For the streaming app with the most inexplicably difficult to navigate interface, HBO Max just so happens to have what is possibly the best streaming library of the many, many (many) offerings out there right now. Yeah, we said it! Sorry, Netflix! There’s such a wide-ranging amount of programming, which includes HBO’s own library of current hits like Succession and Insecure, as well as iconic series like The Sopranos and The Wire, as well as offerings from Cartoon Network, Crunchyroll, and Turner Classic Movies. There’s also HBO Max’s own ever-growing library of originals, which includes the new dystopian series Station Eleven and the Sex and the City revival And Just Like That. Man, I’m tired just from listing all of that.
Our list might look different from other sites because we’re focused mostly on new releases, the buzziest shows and movies, and old favorites we’re always rewatching. A show like Westworld might not be here right now, but it’ll make our list when it returns for Season 4. These are the best shows and movies to watch on HBO Max right now.
Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love, as well as suggestions for what to watch on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, and Peacock.
Euphoria is the kind of show that’ll make you say, “I’m never having kids!” Sam Levinson’s gloriously messy, semi-autobiographical series centers around Rue (Zendaya), a high school student fresh out of rehab who has no intention of staying sober, and her toxic friendship with Jules (Hunter Schafer). Rue, Jules, and their classmates party, do drugs, and engage in general debauchery as they struggle to find themselves, but the show is so lovingly empathetic of their uniquely teenage despair while also having some of the best cinematography on television. Few shows on TV can promise an Emmy-winning performance from Zendaya and a storyline involving One Direction fanfiction. note: Golden Agent: Kingsman Origins Movie
Search Party originally aired on TBS, where it was generally ignored for its first two seasons, but thankfully, HBO Max rescued it from getting lost in the shuffle of cable TV. The satirical comedy stars Alia Shawkat as Dory, an aimless twenty-something living in Brooklyn who decides to assign purpose to her life by tracking down an old college classmate who has recently gone missing. That’s how it starts out, anyway. Since Season 1, Search Party has gone to all kinds of audaciously dark places, boldly switching genres every season by adding in elements of crime thrillers and court dramas, and continuously upping the dramatic stakes all while retaining its signature sharp sense of humor. It’s the kind of show that keeps you on your toes, the kind of show that never reveals what direction it’s headed in. It’s a trip, but if you’re willing to go along with it, you’re in for a great ride. note: Golden Agent: Kingsman Origins Full version
The Righteous Gemstones
Danny McBride is so good at making shows about awful, obnoxious people. His latest, The Righteous Gemstones,
is a dark comedy about a world famous televangelist family whose patriarch, Eli (John Goodman), has made his fortune by preaching the good word of the lord to the public and opening a string of megachurches, often at the cost of smaller churches. McBride, Edi Patterson, and Adam DeVine play his three horrible adult children, all of whom are in constant competition with each other to see who can become Daddy’s favorite and take over the empire (seriously, it’s Succession), and Walton Goggins plays his loathsome brother-in-law. Every comedy is actually a drama these days, but The Righteous Gemstones is, thankfully, first and foremost occupied with making you laugh, even as its characters do and say absolutely despicable things.
For better or worse, many shows have already addressed the pandemic, but Station Eleven is a little different than the rest, if only because the book it’s based on (also called Station Eleven, written by Emily St. John Mandel’s) was written years before COVID (the miniseries also started filming before the pandemic). It centers around a group of survivors in the wake of a global pandemic that has ravaged much of the world as they work to figure out how to go on in the face of so much devastation, with the story often switching back and forth between the pre-virus past and the post-virus future. The series stars Gael García Bernal, Mackenzie Davis, and Himesh Patel, and is brought to the screen by Maniac and Made for Love’s Patrick Somerville.