The 20 Best TV Shows on HBO Max; List here

Discover the top 20 TV shows on HBO Max, featuring hit series like Game of Thrones, Friends, and The Sopranos. This list has something for everyone! Stream now and enjoy the best of HBO.

Updated on May 03, 2023  |  02:53 PM IST |  546.1K
best shows on hbo max
best shows on hbo max
Key Highlight

HBO Max has become a go-to destination for TV show lovers, offering an impressive selection of shows that are sure to keep viewers entertained for hours. One of the standout shows on the platform is "Game of Thrones," an epic fantasy series that captivated audiences with its intricate plotlines and impressive production values. Another popular show on HBO Max is "The Sopranos," a critically acclaimed drama series that follows the life of a New Jersey mob boss. For fans of comedy, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is a hilarious show that follows the misadventures of Larry David, the creator of "Seinfeld." Other top shows on the platform include "The Wire," "Watchmen," "Westworld," "Sex and the City," and "Veep." With so many great shows to choose from, HBO Max is sure to have something for everyone. In fact, We strongly advise you to bookmark this page for easy reference when searching for recommendations on what to watch on HBO Max. Don't hesitate any longer, dive right in and discover the best content available!

1. Game of Thrones

  • Release Year: 2011-2019
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
  • Directed by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
  • Episodes: 8 seasons, 73 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 9.2/10

The Game of Thrones series had its ups and downs, but its early seasons contained some notable highlights. Despite the backlash and numerous critical essays that followed the series finale, the completion of this epic fantasy story feels like the end of a TV era. As one of our writers, Matt Zoller Seitz, noted at the time, it's unclear if another show will ever reach the level of popularity and cultural impact that Game of Thrones achieved. While some shows have come close, such as The Last of Us, none have quite matched the same level of success.

2. Band of Brothers

  • Release Year: 2001
  • Genre: Drama, History, War
  • Directed by: Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg
  • Episodes: 1 season, 10 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 9.4/10

Band of Brothers, a limited TV series that aired in 2001, is widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in the medium. Despite its impact on the TV landscape, it often doesn't receive the recognition it deserves. Produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, the series is an adaptation of the book "Band of Brothers" by Stephen E. Ambrose. It's a touching tribute to the courageous soldiers who fought in WWII, blending history with masterful filmmaking to create a deeply personal and moving work.


3. Boardwalk Empire

  • Release Year: 2009-2014
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Directed by: Terence Winter
  • Episodes: 5 seasons, 56 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10

Following his successful stint on The Sopranos, Terence Winter collaborated with Martin Scorsese to adapt Nelson Johnson's non-fiction book about the prohibition era's chaos. The resulting drama is a captivating masterpiece, featuring peaks that rival anything previously seen on HBO. Steve Buscemi delivers an outstanding performance as Nucky Thompson, and the show boasts one of the most meticulously detailed period settings in television history. While Buscemi's portrayal is exceptional, it is the supporting cast that truly elevates the series, with standout performances from Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Jack Huston, who delivers the most memorable performance of all.

4. Chernobyl

  • Release Year: 2019
  • Genre: Disaster, Tragedy, Historical drama
  • Directed by: Johan Renck
  • Episodes: 1 season, 5 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 9.4/10

Craig Mazin, the creator of The Last of Us, also directed a critically acclaimed five-part miniseries that vividly depicts the catastrophic mishandling of an international crisis by a major world power. This series, which remains highly relevant in today's climate of COVID-19 and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, is considered prophetic in its portrayal of the disastrous consequences of governmental failure. The performances of Jared Harris, Emily Watson, and Stellan Skarsgard received widespread praise for their portrayal of relatable characters and attention to historical accuracy, all while delivering powerful socio-political commentary.


5. Deadwood

  • Release Year: 2004-2006
  • Genre: Period drama; Serial drama
  • Directed by: David Milch
  • Episodes: 3 seasons, 36 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10

HBO revived one of the most highly regarded TV shows ever made, Deadwood, with the release of Deadwood: The Movie in 2019. The show had been off the air for more than ten years, and fans were eager to see it return. The reason for this enthusiasm lies in the show's outstanding quality, as it is one of the most intelligent and profound programs ever created for television. Through its use of history and the Old West, Deadwood tells stories of human experience that still resonate today. Moreover, it boasts perhaps the greatest ensemble cast in TV history.

6. Enlightened

  • Release Year: 2011-2013
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
  • Directed by: Mike White, Laura Dern
  • Episodes: 2 seasons, 18 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 7.6/10

Laura Dern's captivating performances in Big Little Lies and Marriage Story endeared her to audiences everywhere. However, those who have yet to discover her talents should make a point to watch her outstanding work as Amy Jellicoe in the two-season dramedy created by Mike White over a decade ago. Dern and White deftly subverted the tired trope of the character hitting rock bottom in this witty and insightful show, which also features an impressive cast including Luke Wilson, Diane Ladd, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Wright, Molly Shannon, and Dermot Mulroney. While it is a shame that the series was cancelled after only two seasons, they are both excellent examples of quality television.


7. ER

  • Release Year: 1994-2009
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Directed by: Michael Crichton
  • Episodes: 15 seasons, 331 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10

It can be difficult to convey to younger audiences the immense popularity of the NBC series when it was at its peak. Although some may now dismiss it as just another medical drama, it was once an iconic example of must-see television that seamlessly blended character development and poignant case studies. The show received a staggering 23 Emmy Awards, as well as nearly 100 other awards, and launched the career of George Clooney. Additionally, it remains incredibly rewatchable, making it an ideal drama for streaming platforms such as HBO Max.

8. I May Destroy You

  • Release Year: 2020
  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by: Michaela Coel
  • Episodes: 1 season, 12 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10

In 2020, a mini-series was broadcast on TV that is widely considered to be one of the year's best offerings. The show features Michaela Coel in the lead role of Arabella, a contemporary woman who is raped one night and spends the series attempting to uncover the truth about the incident. Coel not only stars in the show but also wrote and co-directed it, and the tone is a masterstroke. While Coel treats the subject matter with the utmost seriousness, she avoids conventional melodrama and clichéd case-of-the-week plots, instead crafting a modern and authentic experience that is both moving and captivating.


9. The Leftovers

  • Release Year: 2014-2017
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller
  • Directed by: Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta
  • Episodes: 3 seasons, 28 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.3/10

A highly regarded TV series from the 2010s is the adaptation of Tom Perrotta's book, created by Damon Lindelof. Although the show only had three seasons, it left a lasting impression on its viewers and frequently appears on lists of the top dramas of the decade. Its impact is such that it is likely to continue gaining popularity for years to come and may eventually be recognized as one of HBO's finest productions if it hasn't been already.

10. The Knick

  • Release Year: 2014-2015
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Directed by: Jack Amiel, Michael Begler
  • Episodes: 2 seasons, 20 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.5/10

There are rumours circulating that the acclaimed drama series will make a comeback soon, with Barry Jenkins at the helm. The plan is reportedly to bring back Andre Holland to reprise his role as Dr. Algernon C. Edwards continued the story that was abruptly cut short when Cinemax cancelled the show in 2017. Watching the first two seasons again will make you appreciate this brilliant show from the 2010s. Clive Owen's portrayal of a doctor at the cusp of a medical revolution is captivating, but it is the depth of the world-building and the entire cast that truly made this show unforgettable.


11. Mare of Easttown

  • Release Year: 2021
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
  • Directed by: Brad Ingelsby
  • Episodes: 1 season, 7 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10

Kate Winslet delivers a superb performance as a detective in a small town in Philadelphia investigating a murder while grappling with the unresolved case that continues to haunt her. Her exceptional acting skills earned her an Emmy award for her role in the show, which also garnered Outstanding Supporting Actor recognition for Evan Peters, an Outstanding Supporting Actress award for Julianne Nicholson, and an Outstanding Limited Series accolade. The series seamlessly blends elements of mystery and character development, resulting in a well-crafted and engaging storyline. It is a shame that there are no more shows like this one.

12. The Night Of

  • Release Year: 2016
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
  • Directed by: Richard Price, Steven Zaillian
  • Episodes: 1 season, 8 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10

There have been numerous projects with a similar theme, but the collaboration between Richard Price and Steven Zaillian on the failures of our justice system and its potential to wrongly convict innocent individuals appears particularly timely. In this production, Riz Ahmed portrays a young Pakistani-American man who is falsely accused of a murder, while John Turturro plays his defence attorney, fighting to clear his name before his time at Rikers Island takes a toll on him. This modern drama is a remarkable masterpiece.

13. Olive Kitteridge

  • Release Year: 2014
  • Genre: Drama
  • Directed by: Jane Anderson
  • Episodes: 1 season, 4 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.3/10

In 2014, a cinematic masterpiece based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout featured Frances McDormand in the titular role. This exceptional work anticipated the era of the high-end limited series. McDormand portrays the wife of Henry Kitteridge, played by Richard Jenkins, in a small town in Maine. The film centres on the character of a retired schoolteacher, depicting her journey through life with finely crafted, empathetic writing, and exceptional acting that is hard to match on any streaming platform. The supporting cast is equally impressive, including Zoe Kazan, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Bill Murray.

14. Oz

  • Release Year: 1997-2003
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Directed by: Tom Fontana
  • Episodes: 6 seasons, 56 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.7/10

HBO's transformation of the television industry did not originate solely from The Sopranos. Although David Chase's critically acclaimed series is often credited as a trailblazer, it seems that many fail to acknowledge Tom Fontana's Oz, which came before it and was instrumental in demonstrating that "It's not TV, it's HBO" was more than just a tagline. Oz remains a potent and intense show that would have the same impact if it aired twenty years later, making it one of the cable network's crucial foundational pieces.


15. Pushing Daisies

  • Release Year: 2007-2009
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
  • Directed by: Bryan Fuller
  • Episodes: 2 seasons, 22 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.4/10

The maker of the TV series Hannibal gifted us with a unique blend of dark comedy and intricate character development that was too unconventional for ABC. The show starred Lee Pace as Ned, an unremarkable pie-maker with the extraordinary ability to revive the dead with a single touch. Alongside Anna Friel, Kristin Chenoweth, and Chi McBride, Ned solves murder mysteries in a one-of-a-kind show that defied the norms of television. This gem of a series remains unmatched in its originality even to this day.

16. Six Feet Under

  • Release Year: 2001-2005
  • Genre: Comedy drama; Black comedy; Psychological drama
  • Directed by: Alan Ball
  • Episodes: 5 seasons, 63 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.7/10

The HBO drama created by Alan Ball, starring Peter Krause, tackled themes of family and grief in a unique way that had not been seen on television before. While family dramas had been a staple of network TV for many years, this show explored the complexities of adult family relationships with a fresh perspective, resulting in one of the most well-received shows of its time. Although the quality of the show varied throughout its run, the finale was widely regarded as one of the best in television history.

17. The Sopranos

  • Release Year: 1999-2007
  • Genre: Crime drama; Serial drama; Psychological drama; Black comedy
  • Directed by: David Chase
  • Episodes: 6 seasons, 86 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 9.2/10

David Chase's acclaimed series, The Sopranos, is widely regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, and for good reason. It had a profound impact on the television industry and set a new standard for storytelling. Who could have predicted that a simple conversation between Tony Soprano and his therapist about his panic attacks would spawn such a cultural phenomenon? The first season of The Sopranos is a masterpiece of television, with a gripping storyline that will keep you hooked from start to finish. It's no surprise that many viewers find themselves compelled to watch it more than once.

18. The Wire

  • Release Year: 2002-2008
  • Genre: Crime; Serial drama; Tragedy;
  • Directed by: David Simon
  • Episodes: 5 seasons, 60 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 9.3/10

David Simon's portrayal of life in a contemporary city in his five-season series is an exceptionally ambitious television project. Based on the city of Baltimore, the show delves into every facet of urban existence, initially focusing on a nuanced portrayal of police officers and criminals before expanding its scope to incorporate dock workers, educators, journalists, and politicians. With its comprehensive exploration of city life, many viewers regard this series as the pinnacle of television programming.


19. Friends

  • Release Year: 1994-2004
  • Genre: Sitcom
  • Directed by: David Crane, Marta Kauffman
  • Episodes: 10 seasons, 236 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.9/10

HBO Max's acquisition of exclusive streaming rights to one of the most popular sitcoms of all time helped elevate the platform's profile. This beloved show was already a hit on Netflix, and its comedic style perfectly suits the streaming format, making it easy for viewers to lose themselves in the familiar and hilarious banter of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Monica, and Phoebe. While some of the humor may not hold up to modern standards, the exceptional chemistry of the talented cast remains a joy to watch.

20. Hacks

  • Release Year: 2021-present
  • Genre: Comedy drama
  • Directed by: Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Jen Statsky
  • Episodes: 2 seasons, 18 episodes
  • IMDb rating: 8.2/10

Jean Smart has won two Emmy awards for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in an HBO Max series. The show is about an ageing comedian who teams up with a younger writer to revive her career. The writer, played by the talented Hannah Einbinder, brings a fresh perspective to the duo. The show boasts excellent writing in each episode, and Smart delivers an outstanding performance that captures the complex mix of ego and insecurity that comes with getting older in Hollywood.


Are there any good series on HBO Max?
Yes, there are many great series available on HBO Max. Here are some of the most popular ones like, Westworld, Watchmen, Euphoria, etc.

What series are trending on HBO Max?
Here are some popular series on HBO Max that are all time trending, Game of Thrones, Friends, The Sopranos, The Wire, and Westworld.

What is the most viewed on HBO Max?
The most viewed shows on HBO Max have been Game of Thrones, Friends, The Sopranos, The Big Bang Theory, and The West Wing.

Pinkvilla Pulse
Subscribe to our newsletter for entertainment exclusives, star interviews, and the latest lifestyle trends. Look No Further!
About The Author

Introducing Khushi Srivastava, an aspiring and enterprising content writer with a passion for weaving captivating stories through the



Latest Articles