The Best Shows on HBO Max Right Now (September 2022)

When HBO Max launched, it came with an advantage that Disney+ and Apple TV+ didn’t have: Beyond flagship original series like Love Life and The Flight Attendant, there is also the full weight of Warner Bros. legacy — specifically, the decades of producing amazing film and television. On the TV side, this is especially exciting, because thanks to the prestige network which makes up 50 percent of this service’s name, that means a ton of exciting series.

In addition, there are also a lot of TV shows which have been in streaming flux for a while. Some of them, like Doctor Who and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s original version of The Office, are now coming to HBO Max thanks to a deal made between Warner and the BBC. Some of them, like Friends and Pretty Little Liars, you might not have ever known were owned by Warner Bros., thanks to the way deals between networks and studios work. In short: There’s a lot of great TV shows to watch on HBO Max.

Below are over 50 of the best series currently available to stream on HBO Max, with a special emphasis on the HBO original series that have helped the network win dozens and dozens of Emmys over the course of its lifetime. And things are only going to get better from here, as there are a ton of other classic series that will eventually join the service, plus a number of exciting originals that, fingers crossed, will be finished in time to join this list.

Editor’s note: Last updated on September 23rd to include Abbott Elementary.

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The Staircase

Created by: Antonio Campos (based on The Staircase by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade)

Cast: Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner, Odessa Young, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tim Guinee, Parker Posey, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Vermignon

It was a ripped-from-the-headlines story that flew under the radar of public consciousness when it first occurred: novelist and aspiring local politician Michael Peterson discovered his wife Kathleen lying at the bottom of the stairs in their Durham home. Theories swirled around the possible culprit or cause of her death, some of them seeming as improbable as they were outlandish at the time. The new HBO miniseries doesn’t attempt to take a page straight from the award-winning documentary by Lestrade; it incorporates it into the narrative, with the director becoming a character himself in the engrossing story that also includes Colin Firth disappearing into the role of Michael Peterson and Toni Collette infusing Kathleen Peterson with a striking amount of depth and humanity prior to her death. This series doesn’t just make for a good pairing with the original documentary, though; it demands a tandem viewing. – Carly Lane

Abbott Elementary

Created by: Quinta Brunson

Cast: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Sheryl Lee Ralph

Abbott Elementary won several major awards at the 2022 Emmys, including Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Sheryl Lee Ralph – and for good reason. One of the most hilarious sitcoms in recent years, Abbott Elementary follows a group of teachers working at an underfunded Philadelphia school. Among the eclectic cast of characters, there’s young, determined Janine (Quinta Brunson), old-school mentor Barbara (Ralph), rough-around-the-edges yet kindhearted Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter), nerdy Jacob (Chris Perfetti), and irresponsible principal Ava (Janelle James). And that’s not to mention substitute teacher Gregory (Tyler James Williams), who has aspirations to become principal – and maybe to get with Janine. Abbott Elementary is one of those shows that will make you laugh hard and leave you feeling good after you watch it. – Taylor Gates

Tom Swift

Created by: Melinda Hsu Taylor, Noga Landau, Cameron Johnson

Cast: Tian Richards, Ashleigh Murray, Marquise Vilsón, Albert Mwangi, April Parker Jones

A mystery-drama series based on the book series of the same name and a spinoff of Nancy Drew, Tom Swift’s titular character (Tian Richards) is a young, billionaire inventor who is as immature as he is brilliant. However, when his father disappears on a mission to Saturn, Tom is forced to grow up and navigate a world of conspiracy and unexplained phenomena to find out the truth. Though tragically canceled after just one season, Tom Swift is an edgy, intriguing puzzle. – Taylor Gates

The Vampire Diaries

Created by: Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson

Cast: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, Iam Somerhalder

You can now catch all eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries streaming on HBO. Based on the books by L.J. Smith, the story follows Elena Gilbert, a young girl who falls in love with a vampire named Stefan Salvatore. This show is an addictive teen supernatural drama full of twists and turns.

His Dark Materials

Creator: Jack Thorne

Cast: Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Amir Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on the hit book series, His Dark Materials follows Lyra, played by Dafne Keen (Logan), who lives in an alternate version of our reality. In Lyra’s world, human souls are manifested as Daemons, animal companions who cannot stray from the body to which they are linked. Through two seasons of His Dark Materials, Lyra uncovers intriguing secrets, setting her off on an exciting adventure across realities. Author Philip Pullman’s novels introduce curious philosophical questions paired with his fantastical realms, all of which are brought visually to the screen in the beautiful series. His Dark Materials is an enjoyable adaptation – a pleasant deviation from the failed film attempt of The Golden Compass. – Yael Tygiel

House of the Dragon

Creator: Ryan J. Condal, George R.R. Martin

Cast: Paddy Considine, Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Rhys Ifans

Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the hit show. Following the Targaryen family and the people of Westeros, House of the Dragon explores the mythology that preceded the beloved characters that audiences watched for six seasons. Created by the author George R.R. Martin and guided by experienced fantasy and science-fiction producer Ryan J. Condal, House of the Dragon is bursting with star power, including Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and chameleon character actor Rhys Ifans (The King’s Man). House of the Dragon is a beautiful look deeper into the history of the fantastical world of Game of Thrones. – Yael Tygiel


Creator: Doug Ellin

Cast: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven

Entourage is a fantastic comedy that looks at the sleazy side of the entertainment industry. The beloved and hysterical satire from creator Doug Ellin follows fictional actor named Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and the people in his sphere, including his friends, agents, and other celebrities. Brimming with quick and clever dialogue, Entourage’s exaggerated style influenced a generation with its inspirational and cautionary tale about the vapid up-and-comers of Los Angeles. Featuring an iconic performance from Jeremy Piven(Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as conniving agent Ari Gold, Entourage smoothly entered the zeitgeist with quotable quips and memorable cameos. – Yael Tygiel


Created by: Mickey Down, Konrad Kay

Cast: Myha’la Herrold, Marisa Abela, Harry Lawtey, David Jonsson

Industry follows five college graduates, all vying for a limited number of jobs at a prestigious London investment bank. The characters include Harper (Myha’la Herrold), a New York native who lies about her resume, queer Eton and Oxford graduate Gus (David Jonsson), working-class Robert (Harry Lawtey), and privileged Yasmin (Marisa Abela). Each of them must overcome unique obstacles in order to succeed and try not to sink under the intense pressure of the position. The show has been praised for its sharp writing and excellent, soapy ensemble. – Taylor Gates

Rap Sh!t

Creator: Issa Rae

Cast: Nijah Brenea, Daisy Fernandez, Victoria Richards

From Insecure co-creator Issa Rae comes Rap Sh!t, a comedic commentary about adult female friendships, influencer culture, and the modern journey to stardom. Rap Sh!t follows four aspiring rappers as they attempt to earn fame and success on their own terms within the confines of a digital world. Integrating the use of camera phones and vertical filming, Rap Sh!t crafts a truly unique perspective, providing audiences an unparalleled yet ultimately relatable viewing experience. Infused with Rae’s specific brand of humor and wit, Rap Sh!t allows its stars to shine. – Yael Tygiel

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Created by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lindsay Calhoon Bring

Cast: Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles, Maia Reficco

Got a secret – can you keep it? Pretty Little Liars was a smash hit when it premiered on Freeform in 2010, and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin promises to keep the same spooky, soapy, slasher feel. The series takes place within the same continuity as the previous series but in a new setting with different characters. The show follows a group of teen girls who begin receiving terrifying messages from a mysterious assailant: the infamous “A.” Co-created by Riverdale and The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina’s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is no doubt the next big addictive teen mystery. – Taylor Gates

The Rehearsal

Created by: Nathan Fielder

Cast: Nathan Fielder

Nathan Fielder is one of the sharpest, most innovative comedians of our time. Known for his comedy docuseries Nathan for You, The Rehearsal keeps a similar vibe with a different premise. While the former helped businesses, The Rehearsal helps individuals, as Fielder gives people the chance to practice awkward social situations and every possible thing that could go wrong. Clever, creative, and downright hilarious, The Rehearsal is one of the best new shows of 2022, earning a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. – Taylor Gates

Sharp Objects

Created by: Marti Noxon

Cast: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Eliza Scanlen

Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote Gone Girl), Sharp Objects is a riveting thriller that features a career-best performance by Amy Adams. The show follows Adams’ Camille Preaker, a traumatized reporter who returns to her small town to solve the mystery of two murdered girls. Once back in Wind Gap, Camille must face people from her past – namely her cruel mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson) – as well as demons that have haunted her since childhood. In addition to the masterful performances, the show is also expertly directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, the force behind projects like Big Little Lies. – Taylor Gates

Mind Over Murder

Director: Nanfu Wang

Fans of unbelievable true crime are sure to become immediately invested in Mind Over Murder, which explores the story of six people who were convicted of murder in 1985. Though it originally seems like a straightforward case, things get complicated when they are exonerated in 2009 by DNA evidence. Nanfu Wang, an acclaimed documentarist known for films like Hooligan Sparrow and One Child Nation, expertly tells an unbelievable story of unreliable memories, broken judicial systems, and a shaken small town. – Taylor Gates

Gordita Chronicles

Created by: Claudia Forestieri

Cast: Diana-Maria Riva, Juan Javier Cardenas, Olivia Goncalves, Savannah Nicole Ruiz, Noah Rico, Cosette Hauer

Nostalgic, hilarious, and authentic, Gordita Chronicles follows Cucu Castelli (Olivia Goncalves), a 12-year-old girl who immigrates from the Dominican Republic to Miami in the 1980s. From her ambitious parents to her popular older sister, it’s easy to relate to the Castelli clan as well as Cucu’s struggle to find her place in the world. Fans of shows like Fresh off the Boat and The Goldbergs are sure to fall in love with this heartwarming and hysterical story of family and growing up. – Taylor Gates

And Just Like That…

Created by: Darren Star

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Mario Cantone, David Eigenberg, Willie Garson, Evan Handler, Sara Ramirez, Chris Noth, Sarita Choudhury

Sex and the City is an iconic cultural staple. How many of us haven’t taken a quiz to see which of the main ladies we are or had an intense debate over who’s right for Carrie? Well, the glamorous women of NYC are back, and while a lot has changed, the revival captures the same fun tone of the original – while making some key updates to keep things feeling fresh and relevant for modern times. Though we all miss Samantha (Kim Cattrall), the series is well worth checking out. – Taylor Gates

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Developed by: Steven Moffat

Cast: Rose Leslie, Theo James, Desmin Borges, Natasha Lopez, Michael Park, Jaime Ray Newman, Taylor Richardson, Peter Graham, Kate Siegel, Josh Stamberg

If you’d like a side of sci-fi with your romance, The Time Traveler’s Wife is the series for you. Based on the novel of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger (as well as the movie starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana), the show follows Henry (Theo James), a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel, and his wife Clare (Rose Leslie). An epic romance that also raises questions about identity and fate, The Time Traveler’s Wife is not to be missed. – Taylor Gates

Irma Vep

Created by: Olivier Assayas

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Adria Arjona, Carrie Brownstein, Tom Sturridge, Fala Chen, Devon Ross, Byron Bowers, Vincent Macaigne

Based on the 1996 movie of the same name, Irma Veep is a thriller miniseries focusing on Mira (Alicia Vikander) – an American actress who goes to France to star in the remake of a popular silent film after a nasty breakup and scandal. However, as she takes on the role in the crime thriller, her performance and reality start to blur, leading her down a rabbit hole of secrets and danger. – Taylor Gates

Big Little Lies

Created by: David E. Kelly (based on the book by Liane Moriarty)

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern

Be honest – you have “Cold Little Heart” stuck in your head now, don’t you? Centered on the friendship between outspoken Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), level-headed Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and new girl in town Jane (Shailene Woodley), Big Little Lies explores dirty secrets in the beautiful, affluent town of Monterey. The cast is full of powerhouses (season two even introduced Meryl Streep), the cinematography is stunning, and the direction is unique and captivating. The first season took home a whopping eight Emmys – and for good reason. Dark, sharp, and at times even laugh-out-loud funny, Big Little Lies has it all, giving us one of the best female friendship groups, murder mysteries, and soundtracks of all time. – Taylor Gates

The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

Directed by: Marina Zenovich

When the first half of The Way Down premiered in fall of last year, it happened to be on the heels of the fateful plane crash that would claim the life of its most absorbing subject: religious leader and diet program founder Gwen Shamblin Lara. From her Tennessean accent to her extraordinarily teased hair (so big it could be said that it was undoubtedly full of secrets), Shamblin was a personality large enough to draw people in — but what happened once they fell under her spell is another story entirely. Zenovich leaves barely any stone unturned in the docuseries that follows Shamblin’s legacy, including her founding of the Weigh Down Workshop, her utterly devout-to-the-point-of-cultish-worship followers of Remnant Fellowship Church, and the unhappy dynamics within her own family. The HBO series released two new episodes this past April, tackling Shamblin’s death and the aftermath — as well as shining a light on more Remnant survivors who have come forward to tell their stories about what the culture is really like in spite of the church’s attempts to discredit any dissent. It’s a gripping, engrossing watch, to be sure. – Carly Lane


Created by: Bill Hader and Alec Berg

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

It’s a premise that’s just so ludicrous that it could almost be an SNL sketch in and of itself — but Bill Hader’s half-hour scripted series manages to be part-comedy, part-drama, part-action thriller without losing grip on any of its impressive ingredients. The comedian and actor stars as Barry Berkman, a successful (one might say almost too successful) hitman who doesn’t realize that his heart truly lies on the stage — but becoming an actor isn’t as easy as it sounds, and not just because the audition circuit can be brutal. Barry has to not only contend with the people in his everyday life, like his girlfriend Sally (Goldberg) and his acting teacher Gene Cousineau (Winkler), but he’s also facing off with the continuing criminal element he can’t shake, from his associate Fuches (Root) to aspiring mafia lead NoHo Hank (Carrigan). In Season 2, which promises to be even more of a thrill ride than before, Barry’s life continues to unspool as threats from his past start to be unearthed. Maybe normal is just a pipe dream after all when you’re hired to kill people for a living. – Carly Lane

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