The 10 Best Shows on HBO Max Offer More Than Just Prestige TV

·3 min read
Photo credit: HBO Max
Photo credit: HBO Max


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We know—another streaming service. As if the best shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Apple TV+, and all the rest weren’t enough. But HBO has been in the subscription content game for nearly 40 years, and in that time has proven itself a creator of tons of movies and TV shows that people are willing to pay extra to watch.

Since HBO Max debuted last year, we've seen plenty of new original series worth the cash. (Because when 2021 is all said and done, were you really there if you didn't take part in The White Lotus and/or Mare of Easttown discourses?)Of course, HBO Max hold all the shows that previously lived on HBO Now, including shows South Park, The Sopranos, and Friends. Meaning the slate here is very (!) stacked.

Here are some of HBO Max’s best offerings—from Lovecraft Country, to the still-underrated Love Life, to yes, the Friends reunion special.

Friends: The Reunion

That's right—HBO Max landed the long-coveted Friends reunion special (and paid each of the cast members a reported $2.5 million to do so.) The event streamed exclusively on HBO Max, alongside the sitcom's 236 original episodes.

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Gossip Girl (2021)

Eight years after the original series CW series left the air, a new cast emerged to continue the story originally began in the books by Cecily von Ziegesar. And if you were rolling your eyes at the idea of another reboot, wait until you see the first episode's twist.

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Lovecraft Country

The executive producers on this show are Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams: two heavy-hitters in both film and television. It’s based on the 2016 novel by Mark Ruff about a man named Atticus Black who embarks—with his friend Letitia and his uncle George—on a road trip across Jim Crow America during the 1950s. Courtney B. Vance, Jonathan Majors, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell star, among others.

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The New Pope

The New Pope, in case you were getting your Pope content mixed up, is a continuation of The Young Pope, the 2016 series featuring Jude Law. Law reprises his role as Pope Pius XIII and is joined by John Malkovich as Pope John Paul III.

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Made for Love

This TV adaptation of Alissa Nutting's 2017 novel follows a heroine named Hazel after she leaves her successful husband, Byron Gogol. Her next step finds her moving in with her father into a trailer park of senior citizens. Yikes.

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The Third Day

The 2019 drama series written by Dennis Kelly and starring the always-great Jude Law focuses on a man visiting an island off the British coast. Think Castaway, but make it a TV series. And British.

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Adventure Time: Distant Lands

The beloved Cartoon Network show made a triumphant trek to the streaming service, reuniting most of its wild and weird characters. (Especially BMO. As long as BMO is around, we will be too.)

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Love Life

Love Life's first season, starring Anna Kendrick, flew under the radar as an early HBO Max exclusive title. Don't sleep on the upcoming Season Two, which stars your favorite (or soon-to-be-favorite) actor, The Good Place's William Jackson Harper.

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The White Lotus

The White Lotus. Where to start? Mike White made what'll likely go down forever in the canon of batshit-but-good satirical television. Following a group of, let's just say, characters on an island vacation, we get an unexpectedly tense murder mystery, plus some all-time Jennifer Coolidge shenanigans.

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Mare of Easttown

OK, fine. Get all of your Philadelphia-accent-hoagie-Wawa jokes out of your system. Ready now? Good. Now, queue up one of the best crime dramas we've seen in the past few months years of a crime-drama-stuffed TV scene.

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