HBO Max movies may be sliding all over the place, but these killer TV shows are staying put (for now).
Over the past three years, digital spaces have provided ports in the storm for plenty of us struggling to withstand current events. For entertainment, the COVID-19 pandemic propped up streaming platforms as safe places to search and scroll, letting restless viewers explore larger-than-life worlds from the comfort (OK, semi-comfort) of our socially-distanced homes for months…on months…on months…on end.
Now, the post-lockdown economy is pouring gasoline on the streaming wars, creating metaphorically fiery panic for even the most popular services. (How ya doing, Netflix?)
At Warner Bros. Discovery, the resultant chaos has left “Batgirl” dead on arrival, service-exclusive movies disappearing from the HBO Max catalog, and countless rumors that fan-favorite original TV series will be canceled. Although no major TV cuts have been announced yet, HBO Max and Discovery+ ARE set to merge into a single service by 2023, effectively torpedoing the purple-hued platform as audiences know it.
What this will mean for the stories still being told on at Discovery+ and HBO Max remains to be seen. But while the unscripted dynasty properties of the former should be safe enough, the boundary-pushing comedies and dramas of the latter appear ripe for subjective stripping.
Sure, certain series, like the Emmy Award-winning “Hacks” and the James Gunn-helmed “Peacemaker,” are probably protected. (Gunn specifically took to Twitter to encourage speculators “calm down” after the “Batgirl” news started spinning out of control.)
But more hidden gems like Ellen Rapoport’s “Minx,” Mindy Kaling’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” and the Kaley Cuoco-led “Harley Quinn” animated series have fans understandably nervous.
Of course, that thumb-twiddling/hair-pulling/doom-scrolling comes from a place of love. Since launching in May 2020, HBO Max has quietly become a premiere destination for new shows and limited series: a successor to the HBO originals legacy that until recently seemed set to surpass it.
So, for as long as the service still exists, here are the 17 best HBO Max original TV series ever made. (It’s worth noting: These are not the best HBO original series of all time. Those network-born beauties, including everything from “Succession” to “Room 104,” have a list of their own.)