The 42 best HBO series streaming right now

In the streaming era, what exactly is a HBO series? The classic HBO brand included some of the best shows in television history, including The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones, and many more. But now that HBO Max is in play, the number of original series has quickly multiplied. And while you will find everything on HBO available on HBO Max as well, the opposite cannot be said, so if you’re still a holdout for OG Home Box Office series sans Max titles, this list is for you. You’ll need a guide to find what you’re looking for, so check out our updated list of the best HBO series streaming right now.

Not finding what you’re looking for on HBO? We regularly update our lists of the best shows on Netflix, the best shows on Amazon Prime Video, the best shows on Disney+, and the best shows on Hulu as well.

Recently added to HBO

The Righteous Gemstones (2019) new

The Righteous Gemstones
89%
67 %
8/10
tv-ma
Genre Comedy
Cast John Goodman, Danny McBride, Adam Devine
Created by Danny McBride
You know all those things you’ve ever suspected about mega churches and televangelists? They’re all true on The Righteous Gemstones, which is back for a second season on HBO this month. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman) has created a moneymaking religious empire with his children, Jesse (Danny McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson), and Kelvin (Adam DeVvine), But they’re not exactly men and women of the cloth. Jesse’s debauchery has already invited unwanted attention and a blackmail attempt that could bring down everything the family has worked for. If you can call the con “working.”

Euphoria (2019) new

Euphoria
90%
68 %
8.4/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, Maude Apatow, Jacob Elordi, Algee Smith
Created by Sam Levinson
Euphoria may be a teen drama, but it’s the kind that could only be made at HBO. It’s steamier, darker, and deeply, deeply provocative. An adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, Euphoria follows 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya), a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean and an upsetting amount of responsibility. Around her are Jules, Nate, Chris, Cassie, and Kat, each with their own identity crises and high school crosses to bear. As they struggle to make sense of their present and future, the series takes a deep dive into teenage substance abuse, sexual tension, and the anxiety-ridden life of modern high school. At times, Euphoria swings for the shock value fences, but it geberally deals with serious issues with empathy and openness. Season 2 is currently airing on HBO and HBO Max.

Insecure (2016)

Insecure
96%
85 %
7.9/10
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis
Created by Larry Wilmore, Issa Rae
Insecure is a very old school-style HBO series with a fresh perspective. As envisioned by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, Insecure takes the opportunity to explore the lives of two Black women: Issa (Rae) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). Issa and Molly are best friends, but sometimes their fortunes are drastically different. Now in its final season, Insecure has been a satisfying journey for both women as they experience heartache, love, failure, and triumph in South Los Angeles. This is one of HBO’s trailblazing originals, and it may prove to be very influential on a new generation of writers and performers.

Succession (2018)

Succession
93%
83 %
8.7/10
tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Drama, Comedy
Cast Hiam Abbass, Nicholas Braun, Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Peter Friedman, Natalie Gold, Matthew Macfadyen
Created by Jesse Armstrong
Over two years have passed since the end of season 2, but Succession is back for a third season on HBO Max. And any resemblance to a real life family of media moguls is probably not a coincidence. Logan Roy (Brian Cox) built a media empire beyond compare, and he’s trying to determine which of his children have the guts to take his place at the head of the table. Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) will do almost anything to win, even if they have to strain or break the tenuous family ties between them.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)

Curb Your Enthusiasm
92%
84 %
8.7/10
tv-ma 11 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Richard Lewis, Kathy Griffin, Sofia Milos, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen
Created by Larry David
Larry David spent most of Seinfeld’s run behind-the-camera, but he takes the spotlight for himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Amazingly, the spiritual successor of the show about nothing has already celebrated its 21st anniversary as it heads into season 11. David essentially plays himself, an easily annoyed misanthrop who has an uncanny knack for making new enemies and alienating the few friends that he has. This show also invites its stars to improvise their own dialogue and scenes as David inevitably falls into awkward situations with a healthy dose of humiliation.

Scenes from a Marriage (2021)

Scenes from a Marriage
81%
70 %
8.1/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Jessica Chastain, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Beharie, Corey Stoll, Tovah Feldshuh
Created by Hagai Levi
Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star in this modern, American adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s seminal 1973 Swedish TV miniseries about a marriage slowly falling apart. It’s not for everyone as it truly is an actor’s piece with very subtle, very slow drama. But that’s the point. Things like broken marriages don’t happen overnight, and this series intends to make you feel every slow, painful turn of the knife from all angles.

The White Lotus (2021)

The White Lotus
88%
82 %
7.7/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Cast Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy, Connie Britton, Steve Zahn, Jennifer Coolidge, Murray Bartlett, Sydney Sweeney, Brittany O'Grady
Created by Mike White
Rich people go on vacation. That’s The White Lotus in a nutshell, but this brilliantly written dramedy goes above and beyond, exploring the ticks, haunts, and obsessions of both the guests at an elite Hawaiian resort and the staff who bend over backward to ensure the guests have the best experience possible. But between the unhappy honeymooners (the husband of which is particularly dickish), the obsessively needy woman there to scatter her mother’s ashes in the sea, and the family oozing with white privilege, the staff of The White Lotus have their work cut out for them. Every cast member plays their role perfectly, creating an intricately woven tapestry of people reaching the precipice of their breaking points.

Hard Knocks (2001)

Hard Knocks
8.5/10
tv-ma 16 Seasons
Genre Documentary, Sports
Cast Liev Schreiber, Paul Rudd, and various cast members
Created by Marty Callner
Since 2001, football fans have known the NFL season is just around the corner when Hard Knocks starts airing. Across 15 seasons, HBO’s documentary teams have followed 15 different football teams during training camp and preseason, where undrafted underdogs get their shots to make their NFL dreams come true, established stars gear up for a new season, and veteran and rookie coaches alike hope to make a strong impression and build the foundation of a winning team. It’s one of the best behind-the-scenes sports series on the planet, regardless of whether or not it’s covering your team. But this year, there’s bound to be a lot of happy new fans since it’s Hard Knocks: Dallas Cowboys.

Betty (2020)

Betty
98%
6.9/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, Kabrina Adams
Created by Lesley Arfin, Crystal Moselle
In 2018, critics were impressed with the film Skate Kitchen about a tight-knit group of girl skateboarders in New York City. Two years later, the film’s director brought most of the cast along with her to portray the same group of friends in the HBO original series Betty. Named after the derogatory term that male skaters use while gatekeeping their hobby, Betty is a teen dramedy focusing on the friendships between this diverse band of girls thumbing their noses at what society expects of them. Betty‘s second season premiered on June 11.

The Nevers (2021)

The Nevers
48%
56 %
7.4/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama
Cast Laura Donnelly, Ann Skelly, Olivia Williams
Created by Joss Whedon
What if Marvel’s X-Men started their story in 19th-century London? That’s not exactly a complete description of The Nevers, but it’s a good start. HBO’s exciting new sci-fi drama transports us to a steampunk world where a group of women known as “the Touched” exhibit extraordinary abilities. Leading the gang of Touched heroes is the no-nonsense psychic Amelia True (Laura Donnelly), and she has a lot to contend with in this exciting new series. As is to be expected, Victorian England isn’t exactly ready for superpowers, and some of its citizens want to rid themselves of the Touched, some want to “cleanse” them, and still others seek to use them for their own twisted ends.

Beartown (2020)

Beartown
93%
82 %
7.1/10
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Miriam Ingrid, Aliette Opheim, Tyler Shamy, Ulf Stenberg, Tobias Zilliacus
Created by Fredrik Backman (based on story by), Linn Gottfridsson, Antonia Pyk, Peter Grönlund, Anders Weidemann
Based on Fredrik Backman’s 2017 novel of the same name, this limited series comes to an end on March 22. Powerful and dark, Beartown tells a sadly familiar story. In a small Scandinavian town that revolves around ice hockey, the young Maya (Miriam Ingrid) is sexually assaulted by the star of the local junior team, forcing the community to face its demons. One of the surprising strengths of this gripping drama is that while you’re likely to find so much of the story predictable, the familiarity doesn’t take away from your experience. If anything, the fact that the tale is so familiar is part of the point.

The Investigation (2020)

The Investigation
83%
7.6/10
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Crime, Drama
Cast Søren Malling, Pilou Asbæk, Pernilla August
Created by Tobias Lindholm
In 2017, Swedish journalist Kim Wall boarded Nautilus — a submarine privately owned by Danish entrepreneur Peter Madsen. She never made it out alive. In February the Danish limited series The Investigation premiered on HBO Max, based on the real-life investigation to unearth the truth of what happened to Wall. The Investigation is an engrossing slow-burn that ignores most of the more familiar conventions of the murder mystery and brings to light many of the difficult truths of trying to find justice.

30 Coins (2020)

30 Coins
91%
7.2/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Crime, Mystery, Drama
Cast Eduard Fernández, Megan Montaner, Pepón Nieto
Created by Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la Iglesia
Initially released in November 2020, 30 Coins has proven to be one of HBO Max’s best-kept secrets. The Spanish language mystery horror series stars Eduard Fernández as Padre Vergara, a priest with a troubled past. Hoping to find shelter from that past, Vergara retreats to the small town of Pedraza. Unfortunately, along with shelter, Vergara finds troubling supernatural occurrences, which may or may not have something to do with the 30 silver coins paid to Judas for betraying Jesus. With a stellar lead cast, 30 Coins has been compared to the fiction of H.P Lovecraft and artifact quest stories like the National Treasure and Indiana Jones films.

Lovecraft Country (2020)

Lovecraft Country
88%
79 %
7.1/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Wunmi Mosaku
Created by Misha Green
History and supernatural horror merge in Lovecraft Country, which follows a Black soldier who returns home from World War II and then sets off on a journey through 1950s America to find his missing father. Jonathan Majors plays series protagonist Atticus Freeman, who’s joined on his rescue mission by childhood friend Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle, George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance). Series showrunner Misha Green expertly blends the real-world racial terrors of the Jim Crow era for Black people in the U.S. with the dark, eldritch horrors of H.P. Lovecraft in a story that continually surprises its audience with one shocking twist after another.

Perry Mason (2020)

Perry Mason
75%
68 %
7.5/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Mystery, Crime
Cast Matthew Rhys, Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk
Created by Rolin Jones, Ron Fitzgerald
This limited series brings the world’s most renowned fictional lawyer back to the small screen. Perry Mason is an origin story of the criminal defense attorney set in 1932 Los Angeles. The series takes an edgy, noir-ish tone and gives Perry Mason a new spin, with Matthew Rhys portraying him as a low-rent private investigator digging into the influential and enormously powerful evangelical preacher Sister Alice.

The Outsider (2020)

The Outsider
91%
68 %
7.7/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Mystery, Drama, Crime
Cast Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, Bill Camp
Created by Richard Price
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, this slow-burn series starts with a seemingly straightforward, cut-and-dried murder investigation. However, things spiral out of control as investigators encounter an insidious supernatural force that makes everything look different than it seemed before. Soon, the investigators begin to question everything they thought they knew. Featuring a first-rate cast of Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Cynthia Erivo, The Outsider is a truly gripping, supernatural crime drama that measures up to King’s novel.

I May Destroy You (2020)

I May Destroy You
98%
86 %
8.1/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Michaela Coel, Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu
Created by Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel’s co-production for BBC One and HBO has established her as one of the most innovative and thoughtful new creators in television. Coel created, writes, co-directs, executive produces, and stars as Arabella, a young London woman who must rebuild her life after being sexually assaulted in a nightclub. Publicly feted as a millennial icon after the success of her debut novel “Chronicles of a Fed-Up Millennial,” Arabella is struggling under the pressure of meeting the deadline for her second book. To de-stress, she meets up with friends for a night out in London, which becomes a complete blur. The next morning, she pieces together the events of the previous night, challenging social norms and the meaning of consent.

Watchmen (2019)

Watchmen
96%
85 %
8.2/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Crime, Drama, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Irons
Created by Damon Lindelof
What could be more daunting than adapting Alan Moore’s iconic comic series Watchmen for TV? How about making a sequel? That’s what Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) has done with Watchmen, which picks up decades after Moore’s story ended, following a new group of characters whose lives intertwine with the old cast. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 34 years after the comic, Watchmen follows Angela Abar (Regina King), a cop who takes on the masked identity of Sister Night. The Tulsa police have been decimated by a white supremacist group called the Seventh Kavalry, forcing the remainder to adopt superhero personae for safety. After the police chief is murdered, Angela searches for the killer, uncovering a sinister conspiracy. In its willingness to challenge expectations for a sequel, Lindelof’s Watchmen proves a worthy successor to the original.

Big Little Lies (2017)

Big Little Lies
89%
78 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Drama
Cast Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley
Created by David E. Kelley
Based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is set in a small, affluent town where Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and her friend Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman) live in seeming bliss with their families. When Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) moves to town with her son, Ziggy, Madeline and Celeste take her under their wings, but an accusation against Ziggy — and a murder — threaten to upend their lives. Despite the mystery that opens the show, what really drives Big Little Lies is its portrayal of the lives — domestic and social — of women, the friendships they form, and the aggressions they endure. The central characters are complex, driven as much by competitiveness and arrogance as by friendship and family; Witherspoon is particularly great as the domineering Madeline.

Game of Thrones (2011)

Game of Thrones
89%
86 %
9.2/10
tv-ma 8 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama, Action & Adventure
Cast Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
Created by David Benioff, D. B. Weiss
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 that 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 eight seasons, and divisive conclusion, 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.

The Night Of (2016)

The Night Of
94%
90 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery
Cast Riz Ahmed, John Turturro, Bill Camp
Created by Steven Zaillian, Richard Price
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 prison 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 protégé with some protection from his violent neighbors — for a price. John Turturro also delivers an excellent performance as embattled defense lawyer John Stone. Turturro’s presence provides a small sense of levity to help balance the all-too-serious subject matter.

Treme (2010)

Treme
97%
85 %
8.2/10
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Drama
Cast Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Chris Coy
Created by Eric Overmyer, David Simon
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 follows 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 Simon’s other works, 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, the excellent narrative pulls the viewer in and makes it incredibly hard to look away.

Harley Quinn (2019)

Harley Quinn
94%
82 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Animation, Crime, Action & Adventure, Comedy
Cast Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell
Created by Dean Lorey, Patrick Schumacker, Justin Halpern
There’s been a glut of Harley Quinn-related media over the past few years. Along with video games and comics, since 2016, Margot Robbie has played the ruthless Joker spin-off in two live-action films, and the character has made appearances in plenty of DC’s animated features. The animated Harley Quinn series is, believe it or not, the best of them. The series opens with a final, decisive break between her and the Joker, and what remains deals with her learning to be her own woman and villain in the aftermath. Supported by her best friend Poison Ivy, Harley forms a crew composed of the hopeless theater geek Clayface, the psychic Professor Psycho (who’s persona non-grata among DC’s villains for using the wrong sexist slur too often), and King Shark, who initially just wants to do tech support. As both an animated series and one free of content restrictions in terms of language or violence, Harley Quinn is the best send-up of the superhero world since The Tick. It’s hilarious, bloody, sometimes heartbreaking, and regularly features an alcoholic Commissioner Gordon who doesn’t understand why Batman won’t hang out socially.

Olive Kitteridge (2014)

Olive Kitteridge
94%
89 %
8.3/10
tv-14 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Zoe Kazan
Created by Jane Anderson (teleplay), Elizabeth Strout (based on the novel by)
Few people outside of diehard HBO fans knew what Olive Kitteridge was before it swept the 67th Primetime Emmy’s with eight awards. 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 (Richard Jenkins). As each episode of the show focuses on a different period of their lives, viewers get an up-close and personal look at the depression, jealousy, and family tension that 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.

The Wire (2002)

The Wire
94%
91 %
9.3/10
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Crime, Drama
Cast Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn
Created by David Simon
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 and Avon Barksdale, now is the perfect time. Set in 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 everybody caught in the middle. Few shows feature such tight dialogue and storytelling as Simon’s opus, making The Wire must-watch television for anyone.

True Detective (2014)

True Detective
78%
73 %
8.9/10
tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Drama
Cast Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, Carmen Ejogo
Created by Nic Pizzolatto
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 as the leads. Throughout 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 as True Detective did during its first season. Although season 2 didn’t quite live up to the first, Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) is a tour de force in the third season.

The Sopranos (1999)

The Sopranos
92%
94 %
9.2/10
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Drama
Cast James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Created by David Chase
Few television series have garnered as much critical buzz as David Chase’s The Sopranos, which 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. 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 workload. Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, and Lorraine Bracco costar in this gritty series that somehow managed to humanize the mafia.

Boardwalk Empire (2010)

Boardwalk Empire
92%
83 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Crime, Drama
Cast Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Vincent Piazza
Created by Terence Winter
Created and produced by Terence Winter (The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street), 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 on real-life politician Enoch L. Johnson), the show depicts Thompson’s rise and his dealings with the city’s mobsters and criminal underbelly, as well as government agents and townsfolk. The show, based on the Nelson Johnson book of the same name, features several real-life historical figures during each of its five seasons (Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Arnold Rothstein, etc.), and paints a near-accurate portrait of what New Jersey was like in the 1920s and ’30s.

Sharp Objects (2018)

Sharp Objects
92%
78 %
8.1/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Mystery, Crime
Cast Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen, Matt Craven
Created by Marti Noxon
Sharp Objects, a miniseries based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel of the same name, is the best kind of slow burn. The eight-episode drama stars Amy Adams (Arrival, Enchanted) as Camille Parker, a distraught reporter who has recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital and sent to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the murder of two young girls. She is welcomed back with less-than-open arms by her mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson), who forces her to confront some of her personal demons. As Camille searches for answers to these brutal murders, she uncovers things from her past that she had tried to forget, resulting in a narrative that’s as grim as it is mesmerizing.

Random Acts of Flyness (2018)

Random Acts of Flyness
100%
83 %
6.5/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Terence Nance, Dominique Fishback, Tonya Pinkins
Created by Terence Nance
Created by the daring Terence Nance, Random Acts of Flyness is a show that tackles issues of sexuality, white supremacy, and the patriarchy through short, thought-provoking sketches. “We definitely try and not to have creative no-go zones,” said Nance. “What I’m most excited about in the show is how much we engage with the irresolute.” The series is a visual and audio experience unlike anything before, which, given Nance’s avant-garde approach to Sundance hit An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, isn’t particularly surprising.

Looking (2014)

Looking
90%
74 %
8.2/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett
Created by Michael Lannan
Although it ran for only two seasons (there was also a subsequent movie), Looking burned brightly, garnering praise from critics and love from a small but enthusiastic audience. Looking is a slice-of-life series about three gay men living in San Francisco: Game designer Patrick (Jonathan Groff), artist’s assistant Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), and waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett). Each of the protagonists — all of them in their late 20s or 30s — struggles with the fact that their lives haven’t turned out quite how they’ve expected. They’re disappointed with their sputtering careers and their love lives (or lack thereof), and that sense of millennial ennui runs through the show. That doesn’t mean Looking is dreary, however. As in real life, drama and laughter go hand in hand, and the characters have plenty of heartwarming moments to balance out the melancholy.

Silicon Valley (2014)

Silicon Valley
94%
84 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani
Created by Mike Judge, Alec Berg, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky
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 region. According to Judge, the series is pseudo-inspired by events that occurred in his own life during the late ’80s while he was an engineer in Silicon Valley. The show itself follows a motley crew of programmers and entrepreneurs struggling (albeit comically) 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. Even though it ended its run at the end of 2019, Silicon Valley’s sharp writing still holds up, 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 network has to offer.

Flight of the Conchords (2007)

Flight of the Conchords
94%
73 %
8.5/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal
Created by James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement’s comedy troupe first began when the duo roomed together in 1998 at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, but it didn’t officially burst onto the scene until the mid-2000s. After developing a bit of a following in their native country in the early aughts, Bret and Jemaine caught the attention of HBO, which signed them up to bring their comedy band schtick to premium cable. After creating Flight of the Conchords — Bret and Jemaine’s fictional folk band — the duo moves to New York City intent on finding fame and fortune. Much to their chagrin, fame and fortune always seem just outside their reach. 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.

Girls (2012)

Girls
89%
80 %
7.3/10
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet
Created by Lena Dunham
Girls, a dramedy created by and starring Lena Dunham, delves into the daily experiences of a group of twenty-something young women living in New York City. Culled from actual experiences in Dunham’s own life, the show often deals with humiliating and disastrous events centering on becoming an adult, 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 that provide as real — and funny — a portrayal of human interaction and emerging adulthood as Girls.

High Maintenance (2016)

High Maintenance
98%
81 %
8.1/10
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Ben Sinclair
Created by Ben Sinclair, Katja Blichfeld
This free-form web series was so successful and hilarious that HBO picked it up in 2016 and ordered six episodes, while also adding 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, even if it takes as few as six minutes. The well-crafted set includes 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).

Veep (2012)

Veep
93%
82 %
8.3/10
tv-ma 7 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale
Created by Armando Iannucci
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. Joining Louis-Dreyfus on screen is the hilarious Tony Hale, who plays the VP’s ultra-obedient personal assistant, Gary. With sharp, witty writing, brilliant acting, and handfuls of laugh-out-loud moments during each episode, Veep is one of the best 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.

Barry (2018)

Barry
99%
85 %
8.3/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Crime
Cast Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler
Created by Bill Hader, Alec Berg
Iraq War veteran Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is like many people in the 21st century: His work/life balance is out of whack. He travels for work, returns home, and kills time with video games before passing out. Barry is the portrait of Information Age ennui, with the one wrinkle being that his line of work is murder. As a hitman, Barry takes missions assigned to him by a man named Fuches (Stephen Root). It’s a career that makes use of Barry’s skills but doesn’t leave him satisfied. When he pursues his latest target to an acting class, however, Barry stumbles into a new world, one that ignites his passions. Pursuing the life of an actor, he encounters some problems in his day job and tension with his boss. Barry is a superb dark comedy, and Hader’s performance is full of subtle gestures that speak to his character’s inner turmoil.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
95%
76 %
8.6/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Documentary
Cast Robert Durst, Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling
Created by Andrew Jarecki
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 (All Good Things), the defiant Durst decided to reach out to the film’s director (Andrew Jarecki) and offer an exclusive interview. Over several sit-downs and multiple years of cooperation with Jarecki and HBO’s production crew, a six-episode miniseries 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.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
98%
76 %
8.9/10
tv-ma 8 Seasons
Genre Talk, Comedy, News
Cast John Oliver, David Kaye
Created by John Oliver
Though classified as a satirical news show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs some of the most honest and hard-hitting satirical 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, oftentimes, incredibly informative. Whether it’s the bribery scandal that rocked FIFA or the troubled system of standardized tests, there’s no topic Oliver won’t cover and subsequently shred to pieces.

Chernobyl (2019)

Chernobyl
96%
82 %
9.4/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson
Created by Craig Mazin
It’s commonplace to hear something along the lines of “the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it exists.” To see this proven true on a scale that costs still untold numbers of lives, watch HBO’s Chernobyl. Three decades after the events that some say marked the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union, this chilling mini-series unveils not only the science behind the chain of events leading to the Chernobyl disaster but the lengths to which the USSR went to keep the accident a secret and the monstrous scope of the cost. With a worthy cast including Stellan Skarsgård and Jared Harris, Chernobyl is a revealing picture of hell on Earth and the criminal neglect that creates it.

Six Feet Under (2001)

Six Feet Under
81%
74 %
8.7/10
tv-ma 5 Seasons
Genre Drama
Cast Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy
Created by Alan Ball
One of HBO’s very first original series remains one of its best. Premiering in 2001, Six Feet Under opens with the death of the Fisher family patriarch, Nathaniel (Richard Jenkins), prompting the return of his wayward son Nate (Peter Krause). Running a funeral home, the Fisher family is both uniquely capable and incapable of weathering the death of Nathaniel, and he continues to appear throughout the series in visions. Often funny, sometimes sexy, and always confronting difficult truths, Six Feet Under is a brilliant drama dealing with the one place we’re all going, and simultaneously the one place we’re unwilling to talk about.

Deadwood (2004)

Deadwood
92%
85 %
8.6/10
tv-ma 3 Seasons
Genre Western, Crime
Cast Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker
Created by David Milch
It will be a freezing day in a hot place before another Western series comes along equal to HBO’s Deadwood. David Milch’s frontier drama about a lawless camp that grows to become a part of the annexed South Dakota territory has its shoot-outs, but its focus is the lives of the townsfolk — from prostitute to doctor, from sheriff to petty crook. While in the beginning, you might think it will be the adventures of the noble Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) that will occupy most of the show, the true beacon is Ian McShane as the poetically profane saloon owner and crime boss Al Swearengen. There is an intense Shakespearean quality to Swearengen, whose sometimes feverish monologues make him appear as much a Hamlet as he is a Tony Soprano. The rest of the ensemble shouldn’t be forgotten, including the alcoholic doctor played by Brad Dourif, William Sanderson as the hilariously treacherous E.B. Farnum, and Paula Malcomson as the fiery prostitute Trixie.

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