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The 50 best shows on Max right now

From landmark dramas like "The Sopranos" to animated wonders like "Harley Quinn," here are the big blue streamer's best offerings.

The phrase "prestige TV" has become nearly synonymous with Max's treasure trove of offerings. With series like The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, the olden HBO of yore cemented itself as the leading provider of high-quality, adult-skewing television years before the so-called "Golden Age" kicked off with Mad Men and Breaking Bad (over at AMC).

Now simply known as Max, the streaming service is positively packed full of classics that are well-known or waiting to be widely discovered. Here are the best shows on Max right now.

Abbott Elementary (2021–present)

Gilles Mingasson/ABC Quinta Brunson and Taraji P. Henson on 'Abbott Elementary'
Gilles Mingasson/ABC Quinta Brunson and Taraji P. Henson on 'Abbott Elementary'

Quinta Brunson's lauded mockumentary, following five disparate teachers at an under-funded Philadelphia public school struggling to help their students, achieves something the form rarely does: It actually makes you laugh. Abbott Elementary is reminiscent of cult classic sitcoms like Arrested Development twisted with the warm, universal appeal of Modern Family. —Declan Gallagher

Where to watch Abbott Elementary: Max

EW grade: A– (read our review)

Cast: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Lisa Ann Walter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, William Stanford Davis

Related content: EW drinks three rounds with the cast of Abbott Elementary

Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens (2020–present)

Comedy Central 'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens' season 2 cast photo.
Comedy Central 'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens' season 2 cast photo.

A funnier, edgier take on the Broad City formula — a tremendously high mark to match, let alone surpass — Awkwafina's Comedy Central showcase is prime comfort viewing. It follows the titular Nora (Awkwafina) who, along with her cousin, father, and eccentric grandmother, tries to navigate life in Flushing, Queens. —D.G.

Where to watch Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens: Max

Cast: Awkwafina, Bowen Yang, Lori Tan Chinn, B.D. Wong, Jennifer Esposito

Related content: Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens looks to put a new kind of Asian American family on screen

Barry (2018–2023)

Merrick Morton/HBO Henry Winkler in season 4 of 'Barry'
Merrick Morton/HBO Henry Winkler in season 4 of 'Barry'

Bill Hader masterminded this highly decorated dark dramedy, which wrapped up its final season in 2023. There's no better time to binge the hilarious, often tragic exploits of its title character, a hitman (Hader) who worms his way into an acting class, and as a result, gets a second chance at life. As the batty instructor, Henry Winkler has rarely been better. —D.G.

Where to watch Barry: Max

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan

Related content: Bill Hader says goodbye to Barry

Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995)

Warner Bros. Animation 'Batman: The Animated Series'
Warner Bros. Animation 'Batman: The Animated Series'

As the streaming home of DC media, Max has numerous Batman films and shows on its platform. And while everyone has their preferred take on the character, few would argue that Batman: The Animated Series is top tier, if not the best. This is the gold standard for superhero television, from its striking visuals to the writing to its signature voice performances. —Kevin Jacobsen

Where to watch Batman: The Animated Series: Max

Cast: Kevin Conroy, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Loren Lester, Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin

Related content: Batman: The Animated Series: The 25 best episodes, ranked

Big Little Lies (2017–2019)

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Reese Witherspoon on 'Big Little Lies'
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, and Reese Witherspoon on 'Big Little Lies'

The level of A-list talent on this Emmy-winning adaptation of Liane Moriarty's best-selling novel is still astonishing in retrospect. Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern star as a group of five Monterey women involved in a murder investigation, though each has more than their fair share of drama in their personal lives, too. —K.J.

Where to watch Big Little Lies: Max

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Iain Armitage, Kathryn Newton, Meryl Streep

Related content: 12 differences between the Big Little Lies book and show

Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014)

Macall B. Polay/HBO Steve Buscemi on ‘Boardwalk Empire’
Macall B. Polay/HBO Steve Buscemi on ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's rip-roaring prohibition-era crime epic follows Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), Atlantic City's treasurer who also happens to supply its illicit liquor. Working with gangsters such as Al Capone and lining the pockets of the metropolitan elite, Nucky soon becomes the most fearsome figure on the East Coast — and one of the most notable television characters of the 2010s. —D.G.

Where to watch Boardwalk Empire: Max

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Kelly Macdonald, Gretchen Mol

Related content: Boardwalk Empire gets a wardrobe update

Chernobyl (2019)

Liam Daniel/HBO Stellan Skarsgård in ‘Chernobyl’
Liam Daniel/HBO Stellan Skarsgård in ‘Chernobyl’

You might not expect one of the worst nuclear tragedies in history to make for enjoyable, or even watchable, television. Yet Craig Mazin's searing limited series — a disaster drama deconstructing the calamity and its aftermath — manages to be all of those things. It's also one of the best-written shows in recent memory. —D.G.

Where to watch Chernobyl: Max

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Jessie Buckley, Emily Watson

Related content: Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin discusses the series finale

The Comeback (2005; 2014)

John P. Johnson/HBO Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish on 'The Comeback'
John P. Johnson/HBO Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish on 'The Comeback'

This terrifically uncomfortable mockumentary show (created by Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King) had one season in 2005 before getting brought back for a fan-generated reboot in 2014. The series follows the hubristic exploits of faded actress Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) as she tries to get her career back on track with a hip new sitcom and a reality television crew in tow. The Comeback gives its star many opportunities to flex her significant comedy muscles in an edgier setting than Friends allowed for. —D.G.

Where to watch The Comeback: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Åkerman, Laura Silverman, Robert Michael Morris, Damian Young

Related content: Lisa Kudrow is too afraid to ask HBO for another season of The Comeback: 'I don't want to hear no'

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000–2024)

HBO Gina Gershon and Larry David on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
HBO Gina Gershon and Larry David on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Larry David became everyone's favorite curmudgeonly father over 12 seasons of antagonism, so much so that his real life blends with that of his onscreen counterpart. Curb is ambling and often shapeless (especially as it goes along) but the general thread of Larry insulting everyone he encounters with seemingly innocuous remarks and igniting petty grievances somehow never gets old. —D.G.

Where to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm: Max

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman, J.B. Smoove

Related content: The 25 best episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm

Deadwood (2004–2006)

James Minchin/HBO Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane from ‘Deadwood: The Movie'
James Minchin/HBO Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane from ‘Deadwood: The Movie'

Set in the lawless, Civil War-era mining town of the title, David Milch's startlingly violent (and profane) Western revitalized the genre across three seasons and a movie. It demonstrated that horse operas could be more than John Wayne, one-liners, and saloon brawls. Following an assortment of characters wandering through town to make a buck, Deadwood made stars out of Timothy Olyphant (as Sheriff Seth Bullock) and Ian McShane (as dastardly Al Swearengen). —D.G.

Where to watch Deadwood: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Robin Weigert, Molly Parker, Dayton Callie

Related content: Timothy Olyphant discusses Deadwood return: 'Why did this ever go off the air?'

Enlightened (2011–2013)

<p>Prashant Gupta/HBO/Courtesy: Everett </p> Laura Dern on 'Enlightened'

Prashant Gupta/HBO/Courtesy: Everett

Laura Dern on 'Enlightened'

One of HBO's most underrated series in its long legacy, Enlightened follows Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), a California woman who suffers a mental breakdown and is subsequently treated at a wellness facility. She emerges renewed as she returns to work, where she uncovers corporate malfeasance and becomes a self-proclaimed "agent of change." Dern has arguably never been better in her portrayal of all the beautiful complexities of Amy's messy life. —K.J.

Where to watch Enlightened: Max

Cast: Laura Dern, Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, Sarah Burns, Timm Sharp, Mike White

Related content: Mike White on the possibility of bringing back HBO's Enlightened

Euphoria (2019–present)

Eddy Chen/HBO Nika King and Zendaya on ‘Euphoria’
Eddy Chen/HBO Nika King and Zendaya on ‘Euphoria’

Sam Levinson's signature series profiles a cadre of high schoolers living on the absolute razor's edge of humanity, indulging in drug use and sexual situations that would curl even Caligula's toes. It's harrowing viewing, and occasionally uncomfortable for the wrong reasons, but you'd be hard-pressed to stop watching. —D.G.

Where to watch Euphoria: Max

EW grade: B (read the review)

Cast: Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Hunter Schafer, Alexa Demie, Barbie Ferreira, Maude Apatow, Angus Cloud, Jacob Elordi

Related content: Sydney Sweeney says her dad and grandpa turned Euphoria off and walked out of the room

Friends (1994–2004)

Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank From left: Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and David Schwimmer on ‘Friends’
Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank From left: Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, and David Schwimmer on ‘Friends’

The classic sitcom about six chums tryin' to make it in the Big Apple is available in its entirety on Max for all of your binging purposes. Not all of it has aged brilliantly, but some of it is funnier than you might remember. —D.G.

Where to watch Friends: Max

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer

Related content: Friends creators pay tribute to 'brilliant talent' Matthew Perry: 'Our hearts are broken'

Full Circle (2023)

max 'Full Circle'
max 'Full Circle'

Steven Soderbergh directed this magnetic limited series — about a kidnapping in New York City and its ripple effects — is a tight, six-episode punch. Soderbergh is ultimately a humanist filmmaker, and that rings truer than ever in this labyrinth mystery which places its characters first. —D.G.

Where to watch Full Circle: Max

Cast: Claire Danes, Timothy Olyphant, Zazie Beetz, CCH Pounder, Dennis Quaid

Related content: Steven Soderbergh talks his new sci-fi series Command Z

Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

HBO Emilia Clarke on 'Game of Thrones'
HBO Emilia Clarke on 'Game of Thrones'

The groundbreaking fantasy series about the various dynasties struggling for power over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros is perhaps the network's best-known output after The Sopranos. Based on George R. R. Martin's tomes, Game of Thrones continues to captivate audiences. Now that the smoke has settled from its controversial final season, the show can be enjoyed on its own merits — which are substantial. —D.G.

Where to watch Game of Thrones: Max

EW grade: B (read the review)

Cast: Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Rose Leslie, Gwendoline Christie, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey

Related content: HBO reportedly spent 'over $30 million' on failed Game of Thrones spinoff pilot starring Naomi Watts

The Gilded Age (2022–present)

Barbara Nitke/HBO Christine Baranski on 'The Gilded Age'
Barbara Nitke/HBO Christine Baranski on 'The Gilded Age'

For those with a Downton Abbey-shaped hole in their heart, its creator Julian Fellowes has returned with this delicious period piece. Set during the financial boom of New York City in the late-1800s, The Gilded Age centers on the conflict between old money and new money, as represented by sisters Agnes (Christine Baranski) and Ada (Cynthia Nixon) and married couple Bertha (Carrie Coon) and George (Morgan Spector), respectively. In the middle of it all is Agnes and Ada's niece Marian (Louisa Jacobson), who tries to maneuver the strict social mores of the time. With "glitz, gorgeous costumes and sets, soapy drama, and biting one-liners," The Gilded Age is escapist fun for costume drama enthusiasts. —K.J.

Where to watch The Gilded Age: Max

Cast: Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Louisa Jacobson, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski, Denée Benton, Taissa Farmiga, Harry Richardson, Blake Ritson, Thomas Cocquerel, Simon Jones, Jack Gilpin

Related content: All the theater stars in HBO's The Gilded Age

Girls (2012–2017)

Mark Schafer/HBO From left: Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, and Allison Williams on ‘Girls’
Mark Schafer/HBO From left: Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham, and Allison Williams on ‘Girls’

Lena Dunham's millennial answer to Sex and the City — featuring an equal number of social outrages and dating talking points — has its share of pitfalls, but it manages to accomplish the same thing its parent show did for its generation. In showing a way of modern living for younger generations rarely depicted with such realism, Girls was quietly revolutionary. —D.G.

Where to watch Girls: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, Adam Driver

Related content: Girls and the (lost?) art of anti-aspirational TV

Gossip Girl (2007–2012)

Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen on the original 'Gossip Girl'
Cw Network/Kobal/Shutterstock Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen on the original 'Gossip Girl'

Call it a proto-Euphoria if you'd like, this soap about the very dramatic lives of NYC prep schoolers provides a comfort-food alternative to Sam Levinson's hair-raiser. xoxo, EW —D.G.

Where to watch Gossip Girl: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Taylor Momsen

Related content: Taylor Momsen says 'complicated' decision to leave Gossip Girl changed her life 'overnight'

Hacks (2021–present)

Karen Ballard/HBO Max Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder in 'Hacks'
Karen Ballard/HBO Max Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder in 'Hacks'

Jean Smart reinvigorated her career in the clever, barbed portrait of a Joan Rivers-style comedian trying to get her act back on track while mentoring a millennial (Hannah Einbinder) with a bad attitude. It walks a brilliant line between nostalgic showbiz paean and modern cringe-comedy. Season 3 began May 2. —D.G.

Where to watch Hacks: Max

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, Mark Indelicato, Paul W. Downs, Megan Stalter

Related content: Watch Deborah and Ava's awkward reunion in the Hacks season 3 premiere

Harley Quinn (2019–present)

<p>HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Harley Quinn, voiced by Arleen Sorkin, on 'Batman Begins Forever'

HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

Harley Quinn, voiced by Arleen Sorkin, on 'Batman Begins Forever'

Much like 2020's Birds of Prey, Harley Quinn manages to get what was always so tantalizing about the character exactly right. Consistently, it seems, the best versions of superheroes are their animated counterparts. Kaley Cuoco makes a brilliant fit as the voice of Harley Quinn, a queenpin trying to carve out her independence in Gotham City. —D.G.

Where to watch Harley Quinn: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Tony Hale, Christopher Meloni

Related content: How Harley Quinn made Bane so hilariously lovable

I Hate Suzie (2020–present)

HBO Billie Piper (center) on ‘I Hate Suzie’
HBO Billie Piper (center) on ‘I Hate Suzie’

Billie Piper stars as Suzie Pickles, a singer-turned-actress (like Piper) who has some nude photos of her leaked onto the internet (unlike Piper). The ensuing show is a darkly comic meditation on modern womanhood, celebrity, and the often uneasy entwinement of the two. —D.G.

Where to watch I Hate Suzie: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Leila Farzad, Billie Piper, Daniel Ings, Nathaniel Martello-White, Chelsea Edge

Related content: Billie Piper 'horrified' anyone would think she's like her I Hate Suzie character

I May Destroy You (2021)

HBO Michaela Coel on ‘I May Destroy You’
HBO Michaela Coel on ‘I May Destroy You’

Michaela Coel's phenomenal, groundbreaking work stands as one of the most staggeringly original series HBO has shepherded. It's a powerful testament to recovery, friendship, and the power of writing as it follows Arabella (series creator and writer Coel) in the aftermath of a sexual assault. —D.G.

Where to watch I May Destroy You: Max

EW grade: B (read the review)

Cast: Michaela Coel, Paapa Essiedu, Marouane Zotti, Weruche Opia, Lewis Reeves

Related content: How snubbing I May Destroy You cracked the Golden Globes' diversity problem wide open

The Knick (2014–2015)

hbo Clive Owen (center) on ‘The Knick’
hbo Clive Owen (center) on ‘The Knick’

Steven Soderbergh's credible, rollicking tale of surgeons at New York's premier hospital at the turn of the 20th century might be the most underrated show here. It's equal parts historical drama, medical thriller, and body-horror — Boardwalk Empire by way of Cronenberg. It's the greatest television work yet from Soderbergh, one of the finer American filmmakers by some distance. —D.G.

Where to watch The Knick: Max

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Clive Owen, André Holland, Juliet Rylance, Jeremy Bobb, Eve Hewson

Related content: The Knick season 2 finale: Clive Owen talks about Thackery's self-surgery

The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998)

HBO From left: Rip Torn, Garry Shandling, and Jeffrey Tambor of ‘The Larry Sanders Show’
HBO From left: Rip Torn, Garry Shandling, and Jeffrey Tambor of ‘The Larry Sanders Show’

The original meta-comedy, The Larry Sanders Show details the narcissistic machinations of the eponymous character behind the scenes of his fake talk show. It's ground zero for many soon-to-be-influential comedians, including Judd Apatow and Janeane Garofalo. As the anchor, Garry Shandling is unimpeachable. —D.G.

Where to watch The Larry Sanders Show: Max

Cast: Garry Shandling, Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, Janeane Garofalo, Penny Johnson

Related content: How Garry Shandling used Larry Sanders to tell the story of human beings

The Last of Us (2023–present)

Liane Hentscher/HBO Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey on 'The Last of Us'
Liane Hentscher/HBO Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey on 'The Last of Us'

This buzzy, apocalyptic zombie series — perhaps one of the best works ever based on a videogame — lit up HBO during its first season with unexpected storytelling and primal central chemistry between Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. There's no better time to rewatch as we wait with bated breath for season 2. —D.G.

Where to watch The Last of Us: Max

Cast: Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey

Related content: A guide to The Last of Us Easter eggs

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (2014–present)

Eric Liebowitz/HBO John Oliver on 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver'
Eric Liebowitz/HBO John Oliver on 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver'

Comedian/commentator John Oliver has collected a boatload of Emmys for bringing his righteous, riotous perspective to the issues plaguing the world today, including hot-button topics like income inequality, ongoing wars, and reproductive rights, and deeper dives into the world of cryptocurrencies and televangelism. —K.J.

Where to watch Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Max

Cast: John Oliver

Related content: John Oliver calls out new Warner Bros. Discovery bosses for 'burning down my network'

The Leftovers (2014–2017)

Van Redin/HBO Regina King on ‘The Leftovers’
Van Redin/HBO Regina King on ‘The Leftovers’

Damon Lindelof's series details the aftermath of a mass event in which a small portion of the world's population suddenly disappears into thin air. Those that are left, are, well…you get it. The show spun three seasons of cerebral, compelling world-building which managed to more or less stick its landing without letting down the audience. It remains one of Justin Theroux's finest performances, a tantalizing mix of traditional leading-man bravado and humble vulnerability. —D.G.

Where to watch The Leftovers: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Margaret Qualley, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler

Related content: Justin Theroux shares his interpretation of The Leftovers series finale

Mare of Easttown (2014–2015)

Michele K. Short/HBO Kate Winslet (right) looks on as Julianne Nicholson hugs Cameron Mann in ‘Mare of Easttown’
Michele K. Short/HBO Kate Winslet (right) looks on as Julianne Nicholson hugs Cameron Mann in ‘Mare of Easttown’

Kate Winslet's brilliant performance (and another by Jean Smart) highlights this creepy, tragic examination of family grief. As the town detective, Mare (Winslet) traverses a fresh murder case that may link to a cold case — and could tie closer to her family than she ever considered. Director Craig Zobel infuses Mare of Easttown with such a specific sense of time and place that by the time you get to the end, you'll be craving a walk around the block in bright sunlight. —D.G.

Where to watch Mare of Easttown: Max

Cast: Kate Winslet, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart

Related content: Julianne Nicholson discusses the Mare of Easttown finale

Olive Kitteridge (2014)

Jojo Whilden Frances McDormand on 'Olive Kitteridge'
Jojo Whilden Frances McDormand on 'Olive Kitteridge'

A cantankerous older woman affects the lives of those in her small town in this four-part series. Adapted from Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, Olive Kitteridge tells the story of its title character (Frances McDormand) and her appeasing husband, Henry (Richard Jenkins), over multiple decades. Olive's bluntness has both positive and negative effects on those in her community and within her own home. Centering on relationships and the difficulties of life, the miniseries takes an understated, character-driven approach that rings true. Olive Kitteridge won eight Emmys, including Outstanding Limited Series. —K.J.

Where to watch Olive Kitteridge: Max

Cast: Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Gallagher Jr., Jesse Plemons, Bill Murray, Peter Mullan

Related content: Frances McDormand goes quiet in a trailer for HBO's Olive Kitteridge

Our Flag Means Death (2022–2023)

Aaron Epstein/HBO Max Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby on 'Our Flag Means Death'
Aaron Epstein/HBO Max Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby on 'Our Flag Means Death'

This two-season favorite puts a comedic spin on the story of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), a.k.a. the Gentleman Pirate. Forgoing his privileged life, Stede opts for one on the high seas as the captain of the Revenge. On their hapless adventures, Stede and his crew meet the notorious captain Blackbeard (Taika Waititi), but unexpected feelings emerge between the two very different leaders. The series quickly amassed a passionate fanbase throughout its first season, particularly for its depiction of LGBTQ characters. "What starts as a seemingly goofy sitcom soon reveals itself as something far more amorous," EW's critic writes, "and with far more heart." —K.J.

Where to watch Our Flag Means Death: Max

Cast: Rhys Darby, Taika Waititi, Ewen Bremner, Joel Fry, Samson Kayo, Nathan Foad, Vico Ortiz, Matthew Maher, Kristian Nairn, Rory Kinnear, Con O'Neill, Guz Khan, David Fane, Samba Schutte

Related content: Taika Waititi, Rhys Darby talk pirate facial hair and sword fighting for Our Flag Means Death

Perry Mason (2020–2023)

Merrick Morton/HBO Matthew Rhys on ‘Perry Mason’
Merrick Morton/HBO Matthew Rhys on ‘Perry Mason’

An old-fashioned noir with a dose of modern kink and nihilism, this retooling of Erle Stanley Gardner's classic sleuthing lawyer is sumptuously designed and wittily played. It's sort of a post-Tarantino Dashiell Hammett. As Mason's sidekick Della Street, Juliet Rylance brings vigor to a character not done justice in previous adaptations. —D.G.

Where to watch Perry Mason: Max

Cast: Matthew Rhys, Juliet Rylance, John Lithgow, Tatiana Maslany, Robert Patrick

Related content: Death and life of the lawyer show

Project Greenlight (2001–2005; 2015; 2023)

hbo max Kumail Nanjiani, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Meko Winbush, and Issa Rae
hbo max Kumail Nanjiani, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Meko Winbush, and Issa Rae

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's reality series, in which they select a first-time filmmaker's work for production, hasn't quite launched the next Christopher Nolan. However, each season is a tremendously entertaining (and often frightening) look inside the film industry, with Issa Rae helming the latest season. —D.G.

Where to watch Project Greenlight: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck

Related content: Project Greenlight winner Jason Mann: I try to avoid the show 'as much as I can'

Pushing Daisies (2007–2009)

<p>ABC/ADAM TAYLOR</p> Anna Friel and Lee Pace on 'Pushing Daisies'

ABC/ADAM TAYLOR

Anna Friel and Lee Pace on 'Pushing Daisies'

Peruse any list of shows that were canceled too soon and you're bound to find this shining gem that ended after two seasons on ABC. Pushing Daisies follows a gentle pie-maker named Ned (Lee Pace), who has the power to regenerate the dead for one minute without consequence — so long as he sticks to the time limit. He teams up with a private investigator to solve crimes, but things become complicated when Ned revives his childhood crush, Chuck (Anna Friel), and refuses to let her die permanently. Sugary-sweet with just the right hints of tart, Pushing Daisies is a visually arresting series that still lives on in our hearts. —K.J.

Where to watch Pushing Daisies: Max

Cast: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, Ellen Greene, Swoosie Kurtz

Related content: I'm still not over...Kristin Chenoweth in Pushing Daisies

The Rehearsal (2022–present)

HBO Nathan Fielder on ‘The Rehearsal’
HBO Nathan Fielder on ‘The Rehearsal’

Nathan Fielder's uproarious, genuinely unbelievable show — in which he prepares everyday people for uncomfortable conversations and personal milestones by holding a rehearsal of the event — lies somewhere between a sketch program and hidden camera show. It unfolds in such a way that it is indescribable. However, it's sure to get you both laughing and cringing in equal measure. —D.G.

Where to watch The Rehearsal: Max

Cast: Nathan Fielder

Related content: HBO renews The Rehearsal for season 2, giving Nathan Fielder more time to practice

The Righteous Gemstones (2019–present)

Ryan Green/HBO Edi Patterson and Tim Baltz on 'The Righteous Gemstones'
Ryan Green/HBO Edi Patterson and Tim Baltz on 'The Righteous Gemstones'

Danny McBride and David Gordon Green's riotous take on the American religious industry, following a family of grifting televangelists, is one of the most creative and outré things HBO has ever produced. It's unmissable television, and we envy any potential first-time viewers out there. —D.G.

Where to watch The Righteous Gemstones: Max

Cast: Danny McBride, John Goodman, Adam DeVine, Edi Patterson, Tim Baltz

Related content: Danny McBride promises HBO comedy The Righteous Gemstones isn't a takedown of religion

Sex and the City (1998–2004)

Patrick Demarchelier/HBO From left: Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kim Cattrall of ‘Sex and the City’
Patrick Demarchelier/HBO From left: Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kim Cattrall of ‘Sex and the City’

Though it began as a hipper, more barbed comedy than the fairy tale it would become, Sex and the City managed to remain consistent throughout its six seasons. It was somewhat radical in its depiction of Miranda's (Cynthia Nixon) unwary motherhood, while Carrie's (Sarah Jessica Parker) indecision over Mr. Big (boo, and indeed hiss) and Aidan (The One) can still generate conversation. —D.G.

Where to watch Sex and the City: Max

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon

Related content: Sex and the City: An oral history

Six Feet Under (2001–2005)

Everett Collection The cast of ‘Six Feet Under’
Everett Collection The cast of ‘Six Feet Under’

Being depressed was never quite as fun as it was on Six Feet Under. Creator Alan Ball's tale of the Fisher family, who own a particularly busy funeral parlor in Los Angeles, is his masterwork. It's a perfect combination of his morose whimsy and dark social satire. —D.G.

Where to watch Six Feet Under: Max

EW grade: N/A (read the review)

Cast: Peter Krause, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Michael C. Hall, Rachel Griffiths

Related content: Six Feet Under at 20: A look back at HBO's groundbreaking drama

The Sopranos (1999–2007)

Anthony Neste/Getty James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli on ‘The Sopranos’
Anthony Neste/Getty James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli on ‘The Sopranos’

A show about gangsters and the mafia for those who aren't at all interested in either subject, The Sopranos still remains HBO's landmark series. It's fantastically well written, occasionally hard to watch, but often surprisingly warm and funny. Taking the standard Scorsese model and transposing it into a warped suburban dramedy, the lauded saga follows mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he navigates panic attacks in therapy, home life with his fiery wife Carmela (Edie Falco), and New Jersey's criminal underworld. —D.G.

Where to watch The Sopranos: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Lorraine Bracco

Related content: The Sopranos' 10 best episodes

South Park (1997–present)

Comedy Central From left: Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny of 'South Park'
Comedy Central From left: Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny of 'South Park'

Trey Parker and Matt Stone's everlasting series about a cadre of foul-mouth school chums has spoofed current events — seemingly in real time — since 1997 (plus a movie). You'd be hard-pressed to find a show that has more cultural relevance or staying power than South Park. The work has a reputation for being ceaselessly vulgar (which, in fairness, it is) but what many people don't discuss is how clever it is, too. —D.G.

Where to watch South Park: Max

Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes, April Stewart, Adrien Beard

Related content: How South Park was born: An oral history of 'The Spirit of Christmas'

Station Eleven (2021–2022)

Parrish Lewis/HBO Max Hamish Patel and Matilda Lawler on ‘Station Eleven’
Parrish Lewis/HBO Max Hamish Patel and Matilda Lawler on ‘Station Eleven’

Based upon Emily St. John Mandel's novel of the same name, this all-too-credible postapocalyptic drama follows survivors of a devastating pandemic as they try to rebuild what's left of society. The show is patiently paced, mirroring its source material, and though the premise is largely horrific, Station Eleven is guided by a sense of hope and optimism. Perhaps its biggest asset is how eminently bingeable it is, though you wouldn't think that at first brush. —D.G.

Where to watch Station Eleven: Max

Cast: Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, Daniel Zovatto, David Wilmot, Matilda Lawler

Related Content: Station Eleven showrunner reflects on the series finale: Danielle Deadwyler 'is a revelation'

Steven Universe (2013–2019)

Cartoon Network 'Steven Universe'
Cartoon Network 'Steven Universe'

Steven Universe has become one of the most beloved animated series of the 21st century thanks to its well-earned uplifting message, bright animation, and dynamic voice performances. The series follows the titular young boy who fights to protect Earth alongside a trio of friendly aliens known as the Crystal Gems. —K.J.

Where to watch Steven Universe: Max

Cast: Zach Callison, Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Deedee Magno Hall

Related content: Steven Universe creator has done more for LGBTQ visibility than you might know

Succession (2018–2023)

Macall B. Polay/HBO Kieran Culkin on 'Succession'
Macall B. Polay/HBO Kieran Culkin on 'Succession'

The saga of the Roy (definitely not Murdoch) family, which unfolded over four fraught seasons, provided Max viewers on the internet at large with much to discuss. We won't spoil anything here, because it's all just so good. Succession is modern-day Shakespeare with better suits. —D.G.

Where to watch Succession: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen

Related content: Succession's Brian Cox says he's 'dazzled' by people who 'want to be told to f--- off!'

The Sympathizer (2024)

Hopper Stone/HBO Hoa Xuande and Robert Downey Jr. on 'The Sympathizer'
Hopper Stone/HBO Hoa Xuande and Robert Downey Jr. on 'The Sympathizer'

A man known only as the Captain operates as a spy for North Vietnam in this riveting story adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Shortly before the fall of Saigon, the Captain flees to America where he continues to send secret intel to the North Vietnamese. Grappling with the precarious nature of his identity, the Captain struggles under the weight of pressures placed on him. Featuring a compelling lead turn from Hoa Xuande and multiple scene-stealing performances from Robert Downey Jr., The Sympathizer is a mesmerizing drama series with a lot on its mind. —K.J.

Where to watch The Sympathizer: Max

Cast: Hoa Xuande, Robert Downey Jr., Toan Le, Fred Nguyen Khan, Duy Nguyễn, Vy Le, Ky Duyen, Phanxinê, Kieu Chinh, Alan Trong, Sandra Oh

Related content: The Sympathizer director wanted to depict the fall of Saigon in ‘a serious, grave manner’

True Detective (2014–present)

Jim Bridges/HBO Woody Harrelson in season 1 of ‘True Detective’
Jim Bridges/HBO Woody Harrelson in season 1 of ‘True Detective’

No one will argue that True Detective is consistent across its anthology seasons, but all four have their attributes. Season 1 is undoubtedly the best, a cryptic and chilly serial killer thriller with dashes of the occult and supernatural. But seasons 2 and 3, which follow more traditional pulp trajectories, contain boundless thrills and some genuinely innovative narrative turns. Then there's season 4, subtitled Night Country, which embraces the supernatural and centers primarily on women, compared to its masculine-heavy predecessors. —D.G.

Where to watch True Detective: Max

EW grade: A (read the review)

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn, Mahershala Ali, Jodie Foster, Kali Reis

Related content: True Detective is a universe now? An investigation

Veep (2012-2019)

HBO Peter MacNicol on ‘Veep’
HBO Peter MacNicol on ‘Veep’

If The West Wing is too saccharine for you, try Veep. Julia Louis-Dreyfus anchors this over-the-top satire as an under-appreciated vice president who seems to be met by embarrassment at every turn. Its depiction of bumbling, fumbling White House staff used to seem gleefully exaggerated until 2016, when real headlines quickly eclipsed Veep's manic imagination. As foul-mouthed ensemble comedies go, there really isn't anything better. Veep gives you something to chew on while providing the giggles of an over-caffeinated adolescent. —D.G

Where to watch Veep: Max

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh, Tony Hale, Timothy Simons

Related content: Farewell to Veep: Inside the final days of TV's smartest, filthiest comedy

Watchmen (2019)

Mark Hill/HBO Regina King on ‘Watchmen’
Mark Hill/HBO Regina King on ‘Watchmen’

Quite possibly the best thing to have Damon Lindelof's name on it, this adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel redeems the much-derided 2009 movie. In a world where superheroes have been outlawed, the eponymous vigilantes struggle to fight for what's right. Featuring yet another terrific performance by Jean Smart, along with wonderful Emmy-winning turns by Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen sucker-punched audiences with its potent blend of popcorn entertainment and social commentary. —D.G.

Where to watch Watchmen: Max

EW grade: A– (read the review)

Cast: Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons

Related content: Watchmen creator Alan Moore is 'definitely done with comics,' decries 'unbearable' industry

The West Wing (1999–2006)

NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images The cast of 'The West Wing'
NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images The cast of 'The West Wing'

The show that single-handedly revitalized walking and talking in hallways, Aaron Sorkin's whip-smart dramedy follows the president (Martin Sheen) and his White House staffers. The West Wing fashions a world of politics we all wish was real. Sure, there are disagreements, but it's nothing a quickly delivered, inspired monologue can't handle. Plus, everyone looks so damn handsome doing it. —D.G.

Where to watch The West Wing: Max

Cast: Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff

Related content: Martin Sheen 'wept with joy' at The West Wing reunion

The White Lotus (2021–present)

Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO Jon Gries and Jennifer Coolidge on 'The White Lotus'
Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO Jon Gries and Jennifer Coolidge on 'The White Lotus'

Mike White's series about privileged vacationers descending on a gorgeous but unlucky locale is predominantly spoken of for Jennifer Coolidge's involvement, but it must be said that each season is one of the finest ensemble drama/comedy/mystery mash-ups in recent memory. Plus, the scenery can't be beat. —D.G.

Where to watch The White Lotus: Max

EW grade: B+ (read the review)

Cast: Jennifer Coolidge, Murray Bartlett, Connie Britton, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell, Sydney Sweeney, F. Murray Abraham, Meghann Fahy, Michael Imperioli, Theo James, Haley Lu Richardson, Will Sharpe

Related content: The White Lotus creator Mike White says an 'all-star season' would be 'fun'

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (2022–2023)

Warrick Page/HBO DeVaughn Nixon, Quincy Isaiah, Delante Desouz in 'Winning Time'
Warrick Page/HBO DeVaughn Nixon, Quincy Isaiah, Delante Desouz in 'Winning Time'

Adam McKay's propulsive, imaginative series about the rise of the Lakers under Jerry Buss is a spirited recollection of the period. It's brilliantly shot to evoke its era, features some of John C Reilly's most nuanced work, and is sorely missed in the wake of its premature cancellation. —D.G.

Where to watch Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty: Max

Cast: John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Gaby Hoffmann, Jason Clarke, Adrien Brody, Rob Morgan, Jason Segel, Sally Field

Related content: It's Showtime! The Winning Time dream team on capturing the Laker magic

The Wire (2002–2008)

HBO Dominic West on ‘The Wire’
HBO Dominic West on ‘The Wire’

David Simon's bracing, quintessentially gritty urban thriller following cops and criminals on the streets of Baltimore is one of the most understated police dramas to air on television. It's also one of the most richly played, supplying all characters big and small with complete, satisfying arcs. —D.G.

Where to watch The Wire: Max

Cast: Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, Lance Reddick, Felicia Pearson, Idris Elba

Related content: Michael K. Williams made Omar a new American legend, but his fearlessness went beyond The Wire

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