Laugh, cry, or just relax with the best shows on HBO Go and Now

Rick Stella

HBO has long provided network subscribers with some of the absolute best original programming found anywhere on TV. From gritty crime dramas such as The Wire and True Detective to riotous comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Silicon Valley, it’s no wonder Home Box Office remains the longest running premium television service in the United States. Now, with the advent of its on-demand HBO Go and HBO Now services, fans of the network have unfettered access to the entirety of HBO’s impressive — and large — stable of programming. Here are our favorite shows currently available on the service so you can spend more time binge-watching and less time binge-searching.

Related: From silver screen to tablet: The best movies on HBO Go and HBO Now

Silicon Valley

Silicon-Valley-HBO_
Silicon-Valley-HBO_

From the brilliant mind of Mike Judge — of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill fame — comes Silicon Valley, a comedic take on the startup culture taking place in the show’s namesake. According to Judge, the series is pseudo-inspired by events which occurred in his own life during the late ’80s while he was an engineer in Silicon Valley. The show itself concerns a motley crew of programmers and entrepreneurs struggling (albeit comedically) to make it in the competitive world of tech startups. Perhaps most hilarious is just how unfit for success many of the main characters seem, which gives the show a rather humanizing angle not often achieved with modern sitcoms. Silicon Valley’s writing is sharp and the acting is witty and well-timed, making this not just one of HBO’s best comedies, but one of the best shows the entire network has to offer.

Watch now on:  

HBO Now HBO Go

Flight of the Conchords 

Flight-of-the-Conchords_
Flight-of-the-Conchords_

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement’s comedy troupe first began when the duo roomed together in 1998 at the Victoria University of Wellington, but the didn’t officially burst onto the scene until the mid-2000s. After developing a bit of a following in their native New Zealand in the early aughts, Bret and Jemaine caught the attention of HBO, which signed them to bring their comedy band schtick to premium cable. Though the show still concerns Flight of the Conchords — Bret and Jemaine’s fictional folk band — the duo has since moved to New York City intent on finding fame and fortune. Much to their chagrin, fame and fortune always seem just outside their reach despite their incessant attempts at stardom. The Conchords play original “folk” songs throughout each episode, which, in turn, incite some of the show’s best laughs. After watching these bumbling New Zealanders try to make it big, you can’t help but hum their tunes in your head.

Watch now on: 

HBO Now HBO Go

Girls

Girls-HBO_
Girls-HBO_

Girls, a Lena Dunham-created and starred-in dramedy, delves into the daily experiences of a group of twenty-something girls living in New York City. Culled from actual experiences in Dunham’s own life, the show often deals with humiliating and disastrous events circulating around adulthood, relationships, and sexuality. In addition to Dunham, Girls features outstanding performances from Adam Driver, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirk, and Zosia Mamet, each of whom battle being young (and dumb) while trying to figure out just what the hell being an adult means. You’d be hard pressed to find many other shows which provide as real — and funny — a portrayal of human interaction and emerging adulthood as Girls.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

High Maintenance

high-maintenance-1
high-maintenance-1

This free-form web series was so successful and hilarious that HBO picked it up in 2016 and ordered six episodes, and added the first six seasons to its streaming platforms. Co-creators (and married couple) Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair provide pre-episode commentary, often alongside guest actors who appeared in the episode. Sinclair stars as “The Guy,” a New York City-based bicycle messenger who delivers marijuana all over the boroughs. The real star of the show, though, is the rotating cast of customers who call The Guy looking for some pot.

High Maintenance doesn’t always conform to the typical 30-minute episode format either, though each story is crafted with a beginning, middle, and end — whether it takes six minutes or 20. The well-crafted sets include tons of little details that you might miss on the first watch, but you’ll notice more and more with each viewing. The show also takes an objective stance toward the drug that drives its storylines, avoiding stereotypes while simultaneously creating memorable characters that you can’t help but love (and hate).

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Veep

Veep-HBO
Veep-HBO

Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in this political satire about a female vice president and her attempts to make a lasting impression on the United States without getting swept up by politics in D.C. Joining Louis-Dreyfus on screen is the hilarious Tony Hale who plays the Veep’s ultra-obedient personal assistant. With sharp, witty writing, brilliant acting, and handfuls of laugh-out-loud moments during each episode, Veep is one of the most underrated comedies HBO has to offer. We recommend hopping on board with this show sooner rather than later, as this is political comedy at its finest.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb-Your-Enthusiasm-HBO_
Curb-Your-Enthusiasm-HBO_

From the comedic brilliance of Larry David (who also stars in the show) comes Curb Your Enthusiasm, a somewhat fictionalized take on David’s actual life as a retired television writer and producer. What makes the show particularly funny is how nearly every scene throughout the program is almost entirely improvised by the actors on screen. According to David, he writes a general outline of each episode, though the actual dialogue and conversation comes right off the top of the head of those in each scene. If you liked the humor native to David’s Seinfeld, you’ll probably t enjoy watching all eight seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Crime

The Wire

The-Wire-HBO_
The-Wire-HBO_

Considering it’s 2015 — a full seven years since its Season 5 finale — chances are incredibly high you’ve heard of the David Simon-produced crime drama, The Wire, and need little to sway you to watch an episode of what many call the greatest television show of all-time. However, if you’ve yet to introduce yourself to the likes of Jimmy McNulty or Avon Barksdale, now is the perfect time. Set in present-day Baltimore, The Wire is a fictionalized and highly realistic take on the relationship between the city’s drug culture, the law enforcement details tasked with cleaning it up, and every body, bullet, or otherwise caught in the middle. Few shows feature as tight of dialogue and storytelling as Simon’s opus, making The Wire must-watch television for anyone.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

True Detective

True-Detective-HBO_
True-Detective-HBO_

HBO’s crime anthology, True Detective, burst on the television scene in 2014, taking viewers on an especially dark and twisted ride with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson at the helm. Over the course of eight hour-long episodes, writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga tell a harrowing tale of murder, deception, and the polarity of religion and logic. This certainly isn’t the first show to play with these thematic elements, but few programs consistently hit on all cylinders like True Detective did during its first season. After resounding success from critics for its initial run, the series returned in 2015 to mixed reviews. While Season 2 isn’t in the same class as its predecessor, it’s still a fine piece of entertaining television.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

The Sopranos

The-Sopranos-HBO
The-Sopranos-HBO

Few television series’ garnered as much critical buzz as David Chase’s The Sopranos when it first aired on HBO from 1999 to 2007. During its impressive six-season run, the show consistently saw stage time during award shows, bagging 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes, and two Peabody Awards. Needless to say, Chase and his crew knew a thing or two about producing high-quality television. Concerning the show itself, the late James Gandolfini stars as Tony Soprano, an underboss for a notorious New Jersey-based crime family who consistently battles managing his home life and his work load. Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, and Lorraine Bracco co-star in this gritty series which somehow managed to humanize the mafia.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk-Empire-HBO_
Boardwalk-Empire-HBO_

Created and produced by Terence Winter — writer of such projects like The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Sister, Sister — Boardwalk Empire tells the story of Prohibition-era Atlantic City, New Jersey and the crooks who came to power during this time. Starring Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson (based off the historical account of Enoch L. Johnson), the show depicts Thompson’s rise as an Atlantic City politician and his dealings with the city’s mobsters and criminal underbelly, as well as government agents and townsfolk. The show, based off the Nelson Johnson book of the same name, features several real-life historical figures during each of its five seasons (i.e. Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, etc.) painting a near-accurate portrait of what New Jersey was like in the 1920s and ’30s.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Drama

Game of Thrones

Game-of--Thrones-HBO_
Game-of--Thrones-HBO_

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series attracted its fair share of fans when it hit bookstore shelves in the early ’90s, however, it was D.B. Weiss and David Benioff’s TV adaptation on HBO which really got the fantasy juices flowing when it debuted in 2011. Often heralded as not only one of the best shows on HBO, but also one of the best series of all-time, Game of Thrones is an epic tale of royal feuds, dynastic conflict, and the struggle for ultimate control in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Throughout the show’s five seasons (a sixth is on tap for 2016), the creators have rarely shied away from egregious violence, sex, and massive bloodshed, making it one of the most controversial, yet wildly popular shows HBO has to offer.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

The Night Of

the-night-of
the-night-of

Writer Steven Zaillian (Gangs of New York, Schindler’s List) delivers some of his most poignant material in this 2016 miniseries starring British actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, who portrays a Pakistani-American student who quickly finds himself in Rikers after a blurry one-night stand turns into a mysterious and brutal murder. The show chronicles his descent from innocent youth to hardened inmate, with the help of Michael K. Williams (The Wire). The latter plays prison kingpin Freddy, who’s more than willing to provide his young protege with some protection from his violent neighbors — for a price. John Turturro also delivers an excellent performance as embattled defense lawyer John Stone, and Turturro’s presence provides a small sense of levity to help balance the all-too-serious subject matter of the show.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Treme

Treme-HBO_
Treme-HBO_

David Simon is no stranger to the HBO network, having worked on The Wire, Generation Kill, The Corner, Show Me a Hero, and this New Orleans-themed drama, Treme. Set just three months after the events of Hurricane Katrina, Treme concerns the eclectic mix of people living in New Orleans who attempt to repair and rebuild their lives after the catastrophic storm. Featuring some familiar faces from some of Simon’s other works on the network, the show received most of its critical praise for accurately portraying the storm-torn Louisiana city and for capturing the region’s unique culture. Like The Wire, each episode and excellent narrative pulls the viewer in and makes it incredibly hard to look away.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

The Leftovers

The-Leftovers-HBO_
The-Leftovers-HBO_

When Damon Lindelof announced he intended to adapt Tom Perrotta’s novel The Leftovers into an exclusive HBO series, fans of the 2011 science fiction novel rightfully went into a frenzy. Not only did the story potentially lend itself to a compelling retelling on television, but Lindelof’s impressive career up to that point assured Leftovers enthusiasts the franchise was in good hands. Fast forward to 2015, and while the show received mostly positive critical praise, it wasn’t without its fair share of speed bumps. Once Lindelof and his crew perfected the way in which to tell this harrowing story, the show really took off and now, in its second season, is among the very best the network has to offer.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Olive Kitteridge

Olive-Kitteridge-HBO_
Olive-Kitteridge-HBO_

Few people outside of diehard HBOers knew what Olive Kitteridge was before it swept the the 67th Primetime Emmy’s with eight awards, causing many people to rub their eyes and say “What the hell is Olive Kitteridge?” Taking place over the course of four hour-long episodes, this miniseries concerns the life of retired schoolteacher Olive Kitteridge (Frances McDormand) and her husband Henry Kittredge (Richard Jenkins). As each episode of the show focuses on a different period of the Kitteridge’s life, viewers get an up-close and personal look at the depression, jealousy, and family tension which comes to shape Olive and those around her. Fantastic acting from everyone billed, along with an incredibly tight narrative, make this one of the best four hours of TV available on all of HBO.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Documentary, News, and Historical Fiction

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

The-Jinx--The-Life-and-Deaths-of-Robert-Durst-HBO_
The-Jinx--The-Life-and-Deaths-of-Robert-Durst-HBO_

For more than 30 years, real estate icon Robert Durst systematically dodged a series of murder allegations and pointed fingers for the disappearances of his wife, his best friend, and one of his neighbors. After seeing a Ryan Gosling-starring movie loosely based on his life reach the silver screen (aka All Good Things), the defiant Durst decided to reach out to the film’s director (Andrew Jarecki) and offer an exclusive interview. Over the course of several sit-down interviews and multiple years of cooperation with Jarecki and HBO’s production crew, a six-episode mini series was commissioned to tell Durst’s side of the story. For fans of the podcast Serial, and murder mysteries in general, The Jinx is a terrific piece of storytelling and filmmaking that is sure to leave your jaw on the ground once the credits roll on its final episode.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last-Week-Tonight-with-John-Oliver
Last-Week-Tonight-with-John-Oliver

Though classified as a satirical news show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs some of the most honest and hard-hitting journalism of any network television program. Each week, comedian and former The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver tackles the prior week’s most newsworthy or political happenings and deconstructs them with his signature wit (and British accent). Chock full of hilarious analogies, spot-on critique, and tight, fluid writing, Oliver’s weekly program consistently feels fresh and is, often times, incredibly informative. Whether it’s the bribery scandal which rocked FIFA or the troubled system of standardized tests, there’s no topic Oliver won’t cover and subsequently shred to pieces.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Vice

Vice-HBO_
Vice-HBO_

Consistently investigating political and cultural issues most programs wouldn’t dare go anywhere near, Vice is documentary storytelling at its absolute finest. Co-produced by Bill Maher and Vice magazine’s Shane Smith, this series follows journalists and reporters as they travel all corners of the globe to interview and document a wide range of provocative subjects, such as China’s one-child policy, child suicide bombers, political assassinations, and the culture of North Korea. With anywhere from 10 to 14 episodes airing during each of VICE’s three seasons, there is plenty on HBO Go to satisfy even the hungriest of news junkies. Trust us, you won’t find investigative journalism like this anywhere else.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Show Me a Hero

Show-Me-a-Hero-HBO_
Show-Me-a-Hero-HBO_

David Simon and HBO team up yet again — stop me if you’ve heard that before — for this pseudo-documentary miniseries about Yonkers mayor Nick Wasicsko and his efforts to desegregate public housing in the late ’80s and early ’90s in New York City. Starring Ex Machina‘s Oscar Isaac as the youngest big-city mayor ever, Show Me a Hero is an exceptional retelling of one of the most tense and racially charged eras in United States history. With each part of the miniseries directed by Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis (Crash), Simon was able to perfectly tap into the acting prowess of the ensemble cast and achieve a faithful retelling of Lisa Belkin’s 1999 bestselling novel of the same name. Like anything Simon does with HBO, this is must-watch television.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go

Band of Brothers

band-of-brothers
band-of-brothers

This riveting miniseries, based upon the experiences of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment — aka “Easy Company” — in World War II, won an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for its brutal, realistic depiction of battle in the European Theatre. Damien Lewis and Ron Livingston lead an ensemble cast that features several big-name actors in early-career roles. Tom Hanks, less than three years removed from appearing in Saving Private Ryan, led the writing and producing teams, creating a unique series that focuses on a different character with each episode.

Balancing a sense of individual heroism with the overwhelming scale of mid-century warfare, Band of Brothers hits all the right notes. The show also features live, pre-episode commentary from some of the soldiers depicted on-screen, though the identities of the actual soldiers aren’t revealed until the end of the series.

Watch now on:

HBO Now HBO Go