5 best Max shows you're not watching right now

Max logo on TV with popcorn and remote control on table
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There's no question that Max stands as one of the best streaming services out there, largely thanks to its sprawling library of exceptional HBO shows. The best HBO shows of all time have secured a seat in the TV hall of fame like "The Sopranos," "Succession," and "Game of Thrones," just to name a few. 

But with so many blockbuster shows on offer, some hidden gems are inevitably going to fall through the cracks. That's why we've combed through Max's library to bring you some of the most criminally underrated shows you (probably) haven't watched yet. This includes animated series, award-winning dramas, bingeable miniseries and more. 

So without further ado, here are the best Max TV shows you may have missed when they first came out but are definitely worth watching. 

'Scavengers Reign'

It takes a lot to get me excited about a sci-fi show, but after seeing the trailer for "Scavengers Reign," I've never added something to my watch list so fast. Here's the premise: When the interstellar cargo ship the Demeter 227 becomes heavily damaged, the survivors take refuge on the beautiful alien planet known as Vesta — a Studio Ghibli-esque paradise that quickly turns into a nightmare. 

Rather than relying on a handful of alien creatures, "Scavengers Reign" builds an entire ecosystem for the survivors to navigate. Some critters are easily singled out as predators, attacking with fangs bared and claws out, while some are less obvious about their dangerous machinations, preferring to lure their victims in before striking. Others prove useful to the survivors, such as bioluminescent creatures that serve as flashlights or flying critters that can double as gas masks. Part of the fun of the show is seeing how the characters are able to use the otherworldly flora and fauna to their advantage as they struggle to survive long enough to be rescued. 

Seasons: 1 (12 episodes)
Genre: Adventure/Drama/Sci-Fi/Anime
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Watch it now on Max

'Somebody Somewhere'

"Somebody Somewhere" is one of the rare TV series to earn a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for both of its first two seasons. This captivating narrative from comedian Bridget Everett seamlessly blends heartwarming moments, humor, and introspection in an unforgettable tale about finding joy and purpose within the shadow of loss. 

Everett plays Sam, a woman in her 40s who returns to her Kansas hometown following her sister's death. As she struggles with a midlife crisis triggered by her loss, it quickly becomes clear that her vibrant and outspoken personality doesn't fit the mold of her small Midwestern town. Amid her grief, she reconnects with a former high school classmate (Jeff Hiller), who convinces her to join a local choir. By embracing her passion for music, Sam discovers a newfound sense of self-acceptance and belonging through performance that enables her to break free from her self-imposed constraints.

While it may seem like a somber premise on paper, "Somebody Somewhere" radiates with themes of connection and renewal by delving into the nuances of grief and how it shapes one's identity. 

Genre: Comedy/drama
Seasons: 2 (14 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Watch it now on Max

'The Leftovers'

What would happen if 2 percent of the world's population vanished into thin air? That's the premise of "The Leftovers," arguably one of the most underrated TV shows of the past decade. 

Instead of succumbing to the typical tropes of post-apocalyptic dramas, "The Leftovers" offers a refreshing departure, diving into the intricate web of socio-political repercussions when a supernatural event divides the world into distinct eras of "before" and "after." It's a narrative that undoubtedly rings familiar to those of living through these unprecedented times TM. 

While the series is grim and bleak and, at times, difficult to watch, it's also a heartfelt exploration of humanity, relationships, and the resilience required to weather grief. It also sports an ensemble cast led by Justin Theroux and Amy Brenneman, who give career-defining performances as police chief Kevin Garvey and his wife Laurie, respectively. 

Genre: Drama/fantasy and sci-fi
Seasons: 3 (28 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Watch now on Max

'The Other Two'

Comedies can be hit or miss depending on your sense of humor, but "The Other Two" sports some of the most clever writing and routinely funny performances in recent memory. From SNL veteran writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider comes the story of two floundering millennial siblings forced to grapple with the fallout of their 13-year-old brother, Chasedreams (Case Walker), becoming an internet icon overnight. 

The show centers on the older Dubek siblings — struggling actor Cary (Drew Tarver) and former professional dancer Brooke (Heléne Yorke) — as they set off on a series of misadventures in their unwavering quest to find success and carve out a sense of purpose. While lampooning the entertainment industry with biting commentary, "The Other Two" shines a light on the well-meaning individuals who get caught up in the Hollywood grind as well as the complicated family dynamics therein. 

Balancing humor, warmth, and relatable human experiences, this series offers an equal parts refreshing and riveting take on both the entertainment world and the complexities of family relationships, making it a definite must-watch.

Seasons: 3 (30 episodes)
Genre: Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%
Watch it now on Max

'Chernobyl'

Before spearheading Ellie and Joel's TV debut in "The Last of Us," Craig Mazin cut his teeth at Max as executive producer on "Chernobyl." One of the best HBO Max shows to date, this gripping historical drama delves into the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster, chronicling the harrowing experiences of those whose lives were irrevocably changed by the fallout. 

At the center of the story are two real people behind the cleanup effort: Valery Legasov (Jared Harris), a nuclear physicist brought in to deal with the unfolding nightmare, and politician Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård). Together, they navigate a landscape tainted by negligence and political showboating, unearthing the grim reality beneath the surface while facing the indifference of authorities who continue to sacrifice lives without grasping the full extent of the catastrophe.

Explaining nuclear physics in a way that both builds dramatic tension and makes sense to an audience who probably haven't thought about atoms since high school science class is no small task. But "Chernobyl" does this expertly in a haunting tale you won't soon forget. 

Seasons: 1 (5 episodes)
Genre: Historical drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Watch it now on Max

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.