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Top 10 Best Shows on Max (Formerly HBO Max) Right Now

Toni Fitzgerald
Top 10 Best Shows on HBO Max to Watch Right Now
Max, formerly known as HBO Max, features a content library packed with HBO and Discovery's extensive offerings.

Max offers one of the largest and most impressive collections of TV shows available for streaming. The lineup is diverse, including a mix of dramas, comedies, reality shows, and documentaries. The platform also collaborates with A-list stars like Robert Downey Jr., Zendaya, and Conan O’Brien to create smart, well-cast programs.

To simplify your decision, potential subscribers can take advantage of a unique offer: the opportunity to watch episodes from a specially curated list of shows for free before deciding to sign up. 

To introduce you to what Max has in store, we've handpicked 10 varied programs, each celebrated by critics and viewers alike, to get you started.

»Explore the best streaming services offering free trials

1. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
  • Release Year(s): 2011-2018

  • Genre: Fantasy

  • Number of Seasons: 

Based on the book series A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones is arguably the best show ever aired on HBO/Max. It follows the conflict over who should sit on the Iron Throne of Westeros. The drama features warring families with different political motivations trying to secure rulership of the land.

The impressive world-building and large cast of characters create a fantasy packed with dragons and misbehaving royals. It features fight scenes, but it also has surprisingly tender love scenes. The balance of intensity, sweetness and unpredictability made Thrones a buzzworthy show for almost a decade. 

Why It’s a Must-Watch:  Thrones was the most-watched program in network history and has won 59 Emmy awards. The drama boasts an incredible 9.2/10 score on IMDb, and it has inspired one popular spinoff so far, House of the Dragon

Best For: People looking for a binge that’s part of American pop culture history. 

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2. Hacks

  • Release Year(s): 2021-present

  • Genre: Comedy

  • Number of Seasons: 3

Hacks delivers a fresh look at the mentor-mentee dynamic, featuring Jean Smart as Deborah, a seasoned but endangered Las Vegas comedian, and Hannah Einbinder as Ava, a young controversial writer. Although they initially clash, Deborah and Ava soon enhance each other's strengths. Ava encourages Deborah to adapt and challenge societal norms, while Deborah teaches Ava how to navigate personal issues and avoid career self-sabotage. The show skillfully critiques the standup comedy scene, highlighting its importance and flaws. 

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Hacks has won Emmys for its writing and Smart's performance, along with a Golden Globe for Best Comedy. Smart shines in a career-defining role that makes Hacks one of the best shows to watch on HBO and Max. The show’s third season has an impressive 97% critical aggregate rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Best For: Lovers of dark comedies.

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3. The Sopranos

The Sopranos
  • Release Year(s): 1999-2007

  • Genre: Drama

  • Number of Seasons: 6

Tony Soprano is your basic, everyday mobster/family man. One minute, he’s getting an update from his flunkies about a hit job gone wrong. The next, he’s empathizing with his teenager daughter about taking the SATs. As Soprano’s mob empire grows, his family problems compound. Season after season, the pressure on him from all sides increases. He sees a psychiatrist to deal with his stress, which was a big deal when it aired because the media gave so little attention to mental health matters then. 

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Sopranos set HBO viewership records and became a critical darling. It earned 112 Emmy nominations throughout its run, collecting wins for best drama, best actor, best actress and other top categories. The late James Gandolfini’s portrayal of Tony Soprano is one of the most critically lauded performances of the 2000s. 

Best For: Fans of mob movies like The Godfather.

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»Are movies more your style? Check out the best movie streaming services

4. The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer
  • Release Year(s): 2024

  • Genre: Drama

  • Number of Seasons: 1

The Sympathizer, adapted from Viet Thanh Nguyen's 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, centers on a North Vietnamese captain who, during the Vietnam War, acts as a spy in South Vietnam. After relocating to America, he works as a movie consultant on a controversial war film. His experiences blend suspense with unexpected humor in what is primarily a drama that delves into the consequences and influence of war. Sandra Oh, formerly of Grey’s Anatomy, plays a notable supporting role.

The series boasts a distinguished background. It was co-created for HBO by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook and Don McKellar, with Robert Downey Jr. serving as both a lead actor and executive producer. Addressing themes of colonialism, the show is both timely and significant.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: The Sympathizer offers a deep and insightful perspective on the Vietnam War, a topic that has often been portrayed through the lens of American veterans' experiences. This series sets itself apart by focusing on the broader impact of the war on various individuals beyond American soldiers. Critics from prestigious outlets like The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Variety have lauded the show, praising its unique and critical viewpoint. This acclaim underscores its significance and appeal.

Best For: Those looking for a meaty drama that will make them think.

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5. Conan O’Brien Must Go

Conan O’Brien Must Go

  • Release Year(s): 2024

  • Genre: Documentary

  • Number of Seasons: 1

Conan O’Brien’s unique creativity and humor often felt constrained by the traditional late-night TV format. After nearly three decades, O’Brien left the air to devote himself to his podcast and this winning documentary. In this series, he travels the world, interacting with everyday people rather than celebrities, which allows his talents to truly shine.

 As he explores various cultures and forms genuine connections, O’Brien’s enjoyment is evident, making the show enjoyable for viewers as well. The program has received widespread praise and appears to have reinvigorated O’Brien, who approaches each episode with the same enthusiasm he had in his early television days.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: The best documentaries entertain rather than just educate, and "Conan O’Brien Must Go" does just that. It has received high praise from critics at NPR, The Ringer, Vulture, among others, and boasts an impressive 8.5/10 rating on IMDb.

Best For: Anyone who loved Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, which also explored other cultures from unique angle.

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6. Peacemaker


  • Release Year(s): 2022

  • Genre: Action/adventure

  • Number of Seasons: 1

The character Peacemaker (John Cena) appeared in the 2021 film The Suicide Squad, which is set in the DC Comics universe. The show Peacemaker takes place directly after the events of that movie. The superhero, still recovering from injuries received in the Squad battle, joins the black ops squad ARGUS. Peacemaker helps the team find and eliminate parasitic butterfly-type monsters who have been taking control of humans.

The show features a mix of action and black comedy. The main character is not particularly likable, as he admits he’ll do anything and kill anyone to “keep the peace.” But the superhero’s antics are fun to watch, and Cena brings a delightfully light touch to the role. Co-star Danielle Brittany Brooks (Orange is the New Black) provides a kindhearted counterpoint to Peacemaker. Their unlikely friendship offers some uplifting moments in the show.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: James Gunn, the director behind the popular Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy, created and wrote Peacemaker. It has an underrated lead in Cena, who excels at black comedy. The show received an Emmy nod for stunt coordination, and it earned an impressive 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Best For: Fans of comic book movies and shows.

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»Looking for family-friendly entertainment? Here's how to choose the right streaming service 

7. Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Release Year(s): 2000-2024

  • Genre: Comedy

  • Number of Seasons: 12

Very few shows have the devoted audience or creative stamina to run for almost a quarter of a century. HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the rare ones to do it. The comedy focuses on Seinfeld co-creator Larry David (Larry David playing a fictionalized version of himself). It follows David as he navigates the small annoyances of life. Unlike most scripted comedies, Curb includes tons of improvisation by the actors. The approach can lead to unexpected and outrageous moments. 

David enlists many of his celebrity friends for guest roles and cameos. The dry humor and excellent acting also contribute to the show’s success. It has been nominated for 51 Emmys, including nods for best comedy series in 10 of its 12 seasons.  

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Curb Your Enthusiasm has become a standout show on HBO and HBO Max, celebrated for its genius at transforming awkward situations into comedy gold. It offers a sharp and hilarious critique of Hollywood, delivered with the authenticity only an insider could provide. The series boasts an impressive 8.8/10 rating on IMDb, reflecting its broad popularity and appeal.

Best For: Fans of Seinfeld and other shows that find humor in everyday life. 

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8. Succession

  • Release Year(s): 2018-2023.

  • Genre: Drama.

  • Number of Seasons: 4

Succession explores the high drama in the family of wealthy but aging media baron Logan Roy (Brian Cox). His children all want to succeed him at the top of the company. The siblings thwart each other’s efforts to earn their father’s trust while aiming to secure his blessing to take over. All the while, the media conglomerate they’re fighting over struggles to stay relevant in the digital age. The show offers fantastic commentary on the media business blended with family intrigue. 

Succession stands out for its insightful writing and incredible acting. All the major cast members earned Emmy nominations, including standouts Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin as the Roy siblings. The ensemble show frequently topped critics’ year-end “best of” lists. 

Why It’s a Must-Watch: HBO has aired a long list of impressive dramas, and Succession ranks as one of the most critically lauded in its history. In just four seasons, it earned an 8.8/10 on IMDb and received 75 Emmy nominations. 

Best For: People who love family dramas, politics or both.

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9. 1000-lb. Sisters

1000-lb. Sisters
  • Release Year(s): 2020-present.

  • Genre: Unscripted

  • Number of Seasons: 5

Sisters Amy and Tammy Slaton weigh almost a half-ton together. They are in their mid-30s, and they have an admirable zest for life, sharing a healthy sense of humor. But their physical condition prevents them from pursuing their dreams. Amy wants to have children. Tammy has become bedridden due to her weight. The show follows them as they begin a weight loss journey that is ultimately about much more than the number on the scale. It is about changing how people look at them by showcasing their vibrant personalities, regardless of their weight. 

1000-lb Sisters became a hit for TLC and has turned the sisters into regulars on the pages of celebrity magazines. They are TikTok sensations with huge social media followings. 

Why It’s a Must-Watch: It would be easy to make a spectacle of these two brave women, but the show handles their quest for weight loss with sensitivity. The sisters have a natural chemistry, and they root for each other even when they disagree. The show is among TLC’s most popular programs, and it has a 75% approval rating with Google users. 

Best For: Reality lovers who prefer hopeful drama to messy drama. 

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10. Euphoria 

  • Release Year(s): 2019-2022

  • Genre: Drama

  • Number of Seasons: 2

Zendaya stars as Rue, a teenager fresh out of rehab who initially resists staying clean. The show Euphoria traces her challenges in readjusting to everyday life. It also explores the serious issues faced by other students at her high school, including navigating sexuality, transitioning beyond high school, and overcoming bad reputations.

Already a well-known actress, Zendaya's role in Euphoria boosted her status even further, making her one of Hollywood's most sought-after actresses. She has won the Best Actress in a Drama award twice for her role, becoming the second Black actress, alongside Viola Davis, to win in this category.

Why It’s a Must-Watch: Euphoria is one of the most popular shows on HBO and Max. It tackles big topics beyond addiction, including mental health and gender transition. The writers handle potentially sensitive topics with care, devoting time to developing each plotline and resolving issues realistically. The show has earned an 8.3/10 on IMDB.

Best For: Anyone who likes edgy high school dramas.  

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»Didn't find what you're looking for? Check out the top 10 shows Hulu has to offer

Find the Best Shows on Max (aka HBO Max) Right Now

Max sets itself apart in the streaming landscape by offering a rich variety of programming that caters to all tastes. It combines HBO classics and new Max Originals with popular content from Discovery networks like HGTV and Food Network. Whether you're into dramas, documentaries, or reality TV, Max ensures there's something to match every viewer's preference.

Additionally, Max enhances its appeal by allowing potential subscribers to sample content before committing. Through its website, Max provides free episodes from a range of its latest and popular series. This feature lets users preview the dramatic, comedic, and action-packed experiences it offers. Combined with a commitment to high-quality video and audio, the service ensures minimal disruptions during peak viewing times. Furthermore, Max offers flexible subscription options, catering to various viewer preferences and budgets. These features make Max a compelling choice for those seeking comprehensive and reliable entertainment op

Toni Fitzgerald
Toni Fitzgerald writes about entertainment and TV Services for Top10.com. Toni is a longtime journalist who has covered TV and the media industry for over two decades.