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3 underrated shows on Max you need to watch in January

Ansel Elgort rides in a car in a scene from Tokyo Vice.
HBO Max

Max has gotten off to a slow start in January when it comes to original series, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great underrated shows that can help get you through the month. The vast majority of new shows coming to Max these days tend to be reality series from Discovery. So if you want something scripted, it tends to come from Max’s backlog of HBO shows or WBD-affiliated cable networks.

This month, we’ve chosen a recently concluded HBO original series, as well as Max original that will be back with a new season in February. Our other pick is an animated comedy that is everything that Velma isn’t. These are the three underrated shows on Max that you need to watch in January.

Barry (2018-2023)

Bill Hader in Barry.
HBO

Saturday Night Live veteran Bill Hader co-created and stars in Barry as the title character. Barry Berkman (Hader) is a talented contract killer who is plagued by anxiety. The one thing that gives Barry’s life meaning is his newfound desire to be an actor. And Barry’s willing to leave the life an assassin behind in order to study under his acting coach, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). Barry even gets to romance his classmate, Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg).

But there’s no such thing as retirement when it comes to killers, and Barry’s handler, Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root), just keeps finding ways to drag Barry back into the life he so desperately wants to escape.

Watch Barry on Max.

Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law (2000-2007)

Harvey Birdman questions Yogi Bear in a scene from Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law.
Adult Swim

Unlike She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law is actually funny. Although the show’s surreal sense of humor may not be for everyone. This Adult Swim series took a Z-list Hanna-Barbera superhero and reinvented Birdman (Gary Cole) as a lawyer who takes on bizarre legal cases that involve famous cartoon characters. Yogi Bear, the Scooby-Doo gang, Apache Chief, Johnny Quest, and the Flintstones are just a few of the guest stars that drop in. And this show mercilessly skewers all of them.

Before he hit it big on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert had a supporting role in this series as Birdman’s insane boss, Phil Ken Sebben. Paget Brewster co-stars as Ken Sebben’s daughter, Judy, who went on to become Birdgirl and starred in her own spinoff series which is also on Max.

Watch Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law on Max.

Tokyo Vice

Promo image of Detective Katagiri and Jake Adelstein in HBO Max's Tokyo Vice.
Max

Tokyo Vice is coming back for a second season on Max next month, so this is a good opportunity to catch up with the first season. Ansel Elgort stars as Jake Adelstein, an American journalist who lives in Tokyo at the end of the 20th century. Jake doesn’t have many friends, but he has connected with a fellow ex-patriot, Samantha Porter (Rachel Keller).

After earning a spot on a Japanese newspaper’s crime beat, Jake befriends Detective Hiroto Katagiri (Ken Watanabe) and gets familiar with his new homeland. Jake also begins connecting to the yakuza and other criminal figures, which may complicate his personal and professional relationships as he tries to make a name for himself.

Watch Tokyo Vice on Max.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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