5 best Max shows you're not watching

Tom's Guide Awards 2023: Max
(Image credit: Shutterstock/Max)

Max is a go-to destination for fantastic TV series, including many of its own recent originals like The Last of Us and Succession. But with so many blockbuster shows hitting one of the best streaming services out there, some hidden gems are inevitably going to fall through the cracks. 

To help you out, we've combed Max's library to bring you some of the most criminally underrated shows you (probably) haven't watched yet — from a messy forbidden romance in 19th-century England to a post-apocalyptic drama that defies all the tropes you've come to expect. 

Granted, we can’t guarantee that you won’t have seen some of these shows, but we're confident you’ll discover at least one or two new additions to your watchlist. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, here are our picks for the best Max shows that you’re not watching, but really should be. 

Doom Patrol

From left to right: Robotman (Brendan Fraser), Negative Man (Matt Bomer) Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), Cyborg (Joivan Wade), Elasti-Girl (April Bowlby), and Chief (Timothy Dalton) in a still from Doom Patrol

(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy)

Based on the classic DC Comics superteam, the Doom Patrol is a misfit group of some of the weirdest and saddest super-powered heroes you've ever met. But they find purpose and a sense of family through Chief (Timothy Dalton), a modern-day mad scientist who brings the team of outcasts together to treat and protect them from the outside world.

The first season sees the crew band together to rescue a kidnapped Chief, but as more mysteries unravel, it becomes clear he may not be the benefactor he claims to be. The series boasts an all-star cast, including Dalton, Brenden Fraser and Alan Tudyk. 

Each unlikely hero of the Doom Patrol suffers a horrible accident or traumatic event to gain superhuman abilities that have left their psyches shattered. Particularly of note is Fraser's performance as Cliff Steele aka Robotman, a former NASCAR driver now trapped within a robotic body after a near-fatal car crash. His transformed identity leaves him grappling with an existential crisis, and Fraser's vocal performance (Riley Shanahan physically portrays his cyborg form) gives a certain pathos to the character, even while he's dropping f-bombs left and right. 

Genre: Drama/action
Seasons: 4 (40 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
Watch now on Max

Somebody Somewhere

Jeff Hiller (left) and Bridget Everett (right) laugh while sitting on barstools inside a home in Somebody Somewhere

(Image credit: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy)

Somebody Somewhere is a fantastic series from comedian Bridget Everett that's equal parts heartwarming, funny and introspective. It follows Sam (Everett) as she returns to her Kansas hometown after her sister's passing, struggling with a midlife crisis triggered by her loss. 

It quickly becomes clear that the loud, boisterous Sam 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. Her love of music helps her break out of her shell, learn to accept herself and find community through performance.   

It's an interesting dive into the quieter aspects of grief and how its lasting impact colors who you are. But while that may sound like a somber premise on paper, ultimately Somebody Somewhere is about finding joy and purpose within the shadow of loss. 

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

Our Flag Means Death

Rhys Darby as Stede Bonnet (left) and Taika Waititi as Captain Blackbeard (right) in Our Flag Means Death

(Image credit: Aaron Epstein/HBO Max)

From the hilarious mind of Taika Waititi comes Our Flag Means Death, an offbeat pirate comedy that, in just one season, has already captured the hearts of viewers. Bored with his cushy aristocratic life, Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) leaves his life of comfort behind to sail the seven seas and make a name for himself as the Gentleman Pirate. 

The optimistic if naive captain flounders in his new role, but things take a turn when he and his crew meet the ruthless Blackbeard (Taika Waititi). While other pirates see a dandy hopelessly out of his element, Blackbeard takes a shine to him. The two captains teach each other about their different worldviews and life experiences, growing closer until their friendship blossoms into something more. 

While there are plenty of wacky moments and genuine laughs, Our Flag Means Death really hits its stride when it becomes more than just a funny show about life on the seven seas. The crew of the Revenge are a bunch of loveable weirdos, and their interpersonal dynamics and character arcs give the show its heart. With the news that Our Flag Means Death season 2 is confirmed, now is the perfect time to catch up on this Max gem. 

Genre: Comedy/offbeat
Seasons: 1 (10 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Watch now on Max

The Leftovers

People dressed entirely in white hold up signs with letters that read "Stop Wasting Your Breath" in The Leftovers

(Image credit: HBO)

What would happen if 2 percent of the world's population just up and vanished one day? That's the premise of The Leftovers, arguably the most under-appreciated TV show of the past decade. 

It's a post-apocalyptic drama that doesn't fall into the genre's familiar pitfalls. You won't find senseless brutality or the abject cruelty of man on display here. Rather, it's a nuanced dive into the sociopolitical fallout when a supernatural event divides the world into a time "before" and "after." (Come to think of it, we can see an eerie real-world parallel with the pandemic.) 

The Leftovers is grim and bleak and, at times, difficult to watch, but it's also a heartfelt tale of humanity, relationships and how we weather grief. It also sports an ensemble cast, anchored 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

Gentleman Jack

The cast of Gentleman Jack sitting for a portrait in official art for Gentleman Jack season 2

(Image credit: HBO)

Gentleman Jack is a period piece drama based on the real-life journals of the 19th-century entrepreneur, Anne Lister. Dubbed the "first modern lesbian" by historians, Anne's journals span over four million words and document a lifetime of lesbian relationships at a time when homosexuality was deeply frowned upon. 

The series follows the misadventures and triumphs of a fictionalized version of Anne (Suranne Jones) after she moves to Halifax, West Yorkshire to restore her family's estate. The first season begins shortly before she meets the woman who would eventually become her wife in all but under the law, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), a shy but wealthy heiress who lives near Anne's ancestral home. 

The two quickly strike up a forbidden romance, but the road to love is rocky as Anne struggles to settle into her new place and win over her partner's disapproving family. While surveying the property, she also finds an abundance of coal that could be worth a fortune, forcing her to contend with opportunistic townsfolk looking to profit from her discovery. 

Sadly, Max canceled Gentleman Jack after two seasons, but its period-authentic aesthetic, queer themes and gloriously messy relationship drama make this series still worth a watch despite its premature ending. 

Genre: Drama
Seasons: 2 (16 episodes)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Watch now on

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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.