The Most Exciting Original Shows Coming To HBO Max

The Streaming Wars have only just begun. If you thought Disney+ was going to be the one to rule them all, HBO Max just unleashed a myriad of titles that could have the ability to take the crown. During a media presentation in October, the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia broke down its upcoming 2020 programming slate, and while the company has yet to give detailed information regarding many of its projects, it gave enough away to make us seriously consider dropping the $15 a month it's going to cost to access.

There's a huge amount of new and original programming coming to the streamer, all of which will join the seemingly endless catalog of titles already owned by WarnerMedia. Of course, chances are not everything is going to be on the same level as early Game of Thrones. You may be wondering which new shows to tune in for, and which to pass on. We've sorted through the list and narrowed it down to the most exciting original shows coming to HBO Max. 

Dune: The Sisterhood

Legendary Entertainment has big plans for the Dune franchise. Along with its upcoming feature film, which is set to premiere December 18th, 2020, the studio is working on an expansion of the Dune universe that will stretch from comics to video games to TV. Among those new ventures is the HBO Max series Dune: The Sisterhood. First announced in June 2019, the project focuses on the Bene Gesserit, a "mysterious order of women" that exists in the same galaxy ruled by the Padishah Emperor, The Imperium. 

Via The Hollywood Reporter: "Given abilities by their mastery of the body and the mind, the Bene Gesserit expertly weave through the feudal politics and intrigue of The Imperium, pursuing plans of their own that will ultimately lead them to the enigmatic planet Arrakis — known to its inhabitants as Dune."

Dune: The Sisterhood is headed up by Denis Villeneuve, who will write, produce, and direct the 2020 film. Villeneuve will direct the pilot for the series and remain on as executive producer along with Jon Spaihts, who Variety reported in November 2019 had stepped down from his original position as showrunner. Villeneuve told The Hollywood Reporter, "The Bene Gesserit have always been fascinating to me. Focusing a series around that powerful order of women seemed not only relevant and inspiring but a dynamic setting for the television series." 

The Green Lantern

In spite of the 2011 CGI disaster that was the Ryan Reynolds-starring Green Lantern, DC's power ring-wearing Justice League member is a superhero with a lot of potential. HBO Max is betting on fan forgiveness with The Green Lantern, one of several new DC shows heading to the streaming platform. Variety reported in October 2019 that the announcement for the show came as part of WarnerMedia's HBO Max presentation. 

Greg Berlanti, DC's go-to television producer, will take on the role of executive producer for The Green Lantern, which he describes as, "what promises to be our biggest DC show ever made." Details on the series are currently being kept well under wraps, but its announcement, along with several other DC properties headed to the streaming service, have brought the future of the DC Universe streaming service into question. In July 2019, Business Insider reported that DC Universe and HBO Max would coexist separately, though it now appears as though that may not be entirely true, especially considering that the second season of DCU show Doom Patrol will be made available on both platforms. 

Strange Adventures

Adding fuel to the DCU/HBO Max fire is the news that the upcoming DCU series Strange Adventures has been moved from the streamer over to HBO Max. According to Variety, the superhero anthology series will feature characters from across all of DC, focusing on the ways in which the lives of superheroes and regular people collide. Each story will be stand-alone, which means you won't have to worry about brushing up on any extensive DC history going in. Executive producer Greg Berlanti describes the show as "an anthology series of cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist."

While the Strange Adventures announcement gives away very few details, what we do know is that the series has some pretty serious talent behind it. Along with Berlanti, John Stephens — who's worked on Gotham, Gossip Girl, and Gilmore Girls — has signed on as writer and showrunner. Gotham's Charlie Huston will co-executive produce, and Brigitte Hales, whose history includes Once Upon a Time and 11.22.63, will produce the show.

DC Superhero High

Just as the superhero properties coming to HBO Max will vary in terms of which DC characters they follow, so too will they vary in tone — don't assume that everything related to the comic giant will be dark and gritty. Elizabeth Banks, the comedic wonder woman responsible for Pitch Perfect and the new Charlie's Angels reboot, will executive produce DC Superhero High, a half-hour comedy set in the world of DC superheroes. According to, DC Superhero High will take place at a boarding school for gifted kids. The official synopsis reads, "These teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize that someday they will become legendary DC Super Heroes."

Along with Banks, Pitch Perfect's Max Handelman will co-executive produce the series. Fuller House's Scott Weinger and John D. Beck have signed on as well. The comedy is one of three new shows coming to HBO Max that are headed up by strong industry women. Sarah Aubrey, head of the streamer's original content, released a statement saying, "Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling are three of the most gifted women in our industry, and are now bringing their impressive, original projects to HBO Max."

Raised by Wolves

HBO Max isn't just pilfering content from DC Universe; it's taking from TNT as well. According to Deadline, the planned TNT series Raised by Wolves has now been moved to the HBO streaming service. The sci-fi drama series comes from Ridley Scott and tells the story of two androids that are raising a human child on "a mysterious virgin planet." Trouble arises when religious differences inside of a human colony impact the lives of everyone around it.

Raised by Wolves stars Travis Fimmel of Vikings fame, but the show will feature a number of lesser-known actors, including Loulou Taylor and child stars Winta McGrath and Ivy Wong. Aaron Guzikowski, who wrote Papillon, Prisoners, and The Red Road, will serve as showrunner. Sarah Aubrey said of the series, "The breathtaking worlds, compelling characters and intricate storylines that Ridley, Aaron and team have created for this project are mesmerizing," while HBO Max CCO Kevin Reilly expressed his excitement over Ridley Scott's involvement in not only the project itself, but in bringing a high level of creativity to the streamer.

Station Eleven

Patrick Somerville has produced some of the most original programming in recent years — he served as co-producer for The Leftovers and executive producer on Maniac. Now, he'll be writing and producing Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi miniseries based on the best-selling novel by Emily St. John Mandel. 

The show stars Mackenzie Davis, who just came off Terminator: Dark Fate, in which she played cyber-enhanced human ally Grace. Joining Davis is Himesh Patel, who recently starred as the Beatles-loving song stealer Jack in Yesterday. According to Deadline, Station Eleven follows the survivors of a Georgia flu pandemic that spans several timelines. Davis will play Kristen, an actor in a post-apocalyptic Shakespeare troupe, while Patel is set to play Jeevan, a man who goes from unemployed loser to apocalypse leader. 

Mandel's novel Station Eleven follows a traveling Shakespearean theatre company across North America. According to Mandel's site, "It's also about friendship, memory, love, celebrity, our obsession with objects, oppressive dinner parties, comic books, and knife-throwing."

Tokyo Vice

Another book-to-screen adaptation coming to HBO Max is Tokyo Vice. The series is based on Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, investigative journalist Jake Adelstein's true life account of working as the first non-Japanese reporter at the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. According to Deadline, the project was originally supposed to be a feature film back in 2013, with playwright J.T. Rogers attached to adapt the screenplay. In June 2019, it was announced the project had been optioned as a TV series for the streamer.

Ansel Elgort, best known for 2014's The Fault in Our Stars and 2017's Baby Driver, will star as Jake Adelstein. Godzilla's Ken Watanabe has signed on to play Hiroto Katagiri, a detective in the organized crime division of the Tokyo Police Department. Deadline describes the series as a chronicle of "Jake's daily descent into the neon soaked underbelly of Tokyo, where nothing, and no one is truly what or who they seem." In October 2019, IndieWire reported that Michael Mann, best known for The InsiderHeat, and Collateral, had signed on to direct the series pilot. 


Fans of AMC's The Walking Dead and Marvel's Black Panther are surely familiar with Danai Gurira the actress, but with HBO Max's adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Americanah, they'll be able to see a different side of her: as writer and showrunner. According to Variety, the star will head up the ten-episode series, with Black Panther and Us star Lupita Nyong'o set as the lead. Both will executive produce. Nyong'o said that she had originally planned to adapt the novel into a film that she would star in along with David Oyelowo, but she announced in 2018 that she had decided to make it into a series instead. 

Americanah tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, Nigerian classmates who fall in love as teenagers and decide to leave the country for the west, with Ifemelu heading to the United States while Obinze is forced to live undocumented in the UK. "Americanah has been a passion project for me since I read Chimamanda's beautiful novel in 2013," Nyong'o said. "It's a tale that is simultaneously timely and timeless." The material has also had an immense impact on Gurira, who explained, "...Chimamanda brought the African female voice into mainstream consciousness in an unprecedented way... She makes unheard voices familiar, universal and yet palpably specific."

Love Life

In May 2019, Deadline reported that HBO Max would be developing Love Life, making it one of the first series greenlit by the streaming service. Love Life is a half-hour romantic comedy anthology series that will star Pitch Perfect's Anna Kendrick, who will also serve as co-executive producer. The show is described as being "about the journey from first love to last love, and how the people we're with along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever."

Love Life is written by Sam Boyd, who's best known for the 2018 film In a Relationship. Brigitte Liebowitz, who wrote and co-produced People of Earth, will write the pilot episode. The series co-stars Zoe Chao, from Living with Yourself and The OA, Sasha Compère of The Dead Girls Detective Agency fame, and Scoot McNairy, who recently appeared in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.


Aside from an overwhelming amount of original dramatic programing coming to HBO Max, the streamer is also working on bringing in some incredible original non-scripted projects. The first of these is EQUAL, a four-part docuseries on the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Each episode will combine interviews, never-before-seen footage, and reenactments to tell a story — included are profiles on gay rights activist Harry Hay, lesbian civil and political rights organization The Daughters of Bilitis, Christine Jorgensen (a transgender woman who publicly transitioned in the '50s), and gay and African American rights leader Bayard Rustin.

According to Variety, the series will be produced by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons, along with Greg Berlanti and Godzilla producer Jon Jashni. HBO Max's executive vice president of original non-fiction and kids programming Jennifer O'Connell said "we could not have more perfect partners" in telling the story of those involved in the LGBTQ+ movement than Parsons, Berlanti, and Jashni.

Generation Hustle

In an overall deal with CNN, HBO Max is planning to add a slew of original docuseries to its platform. According to Sarah Aubrey (via The Hollywood Reporter), the platform's CNN content "demonstrates our power as a media family to create quality programming that covers the captivating and critical issues of today." Generation Hustle, a ten-part series from CNN, is one of the first four to hit HBO Max. 

Described as a series "about the lengths young people will go to for fame, fortune and power," Generation Hustle is produced by Alex Gibney's Jigsaw Productions, the company behind the 2019 Elizabeth Holmes exposé The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. Gibney is certainly no stranger to uncovering social, religious, and political secrets — his other documentary work includes Citizen K, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge, and Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief. He's also done plenty of dramatic work, including The Looming Tower and Billions.

Team Coco Comedy Specials

If comedy is what you're looking for on HBO Max, there will be more than enough to go around. According to Deadline, Conan O'Brien and Team Coco have signed on to produce five stand-up comedy specials for the streamer. The late night star will host two of the five, which will feature up-and-coming comics, while the other three will feature longer, curated stand-up sets. 

Kevin Reilly called the Conan O'Brien collaboration "a no-brainer," and said, "Delivering laughs and discovering comedic talent is what Team Coco is all about." Along with the five stand-up specials, Deadline reports that HBO Max has also gained the rights to a Team Coco-produced one hour comedy special by James Veitch. If his name doesn't ring any bells, you'd be hard pressed to find any comedy lover who's unfamiliar with the English comedian's TED talk, in which he went into detail about his lengthy email conversation with money scammers.