31 best Max shows in June 2024

Jodie Foster in True Detective season 4 poster
(Image credit: HBO)

The best Max shows give you a wide variety to choose from. Max, formerly known as HBO Max, is our top pick among the best streaming services. It features a large, high-quality library of shows from Warner Bros. Discovery — including almost every HBO original of the last several decades.

That means you get dramas like "Succession," fantasy epics like "House of the Dragon" and Game of Thrones," comedies like "Veep" and "Hacks," gripping documentaries, stand-up specials and more. But you also get shows like "Abbot Elementary," "Friends" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" that you wouldn't associate with the streaming service thanks to various Hollywood deals. 

Max Max starts at $9.99

Max is our favorite streaming service because of its excellent, large library, which includes all of HBO's prestige series, like "Game of Thrones," "The Sopranos" and "The Wire." Plus, the service has its own originals and a variety of licensed shows. There are movies and live sports too. Max starts at $9.99 for an ad-supported plan and you can ditch the ads for just $6 more.

So with so much to choose from, Tom's Guide has compiled a list of the best shows on Max, so you don't get lost endlessly browsing through the catalog. Here are the 31 best shows on Max right now.

The 29 best shows on Max right now

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'True Detective: Night Country'

In the fictional Alaskan town of Ennis, nearly 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, a young woman named Annie K was found dead with her tongue removed. The case went cold without a suspect, leaving the grisly murder unsolved. Six years later, police chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and former detective Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) stumble upon answers after a team of scientists go missing from the Tsalal Arctic Research Station in the vicinity – could Annie's case be connected? And if not, how did those scientists just up and vanish? It's a "True Detective" saga you'll be engrossed in just as much as the original. 

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'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

"Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David stars in this cutting sitcom as a much more severe version of himself as a semi-retired TV writer. If things are uncomfortable and weird in "Seinfeld," they go off the rails at every single opportunity in "Curb," where simple misunderstandings snowball into complete disasters. It presents the culmination of annoyances as they grow into colossal problems — but it's all the funnier for it. 

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'Full Circle'

This miniseries from Steven Soderberg features an absolutely stacked cast of stars, including Claire Danes, Timothy Olyphant, Zazie Beetz, Jharrel Jerome, Jim Gaffigan and Dennis Quaid. 

"Full Circle" centers around a botched kidnapping by a Guyanese crime syndicate. They target the family of a celebrity chef for the precise ransom of $314,159 (the first six digits of pi). When the scheme goes awry, the various parties involved face twists and turns that upend their lives forever, uncovering long-held secrets connecting multiple characters across race and class in New York City. - Henry T. Casey

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'Somebody Somewhere'

Praise be the HBO gods for renewing the underrated gem that is "Somebody Somewhere" for a third season. Partly inspired by creator/star Briget Everett’s life, the dramedy is a delightful portrait of an ordinary (but far from boring) life. Nothing crazy happens to Sam in small-town Kansas, but it’s the kind of stuff that happens to all of us.

In season 2, the most recent season, Sam’s friendship with Joel (Jeff Hiller) continues to blossom, even as she still has family issues to work out. She and her sister Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) bicker about visiting their ailing mother. As for her father, played by the late Mike Hagerty, the show sends him off on a new, off-screen adventure. - HTC

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'The Other Two'

The comedy about fame was never a huge hit when it aired on Comedy Central, so a lot of people haven’t even heard of it. Now, the show's three-season run has moved to Max, where I hope it can find more of an audience because it’s genuinely funny. 

To catch you up, "The Other Two" follows two siblings — gay aspiring actor Cary (Drew Tarver) and former pro dancer Brooke (Heléne Yorke) — after their younger brother, Chase (Case Walker), suddenly becomes a YouTube-famous singer. In season 3, Cary and Brooke have finally "made it," only to realize that they're still not where they want to be. - Kelly Woo

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The lifestyles of the rich and famously awful Roys are chronicled in "Succession," not just one of the best Max shows, but probably one of the best shows of all time. 

The show, which effortlessly skirts the line between drama and comedy, kicked off its fourth and final season with Logan Roy (Brian Cox) still in control of his empire as he prepares to sell Waystar Royco to tech mogul Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård). Meanwhile, Logan’s foot soldiers — son-in-law Tom (Matthew Macfayden) and nephew Greg (Nicholas Braun) — continue their plot to move into more powerful roles. Left out in the cold, Logan's children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook) must band together for new schemes to try and stay in the mix. - KW

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'Station Eleven'

The success of "The Last of Us" (more on that below) has led to a long-overdue new interest in "Station Eleven," a limited series that premiered on HBO at the tail end of 2021. But it's this show that might be the best post-apocalypse show of all time.

While the premise seems like it was inspired by the most recent pandemic, in reality, it comes from an extraordinarily prescient 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. A deadly flu kills 99 percent of Earth’s population, wiping out civilization as we know it. Twenty years later, a roving troupe performs the works of Shakespeare for small communities of survivors. The Travelling Symphony ensemble, which includes Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), is committed to spreading theater, music and culture, even if the world is in shambles. But they still grapple with what’s happened to them and to society.  HTC

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'The Last of Us'

Pedro Pascal just can’t stop trying to save precocious children with a special spark. "The Mandalorian" paired him with the adorable Grogu. Now, he’s taking on the care of a different youngster in a different franchise. 

Based on the iconic video game, "The Last of Us" is set in a post-apocalyptic world roamed by zombie-like creatures and equally dangerous human survivors. Joel is a smuggler tormented by his past, and tasked with ferrying Ellie (Bella Ramsey) out West. She’s the key to curing the virus that has plagued the land, but getting her to the destination is going to be a harrowing experience. 

While most video game adaptations have fallen flat before, our former streaming editor Henry T. Casey that Last of Us review that it might be the best one ever. We dubbed it one of the 10 best shows of 2023 and cannot wait for the upcoming season 2. - HTC

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'The Sex Lives of College Girls'

The freshman suitemates of Essex College have gone through two seasons of academic and romantic adventures and have been greenlit for a third. After losing her scholarship in season 1 for cheating, Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet) has to find a way to pay tuition in season two of "The Sex Lives of College Girls." 

Elsewhere, Bela (Amrit Kaur) quit the (fictional) humor mag "The Catallun" due to sexual harassment and is launching an all-female rival. Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) is exploring who she is when soccer is in the off-season, which may include a relationship with Canaan (Chris Meyer). And Leighton (Reneé Rapp) must decide if she’s going to fully come out of the closet to everybody. - HTC

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'The White Lotus'

"The White Lotus"  puts the lifestyles of the rich and terrible on full display in season Mike White’s resort dramedy. In season 1, the sun and booze-soaked action took place in Hawaii and season 2 took us to Sicily, where another White Lotus resort welcomed a new set of guests. Season 3 is tipped to take place in Thailand.

The one holdover in season 2 from season 1 is Jennifer Coolidge’s kooky Tanya McQuoid, who arrives with assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) in tow. In the latest season of this hit HBO original include married couple Cameron and Daphne (Theo James, Meghann Fahy), their friends Ethan and Harper (Will Sharpe, Aubrey Plaza) and a father, grandfather and son trio (Michael Imperioli, F. Murray Abraham, Adam DiMarco). Overseeing their stay is manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore as Valentina), who will undoubtedly be put to the test by many demands and highly inappropriate behavior. Each season is largely self-contained, so feel free to start with either one. - HTC

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'Abbott Elementary'

Broadcast network sitcoms haven't gotten the kind of buzz and praise that has visited "Abbott Elementary" over its now three seasons. Yet, this mockumentary sitcom is just as fresh as shows like "What We Do in the Shadows." Plus, the ABC series is a Warner Bros./20th Television co-production, which means you get to watch the first two seasons on Max.

In the show, we primarily see things through the eyes of the earnest and overeager second-grade teacher Janine Teagues (Quinta Brunson, also Abbott's showrunner), who rubs all of her fellow educators the wrong way. Still, she brings a lovable energy to the character, even when she's absolutely on the wrong side of a debate. All of Abbott's cast of teachers are fantastic. One of the more interesting arcs of the first season is that of Principal Ava Coleman (Janelle James), whose social media obsessions often threaten to derail the underfunded school. - HTC

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'House of the Dragon'

If you still have a bad taste in your mouth from the end of "Game of Thrones," you’re not alone. The final season … hell, the final two seasons were reviled by pretty much everyone, including myself. HBO is hoping to erase all that ill will by once again enlisting the participation and blessing of author George R.R. Martin and by going back in time. Way back. In "House of the Dragon," winter isn’t coming for nearly two centuries. 

The prequel draws from "Fire and Blood," Martin’s history of the Targaryen family (Daenerys’ ancestors). Specifically, the first season focuses on the events leading up to the Dance of the Dragons, an appropriately fiery and bloody civil war that pitted family members and their dragons against each other. With King Viserys (Paddy Considine) aging, he must name an heir and shocks the Westeros nobility by selecting a woman, his daughter Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy). As a result, a different game of thrones is set off — one that will ultimately lead to House Targaryen’s downfall. And after you read about House of the Dragon finale delivering the fireworks we’ve been waiting for all season, let's talk about House of the Dragon season 2- KW

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Don't let the past confuse you. Yes, there was a previous adaptation of Alan Moore's "Watchmen" — and it was not good. HBO's take on the legendary graphic novel, though, is excellent. 

While it definitely uses parts of the story from the graphic novel, showrunner Damon Lindelof breathes new life into the books by addition. This story takes place 34 years after the original "Watchmen," and springs off of a white supremacist attack in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Regina King impresses in the starring role of Angela Abar/Sister Knight, but the show overall is a fantastic ensemble series, with great performances from Jeremy Irons (as Ozymandias) and Jean Smart (as Laurie Blake). - HTC

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'Harley Quinn'

The adult animated series "Harley Quinn" has been one of the best comic book-related shows or movies of the past few years. The show has wrapped up four seasons and even has a holiday special and comic book tie-ins under its belt.

The core of this show is Harley Quinn's life post-Joker. Season 1 saw Quinn go through a seemingly never-ending breakup, and season 2 saw her branch out in Gotham, meeting Batgirl, and dealing with more drama from the city's villains as she tries to climb the ladder to super-villainy. Hilarious and at times dark, Harley Quinn is one of the very best Max shows. – HTC

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'The Rehearsal'

Nathan Fielder's latest out-there idea is for all the over-preparers among us. This time, the host of "Nathan For You" is finding people worried about big moments in their lives. Fielder is giving them the chance of a lifetime, to simulate that moment out an unreasonable number of times before it happens. He's even made impossibly accurate replicas of the situations where the events will happen in a warehouse. 

Loving, touching and awkward, "The Rehearsal" is easily one of the best shows on Max. – HTC

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What if a former soldier turned hitman decided to become a hitman turned actor? That's the question that Bill Hader's dark comedy "Barry" is trying to answer. Starring Hader as the titular assassin, this show is absurd in the best way, but also emotionally gripping. If you had to point to a show that is the textbook definition a dark comedy, this show would be it.

It also features incredible performances not only from Hader but also from his co-stars Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, Sarah Goldberg and Henry Winkler. All five, including Hader, received Emmy nominations for their performances during the show's four-season run. — Malcolm McMillan

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Jean Smart could read a geometry textbook and I’d watch. Fortunately, the writers of "Hacks" gave our Emmy-winning queen much better material for her role as stand-up comedy legend Deborah Vance. Her zingers are as sharp as ever in season 2, which sees Deborah hitting the road to test out a new act in clubs across the country. 

Along for the ride is millennial comedy writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder), who has helped Deb refresh her jokes for younger audiences. Their relationship has settled into some harmony — though they’re still constantly needling each other — which is threatened by the looming revelation that Ava sent a slanderous, tell-all email about Deborah to TV producers. It’s a ticking time bomb that could blow up the entire tour. – KW

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'The Staircase'

Before "Serial," before "The Jinx," before "Making a Murder," there was "The Staircase." The true crime documentary series chronicled the case of novelist Michael Peterson, who was accused and later convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen (he claimed her death was the result of her falling down the stairs). French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade had extraordinarily intimate access to Peterson, his family and his legal team, which made the resulting footage so enthralling. 

Now, "The Staircase" is getting fictionalized in a star-studded docu-drama. Colin Firth stars as Michael, with Toni Collette as Kathleen and Sophie Turner as daughter Margaret. The documentary crew are characters, too, since the series is less of a whodunnit and more of an examination of how storytelling affects subjectivity. – KW

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'The Gilded Age'

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes sets this new period drama in the opulent era of the title, 1880s New York. New money is flooding the city, but looked down upon by old wealth. Leading the latter’s charge against the grasping mushrooms is snobby socialite Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski). Her well-defined world order is threatened by the arrival of new neighbors, the filthy rich industrialist George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his ambitious wife Bertha (Carrie Coon).

Into this social war enters Agnes’ orphaned niece Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson). She may have old money in her blood, but she and her friend, aspiring Black writer Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), have dreams that don’t fit into the established system. — KW

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The DCEU is following Disney Plus' lead, giving a spinoff show from James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad." And while the movie had so many interesting misfit villains to choose from, nobody should be surprised to see that it's WWE champion John Cena's Peacemaker who got the call to extend the DC Universe to HBO Max. 

"Peacemaker" follows Cena's vigilante antihero as he leaves the hospital he was in at the end of "The Suicide Squad", to a life continuing to work with Amanda Waller's agents. The show will also follow that Marvel-on-Disney Plus tradition of showing us more of these characters' personal lives, as we meet Peacemaker's dad, a curmudgeon (played by Robert Patrick) who doesn't respect his son at all. — HTC

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'Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts'

Emotional cast reunions seem to be something Max is specializing in. The streamer made everyone laugh and cry with the "Friends" reunion; now, they’re doing the same with the Harry Potter movie franchise. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 release of "Hatty Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone," the special brings together cast members and director Chris Columbus to talk about the magic of their magical film franchise. (J.K. Rowling also shows up, FYI.) Of course, the primary draw is seeing the three leads — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — together again. They’ve all continued working, so it’s not surprising to see them all grown up. But it is nice to see the warmth, camaraderie and genuine delight they feel for one another. – KW

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'Mare of Easttown'

If you liked "Broadchurch" then "Mare of Easttown" will be right up your small-town murder alley. Kate Winslet deploys an excellent Pennsylvania accent as Detective Mare Sheehan, who is investigating the death of a teen mom. The case seems to involve every person in her orbit since everyone in the area knows or is related to everyone else. Oh, and Mare's personal life is in shambles. There's nothing new or groundbreaking here, just well-written and well-performed work that will keep you absorbed every Sunday night. — KW

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'The Flight Attendant'

Kaley Cuoco spreads her acting wings in this dark comedic thriller, playing a hard-partying flight attendant named Cassie Bowden. On a flight to Bangkok, she meets a handsome first class passenger, Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman) and ends up spending the night with him. When she finds him murdered in the bed next to her, a hungover Cassie freaks out and runs. That puts her in hot water with both law enforcement and shady business figures. 

The zany, mile-a-minute plot twists make "The Flight Attendant" an easy binge. But it's the depth of the writing and appealing characters (including Cassie's BFF Annie, played by Zozia Mamet) that make it one of the best shows on Max. - KW 

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'Lovecraft Country'

This HBO horror series comes from executive producers Jordan Peele, and J. J. Abrams, so you know the supernatural scares will be very real. Much like its HBO sibling "Watchmen," this show is a racial commentary. It's set in the segregated Jim Crow era of the United States of the 1950s and the characters face all sorts of monsters — both the supernatural kind and the racist human kind. 

"Lovecraft Country" centers on Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), who embarks on a road trip with friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to search for his missing father. Along the way, they encounter vampire-like creatures and menacing cops. The show balances a fantastical tale with the (still) dangerous reality of being Black. - KW

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Zendaya may now be one of the biggest stars on the planet, but this show is where you can really see her star start to rise. Her performance in "Euphoria" saw her become the youngest winner ever of the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category and she beat out the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney and Olivia Colman to do it. 

Her raw, nuanced, sensitive portrayal of Rue — a recovering drug addict who returns home from rehab to try to navigate high school life — is a big part of what makes this show so good. The initial episodes follow her as she forms a bond with new girl Jules (Hunter Schafer) against a backdrop of sex, drugs, bullying, assault and identity issues. But it's now expanded beyond that into a star-making ensemble cast that includes Sydney Sweeny and Jacob Elordi. - KW

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Everyone wailed and gnashed their teeth when this beloved sitcom left Netflix at the top of 2020. But Netflix's loss is a Max subscribers gain, and now you can watch he entire 10 season run of "Friends" on Max. Relive Ross and Rachel's first kiss (and infamous break) and every Thanksgiving episode. And of course, don't forget to "Pivot!" - KW

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'Game of Thrones'

Winter is coming. Well, technically, winter already came and went over the course of eight years on HBO. But now is the perfect time to watch 'Game of Thrones" for the first time whether you're new to Max or a longtime HBO subscriber. 

Even if you haven't seen the series before, you probably know quite a lot about it — "Game of Thrones" is one of the last pieces of monoculture around. Millions of viewers couldn't stop talking about the bloody battles for the Iron Throne, Daenerys Targaryen's dragons, how Lannisters always pay their debts and the brutal misfortunes of House Stark. Even complete newbies probably heard about the disappointing finale. Still, focus on the well-told, well-made, well-acted journey and you'll enjoy a fantastic ride. - KW

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'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'

You don't need to know how to do the Carlton to know it's not unusual to fall in love with a show as much as America fell in love with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Will Smith (playing a character of the same name) is the too-funky-fresh teen who lived in West Philadelphia until his mom got scared when he got into a fight, and sent him to live with his auntie (Viv) and uncle (Phil) in the hoity-toity neighborhood of Bel Air Los Angeles.

Throughout the series, the show found humor in exploring class differences and Will's fish-out-of-water situation, as he charms his way through prep school and other upper class opportunities. While the series will mostly make you laugh, you'll tear up when Will asks "Why he don't want me?" — HTC 

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If you shied away from watching the award-winning limited series when it first came out, it's time to buckle up your grownup pants. Not only is it one of the best HBO shows you can watch on Max, "Chernobyl" is a timely piece of extraordinary art that resonates with what's going on in the world right now. 

This limited series is a truly harrowing tale of disaster and death, compounded by gross negligence of higher-ups, the hesitance and save-face tactics of government officials and a political culture dominated by egos, lies and secrecy. Yes, we all want to escape with mindless entertainment, but it's also important to use the lens of history to synthesize the current events around us. - KW

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Aspiring writer Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) moves to New York City after college to pursue her dream career. She struggles to get by alongside Jessa (Jemima Kirke), Marnie, (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). Hannah questions her abilities and lacks direction until she finds some success as a writer. Meanwhile, her unstable friend Jessa engages in impulsive behavior, Marnie struggles with a demanding career in art gallery curation, and Shoshanna graduates college and enters the real world. The four young women continue try to figure out adulthood together in New York City one mistake at a time.  - BV

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'I May Destroy You'

Arabella (Michaela Coel) is a writer enjoying success with her debut book and life in London. After being sexually assaulted during a night out, she struggles to piece together what happened to her. She reports the crime but the case is hard to pursue. As Arabella tries to rebuild her life and write her second book, relives nightmares with sexual consent, trauma, and control. Through flashbacks of that fateful night, Arabella tries her best to heal. She’s supported by friends Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), with struggles of their own. As the show marches on, Arabella learns how difficult it is to get justice and when it comes to the justice system and society's systemic failures. - BV

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Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.

With contributions from