In 2020, the streaming service Max (formerly HBO Max) launched its own platform, and since then, they’ve added thousands of hours of content. Max carried over many viewers from cable TV by adding shows like Euphoria to their streaming service. Although you probably haven’t heard of some of their hit shows, so we’ll review some of the best TV shows on HBO Max right now.
The White Lotus (2021)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Created by: Mike White
Cast: Jennifer Coolidge, Sydney Sweeney, Theo James
It’s good that the White Lotus luxury hotels aren’t real because it seems like nothing but chaos happens there. Season one of the White Lotus was set in Maui in Hawaii, and season two is set on the northeast coast of Sicily. For the most part, the entire cast changed except for two characters.
The series follows an array of guests and the hotel staff who try their best to keep guests happy, but if you stay at one of these resorts, something is bound crazy to happen. If you want to jump into season two, you can do so without confusion, as each season follows its own story.
The Sex Lives of College Girls (2021)
Created by: Mindy Kaling & Justin Noble
Cast: Reneé Rapp, Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur
Most young people tend to find themselves and their sexual identities at university, and that’s what The Sex Lives of College Girls is about. An eclectic group of girls- Bela, Kimberly, Leighton, and Whitney- take vastly different approaches to their sex lives during their freshman year at Essex College in Vermont. For instance, Bela is sex-positive, while Leighton is a closeted lesbian. Although it’s more about their sex lives, it’s about the bonds of friendship that make life worth living. Throughout their four years, they stick together through the ups, downs, drama, breakdowns, and situationships.
Created by: Sam Levinson
Cast: Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi, Alexa Demie, Hunter Shafer
Euphoria is based on the Israeli miniseries but was twisted into a redefined American coming-of-age story. It’s important to remember that none of the activities in the show are glamourized by the creators but by social media. Most of this glamourization comes from their unique and captivating makeup and cinematography.
Fresh out of rehab, Rue has no plans of staying sober and forms a friendship with the new girl, Jules. Rue, Jules, and their classmates attend parties, partake in many sexual endeavors, and do just about every drug they can get their hands on while they struggle through high school, friendships, and finding their identity. While the rest of the world might use this show to depict American schools, it’s meant to show the struggles of addiction, trauma, finding your identity, navigating love and friendships, and uniquely capturing various teenage experiences as they learn and grow into themselves.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin (2022)
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Created by: Lindsay Calhoon, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Cast: Bailee Madison, Zaria, Chandler Kinney
Still obsessed with the original Pretty Little Liars? Well, this new spinoff is its own show with a new cast of characters, but the infamous “A” will make an appearance. The series starts two decades ago with Angela Waters when she begged her friends to help her commit suicide. Fast forward to the present, the children of Angela’s friends, Tabby Haworthe, Imogen Adams, Faran Bryant, Noa Olivar, and Minnie “Mouse” Honrada, become targets of the notorious “A” as payback for their parents’ lack of action. At first, the girls think Karen is “A” and the one tormenting them, but they don’t realize the trouble they’re in.
Gossip Girl (2021)
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Created by: Joshua Safran
Cast: Eli Brown, Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Thomas Doherty
This series isn’t the original Gossip Girl, but you can still watch that on HBO Max as well; this series serves as a sequel and a reboot. Kristin Bell remains the voice of Gossip Girl, but now, there is a brand new cast of kids to spread rumors about.
Julien Calloway and her friends attend an elite private school in New York City, Constance Billard. With a life of privilege and pettiness, Julien is named the new “it” girl, but everyone at this school seems to have a dark, malicious side. Stick around to watch everyone’s devious secrets see the light of day.
The Other Two (2019)
Created by: Chris Kelly & Sarah Schneider
Cast: Drew Tarver, Case Walker, Heléne Yorke, Molly Shannon
The Other Two has to be one of the funniest shows on HBO Max. It follows the forgotten siblings Brooke and Cary as they deal with their brother, Chase, becoming a pop star overnight. Cary and Brooke try to make names for themselves as their younger brother’s stardom continues to grow even when the world keeps knocking them down a few pegs at every given a chance. This series is full of unique- and sometimes cringe- satire, but be prepared to have some of Chase’s hit songs like “Marry U at Recess” and “My Brother’s Gay (and That’s Okay)” stuck in your head.
House of the Dragon (2022)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Created by: George R. R. Martin & Ryan Condal
Cast: Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans, Paddy Considine
House of the Dragon has been renewed for season two, and season one focuses on the events 200 years before Game of Thrones and the Targaryen family. In Game of Thrones, most of the Targaryen family was dead, including most of their dragons. Without much explanation in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon takes the opportunity to tell the family’s story, what came of them, and how they lost the throne.
In the House of the Dragon, Princess Rhaynyra Targaryen renounced her role to Emma D’Arcy. After the loss of her mother and brother, Rhaenyra became the heir to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Weirdly enough, Lady Alicent Hightower, Rhaenyra’s childhood best friend, marries Rhaenyra’s father and becomes the new queen. Here, we see a rivalry between the two former friends, which ultimately causes disorder in House Targaryen.
The Staircase (2022)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Created by: Antonio Campos
Cast: Toni Collette, Colin Firth, Michael Stuhlbarg
Based on the real-life story of Michael Peterson. Michael Peterson faces murder charges when his second wife, Kathleen Peterson, is found dead in their home at the bottom of the stairs. The family doesn’t know what to think, but Michael allows a documentary team to capture the story of his family life and his defense. As the investigation furthers, the family dives deeper into an intense legal battle.
Created by: Mickey Down & Konrad Kay
Cast: Marisa Abela, Harry Lawtey, Myha’la Harrold
Industry follows a group of several talented young people competing for a permanent position in London at a reputable investment bank, Pierpoint & Co. The corporate world is already cutthroat enough, let alone when competing against a group of others for the same job. The group of recent graduates must perform to the best of their abilities for a seat at this table.
Station Eleven (2022)
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Created by: Patrick Somerville; adaption of the novel from Emily St. John Mandel
Cast: Himesh Patel, Daniel Zovatto, Mackenzie Davis
After almost two years in a pandemic, this series hits differently. During a global pandemic, the majority of the human race is wiped out by the virulent flu. Years after, a performer’s journey- Kirsten- in a traveling ensemble of actors is abruptly cut short by a deadly cult. Kirsten finds her life in danger when the cult comes after her, but even in this disastrous world, the characters somehow find a little hope in their unfortunate circumstances.
The Cleaning Lady (2022)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Created by: Miranda Kwok
Cast: Oliver Hudson, Adan Canto, Élodie Yung
Thony De La Rosa is an undocumented immigrant; she was also a doctor in the Philippines. Thony is unsure if she can stay in the U.S. after her visa expires, so she works as a cleaning lady to care for herself and her son Luca. Thony also needs this position so she can pay for her son’s medical treatment.
The series takes a turn when Thony accidentally becomes a witness to a mafia murder committed by Arman Morales. Arman blackmails her into working as their doctor, and he uses her cleaning services to hide any traces and evidence of murder. The FBI caught on to Thony and her work, but the agency plans to bring down Arman and stop his operations at any cost.
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Created by: Simon Astier
Cast: Simon Astier, Damien Jouillerot, Florence Loiret Caille
Visitors is a French sci-fi series on an alien invasion, and the series follows the rookie town cop of Pointe-Claire, Richard Garcia. After he witnesses a peculiar explosion, he makes the mistake of talking to others about what he saw. The town thinks he’s lost his mind, but when people begin mysteriously disappearing, they think there might’ve been some truth in his statement. Richard and his friends discover that they not only have one alien faction to worry about but two, so Richard and his friends entangle themselves in a war between the rival alien factions.
Irma Vep (2022)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Created by: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Vincent Macaigne, Alicia Vikander
Irma Vep focuses on American movie star- Mira- who’s disappointed in her career and a recent breakup. However, things start looking up for Mira when she travels to France to star as Irma Vep in a television series adaptation of Les Vampire, a French silent film. Irma Vep follows Mira as she navigates through the struggles of fame, losing her identity to her role, finding roles that suit her and her abilities, and rediscovering herself. Along the way, Mira begins to lose who she is, and Irma Vep takes over her personality to the point Mira doesn’t know which part is her and which part is Irma Vep. On top of that, Mira’s director seems to have his own existential crisis.
We Own This City (2022)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Created by: George Pelecanos & David Simon
Cast: Jamie Hector, Jon Bernthal, Wunmi Mosaku
We Own This City is a series that tells the true story of police corruption in the Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force. Sgt. Wayne Jenkins finds it easier to do the morally incorrect thing and doesn’t see an issue in stealing weapons and drugs for his own agenda, whether for profit or planting evidence to help other crooked cops. Sgt. Wayne and his force’s ignorance won’t let them see that they’re the bad guys in this story.
The Baby (2022)
Created by: Lucy Gaymer & Sian Robins-Grace
Cast: Amira Ghazalla, Amber Grappy, Michelle De Swarte
Natasha is a 38-year-old woman who absolutely despises children and even goes as far as being upset with her friends for having children. One day, a baby literally falls into Natasha’s arms after catching a glimpse of a woman committing suicide. Natasha does everything in her power to get rid of this child, but the baby’s supernatural powers kill the caretakers before the baby is back in her life. The baby clearly wants Natasha, but she doesn’t want it. Do you think the baby will soften Natasha’s cold, black heart toward children?
The Invisible Pilot (2022)
Genre: Crime, Documentary
Created by: Phil Lott & Ari Mark
Cast: Ray Buffer, Konstantin Podprugin
The Invisible Pilot tells a story most of us refuse to believe; the documentary series focuses on Gary Betzner and his life. Gary was a seemingly happy dad and pilot, but when he disappeared in an apparent suicide in 1977, everyone was utterly shocked. Watch The Invisible Pilot to learn what actually happened to Gary and why. If you’re not familiar with this backstory, you’re in for one of the most thrilling political scandals of our time.
Tokyo Vice (2022)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Created by: J.T. Rogers
Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Ansel Elgort, Ken Watanabe
Tokyo Vice is based on the non-fiction story of journalist Jake Adelstein as he moves from Missouri to Japan in an attempt to become a crime reporter. Jake becomes immersed in the world of Japanese crime while Detective Hiroto Katagiri offers a law enforcement perspective, while Jake’s contacts within the city offer contacts in the Yakuza. In Tokyo Vice, the underworld of organized crime in Japan begins to seep into nearly every aspect of Jake’s life, and he learns that no one is as they seem.
Created by: Ellen Rapoport
Cast: Jessica Lowe, Michael Angarano, Ophelia Lovibond
In the 1970s, Joyce Prigger sets out to create her own erotic magazine with the help of a low-rent publisher, Doug Renetti. She lives in Los Angeles and is a young feminist out to create the first erotic magazine for women. Sometimes Joyce finds the subject material challenging because she wants to maintain her ideals and keep her job. Along the way, she encounters many obstacles while attempting to publish the magazine. Minx shows that friendships can be made in unlikely alliances and odd places.
Our Flag Means Death (2022)
Created by: David Jenkins
Cast: Taika Waititi, Rhys Darby, Kristian Nairn
Based on the life of Stede Bonnet, a nobleman who grew tired of his boring life and unhappy marriage. He ended up abandoning his family for a life of piracy without any skill for it. He felt that his life needed something daring and exciting.
Stede purchases a ship, hires a crew, and begins branding himself as the Gentleman Pirate. Although this adventure seems fun, Stede has no idea how to be a pirate, and his crew, full of true pirates, could turn on him without notice. Thankfully, Stede befriends the well-known pirate, Blackbeard, so his crew has a higher chance of making it on the high seas.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus (2021)
Genre: Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Created by: Kenji Kamiyama, Shinji Aramaki
Cast: Will Yun Lee, Wes Bentley, Jessica Henwick
Blade Runner: Black Lotus takes place ten years after the fallout of the Black Out 2022. Elle, a female replicant, wakes in Los Angeles without any memories of why she was created and by whom. The only semblance of a clue was the Black Lotus tattoo on her body, so she decides to seek answers from familiar characters within the Blade Runner universe, along with brand new characters.
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Created by: Esteban Seimandi
Cast: Miguel Rodarte, Bruno Bichir, Claudette Maillé
One of the original international series by HBO Max, Bunker features Vladimiro, paralyzed by the ever-crushing weight of the world and his strange family. His only reprieve is his hideout in the basement of his house in a Soviet-era bunker. Vladimiro’s haven is ripped away when he learns his son is entangled in a criminal scheme. Vladimiro’s life quickly becomes complicated as he’s forced to share his bunker with a crooked mogul hunted by terrorists and kidnappers.
Love Life (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Created by: Sam Boyd
Cast: Jessica Williams, Chris Powell, William Jackson Harper, Anna Kendrick
One of HBO Max’s first original series, Love Life, is a unique romantic series, and each season focuses on a specific character in their search for love. The first season follows Anna Kendrick in New York City as she navigates love and a relationship in each episode. The second season features William Jackson Harper, and he never stops trying to find the right person for him, no matter how hard the journey can get.
The Outsider (2020)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Created by: Richard Price; based on the novel by Stephen King
Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp, Ben Mendelsohn
The Outsider is a miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel that correctly portrays the horror and mystery presented in the book. In a small Georgia town, a young boy known as Frank Peterson is violently murdered, and the Little League baseball coach- Terry Maitland- is accused of this atrocious act. Detective Ralph Anderson, who’s working on the case, is utterly outraged by this news because Ralph’s son spent time with Terry before he passed. Although Terry is the main suspect, none of the evidence adds up to prove he committed this act, so that leads them to believe something supernatural may explain this case.
Scenes from a Marriage (2021)
Created by: Hagai Levi
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain
Scenes from a Marriage on HBO Max is a remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, and it doesn’t disappoint. If you’d like to watch the original first, don’t worry because that is also available on HBO Max.
Jonathan and Mira are a married couple who are unquestionably in love. Although, some tension and arguments boil over and threaten their marriage and emotional health. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, or it just isn’t meant to be, no matter how much love is between two people. Will Jonathan and Mira let each other go if it saves them both?
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Created by: James Gunn
Cast: John Cena, Freddie Stroma, Danielle Brooks
John Cena plays Peacemaker and Christoper Smith, and at the worst possible timing, he learns that he cannot easily kill like before. After surviving a gunshot wound and being buried under a collapsing building, Christopher gets roped into work with a new black ops team with Amanda Walker. The team has been tasked to fight off a new and mysterious threat. When he must save the world from an unexpected threat, he finds trouble in killing with ease like he used to. You might want to save this series for after the kids go to bed, even though there are plenty of comedic and heart-touching moments.
Rap Sh!t (2022)
Created by: Issa Rae
Cast: Jonica Booth, Aida Osman, KaMillion
Two former best friends, Mia and Shawna, used to be each other’s world. Once inseparable, they grew apart when Mia got pregnant with her daughter Melissa and when Shawna moved to college in New York. When they finally reunite, they hardly know each other, but they rediscover their bond and form a rap group. Shawna has a remarkable talent, but she and Mia constantly fight over what they rap about. This series will have you laughing from their endless supply of hilarious remarks.
The Last Movie Stars (2022)
Created by: Emily Wachtel
Cast: Paul Newman, Joanna Woodward
The series celebrates Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward with the honor of the last movie stars. The married pair were both performers in Hollywood, and their marriage lasted five decades. The couple’s daughters’ cooperation allowed the documentary’s success with archival interviews and various other footage presenting their marriage’s story. The documentary doesn’t shy away from the couple’s tumultuous times but highlights how they became so popular in Hollywood.
The Gilded Age (2022)
Created by: Julian Fellowes
Cast: Christine Baranski, Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector
The Gilded Age explores a time in American history most avoided and left unexplored. Marian Brook, a young orphaned woman, moves in with Ada Brook and Agnes van Rhijn, her two rich aunts, two decades after the Civil War. Marian is looking for a fresh start and a chance to be a writer but accidentally gets involved in a social war between her aunt Agnes and her new rich neighbors, who are also ruthless railroad tycoons. Will Marian side with the neighbors, her aunt Agne, or will she make her own path in New York City?
The Girl Before (2022)
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Created by: J.P. Delaney, Rhonda Smith
Cast: David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessica Kate Plummer
The Girl Before is an HBO Max original adaption from J.P. Delaney’s own novel. Jane Cavendish is a young woman attempting to recover and navigate through her traumatic past in a house that only intensifies her anxiety and men who seem determined to drive her mad.
Edward has plenty of strict rules for his tenants to follow, but it seems that he may have a romantic interest in Jane. Everything seems to be going fine until Jane finds that she shares a striking resemblance to a previous resident, Emma Matthews. Emma was drawn to Edward, which ultimately led to her demise, so Jane begins wondering if she is on the same path Emma was before her passing.
Genre: Action & Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Created by: Akiva Goldsman, Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns
Cast: Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Brenton Thwaites
Titans has plenty of reasons to binge-watch. For instance, ex-Robin steps out of Batman’s shadow and takes the spotlight, where he assembles a new team of heroes. His ensemble consists of the shape-shifting Beast Boy, Superboy, future Robin, supernatural Raven, Tim Drake, and alien soldier Starfire.
In the first season, Dick Grayson makes it out of Gotham City to move to Detroit to instill some distance between himself and Bruce Wayne, his mentor. By the fourth season, the team of heroes is lured to Metropolis by Lex Luthor. However, they learn their true enemies are Brother Blood and Mother Mayhem, both cult leaders.
Genre: Action & Adventure, fantasy, Sci-Fi
Created by: Sara Antuña, Carlos de Pando
Cast: Veki G. Velilla Francisco Ortiz, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba
García is based on the novel of the same name and focuses on Antonia, an investigative reporter in Spain who hears about Garcia, a super-agent. This superhuman spy was originally created in the ’50s, but he has been in a cryogenic suspension for decades. Antonia manages to thaw and free Garcia, and the two quickly form a peculiar friendship. At the same time, they try to stop fascists from overthrowing the Spanish government and taking over the country.
Harley Quinn (2019)
Genre: Animation, Action & Adventure, Crime, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Created by: Dean Lorey, Justin, Patrick Schumacker
Cast: Lake Bell, Kaley Cuoco
Harley Quinn recently returned for a third season, and the newest season is by far the most unique and thrilling because of her new crew. Her new crew consists of Doctor Psycho, King Shark, and Clayface. When Harley gets incredibly close to taking control of the underworld in Gotham City, she discovers the romantic feelings she holds for Poison Ivy, her best friend. Initially, Poison Ivy doesn’t want to act on her similar feelings for Harley. In the meantime, Batman’s romantic relationship with Catwoman seems to fade away more each day. Essentially, the series follows Harley through her various adventures alongside her best friend after leaving her boyfriend, The Joker.
Selena + Chef (2020)
Genre: Cooking Show
Created by: Aaron Saidman
Cast: Selena Gomez, Raquelle Stevens, Ludo Lefebvre
Selena + Chef started during the pandemic while everyone tried to embrace the good in some of the worst times for many. Since we were in the middle of the pandemic, Selena had to do almost everything required to film a TV show. For example, she had to turn the cameras on, prep all the food, etc. With this show, Selena allowed viewers to see a celebrity in their rare form in their comfy sweatpants, let alone her home.
Throughout the series, viewers are entertained by Selena’s lack of cooking experience and commitment to making each dish. With each episode, Selena creates a new dish, and a professional chef guest stars to aid and assist the process by offering tips and tricks to avoid future disasters.
If you’re looking for something to laugh at or help you escape for a few hours, HBO Max has plenty of content to pick from. We know it can be challenging to choose what to watch, and HBO Max is packed with attention-grabbing content. Hopefully, after reading this, you can add a few titles to your list. Don’t forget to check on the new titles added every month!