For the nights when Netflix and Hulu binges aren’t cutting it, HBO Max has plenty to offer. While some tune in for the action adventure of Game of Thrones and others for the glorious hate-watching only And Just Like That... can provide, there’s still so much more to explore on the streamer. At least, while it’s still there, if we’re judging from recent headlines.
If you’re looking for something to watch and have an HBO Max subscription, below are 20 of their best shows available right now. Something old, something new, and something that will probably become a favorite comfort series for rainy Sundays.
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The kids are very much not all right in this Zendaya-led high school drama. At the heart of the show is her character Rue, a teenager struggling with serious addiction following the death of her father. Around that heart is some meaty sexual intrigue covered in a layer of gratuitous nudity. Adults watching the show might wonder what happened to being an AV club geek since they graduated, but some moments in Euphoria always ring true—like the confusion and longing of young love seen in Rue’s relationship with the angelic Jules, played by Hunter Schafer.
Sex and the City was such a mainstay of the original HBO brand that their recent reboot And Just Like That… completely took over social media when it aired late in 2021. The show is both a time capsule of a very specific chapter of New York City history and culture and a timeless examination of sex, love, and relationships. Whether you’re watching it for the first time or starting yet another comfort binge, it’s always a good night to grab a cocktail and settle in with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and (sigh) Samantha.
In this dark comedy, Bill Hader stars as a hitman who finds an unexpected calling in an acting class while he’s picking off a target. It’s a breath of fresh air for the trained killer (how could it not be? It’s led by Henry Winkler!) and the whole course of his life is changed.
This show featuring Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat is a little hard to explain. Sometimes called a satire of millennial culture, the story follows Shawkat’s protagonist Dory Sief and her friends as they search for a missing young woman. Also incorporating their personal lives and occasional hints of horror, it’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want a simple genre piece and does want a lot of laughs.
Writer, actor, and producer Issa Rae is a fixture in the world of entertainment with seemingly a million projects going at once. But she was first noticed by wider audiences for her YouTube series Awkward Black Girl. Insecure is clearly the evolution of her original vision, following a young woman in Los Angeles as she blows up her life and then puts it back together in a way that finally fits. It’s also pretty hilarious.
Does Friends even need an introduction? The iconic sitcom about six friends living in New York City, falling in and out of love, and winding up in shenanigans is streaming on HBO Max—all 10 seasons of it.
HBO is great at bringing back classics with a new twist, scratching that nostalgia itch while also delivering more modern takes and tone. This standalone sequel to the original Gossip Girl is still narrated by Kristen Bell, but it features a whole new cast of characters at their elite Manhattan prep school. Unlike the CW version, HBO allows for a bit more adult content. And because it’s 2022, there are also LGBTQ characters and a more diverse cast to enjoy. But if you have a craving for the OG series, you can stream that on HBO Max too.
You simply must watch The Sopranos, primarily because it’s one of the best TV shows created, but also so you can get the memes. Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, is a New Jersey mobster having an existential crisis. The show follows his work in therapy and his work in the mob, ending on a cliffhanger that fans still talk about years later. You’ll get it when you see it.
This critically acclaimed drama follows the Roy family, which runs the media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo, as patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) considers which of his three children is fit to lead the company next. Everyone wants to be at the top, but the company’s succession from father to heir does not go smoothly. Watching this dysfunctional family risk their dynasty to one up each other is perfect entertainment for viewers who want to be reminded that money isn’t everything.
On the surface, The Wire is a show about the city of Baltimore, but it’s really about how America’s “war on drugs” has warped the lives of everyone touched by it. The show offers many perspectives, from the detectives, the drug dealers, and the ordinary citizens populating the city’s streets, and it is deeply engaging no matter whose eyes you’re looking through.
Deborah Vance is a legendary comedian who is essentially being forced into retiring from her Las Vegas residency. Played by Jean Smart, she’s a millionaire with a dark history, and when she meets an up-and-coming young comedian hired to punch up her material, her life takes a sharp turn. This buddy comedy is a great study of relationships between ambitious and talented women and it’s pretty funny, too.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
This spin-off from the PLL universe is about a sleepy little town called Millwood, not far off from the infamous Rosewood of the original series. A group of teenage girls are suddenly harassed by a mysterious “A” who is holding them responsible for a crime committed by their mothers in the year 1999. This is a great show for anyone looking for a fright, and anyone who wants to feel young and old at the same time.
This hotly anticipated prequel to Game of Thrones features all of the stuff people loved in the original: medieval cosplay, random acts of horrific violence, dragons, and platinum wigs. The series shows earlier generations of Targaryens battling over who will take the Iron Throne, though viewers knows all paths eventually lead to Daenerys. Enjoy watching how they get there.
Created by Robin Thede, this sketch show has a core group of character actors that include Abbott Elementary‘s Quinta Brunson. Though the series has a running narrative through line during its first season, every episode spins off into hilarious and dynamic hijinks making it an instant classic worth adding to the sketch show canon.
This swashbuckling adventure comedy is a secret love story that surprised and delighted fans in its first season. Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) is a wealthy aristocrat who decides to run away from home and hire his own pirate crew, emulating his hero, the pirate Black Beard. While Bonnet does not have his crew’s immediate respect, he somehow manages to make them a family. Every episode is a joy to watch.
This dark comedy and mystery begins with an alcoholic flight attendant waking up next to a dead man and things only escalate from there. Kaley Cuoco plays the show’s namesake as she figures out what happened that night and if she could be—gasp!—the murderer.
The Time Traveler’s Wife was originally a bestselling book that was eventually adapted into a film and has now taken its final form as a limited TV series. The story is about a man who involuntarily pops around the timeline of his life, aware of his own death and of the woman he will eventually marry. It’s a romance with a hint of magic, which makes the love story that much more poignant.
Yes, Harley Quinn is an animated series, but don’t let that keep you away. The show is very much targeted at adults. It’s all about the titular character’s attempts to take over Gotham City after she leaves her boyfriend, the Joker, and finds new love with her BFF and girlfriend Poison Ivy. You’ll find yourself rooting for the villains—or at least not entirely sure who the bad guys actually are anymore.
Each of Love Life‘s two seasons follows a different character as they undergo huge relationship transitions. The first season stars Anna Kendrick as Darby, a woman who is willing to accept too little just to feel loved, while the second season stars William Jackson Harper as Marcus, a man who has terrible romantic timing. Each episode is a thoughtful exploration of the growth every person has to go through to be in a healthy relationship. And it’s all too relatable.
This satirical comedy classic stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the fictional vice-president of the United States, Selina Meyer. Meyer and her team are constantly bogged down in political games, and though it started airing in 2012, it still feels incredibly relevant to today’s political climate. Perfect for when you need to laugh at something a little too real.
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