make that film a actuality.

Probably the most acclaimed miniseries lately, this five-part drama from Craig Mazin details the failure of a government to respond to an international crisis. It was downright prophetic. Jared Harris, Emily Watson, and Stellan Skarsgard earned worldwide raves for his or her work right here in a drama that completely balances sociopolitical commentary, relatable performances, and historic element a few catastrophe made worse by the governmental response to it.

This police procedural actually put TNT on the map, profitable awards for star Kyra Sedgwick and dominating within the scores. At instances, it was the very best rated drama on cable TV. Folks had been drawn to Sedgwick’s wonderful work (and J.Ok. Simmons didn’t damage) and The Nearer even went out on prime. All the way in which to the top, it was a scores juggernaut (9 million individuals watched the finale), and other people will certainly wish to revisit it on HBO Max. It’s truly one of many few procedurals on the service.

One of many best television shows of all time returned to HBO in 2019 over a decade after its cancellation within the type of Deadwood: The Film. If you happen to’re questioning why followers had been so excited to revisit David Milch’s Western, now could be the time for an schooling. This is without doubt one of the smartest, deepest exhibits within the historical past of tv, a program that takes what we predict we find out about historical past and the Outdated West and makes use of it to inform human tales that resonate right this moment. It’s additionally acquired arguably the perfect general ensemble in TV historical past.

Each the basic episodes and the present ones are actually completely on HBO Max. The legacy of the physician actually modified when Russell T. Davies was given the reins to replace this system for a brand new technology and launched followers to his imaginative and prescient of the present, which has led to a number of of probably the most beloved docs in this system’s historical past, including Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, and David Tennant. On and off for the reason that present’s return to prominence in 2005, Physician Who has delivered a few of the smartest science fiction on tv.

There’s one thing bizarre occurring with DC Universe and HBO Max. The identical firm owns them, but the only program to appear on both services is the most acclaimed DCU property to date, this wonderful adaptation of the comedian of the identical title that stars Alan Tudyk, Brendan Fraser, Timothy Dalton, Matt Bomer, and extra. Darkish and intense, that is the perfect comic-based present on TV proper now, and a second season premieres on each DCU and HM on June 25. Solely time will inform if different DCU hits like Titans and Harley Quinn find yourself right here too. (We hope so.)

Jody Hill, David Gordon Inexperienced, and Danny McBride collaborated on the primary of three HBO McBride comedies (Vice Principals and The Righteous Gems would observe) and a few episodes stand among the many funniest which have ever been on HBO. McBride’s creation Kenny Powers is one thing to behold, a professional baseball participant despatched again to his hometown along with his obnoxious tail between his legs. McBride is a pressure of nature.

With Massive Little Lies and Marriage Story, everyone seems to be in love with Laura Dern now — as they need to be. Do yourself a favor and check out her brilliant character work as Amy Jellicoe on Mike White’s two-season dramedy. Dern and White utterly reinvented the cliché of the character who hits all-time low with this razor-sharp program, which co-stars Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Wright, Molly Shannon, and Dermot Mulroney. It’s a disgrace we solely acquired two seasons, however they’re each excellent.

Director Raoul Peck (I Am Not Your Negro) helms a very bold and difficult piece of tv, a have a look at nothing lower than the patterns of genocide and colonization which have formed world historical past, and the impression it nonetheless has on all of us right this moment. Highly effective, advanced, and legitimately like little else on tv.

HBO Max tailored the Chris Bojahian novel of the identical title into this, some of the buzzed about exhibits of late 2020. Kaley Cuoco (The Massive Bang Concept) is phenomenal as a flight attendant who meets up with a good-looking passenger (Michiel Huisman) after they land and wakes up subsequent to his useless physique. This one is all about breakneck plotting with a brand new twist round each nook.

The information that HBO Max could be the unique streaming dwelling of Friends made main waves available in the market when it was introduced. Netflix already knew that individuals prefer to zone out to the adventures of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe. And HBO Max is relying on them to herald new subscribers on the lookout for their favourite comedy.

It led to a flurry of suppose items and complaints however there are particular peaks within the run of Recreation of Thrones, notably in early seasons. And now you possibly can sit again and take within the entirety of this fantasy epic, one thing that feels a bit like an finish of a TV period. Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz even suggested as much when the finale ran. Will there ever be one other Recreation of Thrones? There actually isn’t one but.

HBO will get plenty of consideration for altering the face of TV drama, however they’ve had simply as massive an affect on comedy with exhibits like Intercourse and the Metropolis, Veep, and this Lena Dunham creation. Sure, she’s divisive and the show is inconsistent, but it surely has moments of simple brilliance over its complete run, and HBO Max is a good way to seek out those series highlights and keep in mind when this present was one of many most-buzzed on the planet.

The fantastic Jean Sensible received an Emmy this yr for her work on this HBO Max authentic comedy. The good actress performs Deborah Vance, a legendary comedy icon who’s now in residence in Las Vegas. To punch up her materials for a youthful technology, her agent sends her a Gen Z author, and the 2 butt heads. It’s sensible, humorous stuff.

DC Universe is clearly coming to an finish, however WB has moved their two most acclaimed exhibits over to their new streaming dwelling at HBO Max in Doom Patrol and this animated gem for adults. Once again, people can’t get enough of the story of Harley Quinn, the star of this yr’s Birds of Prey and subsequent yr’s The Suicide Squad. Right here, she will get into hassle along with her BFF Poison Ivy in a present that’s intelligent and revolutionary in ways in which this sort of programming usually isn’t allowed to be.

Streaming providers would come alongside and redefine how individuals watched TV, however corporations had been experimenting with the construction of the shape earlier than that. Take HBO’s In Therapy, which truly aired on the cable community 5 nights per week throughout its first season, visiting a unique affected person of its protagonist therapist (Gabriel Byrne) every single day. The construction allowed for various supporting gamers yearly, highlighting superb performances from Alison Tablet, Hope Davis, Mia Wasikowska, John Mahoney, Debra Winger, Dane DeHaan, and extra.

One of the best authentic drama ever produced for Cinemax is lastly obtainable streaming with the drop of this glorious interval piece by Steven Soderbergh. Clive Owen stars as a health care provider at a New York hospital close to the flip of the 20 th century in a present that examines medical development, class, sexism, racism, and a lot extra in solely 20 episodes. Soderbergh has been beating a drum for a 3rd rebooted season, which seems on the horizon. Catch up now.

TV comedy doesn’t get significantly better than this ‘90s basic, a collection commonly placed on lists of the perfect exhibits of all time. Created by and starring Garry Shandling, it’s a behind-the-scenes have a look at a late-night discuss present, full with all of the needy personalities and backstabbing creatives that thrive in such an atmosphere. The writing is razor sharp, as are the performances by Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, and the late great Rip Torn.

Top-of-the-line exhibits of the 2010s is this Damon Lindelof adaptation of the e-book by Tom Perrotta. It solely ran for 3 seasons, but it surely had such an impression on those that watched it that it made most lists of the perfect dramas of the final decade. This can be a present that persons are going to find and rediscover for years to come back and can quickly be acknowledged among the many greatest in HBO historical past, if it’s not already.

HBO Max isn’t simply the unique streaming dwelling of basic cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the remainder of the gang, however they’re truly producing new shorts starring the identical characters. Created by trendy animated masters from exhibits like Steven Universe and Star vs. the Forces of Evil, the brand new shorts are in the identical model and tone because the classics, and so they’re so fantastic that HBO Max has already commissioned 80 of them.

This BBC award winner has jumped across the streaming providers and now lands on HBO Max as part of its launch package deal. If you think Idris Elba only starred in one great drama (The Wire), think again. He’s mesmerizing right here as a cop who has regarded into the abyss for therefore lengthy that he’s misplaced himself in it. There are solely 20 episodes over 5 seasons (the Brits do it in a different way), so you possibly can binge this contemporary masterpiece fairly simply.

Top-of-the-line exhibits of 2021, the HBO authentic stars the superb Kate Winslet, who offers top-of-the-line performances of the yr on any community. She performs the title character, a troubled detective juggling the year-old disappearance of a lacking lady, the current homicide of an area teen, and the haunting suicide of her son. TV doesn’t get significantly better.

Any checklist of the perfect sketch exhibits of all time that doesn’t embrace this influential masterpiece is tragically incomplete. Geniuses Bob Odenkirk and David Cross created and star on this surreal journey by means of their senses of humor that aired on HBO from 1995 to 1998. The one factor fallacious with Mr. Present is that we didn’t get extra of it.

4 years later and the Richard Worth and Steven Zaillian mission about failures of our justice system and the way it can flip harmless males into criminals appears much more related now. Riz Ahmed performs a Pakistani-American younger man suspected of a homicide he clearly didn’t commit, and John Turturro performs the lawyer who tries to defend him earlier than custody at Rikers Island destroys him. A contemporary drama masterpiece.

They’ll’t all be intensely dramatic crime exhibits! Typically you simply wish to escape to your favorite series from your teenage life, and that simply might have been this Fox hit that ran from 2003 to 2007 for nearly 100 episodes. The present that turned Ben McKenzie, Mischa Barton, and Adam Brody into stars can nonetheless be felt within the DNA of exhibits like Riverdale. The writing on Josh Schwartz’s teen drama was usually a lot smarter than it acquired credit score for being.

Frances McDormand plays the title characters in this 2014 masterpiece based mostly on the novel by Elizabeth Strout. She’s the spouse to Richard Jenkins’s Henry Kitteridge in a small city in Maine. It’s a personality examine a few retired schoolteacher and the way she navigates by means of life with nuanced, empathetic writing and a few of the greatest appearing you’ll seen wherever on any streaming service. The supporting solid contains Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Invoice Murray.

HBO’s reshaping of the TV panorama didn’t begin with The Sopranos. Whereas David Chase’s wildly profitable present usually will get credit score as an influencer, it appears like not sufficient individuals acknowledge that Tom Fontana’s Oz got here earlier than it and was actually one of many key packages to make it clear that “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” was greater than only a slogan. Nonetheless a program that might be highly effective and searing if it aired 20 years later, Oz is without doubt one of the cable community’s most important constructing blocks.

The latest miniseries on HBO Max is this 2020 adaptation of the Philip Roth novel by David Simon. The creator of The Wire completely blends his voice with Roth’s to inform a cautionary story about corrupt energy and what occurs when good individuals do nothing within the face of evil. It couldn’t be timelier for 2020 and might be on any respectable checklist of the perfect issues to air on any community this yr.

Genndy Tartakovsky is an animation legend, creating plenty of hits that embrace Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. His newest is that this loopy Grownup Swim providing that imagines a relationship between a caveman and a Tyrannosaurus Rex and blends fantasy and historical past. Like all Tarkakvosky’s work, it’s visually daring and bold.

One other early Cartoon Community hit is out there on HBO max for nostalgia and reappreciation. This Genndy Tartakovsky hit had an extremely loyal cult following when it aired within the early 2000s and helped turned its creator into an icon in his trade. Visually stunning in ways that TV animation often isn’t allowed to be, it influenced some nice cartoons to come back within the a long time since its premiere.

Bear in mind how You aired on Lifetime however nobody actually observed until it landed on Netflix and have become a large hit? It appears like that would occur to Search Occasion, a essential darling that aired on TBS for 2 seasons however is now making the bounce to HBO Max, who has commissioned a 3rd season of the collection to premiere June 25. Witty and empathetic, it is a sensible present that’s solely partially a few lacking lady and extra about that quarter-life disaster feeling that any of us might go lacking and nobody would actually discover.

Are you sufficiently old to recollect when Carrie Bradshaw ruled comedy television? There was a window when a brand new Intercourse and the Metropolis was the most important cultural occasion round. This present was on the peak of its recognition pre-DVR, and other people canceled plans to see what the women of Intercourse and the Metropolis had been to date. It paved the way in which for exhibits like Women and even Massive Little Lies on the community. See why.

Peter Krause headlined this HBO drama from Alan Ball that integrated problems with household and grief in ways in which tv hadn’t actually finished earlier than. Certain, there had been household dramas on community TV for generations however none that explored the issues of how much family ties can bind with the grownup taste of what was usually top-of-the-line exhibits on TV. Ball & Co. couldn’t fairly maintain the standard degree up for the complete run, however they did stick the touchdown with top-of-the-line collection finales of all time.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Typically cited as the perfect TV present of all time, David Chase’s award-winning masterpiece can really be credited with altering the panorama perpetually. Who knew when Tony Soprano sat down to speak to his therapist about panic assaults {that a} cultural phenomenon would come from it? The primary season of The Sopranos is an ideal season of tv. Simply watch it and take a look at to not be hooked sufficient to look at all of it. Perhaps even twice.

The boys of South Park have a new exclusive home on HBO Max after years of shifting round streaming platforms. In actual fact, their exclusivity right here has been one of many predominant promoting factors for the brand new streaming service. Who doesn’t wish to try and verify in on Kyle, Eric, Cartman, and Kenny when the world will get too loopy? The present has had its ups and downs over the various years it’s been on the air, but it surely’s stayed surprisingly sensible and humorous general.

If you happen to don’t have youngsters, you could not know in regards to the adventures of Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems. Your loss, individuals. Even with out little ones, it is advisable to see this inventive, surreal gem (pun supposed) a few child who groups with Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl to defend the Gems and simply be a standard child on the identical time. The collection led to January 2019 however there has already been a film and a restricted collection epilogue. Steven ain’t going wherever.

Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, and Steve Zissis created this extremely sensible dramedy that sadly solely lasted two seasons on HBO. In an period of high-concept TV, a standard character-driven piece about love and friendship has hassle discovering an viewers, however HBO Max could lead on individuals to this one, the place they’ll discover top-of-the-line ensembles of the 2000s, together with (Mark) Duplass, Zissis, Amanda Peet, and Melanie Lynskey.

In 2006, Russell T. Davies spun this collection off from his reboot of Physician Who, and it was truly a greater present for many of its run. Extra geared toward adults, Torchwood was a posh and progressive collection a few crew of alien hunters who simply occurred to be based mostly in Cardiff, and it contains a lead efficiency from John Barrowman that actually ought to have made him a large star.

The three-season arc of Nic Pizzolatto’s present has been a curler coaster. The overall consensus is that the Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson first season is a masterpiece, the Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell second season is a disappointment, and the Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff third season is somewhere in between. Now you should utilize HBO Max to see when you fall within the majority opinion on all three for your self.

When individuals write the historical past books about tv comedy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s performance as Selina Meyer will need its own chapter. When somebody dominates a style a lot that they win a number of Emmys, it might probably usually really feel like overkill, but it surely’s inconceivable to disclaim that JLD has deserved each single one. Her comedian timing right here is actually excellent, and she or he’s supported by one in every of trendy TV’s greatest ensembles too.

Top-of-the-line exhibits of 2019 was this Damon Lindelof miniseries adaptation of the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that serves extra as a sequel than a basic interpretation. Regina King is mind-blowing as a Tulsa police officer thrust into an investigation in regards to the loss of life of her superior that leads her to confront the very racist previous of our nation. Visually placing and thematically highly effective, that is about pretty much as good as TV will get.

Tv doesn’t get extra bold than David Simon’s five-season examination of life in a contemporary metropolis. Utilizing Baltimore as his template, Simon seems to be at each facet of city life, beginning with what first looks as if a simple-but-smart have a look at cops and criminals and increasing the canvas to incorporate dock staff, educators, journalists, and politicians over the course of the collection run. There’s a cause some individuals contemplate this the perfect present within the historical past of tv. | The 50 Greatest TV Reveals on HBO Max


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