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This HBO Max show is the best thing to watch this week

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Minx isn't porn; it's about porn. So, yes, the HBO Max dramedy features a lot — like, a lot — of nudity (nearly all male). But the show's core premise asks: What's wrong with that? If you can look past the parade of penises, you'll find one of the best shows of 2022. 

Minx chronicles the creation of the first erotic magazine for women. In 1971 Los Angeles, writer Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond) sets out to launch a serious women’s journal filled with feminist essays. But the only publisher willing to work with her is Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson), who prints porn magazines for straight men. 

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Together, they reshape Joyce’s idea into Minx, which will feature photos of full-frontal male nudity alongside her feminist manifestos. This unexpected move challenges Joyce’s firmly-held beliefs and suppositions about women, sex, gender and relationships. 

Along the way, they have to contend with a disapproving city councilwoman (Amy Landecker), skeptical advertisers, buffoonish radio hosts and even the local mob. Joyce and Doug butt heads about their competing visions for the magazine. Minx seems like it's doomed to fail — yet it starts to gain fans around the country. 

Why you should watch Minx

Oscar Montoya and Jessica Lowe in Minx

(Image credit: Katrina Marcinowski / HBO Max)

Minx, which wrapped up season 1 this week, is an entertaining and charming blend of workplace hijinks, romantic intrigue, coming-of-age angst and serious exploration of cultural issues. With its centering of women, Minx reminds me a lot of GLOW (which I'm still mad about, Netflix). 

Don't fall into the trap that the show is preaching a Very Important Message about feminism. Minx certainly takes on the topic, but in a nuanced way. Joyce is a crusader, but also uptight and naive. Her idea of feminism is an article uncovering the scourge that is marital rape. After founding Minx, she goes on a journey of discovery of what women's liberation really means — including the enjoyment of the male form, in full nude glory. 

So, back to the nudity thing. Minx has sequences that are salacious and shocking (when I said "parade of penises" before, I meant it). Yet, why are they shocking? We've seen plenty of female nudity before. Remember all those brothel scenes in Game of Thrones? Minx is doing the same thing, except in this case, the nudity is actually an essential part of the story. 

And there's less of it as the season goes on, and more time spent on the characters and their relationships. Lovibond and Johnson have crackling chemistry as the leads, and the rest of the excellent ensemble cast really makes you feel invested in their roles. 

The finale brings a lot of simmering tensions to a full-on boil and ends with Minx's future in jeopardy. Bring on season 2!

Minx reviews: The critics are raving

Jessica Lowe as Bambi and Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce in Minx

(Image credit: HBO Max)

Minx has a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, with this critical consensus: "The rapport between Ophelia Lovibond and Jake Johnson is the irresistible centerfold of Minx, a bawdy and sharp comedy that merits a full-page spread."

That rating puts it in the company of another buzzy new show, Severance (98 percent) and in the company of HBO/HBO Max siblings Succession season 3 (97 percent) and Station Eleven (98 percent). 

Angie Han of the Hollywood Reporter calls Minx "such a joy to watch," adding, "Besides the flawless cast chemistry and snappy writing, it offers a feast for the eyes."

IndieWire's Ben Travers writes, "Jokes are plentiful and land with gusto. The cast has an immediate chemistry that feels both natural and well-honed."

Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone declares Minx an "exceedingly charming workplace comedy" that "knows how to satisfy."

Time's Judy Berman sums up, "Minx at its best is a sexy trifle, and the palpable chemistry between its leads counteracts the uptown girl/downtown boy cliché."

Decider's Joel Keller says, "Minx manages to capture the spirit of the swinging ’70s while examining themes that endure decades later. And it’s damn funny, to boot."

For more streaming recommendations, check out our guide on the new movies and shows to watch this weekend.

Kelly Woo
Kelly Woo

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media 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.