I’m not canceling HBO Max after House of the Dragon — here's why

The HBO Max logo on a phone on top of a keyboard
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HBO Max's House of the Dragon ends its season on October 23, and I feel like many will spend Monday, October 24th googling "how to cancel HBO Max." And while we literally have that story, I think you should stick around. 

Because as someone who spends some time every month looking through his list of streaming services he subscribes to (I pay for nine, mind you, I have to do this), I know that each month packs a series of "should I cancel this?" questions. I've written so much about canceling Netflix and other services that my parents even joke that I take "cancel culture" too far. To which I roll my eyes.

So, yes, you might see the end of House of The Dragon as the perfect time to cut back on HBO Max (the best streaming service, we believe). I get that. Once Daemon and Rhaenyera's political chess game is over, no matter how many eyes are remaining in the skulls of Westeros, a lot of people will probably think "okay, I'm tired of spending $14.99 per month here, when it could go elsewhere." 

Maybe, though, you'll switch to HBO Max's ad-supported $9.99 per month version. Because the days and weeks that follow House of the Dragon's finale deliver more than just a previously-announced big-time HBO series that returns for its second run. HBO Max also gains one of my favorite movies of 2022 this week, and it's one I can't wait to watch again.

Oh, and for everyone who isn't watching House of the Dragon? Allow me to use this time to remind you why HBO Max is great. Whether you love your horror movies or want a fantastic comedic drama, HBO Max is about to be the service you need to hold onto. Allow me to explain why.

I need to check into HBO's The White Lotus (again)

Mike White is a maestro of television, and the first season of HBO's The White Lotus was our most recent reminder. White took a simple premise — annoying people staying at a fancy hotel — and turned it into gold. 

The White Lotus took home 10 Emmy wins (batting 0.500 with 20 nominations) including Outstanding Limited Or Anthology Series, and both the Supporting Actor (Murray Bartlett) and Actress (Jennifer Coolidge) for the category. And now it's back for a second season.

Much like how season 1 piled on the high-profile talent (with Connie Britton, Steve Zahn, Alexandra Daddario and Sydney Sweeney, who all got nominations), season 2 has its own star-studded roster. Michael Imperioli and Aubrey Plaza are two of the stars checking into the hotel, and each has their own drama. 

Imperioli's character is here with his aging father, and combating his fears of aging by bringing far-younger sex workers to his room. Aubrey Plaza plays a newlywed whose rich husband may not be happy with his decision, and his friends seem utterly airheaded. Meanwhile, Coolidge is back as Tanya McQuoid, and seems just as drama-prone as ever.

All across a Sicilian backdrop? If only we could be there to watch the sparks fly ourselves. But, unfortunately, White Lotus season 2 doesn't arrive until October 30. Fortunately? There's a great new movie to keep you busy during the week between House of the Dragon and White Lotus.

Barbarian is my favorite horror movie of 2022

I need you to promise me something. Aside from watching the below trailer and reading my words about Barbarian, you cannot consume any more content related to this amazing movie. 

Barbarian, which has been in theaters since Sept. 9, starts as a taut, tense movie about an Airbnb mixup. Tess (Georgina Campbell) arrives very late at night, and discovers that Keith (Bill Skarsgård) is already staying there. They quickly attribute this to a double-booking. 

Then, things go wrong. At first, it just seems confusing, but Tess pulls on the wrong strand of this mystery and discovers things I can't begin to explain. 

Barbarian surprised me multiple times as I watched it in theaters, and I still look at it as my favorite horror movie of the year. Yes, the above is all very vague and I'm giving you the barest of details. But that's almost the point. Even after watching the above trailer, you know little about what Barbarian is going to deliver, and who's going to show up. 

Outlook: HBO Max is the best streaming service for a reason

We at Tom's Guide absolutely love HBO Max (it's why we're so worried about the HBO Max and Discovery Plus merger), so you might not be surprised to hear me say "hey, pay for HBO Max."

But right now, as I continue to claw my way through a plethora of shows and movies on the likes of Hulu (Abbott Elementary is back in school), Netflix (I promised people I'd finish the first Cobra Kai season, even if it kills me) and Paramount Plus (the house of Scream), I almost thought about canceling HBO Max.

But, then I looked at what's on the calendar after House of the Dragon, and remembered that House Max has my loyalty for at least another month or two. Until The White Lotus season 2 is over, that is.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.