HBO has always held a high standard of quality when it comes to its original programs, and after a slow start, the company’s HBO Max streaming service is taking a more solid shape. The platform has developed a fairly diverse catalog of original shows, with more planned for the near and distant future of this budding streamer.
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Fans on Reddit have shared their picks for Max’s best original shows, which all highlight the versatility of the platform. Many of these TV shows range from recognizable IPs to tightly-scoped limited series, making a strong case for how HBO Max is a great place for audiences to find something that fits their preferences.
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Raised By Wolves (2020 – Present)
While it may not rank alongside HBO’s high-profile original sci-fi series Westworld, Raised by Wolves has proven to be a solid one across its two seasons so far. The first season scored a moderately positive reception, with the second coming more into its own with its unique take on a sci-fi dystopia. Its premise focuses on androids being tasked with raising human children on an Earth that is decimated by war.
Redditor lightsongtheold listed their favorite HBO originals and said “As far as the Max stuff goes Raised by Wolves,” was some of the most engaging programs that they had seen on the streaming platform specifically. A third season hasn’t been confirmed yet, but showrunner Aaron Guzikowski is writing away if its strong reception earns another greenlight (as sourced via Collider).
Doom Patrol (2019 – Present)
When it comes to live-action adaptations of obscure comic book superhero teams, Doom Patrol is on plenty of fans’ minds. The show has been consistently well-received in its current three seasons for being wonderfully bizarre and telling intimate, heartfelt, and character-driven stories about a band of misfits.
Redditor LSSJPrime recommends “Their DC catalog, especially Doom Patrol” when it comes to TV content. The show is, unfortunately, more “under the radar” when compared to other mainstream comic book shows and movies coming out, but it seems to be developing a well-deserved following in its own right. However, Doom Patrol seems to be making its smaller spotlight work for creativity, becoming one of the best superhero TV shows in the process.
The Flight Attendant (2020 – Present)
Former The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco made a turn for an HBO Max comedy-drama in the form of The Flight Attendant, with the show garnering a positive reception in its debut. Its first season earned high marks for its clever and creative blend of dark humor with all of the drama of an enticing murder-mystery plot.
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This reception bodes well for the show, especially since The Flight Attendant is set for its second season this month. Redditor CoMoJD puts the original series in their list of noteworthy mentions to come out of either HBO’s premium cable channel or streaming platform.
Peacemaker (2022 – Present)
James Gunn’s hand in revitalizing The Suicide Squad bore more fruits for its labor with the spinoff show that no one initially wanted but eventually became an HBO Max hit. The John Cena-led Peacemaker received critical acclaim for balancing raunchy humor with sincere character drama, which was bolstered by the passionate performances of the cast across the board. Season 2 is already in the cards, with Gunn showing how his work with whacky rejects in Guardians of the Galaxy translated well into the liberties granted by TV and HBO as a network.
Redditor Embarrassed-Ad1322 posted the suggestion that they’ve “been loving Peacemaker” before asking about which other Max originals were worth watching. Should the second season and other spinoffs down the line maintain this consistency, this corner of the DCEU will be an engaging ride for years to come.
Hacks (2021 – Present)
HBO Max’s Hacks is a more grounded comedy-drama that’s also earned exceptional praise. The story centers around a stand-up comedian desperate to maintain her relevance by teaming up with a writer who’s been fired from her job over a controversial Tweet.
Hacks received its critical acclaim primarily for its clever and relentless humor, real-world critiques, and Jean Smart’s top-notch performance as the comedian Deborah Vance. Redditor Coolyfett advised viewers to latch onto Max’s original content, saying “jump on the new and still running content first. Then the legacy stuff while waiting for new episodes,” recommending Hacks as one of the streamer’s strong ongoing series.
Warrior (2019 – Present)
While the show didn’t start as an HBO production, the company’s Max service acquired it after the original network, Cinemax, concluded production on it. Warrior is an exciting mix of martial arts and crime drama, all with an original story based on an early concept by Bruce Lee.
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The show’s first two seasons received positive receptions, as well as a newfound following, thanks to the exposure HBO Max provides. The aforementioned Redditor lightsongtheold also gave a particular shoutout to the show, saying “Same goes for the excellent Warrior which started on Cinemax but will be a Max original for future seasons.”
Harley Quinn (2019 – Present)
Although she began as one of Batman’s most iconic supervillains, Harley Quinn has transitioned into an antihero across most of the mediums she features in. DC’s comics even have the once-sidekick to the Joker as a member of the Batfamily now. And while Margot Robbie’s spirited performance as the character is already memorable, HBO Max’s Harley Quinn animated series is perhaps the best production starring the character.
It’s some of the best DC content the streamer has, with Redditor LSSJPrime also noting it as their favorite TV show and they would “recommend” it to anyone. Harley Quinn is another show that’s made full use of its light restraints, delivering a combination of hilarious meta-humor and emotional character arcs, with Kaley Cuoco lending her voice to the titular antihero.
Station Eleven (2021 – 2022)
For a concise viewing, the miniseries Station Eleven — based on Emily St. John Mandel’s novel of the same name — tells a gripping dystopian story with an inventive premise. The series takes place 20 years after civilization broke down as the result of a flu pandemic, with a group of traveling performers having a run-in with a dangerous cult.
This adaptation garnered critical acclaim for handling its slow-burn narrative across 10 episodes in a thought-provoking manner. Along with the aforementioned Raised by Wolves and The Flight Attendant, Redditor EchoFlake listed Station Eleven as one of their “recommendations” for new subscribers.
The Other Two (2019 – Present)
HBO Max’s The Other Two is a more straightforward comedy and one that was also acquired from another network, as the series initially aired for Comedy Central before being moved onto the streaming service. Redditor miha_daniela suggested in a post that it’s a “great” comedy, with critical reception feeling similar.
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The Other Two features an entertaining and modern premise of two millennial siblings dealing with career struggles after their 13-year-old brother gains overnight fame and success online. The show’s merits stem from its tasteful use of pop culture humor, which has paid off given its season-three renewal on HBO Max.
The White Lotus (2021 – Present)
The White Lotus takes the anthology approach to the satirical-comedy genre, as the greenlit second season will revolve around a new cast of characters. Redditor zethuz listed it as a recommendation in a post asking what shows the streamer has worth watching, and those looking for a creative comedy series shouldn’t be disappointed.
The White Lotus’ critical acclaim and viewership were enough to get a second season, with the show being lauded for its talented ensemble cast and the unraveling of the mysteries and hidden skeletons surrounding them during their stay at the titular Hawaii resort.
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About The Author
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Guillermo Kurten is a journalism major at the University of Houston. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he now resides in Houston. He is a fan of pretty much anything involving nerd culture. Video games, comics, movies, TV, anime, manga, you name it. He also has experience writing about soccer, specifically, the German team Bayern Munich.
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