The 50 Best TV Shows On HBO Max
HBO Max is one of the more powerful streaming services ever since it launched in May 2020. Considering that HBO itself has been in existence since 1972, there are even more shows that have been unveiled over the decades that viewers can't get enough of.
The best part is that some of these shows have been revamped for your modern pleasure and can be watched on HBO. Don't have an HBO Max subscription? After checking out our list of the top 50 HBO shows, you might change your mind.
The Outsider is one of those horror series that starts off a bit slow but picks up after the second episode due to some surprising and confusing antics that sparks the flame of madness. It stars actors Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Cynthia Erivo as they go on to investigate the murder of a young boy.
What makes the show so good is the suspenseful acting from the thespians. The foreshadowing that comes from their mouth lets you know that something sinister is about to go down and you definitely want to be there to see it.
Band of Brothers
With a name like Band of Brothers, you either think soldiers or rock stars, with the first being correct. This HBO original is a 10-episode miniseries that follows Easy Company as they enter World War II. The war adaptation was created with the help of Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Band of Brothers has received the Best Miniseries Emmy, deeming itself "prestige T.V." and one of the best war re-enactments on HBO. Actors Ron Livingston, Damian Lewis, and Michel Cudlitz really outplayed themselves on this one.
The 2014 critically acclaimed series, Silicon Valley, has six seasons of off-beat comedy related to big business. As the premise goes, in the world of Silicon Valley's tech start-ups, Richard Hendrick - played by Thomas Middleditch (center) - connects with two other investors, a.k.a, the "Brogrammers," to move his business forward.
The seriousness of the business lingo along with the performances of how they achieve their goals makes the show both hilarious and educational. If you're thinking of starting a business and enjoy comedy, this is a great series to binge.
I May Destroy You
It may be described as a comedy-drama, but I May Destroy You has had one of the largest audiences since its inception in 2020 because it discusses a significant issue plaguing the world today, sexual assault. Michaela Coel plays Arabella and learns how to deal with the hurt she was forced to experience.
Her memories of the shocking event become obsessive and she starts to notice how it affects her work, personal, and romantic relationships. The show is so good and Michaela Coel became the first black woman to take home the Emmy for Outstanding Writing!
Boardwalk Empire is an American crime drama series based in the 1920s period of prohibition in New Jersey. Steve Buscemi (center) stars as "Nucky Thompson" and tells the story of the corrupt treasurer of Atlantic County becoming one of the most powerful political influences.
The story is based on criminal kingpin Enoch L. Johnson. HBO picked up the series in 2010, and it ran for five seasons and 56 episodes before being canceled in 2014. Interestingly, the show was inspired by Nelson Johnson's non-fiction book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.
Created by Tom Fontana and set in a fake men's prison - Oswald State Correctional Facility - Oz is a strong HBO show because it was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced by HBO. It premiered in June 1997 and ran for six seasons before its final episode in February 2003.
"Emerald City" was the experimental unit of the prison where control was given and taken; it's also a reference to the original screenplay itself. The show was good enough to win several Golden Satellite Awards for Best Series and Best Actor, among many others.
Issa Rae has become a household name due to the creation of Insecure, a comedic satire connected to parts of Rae's personal life. The show was also partially based on Rae's acclaimed web series, Awkward Black Girl, the story of her experience as a modern African-American woman finding her way after graduating college.
The series has been applauded and praised since its creation in 2016. It was voted top 10 television programs of the year and received eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations for its fourth season. The show ran for five seasons and is now available on HBO Max.
Treme was a show that was postulated to be a miniseries, yet turned out to be much more. Treme was a dedication to New Orleans following the events of Hurricane Katrina. The visual love letter was created in 2010 and had quite a run on HBO for four seasons.
The sentimental drama is filled with slick and honest comments with a great representation of the city. Treme makes our list of top 50 HBO shows because it turned New Orleans into the main character. The culture, food, and music create the spirit that had this show running for 4 years.
Remember the book and the movie Watchmen? Well, it was turned into a debut television series in 2019 and changed the landscape of how conceptual a T.V. show could really be. Regina King (featured) and Damon Lindelof star as the main characters and gave arousing dialogue based on LGBTQ+ people and race.
Unfortunately, Lindelof decided to leave the show, with King as the last character standing. Nonetheless, the show was better than anticipated, even if it only lasted one season.
We're Here is one of the latest in LGBTQIA+ television where three drag queens' lives are followed and documented throughout the series. It shows the strife that they endure on a daily basis and the fun that they have in living their best life.
Let's just say that there's a healthy dose of reality mixed with quality optimism. Made in 2020, We're Here is a great blend of millennial and Gen Z references, and is entering its third season because of it.
Westworld makes our list for being one of the top 50 HBO shows because it's one of the few science fiction neo-Western series that featured an American dystopian. The show is based on the 1973 film by the same name and features a strong cast with Thandiwe Newton and Evan Wood.
The series was supposedly canceled, but luckily for Westworld fans, COVID was the culprit and the show is back on track to have season 4 released by summer 2022. Looks like Rehoboam may get another shot at human domination.
Euphoria is one of the latest and greatest beautifully dismal dystopian shows that HBO Max has to offer. The provocative series features none other than the future legend, Zendaya, as she portrays Rue, a 17-year-old drug addict who believes that life itself is a dismal trap and existential waste of time.
Filled with lurid colors, maladaptive behaviors, drugs, and sex, Euphoria has made a name for itself and the audience that grows along with it. If you're up for some voyeurism, Euphoria has you covered.
HBO is known for having tantalizing shows and The Deuce happens to be one of them. The show is based in the 1970s era and highlights the daily lives of pimps, prostitutes, pornographers, and beat cops as they encounter and show amusing contempt for each other. What's great about the show is the A-list cast.
Actors like The Wire's Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, and James Franco take the lead roles. Their ensemble cast also includes Dominique Fishback and music legends Black Thought and Method Man. Director David Simon and HBO have done it again!
What makes Gentleman Jack notable for our top 50 HBO shows is the basis of truth that it stands on. The main character, Anne Lister, was a classy lady of Yorkshire and had many experiences as a world traveler, landlord, mountaineer, and a symbol of wealth in society.
What she's most known for is being the "avid seducer of other women," and was the first "modern lesbian" known to history! The series places its cameras on Lister - played by Suranne Jones - as she comes home to her family and sets her eyes on a young heiress, Ann Walker. Let's see how this turns out!
If you're from New York, you know how hectic the city life can get when you are trying to maneuver through it like a tall, concrete maze. If you don't, check out Girls, the coming-of-age story of four young women who awkwardly step into adulthood through antics, dating, social events, and life's moments of enlightenment.
These women take on the true New Yorker's mentality and dare to be adventurous, for better or for worse. The show has received great reviews since its inception and is too cool to care about critic reactions. You go girls!
The Big Bang Theory
Yes, The Big Bang Theory airs on CBS from time to time, but you can also watch it on HBO Max! CBS's major hit show features the entire cast - Penny, Sheldon, Amy, Bernadette, Leonard, Howard, and Raj - as they have the most entertaining debates and arguments about life and the space-time continuum.
Fun fact: The Big Bang Theory was added to HBO Max to help get subscribers...and it worked! All 275 episodes are strapped within 12 seasons of laughter and intelligence. Go ahead and binge-watch it from the first episode... we won't judge you.
Originally an Adult Swim show, Aaron McGruder's comic book series turned animated series, The Boondocks, has been placed on the HBO list of top shows for being politically correct, despite it is not being critically acclaimed. Huey, the antisocial maverick, Riley, the urban neighborhood menace, and Grandad, the melody-humming disciplinarian, have captured the eyes of millions since the 2000s.
What you may not know is that HBO is commissioning two new seasons that will be airing in fall 2022! If you're a fan of butt-kicking brothers with power and wit, then you won't want to miss out on The Boondocks.
Chernobyl has only received the right attention. The miniseries dropped in 2019 and tells the visual story of a tragic accident. It's based on the true story of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and gives unique details of the only accident in the history of commercial nuclear power to have radiation-related deaths.
Jared Harris, Paul Ritter, and Stellan Skarsgard play the starring roles in the dramatic tragedy and portray the Ukrainian and Russian characters with honesty through strife. Despite the underwhelming viewer rating, it holds a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so there's on-screen merit to be acknowledged.
From 10 years of death to its resurrection, Deadwood returned to HBO following its cancellation after the showing of Deadwood: The Movie. David Milch created the proclaimed Deadwood as "one of the best television shows of all time" due to its exciting action scenes, stellar foreshadows, and an intelligent plot that twists and turns when you least expect it.
The 1870s theme gives a rich history lesson to South Dakota's land and towns. The plot is based on the growth of Deadwood from camp to town and features an unforgettable cast including Timothy Olyphant (left) and Ian McShane (right).
Doom Patrol has been described as "dark," in addition to its comedic banter that livens up the show. The DC Comics superhero team comprises of many names you may already know like Cyborg, Robotman, Elasti-girl, Negative Man, and of course, Crazy Jane as the unlikely hero, who are all given a mission by their instructor, The Chief.
Since its inception in 2019, the show has received great reviews and is accepted well by DC and Marvel viewers alike, which is why it has made it to season three. What's even better is that it is being renewed for a fourth season, so bring it on DC!
Years and Years
America isn't the only one with great T.V. shows. The United Kingdom created Years and Years, a compelling series that tells the story of a dystopian vision through the eyes of one British Family. Even though it wasn't a fan favorite when it came to America, it has an interesting premise that will keep you engaged without noticing.
The series maneuvers through various (and likely) world events that some could say are in the near future that we should prepare for. Tech giants, politics, media, and schemes... what more could you really ask for?
Remember Lisa Kudrow? She played Phoebe on the hit show Friends and in 2005, Lisa decided it was time to... you guessed it, make a comeback! As described by critics, The Comeback was ahead of its time as it followed the once-popular TV actress bobbing and weaving through Hollywood to get back in the spotlight.
She may have dealt with a lot of rejection and became a bit cringed, but that's what made the show entertaining and edgy! The show may have ended a few years back, but it makes our list for being surreal, sassy, and downright funny.
Sookie, Bill, Tara, Lafayette... any of these names ring a bell? If it doesn't these are the prominent characters from one of HBO's greatest TV series, True Blood. The show was released in 2008 and became popular very quickly because of the height of the vampire era. True Blood has been deemed worthy of watching because of the thrilling excitement from the sex, drama, and action.
After seven seasons, the T.V. series was canceled due to the plot hitting a wall with no ideas of how to continue its development. Nonetheless, the series still holds a place in many viewers' hearts.
Looking may not have gotten the attention that it deserved but it served a purpose that many other shows are afraid to touch. Looking presented the inner thoughts and feelings of gay men to the big screen through three close friends living (and loving) in modern-day San Francisco.
Sure, the plot was a bit typical and the show is slow to start. But, if you make it past the first episode, the comedy-drama starts to pick up via verbal directness and eye-catching visual wit. Try an episode or two and watch Dom, Patrick, and Kevin live their tumultuous lives.
Bill Hader had his time on Saturday Night Live, but Barry was the role he was meant for. Barry is a marine-turned-depressed, low-rent hitman who is lonely and dissatisfied with his life. All of that changes when he goes to an L.A. theater to hit his "mark" and finds acceptance in the theater community.
Watching Barry balance the progress from his old murderous life to a new thespian mindset is entertaining and adrenaline-pumping. Barry was good enough to be the winner of six Emmy awards, so it may be worth binging a season or two with your HBO Max subscription.
We know that the media has a strong hold on the world and how we perceive it, and Succession does a decent job at portraying such dominance and power. Some viewers and critics consider it a drama with a flair of comedic relief. The series is filled with the navigation of politics and manipulating the power of others' influence.
The succession (pun intended) following the retirement of one of the world's largest media giants creates a highly dysfunctional dynasty. The four adult children do what they can to become next in line to be the leader, and season 3 gives way to who it could be.
Sex and the City
From America to Europe, the title Sex and the City is the epitome - and blueprint - of how many women desire to live their lives. Revolutionary for its time, the adventures of Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte created a generation of women who believed being risque was exciting and elegant.
From 1998 to 2004, Sex and the City was easily a top contender for the best HBO show. However, it was canceled due to the studio not wanting to meet the demands of the actors. Nonetheless, a reboot began in 2016! Enjoy ladies (and gentlemen!)
Eastbound & Down
Danny McBride has a dedicated following because of his immature and entertaining personality that shines in Eastbound & Bound. Danny plays a burned-out major league baseball player who decides to return to the home he turned his back on to teach physical education. The comical angst is what made the show last for 4 seasons.
Yet, because of a lack of plot and not knowing where to go next with the storyline, the show was canceled in 2013. We'll simply add this show to the list of Danny McBride's cinema hits and appreciate his laughter-filled efforts.
The White Lotus
Ever seen rich people go on vacation? All the time, right?! The White Lotus does a great job at portraying the life of wealthy vacationers that have a hard time adjusting to the twist and turns of it. The cast makes the show a pleasure to watch as they struggle to successfully survive in the titular Hawaiian resort.
This miniseries makes our list because as it progresses, it becomes darker and the truth reveals itself. The intertwined relationships create alliances while their privilege makes the vacation even worse. It's definitely worth watching an episode or two.
Jean Smart stars as Deborah Vance (left), a living-legend Las Vegas comedian whose time at stardom is almost up. Determined to not give up, Deborah teams up with a younger comedian - played by Hannah Einbinder (right) - who was canceled because of a Twitter joke and needs to rebuild.
One of the best features about Hacks is the one-liners that Smart creatively states throughout the seasons. The circumstances that are created between Smart and Einbinder are comical, to say the least, and were co-created by Paul W. Downs.
We Own This City
David Simon and George Pelecanos can't get enough of institutional corruption that leads to street warfare. If you're a fan of The Wire, then you want to check out We Own This City, a limited series that describes the real-life rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department and its Gun Trace Task Force.
The series is considered an extension of The Wire's exploration into the drug war that happened in Baltimore. What's even more interesting is that some of the actors that played dealers in The Wire are now police officers in We Own This City.
The best way to watch Sharp Objects is from the last episode backward, but that would ruin all the fun. Sharp Objects showcases how living in a small Missouri town can make you consistently sweat... or maybe it's the constant questioning about the murder of two girls that took place.
Crime reporter Camille Preaker investigates the murders while her socialite mother judges and triggers her past trauma of alcoholism and self-harm. Warning: the reveal of the killer and how it all goes down may haunt you for a while... good luck!
Hospital comedy has its own cult following and Getting On only inducted more fans. The series describes a dysfunctional group of hospital employees tirelessly keeping the geriatric wing of a California hospital running smoothly. You'll watch Nurse Didi, Nurse Dawn, Supervising Nurse Patsy, and the disgruntled Dr. James snip at each other in the boldest ways possible.
The show dropped in 2013 and lasted for 3 seasons and 18 episodes. The show may not have been renewed for a fourth season, but the seasons that exist made the show good enough to make our list.
Danny McBride (right) makes our list again along with Walton Goggins (left), as they were the stars of the dark comedy series Vice Principals. The story follows McBride and Goggins as they try to redeem themselves from serious circumstances that they've created. You'll cringe from the borderline mean comments but smile at the somewhat tender moments expressed by McBride.
The plot seems like it would have a hard time working, but McBride and Goggins bring it to life. The twist and turns are what make the storyline more interesting and created two awesome seasons.
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is a miniseries that caught a lot of attention based on its plot. The show portrays the life of the real Robert Durst, a real estate heir, and mogul who was arrested for committing crimes against his wife and murdering her too.
The Jinx goes to show how wealth and power can protect someone even though the evidence says they are completely dangerous. The real Durst was arrested for the aforementioned crime and passed away in early 2022 while serving his appointed life sentence, but the show still lives.
The Flight Attendant
If you need a break from your own struggles and want to watch someone else's catastrophe happen, then turn on The Flight Attendant starring the well-known Kaley Cuoco. Kaley plays her character "Cassie" too well as she shockingly wakes up next to her fling's murdered body, and she does what she can to clear her name.
But to do that, Cassie will have to face her past wrongdoings, make amends with her demons, and confront memories that keep her fumbling through her quest. The dark comedy also has a murderer that seems a little too compulsive... it's must-see T.V.!
Luck has its good note and a very ironic bad ending. The good note is that the series was made by David Milch and stars Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, and Kerry Condon, as they portray different characters that are known to be regulars at the racetrack, from the jockeys to the drunks.
The ironic side is that during the filming of the show, horses died. Additionally, many other horses at the Santa Anita racetrack died too, which is why the show was canceled. I guess the horses weren't so lucky to be a part of this series.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency stars the living legend, Jill Scott (featured) portraying Mma Ramotswe as she opens and operates Botswana's first and only female detective firm. Titled after the book series of the same name, Scott and actors Anika Rose, and Lucian Msamati exhibit vivaciousness during heated moments.
There's even a love connection between Mma Ramotswe and a local mechanic. The series lasted for one season and fans were disappointed, but you can still witness the gorgeous shots of Botswana and whole-hearted laughter in the first season!
Although he is resting in peace now, Bill Paxton made a huge mark during his role in the series Big Love. The plot is simple: Paxton is the husband in a polygamous relationship with his trio of wives played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Chole Sevigny. The four of them live on a fundamentalist compound in Utah with a powerful and dangerous prophet.
What's more interesting is the connection between the four lovers. The women support each other while Paxton takes on the more intricate workings of the strange society that they live in.
The Righteous Gemstones
The Righteous Gemstones is one of the latest and greatest by creator and actor of the series, Danny McBride. He stars as Jesse, one of the heirs to his father Eli's chain shops, played superbly by none other than John Goodman. Jesse's brother, Kelvin, dresses like a Christian pop star, and their sister, Judy, never seems to get the respect she thinks she deserves.
Their late mother's death weighs heavy on Eli but Jesse and Kelvin are comically supportive of their father and his business endeavors. If you're looking for a good laugh, The Righteous Gemstones can supply you.
"The 13th!" is what you'll end up shouting in unison with the soldiers if you watch Rome. The historical series tells the story of how lead centurions, Lucious Vorenus and Titus Pullo, rally their troops to engage in many tumultuous battles. Their major beef is with Caesar and his betrayal, along with their dislike of the exile of Queen Cleopatra and King Antony.
Watch as the troops fall to their demise as the Roman Republic and rise again as the Roman Empire. Rome has an amazing cast, great fight scenes, and political drama that will keep you pressing "Next Episode."
Carnivale has one of those plots that appear spooky, creepy, and strange because of the sideshow characters that fill the series. Yet, their intriguing dynamic of support creates a harmony that other aspects contradict. Carnivale takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930s and follows a gifted man with the ability to manipulate life and death.
The mysteries and connections made within the show reach deep into the consciousness of viewers. It's filled with spiritualism and external forces, but you should know that this is no superhero show.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
It may only be in its first season, but Winning deserves a spot because it replays the infamous moments of NBA history that created the dynasty of the Los Angeles Lakers. The series is set to showcase the draft picks, purchases, and trades of major players like Magic Johnson - played by Quincy Isaiah (right) - and internal team issues.
The entire series is shot with a filter to recreate the imagery of the 1980s which some viewers like and others detest. Whether you like basketball or not, the plot alone is enough to keep you engaged in this rich and unfolding history.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David starred in his own creation, Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing a more embellished version of himself as a self-declared schlemiel with low self-esteem. Think of it as a live version of Seinfeld, which Larry David also created. The best part about Curb Your Enthusiasm is the awkward situations Larry is put in and how he embarrassingly got himself out of them.
This series was an HBO trademark comedy because it rarely failed at bringing the laughter, and it lasted for eleven seasons! Such success deserves notoriety just as much as the laughs it created.
Game of Thrones
The book series Songs of Ice and Fire created one of the most infamous HBO series of all time, Game of Thrones. Within the first two episodes, you witness snarky comments, training and ridicule, and even incest! The series highlighted the fantasy element of the book and how each character survives in the harsh reality of their society.
The heroes and villains are opposite ends of the same spectrum and equally meet their doom without discrimination. The process of unfolding each story takes time, which is how Game of Thrones successfully lasted for eight seasons.
Six Feet Under
Ever wonder what happens to us when we die? What the meaning of death is? These are questions that most humans will ask at some point in their life and Six Feet Under does its best to answer them. Ironically, the show is never morbid and is based on the connected lives of the Fishers and their mental and emotional perspectives as funeral home operators.
There are moments of doubt and sensitivity, as well as tender moments intertwined with sadness and magnificent quotes. The show even stars Michael C. Hall (center) before he starred in Dexter... maybe this is where his taste for death started.
DC Comics brings Peacemaker to HBO Max and former wrestler extraordinaire-turned-actor John Cena (center) brings him to life. The Suicide Squad character is quite the contradiction; he wants peace so badly that he's willing to become violent to create it. Critics have said that the show is slow to start and begins to get better once explosions start to occur.
Some fans of superhero shows are not keen on Peacemaker because of its buffoonery, but others love it for its off-brand "save the world" mentalities and behaviors. Nonetheless, it's worth watching if it's on our top 50 list.
Being released in 2012, Veep set us up for what we knew would eventually come one day, a female Vice President! Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus (featured) plays Vice President Selina Meyer in the most hilarious way possible. The first episode highlights how difficult it can be to settle in with the new staff and all the antics that can occur at a moment's notice.
The political satire comedy series was created by Armando Iannucci as an adaptation of his other sitcom, The Thick of It, and lasted for seven seasons until its departure in 2019. Thanks for bringing it back HBO Max!
David Makes Man
With two seasons already in play, David Makes Man takes a sensitive approach to coming-of-age dramas. A 14-year-old David (Akili McDowell) showcases how his personal sense of self conflicts coincide with his external living situations of residing in the projects. Family issues, academic pressures, and gangs inevitably follow during the first season.
The second season portrays David as a 30-something year old and shows us how an adult man can still carry his childhood with him. The impression that is created from this series can be described as "long-lasting."
The Sopranos rings in the ears and hearts of serious T.V. watchers. For eight years, actor James Gandolfini delved deep into the mind of his character, Tony Soprano, the loving husband, son, and father who also suffered psychological distress, cheats on his wife and is the mob boss of the most notorious Italian mob in the city.
The Sopranos was a brilliant show that explored the layers of crime drama and the dysfunctional family that resides in it. The characters and plot were so realistic that many viewers became part of the Soprano family, as they became part of ours.