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55 Best Shows On HBO Max [July 2022]

HBO's reputation for high-quality TV shows is reaching all new heights thanks to HBO Max. This streaming platform boasts an unrivaled array of top-tier programming across an enormous variety of genres. Gritty crime sagas led by complicated cops and robbers are on offer here, as are light-hearted fantasies aimed at children. Viewers will also find work from such esteemed third parties as the Sesame Workshop, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central. Moreover, HBO Max Originals, shows produced exclusively for the platform, are changing the game every single week with innovative content of all stripes.

All the way back in 2013, CNN declared we were living in a new Golden Age of TV. That age has yet to end, and with HBO Max bringing ever more excellent programming to the masses, it doesn't seem likely to do so any time soon. Looking to enjoy this bounty? We're here to help. From colorful comedies to searing family dramas, these are the 55 best shows on HBO Max.

Updated on June 22, 2022: Fantastic new TV shows are constantly hitting HBO Max. Whenever a new classic emerges, we'll be sure to add it to this list. Check back every month to stay current on the best TV shows available on HBO Max.

The Sopranos

There's a reason so many people hail "The Sopranos" as the greatest TV show ever made: It really is a once-in-a-generation classic. Mobster Tony Soprano has a lot on his plate. He's a major underworld figure with enemies to quash, allies to please, and connections to establish. He's a family man whose wife and children have a complicated relationship to his work. And now he's dealing with panic attacks so potent that he has to see a therapist. "The Sopranos" succeeds by expertly balancing these layers of storytelling, which are brought to life by one of the most talented casts in TV history. Tony is many things to many people, enmeshed in a world of dizzying complexity and violence. The weight of these truths is present in every single frame.

  • Starring: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco

  • Creator: David Chase

  • Year: 1999 – 2007

  • Runtime: 86 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

The Wire

Epic crime drama "The Wire" covers an enormous amount of ground over the course of its five seasons, with each examining a different facet of life in Baltimore. This results in tremendous depth. Characters like stick-up legend Omar Little and police major Bunny Colvin are seen from multiple angles and in many different contexts. It also pushes the series beyond cliché. Yes, "The Wire" explores the sort of gang violence, police corruption, and struggling schools you might be expecting, but it understands — unlike lesser productions — that these problems all come down to people trying to get by. This doesn't excuse the cruel or insult the heroic: It's just the truth. "The Wire" never loses sight of this, which is why it's one of the greatest TV shows ever made.

Game of Thrones

In the fantasy kingdom of Westeros, dragons are real, giants walk the forests, and sinister creatures of ice threaten to bring about an eternal winter. But this isn't a jaunty adventure — it's a blood-splattered epic about ancient families killing each other for the highest position in the land. The wealthy Lannisters eagerly plot their path to the Iron Throne. The Northern Starks are dragged into the titular game against their will. Exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen sets her sights upon the storied seat after hatching three dusty dragon eggs. "Game of Thrones" is a thrilling series, full of incredible action sequences and shocking plot twists. But its commitment to finding vividly human emotion in the midst of continental war is what made it into a phenomenon.

Big Little Lies

The five California moms at the center of "Big Little Lies" live seemingly charmed lives. But they have a secret — and it has to do with the man who was murdered during a major school fundraiser. As the authorities close in, they must decide who can handle the truth ... and who among their number can even be trusted. "Big Little Lies" is unabashedly glamorous, what with its cast full of movie stars and borderline-soapy plot. But at its core, it's an incredibly tender story about friendship and family. It also offers a clear-eyed and empathetic portrayal of domestic violence that avoids the pitfalls many other productions stumble into. Come for the chic pantsuits, stay for the powerhouse emotion.

  • Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz

  • Creator: David E. Kelley

  • Year: 2017 – Present

  • Runtime: 14 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

The Leftovers

Three years before "The Leftovers" begins, 2% of the world's population vanishes into thin air. Those left behind must cope with the "Sudden Departure," as it comes to be called — but how do you cope with something so utterly inexplicable? "The Leftovers" follows a handful of vividly captured families as they find out the answer to this dizzying question. Some join deeply bitter cults, some act out in traditional ways, and some attempt to behave as though nothing extraordinary has occurred. All of their journeys are depicted with heart-wrenchingly intense honesty. "The Leftovers" explores the nature of grief with an uncommonly truthful eye. You won't soon forget what you see through its lens.

  • Starring: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Christopher Eccleston

  • Creator: Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta

  • Year: 2014 – 2017

  • Runtime: 28 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Girls

An untold number of TV shows revolve around young people living in New York City. Yet "Girls" — which follows self-centered Hannah, aloof Marnie, bohemian Jessa, and earnest Shoshanna — still manages to stand out. These young women flail between jobs, relationships, educational paths, and aspirations, being generally unsure of what they want from life. Whether or not they learn anything along the way is up for debate. "Girls" is utterly unflinching — the central characters go out in badly applied eye makeup, make fools of themselves at parties, and burn professional bridges they desperately need. No one is guaranteed a happy ending or even a particularly stable one. What results is a brutal but marvelously honest portrait of the sudden and bewildering onset of adulthood.

  • Starring: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Adam Driver

  • Creator: Lena Dunham

  • Year: 2012 – 2017

  • Runtime: 62 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Watchmen

HBO's "Watchmen" takes place 34 years after the events of the celebrated comic, but don't go thinking it's a straightforward sequel — this limited series is very much its own creation. Angela Abar is a detective living in the world Doctor Manhattan made, which means she works in costume. After Tulsa's chief of police is murdered, things get even weirder. Who killed him? Why did they do it? And what does it have to do with Angela's family history? Like the classic comic, "Watchmen" brings wildly disparate elements together. A story about superheroes, the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, trillionaires who only wear white, and pills that contain people's memories shouldn't gel into a coherent whole — and yet it does, with unforgettable panache.

  • Starring: Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Jean Smart

  • Creator: Damon Lindelof

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 9 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Sex and the City

Decades after "Sex and the City" debuted, women are still asking themselves if they're a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte, or a Miranda. These four friends spend every episode taking New York City by storm — or tripping over their own Manolos. For every thrilling promotion, engagement, or purchase, there's a miserable break-up, date, or betrayal. Carrie Bradshaw — the heart, soul, and narrator of the series — chronicles it all in her newspaper column, which shares the show's title. It's easy to think of "Sex and the City" as the TV equivalent to Carrie's beloved Cosmopolitans: sweet, a tad tart, and giggle-inducing. But beneath the show's hot pink surface is an utterly serious commitment to love in every form, especially the love that exists between our four heroines.

  • Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon

  • Creator: Darren Star

  • Year: 1998 – 2004

  • Runtime: 94 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

Succession

Aging Logan Roy, CEO of media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo, presides over his empire like an ancient king. But no one can rule forever — a fact made abundantly clear to all when he suffers a stroke on his 80th birthday. His children know an opportunity when they see one, and they quickly set about securing their spot in the soon-to-be-ruler-less kingdom. But power won't come that easily. Logan's not yet dead, his kids are saddled with addictions, anxieties, and troubled marriages, and a scandal is simmering that might just upend everything. A searing study in elite dysfunction, "Succession" finds potent emotion in the bizarre world of the ultra-rich.

  • Starring: Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook

  • Creator: Jesse Armstrong

  • Year: 2018 – Present

  • Runtime: 29 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Few sketch comedy series come out of the gate as confidently weird and fine-grained as "A Black Lady Sketch Show." The comic cavalcade glories in the strangeness of everyday life: A woman's choice to forgo makeup becomes the stuff of horror movies while dads in dorky shorts vogue at the "Basic Ball." This can be hysterically cutting, but the series also knows how to make joy funny, as when the occupants of a court room realize they're all Black women and find themselves unable to keep their excitement from affecting the trial. When you put on "A Black Lady Sketch Show," prepare to recognize something truly odd about everyday experience — and promptly bust a gut laughing over it.

  • Starring: Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson

  • Creator: Robin Thede

  • Year: 2019 – Present

  • Runtime: 18 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Few shows that debuted in 2000 are still on the air, but then, few shows are "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Larry David stars as a lightly fictionalized version of himself, who wends his tactless way across Los Angeles. He encounters plenty of other famous people playing stylized versions of themselves, including Wanda Sykes and Ted Danson, whose celebrity fails to cushion Larry's spiky personality. But of course, that's the point. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a long, luxurious journey into the heart of cantankerousness. There is no tragedy Larry can't make worse, no spat he can't exacerbate, no nicety he cannot destroy. He is a one-man wrecking ball, constantly swung against the edifice of social order — and more than 20 years in, he hasn't stopped being hilarious.

  • Starring: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin

  • Creator: Larry David

  • Year: 2000 – Present

  • Runtime: 111 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Insecure

Molly, a fantastically dressed corporate lawyer, is the kind of person who gets into elite dating apps ... but she's also seemingly less lucky in love than her best friend, Issa. But Issa, who works for a non-profit, isn't entirely happy with long-term boyfriend Lawrence. Which of these Los Angeles women counts as successful? "Insecure" poses a better question: Who the heck even knows what success is? This series captures early adulthood in all its battered, earnest, frustrating glory, from allegedly finished relationships that never seem to actually end to the heart-stopping shock of realizing one's parents have become old. In so doing, it becomes an irresistible entry in the canon of 20-to-30-something stories and one of the most skillfully written shows of the 2010s.

  • Starring: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis

  • Creator: Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore

  • Year: 2016 – 2021

  • Runtime: 44 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Deadwood

Deadwood, an 1870s mining camp, is a lawless, profanity-laden welter of base appetites. Out of this chaos emerge two main characters — the belligerent Al Swearengen, owner of the Gem Saloon, and Seth Bullock, the new sheriff in town. Their battle, and the ones that happen around them in this character-rich saga, is the violent, exhilarating, and cruel history of the American West in miniature. "Deadwood" sees change come to the titular town over the course of three seasons and a 2019 film. Brothels become schoolhouses, elections are held, and the whole darn place becomes part of the Dakota Territory. But raw, ugly humanity is always lurking underneath this thin veneer of civilization. This raw interpretation of the Wild West is harrowing, and it makes "Deadwood" into an unmissable classic of the genre.

  • Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker

  • Creator: David Milch

  • Year: 2004 – 2006

  • Runtime: 36 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Six Feet Under

Owning a funeral home doesn't inure the Fisher family to loss, as they learn when their patriarch dies in a Christmas Eve car accident. So begins one of the richest and most rewarding family dramas of the modern TV era. Over the course of this series, the three Fisher children, their widowed mother, and the galaxy of people who come into their lives confront death over and over again. The family business plays a prominent role, of course, but "Six Feet Under" also explores death in other ways. Eldest son Nate, for example, must cope with a life-threatening brain condition while youngest child Ruth marries a man consumed by fears of nuclear destruction. It all adds up to a sublime exploration of what the end of life means to the living.

  • Starring: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose

  • Creator: Alan Ball

  • Year: 2001 – 2005

  • Runtime: 63 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

Veep

In her pettiness, dishonesty, and opportunism, Selina Meyer is everything people hate about politics. She's also vice president of the United States, in no small part because of those unpleasant qualities. "Veep" follows her and her beleaguered staff as she wheels, deals, campaigns, and occasionally screws everything up. It isn't enough to call "Veep" a biting satire — it outright mauls Washington, D.C., on nearly every front. Selina's endless grasping at power is hideously hysterical, as are the foibles of the people who surround her. There isn't a weak link in the "Veep" cast, which makes every character all the more ripe for skewering. And boy, does the skewering arrive. "Veep" bristles with some of the most sharply written insults on television, delivered by the industry's most brutal comic talents.

  • Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale

  • Creator: Armando Iannucci

  • Year: 2012 – 2019

  • Runtime: 65 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Hacks

When her record-breaking Las Vegas residency is threatened, veteran comedian Deborah Vance is forced to work with Ava Daniels, a Gen Z writer kicked to the Hollywood curb for the crime of an overly hot take. Ava has little respect for Deborah's repertoire, while Deborah sees Ava as a hypersensitive brat. Over the course of their time together, they discover their assumptions are largely correct but also far from the entire picture. "Hacks" mines laughter and tears from the most uncomfortable parts of our protagonists' lives. As they're women in the ruthlessly male-dominated world of comedy, those parts are plentiful, which makes this show a dazzlingly scripted and impeccably acted gem.

  • Starring: Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins

  • Creator: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky

  • Year: 2021 – Present

  • Runtime: 18 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Mare of Easttown

Detective Mare Sheehan is tired. Her grandson's mother wants custody. Her own mom is getting on her nerves. She hasn't been able to find a missing girl. And now a young mother has turned up dead in the wake of a raucous party. Mare isn't about to give up on the truth, but finding it gets a little bit harder every single day. "Mare of Easttown" is a thrilling mystery, but it is this sense of weariness that makes it truly unique. In Kate Winslet's hands, Mare becomes a real person, freighted with groceries to buy, moments of idiotic recklessness, and frustrating children. This makes every break in the case feel all the more exhilarating — and every failure a true devastation.

  • Starring: Kate Winslet, Jean Smart, Evan Peters

  • Creator: Brad Ingelsby

  • Year: 2021

  • Runtime: 7 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Lovecraft Country

When he returns home from the Korean War, sci-fi fan Atticus Freeman finds a strange letter from his vanished father. His quest to untangle its bizarre contents takes him, his uncle George, and his friend Leti to an opulent mansion in Massachusetts, one presided over by an occult organization of unknown means and ambitions. As the central trio soon discovers, horrific and unfathomable monsters are very real, and they're intertwined with the racism of the Jim Crow era. In combining classic genre tropes, real-world history, and achingly human drama, "Lovecraft Country" becomes something entirely unique — a kaleidoscopic horror-fantasy that captures entirely real evil through spectacular flights of fancy.

  • Starring: Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance

  • Creator: Misha Green

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 10 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

I May Destroy You

One morning, chic London writer Arabella wakes up with fractured memories of the previous night. She soon realizes she was sexually assaulted. So begins a thorny, colorful, and utterly unique journey into the heart of trauma. "I May Destroy You" earns its dramedy designation. There are some truly brilliant jokes on offer here, as well as breathtakingly gutting truths. This allows the series to capture the surreal reality of this all-too-common experience with rare wisdom. At different points in the story, Arabella wants to move on from what happened, get revenge for it, and brute-force her way into wholeness. Yet she never feels like a scattershot character — she just feels real. In honoring this complexity, "I May Destroy You" triumphs.

  • Starring: Michaela Coel, Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu

  • Creator: Michaela Coel

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 12 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

My Brilliant Friend

"My Brilliant Friend" brings Elena Ferrante's beloved Neapolitan novels to vibrant life. Best friends Lenu and Lila start out as girls, growing up amidst post-war ruin in 1950s Naples. Though both children are intelligent, Lila's education is cut brutally short, but Lenu's is supported through college. Their lives diverge wildly over the ensuing decades, but no matter how erudite they become or how far they flee, their origins have a way of bringing them back to where they began. "My Brilliant Friend" understands the weight of history with unique potency. Lenu and Lila are indelibly marked, for good and for ill, by all that they were born into. Watching them wrestle with this fact is a multifaceted pleasure.

  • Starring: Alba Rohrwacher, Gaia Girace, Margherita Mazzucco

  • Creator: Saverio Costanzo

  • Year: 2018 – Present

  • Runtime: 24 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Barry

Barry Berkman has a gift: He's exceptionally good at killing people. This serves him well as a hitman ... until an assignment takes him to a Los Angeles acting class full of earnest, hopeful thespians. Here, his frozen soul thaws in the warmth of human connection — and the discovery that he might just have another gift for performance. But a murderous past isn't easily left behind. Can a hired killer also be a killer actor? "Barry" is bursting with decidedly black comedy, served alongside out-and-out crime drama. This results in a deliciously uneasy tension between the savage reality of Barry's career and the eccentricities of life in Los Angeles.

Station Eleven

A celebrated actor dies on stage in the middle of "King Lear." He is the first casualty of a global pandemic so vicious that it flattens civilization within months. This might sound like the beginning of an action-thriller, but in fact, "Station Eleven" is a contemplative tale comprising multiple timelines and subplots. We get to know the unfortunate King Lear before the virus' descent. We quarantine with Jeevan and Kirsten, a "King Lear" audience member and child actress. We rocket forward 20 years to join the Traveling Symphony, a troupe of performers who bring Shakespeare to the post-apocalyptic masses. In intertwining these storylines, "Station Eleven" captures the connectivity where the virus thrives — which also happens to be the only way out of devastation. 

  • Starring: Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, Gael García Bernal

  • Creator: Patrick Somerville

  • Year: 2021 – 2022

  • Runtime: 10 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Search Party

Chantal Witherbottom is missing. Dory Sief, a rootless former classmate, is determined to find her. But "Search Party" isn't a mystery series. It isn't even really about Chantal's disappearance. As the fallout of this investigation spirals, this unconventional comedy becomes a Hitchcockian thriller, a courtroom drama, and a zombie-filled horror story. What unites these massively disparate genres are the brutally flawed Millennials at its center, especially Dory herself. As she hunts for Chantal, sparks a media circus, gets held captive by a maniac, and leads a cult, she remains a desperate ghost, forever looking for the thing that will fix her. This doomed quest is occasionally hard to watch, but it's also impossible to look away from every expertly written, stupendously acted moment.

  • Starring: Alia Shawkat, John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner

  • Creator: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter

  • Year: 2016 – 2022

  • Runtime: 50 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Enlightened

After emotionally imploding in front of her entire office, Amy Jellicoe spends two months in a rehabilitation facility. She returns to work as a newly idealistic woman, eager to make the world a better place. But corporations resist change, and few people in Amy's life truly believe she's going to stick to her shiny new principles. Can enlightenment survive the venality of the American office? While most dramedies lean slightly towards comedy or drama, "Enlightened" truly balances both. Amy's journey is intensely funny and undeniably tender. People are ridiculous on this show, which will make you laugh, but they're also so painfully human that it's impossible to disdain even the most ridiculous corporate drone. You'll laugh, you'll wince, and inevitably, you'll recognize yourself.

Flight of the Conchords

New Zealanders Bret and Jemaine are a musical duo looking to make it in the Big Apple. But this isn't a glitzy tale of ambition. It's a lo-fi chronicle of how awkward attempting to "make it" truly is. Their manager is a joke, their one and only fan might qualify as a stalker, and their apartment is a dingy heap. What's a duo to do? Break out in song, of course. Jemaine, Bret, and all the people they encounter are extraordinarily real, almost to the point of unpleasantness. But it's this up-front look at life's least glamorous facets that makes "Flight of the Conchords" sing — often in a literal sense. You'll be humming "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros" all day long.

  • Starring: Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Kristen Schaal

  • Creator: James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie

  • Year: 2007 – 2009

  • Runtime: 22 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Chernobyl

A miniseries about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster probably sounds like bleak viewing. Indeed, it is — but "Chernobyl" is also an incredibly gripping exploration of institutional dysfunction at its most obscene. In the wake of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant's explosion, men in distant rooms decide which lies will be told about it. Firefighters dying of radiation sickness are hidden from their families. Experts like Valery Legasov give truthful testimony about what went wrong and why, only to see their words erased by a ruthless government. Though "Chernobyl" focuses on one particular event, its portrayal of bureaucratic mendacity resonates far and wide. This is a grueling watch, to be sure — but it's also an unforgettable triumph.

  • Starring: Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, Emily Watson

  • Creator: Craig Mazin

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 5 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Carnivale

As the Great Depression ravages the United States, a mysterious carnival travels from town to town. This fantastical gathering of misfits draws Ben Hawkins, a young man with bizarre dreams, under its tent. Elsewhere, Brother Justin, a fiery preacher, shares Ben's nighttime visions. These two men, and the carnival that shelters one of them, are at the center of a mythic saga of good and evil as enormous as it is enigmatic. Those who love to lose themselves in complex fantasy worlds are sure to adore "Carnivale," which weaves everything from Gnosticism to tarot divination into its rich tapestry of lore. It can be a bit dense, but it's never anything less than fascinating, especially as communicated by the show's sparkling cast.

  • Starring: Clancy Brown, Nick Stahl, Clea DuVall

  • Creator: Daniel Knauf

  • Year: 2003 – 2005

  • Runtime: 24 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • IMDb Score: 8.4/10

John Adams

Most Americans have heard of John Adams, but few could rattle off interesting details about his life. It's easy to assume, then, that he was a less interesting or influential Founding Father than most. "John Adams" reveals how false this assumption is. This brisk miniseries follows Adams over the course of many years. He attends the First Continental Congress, courts allies in Europe, becomes president, and finally retires to Massachusetts, where he eventually passes away. Paul Giamatti skillfully captures Adams' principled irascibility, a quality that waxes and wanes over the course of his life in fascinating ways. Adams couldn't charm people like Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson could, but "John Adams" makes a persuasive case that this made him, in many ways, a better man and an essential ingredient in the United States' origins.

  • Starring: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane

  • Creator: Tom Hooper

  • Year: 2008

  • Runtime: 7 episodes

  • Rating: TV-14

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Band of Brothers

Based on Stephen E. Ambrose's blockbuster book, "Band of Brothers" follows the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division's "Easy" Company as they make their way through World War II's European theater. Bonds forged by war are famously strong, but the ones that form within Easy Company still stand out as some of the most intense ever portrayed on television. As they take part in Operation Market Garden, liberate a concentration camp, and face a brutal Ardennes winter, soldiers like Major Dick Winters and combat medic Doc Roe confront life's most startling truths. "Band of Brothers" bursts at the seams with incredible performances, which never let the viewer forget about the human cost of war. Watching these men step into history is never easy, but it's always captivating.

  • Starring: Damian Lewis, David Schwimmer, Colin Hanks

  • Creator: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks

  • Year: 2001

  • Runtime: 10 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Julia

After a long and impressive diplomatic career, Julia Child and her husband Paul settle down in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When she learns about public television, she's intrigued — and when she realizes she can use it to reach the masses, she's positively enthralled. With the help of Paul, her best friend Avis, a brilliant young producer named Alice, and some well-placed visionaries, Julia embarks upon her beloved TV show in this winning series. While "Julia" is resolutely delightful, it doesn't shy away from the rockier side of life. Menopause, sexism, and loss do their best to throw Julia off course. But as anyone who's watched "The French Chef" knows, Julia Child isn't afraid of difficulty. Watching her realize that over the course of this series is a true joy.

  • Starring: Sarah Lancashire, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth

  • Creator: Daniel Goldfarb

  • Year: 2022 – Present

  • Runtime: 8 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Doom Patrol

Superheroes are omnipresent in the modern media landscape, but you've still never seen a group of caped do-gooders quite like the Doom Patrol. What makes these superheroes mighty is also what makes them misfits. Rita Farr can sculpt her body like clay, but she struggles to keep it from collapsing into a shapeless blob. Cliff Steele's brain is housed in a robotic body. Jane's abilities are tied to her dissociative identity disorder. Together, they vanquish evil too bizarre for the likes of Superman or Wonder Woman. "Doom Patrol" is an unabashedly off-the-wall production, giddily hopping between genres, aesthetics, and tones. This grab-bag approach is high-risk, but the series makes it work through joyous writing, characterful costuming, and some of the most committed actors in the superpowered game.

The Sex Lives of College Girls

This series' salacious title is technically accurate: "The Sex Lives of College Girls" follows a group of female undergrads as they explore the R-rated world of campus relationships. But this isn't a prurient peek behind the sorority house door — it's a love letter to a complex and vibrant life stage. Sheltered Kimberly, eager Bela, aloof Leighton, and focused Whitney are determined to make the most of their time at Essex College. Unfortunately, school has a way of disrupting even the best-laid plans. Explosive secrets, "naked parties," and shocking break-ups ensue — and often bring the quartet closer together. They also tend to be absolutely hilarious. In reimagining the raunchy college romp from young women's point of view, "The Sex Lives of College Girls" brings new life to a beloved subgenre.

  • Starring: Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Alyah Chanelle Scott

  • Creator: Mindy Kaling, Justin Noble

  • Year: 2021 – Present

  • Runtime: 10 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Batman: The Animated Series

Everyone has a favorite Batman, be it Adam West's Bright Knight or Frank Miller's grimacing crusader. But by and large, fans agree that "Batman: The Animated Series" is an all-time-great take on the Dark Knight. This stylishly noir cartoon keeps things classic. Batman fights crime, mentors Robin, and confronts Gotham's most sinister bad guys. The series' characters are the pinnacle of its triumph, as luxuriously animated as they are thoughtfully written. These heroes and villains are archetypal in the best way, propelled as they are by vivid longing, greed, loss, and love. "Batman: The Animated Series" even created a number of now-beloved characters, including Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya. No wonder this Batman remains the Batman for so many.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Though many gritty Batman tales are excellent, some fans long for something a bit more light-hearted. Enter "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." This animated series recalls the Silver Age of Comic Books: The Joker bursts into song, Batman trades flirtatious puns with Catwoman, and team-ups with caped goofballs are the order of every day. Most episodes are self-contained adventures, which typically end with squashed bad guys and a well-cracked joke. DC Comics fans will love seeing obscurities like the Batmen of All Nations and Monsieur Mallah pop up, and the uninitiated will enjoy the on-point voice acting and surprisingly metatextual humor. Grim superheroes are all well and good, but "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" reminds us that the genre is, at its core, somewhat ridiculous — and that can be a wonderful thing.

  • Starring: Diedrich Bader, Jeff Bennett, Tom Kenny

  • Creator: James Tucker, Michael Jelenic

  • Year: 2008 – 2011

  • Runtime: 65 episodes

  • Rating: TV-Y7

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Rick and Morty

Rick Sanchez is a massively egotistical scientist who may or may not actually care about Morty, his dweeby grandson. He does, however, deign to take him on bizarre adventures across the multiverse. Sentient planets, memory manipulation, and quantum mechanics are all on offer here, but "Rick and Morty" isn't just about sci-fi wackiness — it's also about people. The series' precise skewering of its characters is as vicious as it is entertaining, especially when it turns its gaze on Rick himself. This also makes the show's rare moments of sympathy all the more affecting. At its core, "Rick and Morty" knows we're all just cosmic accidents. This is terrifying, and it makes us cruel — but it's also pretty hilarious.

  • Starring: Justin Roiland, Sarah Chalke, Spencer Grammer

  • Creator: Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland

  • Year: 2013 – Present

  • Runtime: 51 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Venture Bros.

What if Jonny Quest grew up? "The Venture Bros." posits he'd become Rusty Venture, a middle-aged malcontent unable to replicate his father's greatness. His excitable teen sons, Hank and Dean, aren't bothered by this, however. As far as they're concerned, they're boy adventurers just like their pop. From this relatively simple starting point, "The Venture Bros." becomes a gloriously bonkers genre mash-up. In this world, supervillainy has its own bureaucracy, "super-scientist" is a real job, and fantastical space stations screen "Sharky's Machine" during movie night. Though "The Venture Bros." is endlessly comedic, it also tells an affecting and dizzyingly complex story. Watching Hank and Dean figure out what they want from life is a genuine joy — the fact that they do so through nanobots and arcane magic is just a bonus.

  • Starring: James Urbaniak, Patrick Warburton, Christopher McCulloch

  • Creator: Christopher McCulloch

  • Year: 2003 – 2018

  • Runtime: 86 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Moral Orel

Before "BoJack Horseman" and "Tuca and Bertie" brought pathos to adult animation, "Moral Orel" was tackling familial trauma and religious hypocrisy in stop-motion. Young Orel, an upstanding young citizen of Moralton, Statesota, wants to be the best little boy he can be. Unfortunately, the inhabitants of his God-fearing, law-abiding, WASP-filled town are a bunch of well-coiffed frauds. "Moral Orel" starts out as a darkly funny excoriation of the suburban American ideal, but in Seasons 2 and 3, it becomes a genuinely tragic portrait of spiritual rot. Orel's parents are dysfunctional, substance-dependent husks, his teachers conceal dark secrets, and Moralton's values are built on brutal repression. Watching Orel discover these truths is difficult but riveting.

  • Starring: Carolyn Lawrence, Scott Adsit, Britta Phillips

  • Creator: Dino Stamatopoulos

  • Year: 2005 – 2009

  • Runtime: 44 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

Samurai Jack

In the midst of a brutal battle, a terrifying demon known as Aku flings a prince of feudal Japan into the future. To the prince's horror, Aku rules this blighted era with an iron fist. Rechristened Jack by the strange inhabitants of this world, he sets out to return to his timeline and destroy Aku before it's too late. Few cartoons are as boldly spare as "Samurai Jack." Silence lingers here, and action scenes aren't crowded with color and noise. This is brave unto itself, and it marvelously highlights the series' inventive character designs, elegant animation, and deep emotions. No wonder "Samurai Jack" was revived for a final season 12 years after it was canceled: There still isn't anything quite like it in American TV animation.

  • Starring: Phil LaMarr, Mako, Tara Strong

  • Creator: Genndy Tartakovsky

  • Year: 2001 – 2017

  • Runtime: 62 episodes

  • Rating: TV-Y7 (Seasons 1-4) TV-MA (Season 5)

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Over the Garden Wall

One odd night, half-brothers Wirt and Greg wander into the Unknown. This murky fantasyland is home to pumpkin-headed villagers, musical frogs, and a talking bluebird named Beatrice. With her help, they set out to find Adelaide, a benevolent woman who can help them home. But the malignant Beast is hot on their tail and full of plans for their immortal souls.

"Over the Garden Wall" recalls the greatest fairy tales with its mingled horror and loveliness. It also manages to tell an affecting story about brotherhood. Wirt and Greg are hugely different people, but as the series winds on, they learn to appreciate everything that brings them together. Fans of family stories, all things Halloween, and offbeat animation will love wandering the Unknown beside them.

  • Starring: Elijah Wood, Collin Dean, Melanie Lynskey

  • Creator: Patrick McHale

  • Year: 2014

  • Runtime: 10 episodes

  • Rating: TV-PG

Steven Universe

Steven Universe is a member of the Crystal Gems, a band of alien rebels with fantastical powers. But unlike Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet, Steven is a half-human kid who isn't sure what powers he possesses. He knows even less about the Gems' origins or the planet they left behind. But the past can't stay buried forever, no matter how many miles the Gems have put between themselves and their home world.

"Steven Universe" is a dramatic space fantasy full of gorgeous cosmic vistas and intriguing alien worldbuilding. It's also a high-spirited, all-ages cartoon. These truths are never in conflict — in fact, they bolster each other. As Steven must learn, the universe is a mix of love, sorrow, humor, and cruelty. Embracing that is where his strength — and that of the show — truly lies.

  • Starring: Zach Callison, Estelle, Deedee Magno Hall

  • Creator: Rebecca Sugar

  • Year: 2013 – 2019

  • Runtime: 160 episodes

  • Rating: TV-PG

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Peacemaker

As anyone who's seen 2021's "The Suicide Squad" knows, Peacemaker is a flag-waving jerk. This continues to be true in the series that shares his name, but it also grows more complex. Five months after the events of the movie, Peacemaker (aka Christopher Smith) is left with a battered body and a rattled sense of self. It's then he's brought on board Project Butterfly, an A.R.G.U.S. squad dedicated to wiping out a wave of parasitic aliens. This mission brings new friends into Smith's orbit, but it also forces him to take a hard look at the forces that have shaped him — principally, his venomously bigoted father. "Peacemaker" is as ribald, gory, and straight-up strange as "Suicide Squad" fans might expect, but it's also considerably more thoughtful. John Cena's electric performance in the titular role is a big part of why.

  • Starring: John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma

  • Creator: James Gunn

  • Year: 2022 – Present

  • Runtime: 8 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Made for Love

Before Hazel Green escapes the Hub, her tech magnate husband's virtual reality compound, he puts a chip in her brain that allows him to see through her eyes. If this sounds like a set-up for a dark exploration of abuse, it is — but "Made for Love" is also an absurdist comedy that eviscerates the tech industry's most ludicrous excesses. Watching Hazel wrench herself free of his sleek nightmare is triumphant, hilarious, and surprising at nearly every turn. Whether you're interested in an incisive look at abusive relationships or want to laugh at the "flavor balls" her husband eats instead of actual food, you'll get what you wish for — and a whole lot more.

  • Starring: Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Ray Romano

  • Creator: Alissa Nutting, Christina Lee, Patrick Somerville, Dean Bakopoulos

  • Year: 2021 – 2022

  • Runtime: 16 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The White Lotus

"The White Lotus" takes place within the titular resort hotel, a decadent paradise of high-end massages and private plunge pools. It also begins with a coffin, containing someone who recently died on the premises. This cutting satire examines the seven days leading up to this shocking death, each of them packed with explosive confrontations between intense personalities. Newlyweds clash with the hotel's agitated manager, Armond. Rootless people bond with hotel employees. A wealthy girl and the friend she invited to join her family's trip realize how little they have in common. "The White Lotus" rips into the class divides at the heart of these stories with viciously entertaining precision. Paradise has a way of bringing out the worst in people — even to the point of bloodshed.

  • Starring: Murray Bartlett, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake Lacy

  • Creator: Mike White

  • Year: 2021 – Present

  • Runtime: 6 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Key & Peele

Most sketch comedy series delve into absurdity, but few ever bring it as close to home as "Key & Peele" does. The segments that comprise this gut-bustingly funny show locate themselves firmly in everyday life. High school classrooms, classy restaurants, and cable sports networks all serve as sketch springboards. Then, little by little, the titular twosome take these mundane realities to the heights of hilarity. Valets grow so excited as they discuss Liam Neeson that they burst into Riverdance-style performances. College football players participating in the East/West Bowl gain ever more ludicrous names. President Obama's "anger translator" became such a sensation that he made a real-world appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. "Key & Peele" doesn't just satirize daily life — it makes us realize how ridiculous it already is.

Los Espookys

One of the best parts of loving an artform is geeking out with fellow enthusiasts. "Los Espookys" captures this feeling with morbid glee. This mostly Spanish-language comedy follows a gaggle of horror hounds as they stage scary scenarios for a wide variety of clients. Creepy quinceañeras, fake exorcisms, threatening alien spaceships — they do it all. The mundane and the fantastic regularly collide on this show. One of our leads is a blue-haired heir to a chocolate company, while another is an ordinary dental hygienist. Their home, an unnamed Latin American country, recalls the magical realist settings of Isabel Allende and Jorge Luis Borges. Nothing is quite as you expect it to be, and that's exactly what makes "Los Espookys" such a surreal delight.

  • Starring: Bernardo Velasco, Julio Torres, Fred Armisen

  • Creator: Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega, Fred Armisen

  • Year: 2019 – Present

  • Runtime: 6 episodes

  • Rating: TV-14

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Betty

The all-girl group of skaters at the center of "Betty" deal with plenty of unpleasantness. Most prominently, the show's title is a sneering label applied to them for the crime of being female and being into skateboarding. But Janay, Indigo, Kirt, Honeybear, and the rest of this New York City crew can't be stopped by harassment, cruelty, or racism — they know the streets are theirs. This sun-soaked look at friendship, adolescence, and young love is the perfect balance of laid-back cool and honest emotion. "Betty" is especially deft at portraying the literal and figurative escapism skateboarding offers. In one memorable scene, Indigo literally skates out of a miserably bigoted modeling gig. Ugliness is very real in "Betty," but with good friends, a solid board, and enough audacity, it's never insurmountable.

  • Starring: Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell

  • Creator: Crystal Moselle

  • Year: 2020 – 2021

  • Runtime: 12 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

A Different World

"A Different World" achieves two titanic TV goals: It discusses thorny social issues like racism, sexism, and HIV/AIDS, and it's an incredibly funny and uniquely vibrant ensemble comedy. Set in fictional Hillman College, a historically Black school, "A Different World" initially follows Denise Huxtable, daughter of "Cosby Show" power couple Cliff and Clair. But she departs after Season 1, which allows unforgettable characters like brainy Dwayne Wade and refined Whitley Gilbert to take center stage. "A Different World" captures campus life with irresistible verve. Classes are life-changing, relationships are all-consuming, and elections (student and otherwise) are sociopolitical crucibles. Watching this lovable cast weather these four years is as fun as it is illuminating.

  • Starring: Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Dawnn Lewis

  • Creator: Bill Cosby

  • Year: 1987 – 1993

  • Runtime: 144 episodes

  • Rating: TV-PG

  • IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

The Flight Attendant

Cassie Bowden, the titular flight attendant, lives life on the liquor-soaked edge. Her hedonism grinds to a halt, however, when she wakes up next to a passenger with a gruesomely slit throat. Panicked, she conceals the body and continues on as normal — until the G-men find her. So begins Cassie's breathless plunge into international espionage, FBI surveillance, and her own vivid memories. "The Flight Attendant" takes place in Cassie's mind as much as any physical location. Hallucinations, trauma-altered recollections, and imaginary conversations with the murder victim stud each episode. This makes it as much of a pulse-pounding thriller as it is contemplative character study.

  • Starring: Kaley Cuoco, Zosia Mamet, Michiel Huisman

  • Creator: Steve Yockey

  • Year: 2020 – 2022

  • Runtime: 16 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Gentleman Jack

Anne Lister is looking to marry, and she's not terribly troubled by the fact that she's an 1832 lesbian looking to wed a woman. Nor should she be — the star of "Gentleman Jack" tends to get what she wants. Based on the actual life of Anne Lister, this rollicking series follows Anne as she expands her productive coal mine, manages her sizable estate, and meets her new neighbor, the sweet-natured Ann Walker. Enchanted, Anne sets out to court the lovely Miss Walker, who finds herself reciprocating Anne's feelings — but do they truly have what it takes to be happy on their own terms? Anne's grit and swagger are irresistible, as is the romance that blooms between her and the charming Ann. The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more engaging.

  • Starring: Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle, Gemma Whelan

  • Creator: Sally Wainwright

  • Year: 2019 – Present

  • Runtime: 16 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Sharp Objects

Wind Gap, Missouri, is a pretty little town. It's also a remarkably deadly place to be a teenage girl, as journalist Camille Preaker knows well. She left this place — and the memories it holds of her dead sister — many years ago. But when one Wind Gap girl turns up dead and another goes missing, she's forced to return and investigate. Smothered by her icy mother and reckless half-sister, Camille must tear away Wind Gap's veneer before the rot that lies beneath consumes them all. "Sharp Objects" thrums with tension and terror. Every house is built on lies, every conversation hints at buried secrets, and every character is either trying to conceal their ugliest truths or they're being eaten alive by them. What results is an unforgettable thriller about the costs of apparent perfection.

  • Starring: Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Eliza Scanlen

  • Creator: Marti Noxon

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 8 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Silicon Valley

Programmer Richard Hendricks has grabbed the brass ring of the tech industry. He's invented a shiny new algorithm everyone wants to claim for themselves. He's got it made ... right? "Silicon Valley," a delightfully weird comedy about the tech world, has a massive amount of fun answering that question. Over the course of six seasons, Richard and his cadre of similarly savvy friends get bought out, set up, fired, bamboozled, and even threatened by a terrifyingly capable artificial intelligence. The world of start-ups, venture capitalists, and click farms has never seemed so byzantine or been satirized so effectively. Co-creator Mike Judge's touch is wonderfully apparent: The brutal and bizarrely heartfelt humor that make "King of the Hill" and "Office Space" such classics suit the sun-baked server farms of Silicon Valley just fine.

His Dark Materials

In mischievous Lyra Belacqua's reality, human souls take the form of talking animal companions known as daemons. In another reality, young Will Parry is haunted by his father's mysterious disappearance. Further realms contain Mediterranean ruins, soul-eating spirits, and the literal, angel-inhabited Heaven. Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel, is determined to learn more about these worlds and the nature of soul, but the massively powerful Christian church known as the Magisterium will do anything to stop his discoveries. Neither of them expect Lyra, bearing an enigmatic truth-telling device known as the Alethiometer, to disrupt their plans. In combining European history, Christian cosmology, and a kaleidoscopic approach to the multiverse, "His Dark Materials" presents an utterly unique and totally engrossing fantasy saga.

  • Starring: Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson

  • Creator: Jack Thorne 

  • Year: 2019 – Present

  • Runtime: 15 episodes

  • Rating: TV-14

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Infinity Train

An enormous train barrels through a mysterious wasteland. In defiance of physics, its cars contain acres of Italian countryside, vast crystalline forests, and pastoral kingdoms run by corgis. Each season of this imaginative series follows a different set of passengers, who must make their way through a unique series of train cars to achieve some sort of emotional clarity. Our first protagonist, 13-year-old Tulip, must brave bizarre landscapes as a way of reconciling herself to her parents' divorce. Jesse, one of Season 2's leads, must help someone else aboard the train in order to help himself. This wide variety of characters and settings might seem dizzying, but "Infinity Train" stays grounded through its clear emotional arcs and appealing characters. Viewers of all ages can enjoy this series' insightful stories, kaleidoscopic visuals, and rib-tickling humor.

  • Starring: Ashley Johnson, Ernie Hudson, Kate Mulgrew

  • Creator: Owen Dennis

  • Year: 2019 – 2021

  • Runtime: 40 episodes

  • Rating: TV-PG

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

The Plot Against America

"The Plot Against America" takes place in the United States, circa 1940 — but not the United States we know. Here, Charles Lindbergh is running for president on a zealously xenophobic — and horrifyingly popular — platform. Jewish families like the Levins adapt to this growing bigotry in a wide variety of ways. Some of their number, like single woman Evelyn, cozy up to the powers that be. Others, like fiery Alvin, search for ways to fight back. Notably, "The Plot Against America" isn't interested in portraying impassioned resistance. Rather, it's a meditation on the persistence of anti-Semitism, populism's ugliest extremes, and the force of history. This makes it a thoroughly disquieting watch but also a deeply powerful one no viewer will soon forget.

  • Starring: Morgan Spector, Winona Ryder, John Turturro

  • Creator: David Simon, Ed Burns

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 6 episodes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Our Flag Means Death

When you think of Blackbeard, you probably don't think of romantic comedies. "Our Flag Means Death" is here to change that with its light-hearted take on high-seas adventure. It's the 18th century, and Barbadian gentleman Stede Bonnet is completely over life among the pampered aristocracy. Thus, he sets out to be a pirate aboard the good ship Revenge. Unfortunately, he's not so great at, well, everything being a pirate involves. He and his ragtag crew still manage to draw Blackbeard's attention, however — attention that quickly becomes fascinatingly multifaceted. This series is a love letter to misfits of all sorts, a zippy comic romp, and a genuinely affecting romance between two pirate captains from entirely different worlds. The high seas have never been so much fun.