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The 69 Best Shows on HBO and Max Right Now (March 2024)

Jerrod Carmichael gets real in Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

screen-shot-2020-04-02-at-8-50-16-am.png
Allison Picurro

There's reality TV, and then there's Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show. The latest addition to our list of the best shows on HBO and Max right now is Jerrod Carmichael's unfiltered new series, which follows the comedian's life after coming out in his Emmy-winning 2022 special Rothaniel. Other recent additions to our list include Kate Winslet's The Regime and the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

A note about how this list was made: In the interest of keeping it relevant, we're emphasizing new releases, shows recently added to Max, and HBO/Max originals, but we've also made sure to add the shows we personally can't stop recommending to our friends. We'll be updating this list regularly.

Last updated March 30; most recent additions at the top.


Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

For fans of: Rothaniel, discomfort, blurring the lines between reality and TV
Number of seasons: 1

Jerrod Carmichael, Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

Jerrod Carmichael, Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show

HBO

One of the most exciting comedians working today is Jerrod Carmichael, who has taken the unusual path of working with indie rappers, headlining network comedies, and refusing lots of money to do even more mainstream projects in favor of being as authentic to himself as he can be. His 2022 Emmy-winning comedy special Rothaniel was his most raw yet and focused on Carmichael coming out as gay, and his new project Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show accelerates his newfound openness with no filters. Jerrod lets the world in on his life of crushes and relationships, his love of anonymous sex, and his complicated issues with his religious parents, offering a unique look into what it's like to be a celebrity when all you have are normal issues. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


The Regime

For fans of: Kate Winslet, Succession
Number of seasons: 1

Kate Winslet, The Regime

Kate Winslet, The Regime

Miya Mizuno/HBO

Kate Winslet and HBO love the miniseries thing. The Regime marks Winslet's third limited series for the network, after 2011's Mildred Pierce and 2021's Mare of Easttown — both of which earned her Emmys. This one is a political satire about a chancellor (Winslet) of a fictional European country who scrambles to hold onto power as it crumbles around her. The show was written by Succession's Will Tracy, so expect ample cursing and scathing one-liners. It's like Borgen... but funny-ish! -Tim Surette [Trailer] [Review]


Curb Your Enthusiasm

For fans of: Larry David and curmudgeons of that nature
Number of seasons: 12

Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm

John P. Johnson/HBO

Curb Your Enthusiasm, now in its 12th and allegedly actual final season, is a show that needs no introduction. But I'll give one anyway in case you somehow haven't heard of it: Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself and the show follows him as he goes through life being inconvenienced by normal, everyday things. In 12 seasons, nothing has really changed, and that's the whole point. It's actually kind of incredible that it's still funny after all these years — even deep in his 70s, Larry David's still got it. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Tokyo Vice

For fans of: Moody crime thrillers, gorgeous visuals
Number of seasons: 2

Ansel Elgort, Tokyo Vice

Ansel Elgort, Tokyo Vice

Eros Hoagland/HBO Max

Tokyo Vice pulled us in by having Michael Mann direct the premiere episode, but it kept us around by telling a taut and highly engrossing thriller story that we still can't get enough of. This crime drama series is based on the memoir by American journalist Jake Adelstein, set during his years covering the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for one of Japan's biggest newspapers and documenting the web of corruption happening just under the surface. Adelstein is played by Ansel Elgort, and he's joined by Rinko KikuchiKen Watanabe, and Rachel Keller. -Allison Picurro [Trailer | Review]


True Detective

For fans of: Dark noir thrillers, mismatched partners solving crime
Number of seasons: 4

true-detective-night-country

Jodie Foster and Kali Reis, True Detective

HBO

Each season of True Detective is its own separate story with a completely new cast, but there's one major aspect that all four seasons have shared: a deadly serious noir-thriller vibe and a morally grey story that will make you feel bad about, uh, many things. The newest season, dubbed True Detective: Night Country, stars Jodie Foster in the same sort of role that won her an Oscar for Silence of the Lambs, and it's the best season of True Detective since the first. -Phil Owen [Trailer]

More recommendations:


The Curious Case of Natalia Grace

For fans of: Twisted true crime
Number of seasons: 2

Natalia Grace Barnett, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace

Natalia Grace Barnett, The Curious Case of Natalia Grace

Max

The wildest reality docuseries since Tiger King blew up in 2020 is Investigation Discovery's The Curious Case of Natalia Grace, which features more twists than Chubby Checker working at a pretzel factory in the middle of a tornado. The saga follows the story of Natalia Grace, a Ukranian child who was adopted by an American family but become a terrifying burden to them. Well, according to the parents. Was she actually a 30-year-old with dwarfism conning everyone around her? What really was happening is still up for debate, stuck in a web of lies, abuse charges, and legal chokeholds. It's the kind of series that will leave everyone with an opinion and more questions than answers. The second season features Natalia telling her side of the story and comes with a finale bombshell that all but guarantees a third season. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning

For fans of: Reckoning with the past
Number of seasons: 1

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning

Murder in Boston: Roots, Rampage & Reckoning

HBO

Boston's checkered past with racism is examined in this three-part docuseries following the murder of a pregnant white woman and the shooting of her husband in the late 1980s, the reaction of the city's government and law enforcement, and the pain and suffering of a community that ensued. Under the direction of The Last Dance's Jason Hehir, Murder in Boston is part history lesson and part true-crime series, looking back at the crime and even further back at the building blocks that created one of America's most segregated and racially tense cities. -Tim Surette [Trailer] 


Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God

For fans of: Learning about cults
Number of seasons: 1

Amy Carlson, Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God

Amy Carlson, Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God

HBO

At the height of Amy Carlson's power as the leader of the Love Has Won cult, she was getting baked, drinking heavily, and having her online followers pay for things like a tricked-out go-kart. By the end of her life, she was a pile of blue skin and bones from all the colloidal silver she was drinking to battle a rolodex of health issues. The three-episode documentary Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God examines Carlson's life and followers as they bounced between Mt. Shasta, Oregon, Hawaii, and Colorado, all in the name of the self-proclaimed savior Carlson, a mentally ill woman with delusions of grandeur who convinced a cadre of new age hippies and ex-cons that she would ascend to an alien spaceship. The documentary, which includes the Safdie brothers as executive producers, excels because of its access to and interviews with Carlson's believers, who still to this day think everything that happened was fine and normal. Umm, OK. -Tim Surette [Trailer] 


Julia

For fans of: Julia Child, French food, women succeeding despite the odds
Number of seasons: 2

Sarah Lancashire and David Hyde Pierce, Julia

Sarah Lancashire and David Hyde Pierce, Julia

Sebastein Gonon/Max

People love to forget that Nora Ephron's last film was Julie & Julia, which is by no means a terrible movie, but would've been much better had it simply been called Julia. Max decided to do just that with this half-hour comedy based on the life of the iconic celebrity chef Julia Child, played here by Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire. Season 1, set in 1960s Boston, follows Child's ascent to TV stardom as she brought the art of French cooking to American audiences, and it does something intriguing by exploring the rampant sexism and ageism she faced along the way. Season 2, set partly in Paris, follows Child's continued struggle with her newfound fame. Lancashire is really great, with David Hyde Pierce co-starring as her husband, Paul Child. Bon appétit! -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


The Gilded Age

For fans of: Downton Abbey, fancy hats
Number of seasons: 2

Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector, The Gilded Age

Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector, The Gilded Age

Barbara Nitke/HBO

If you're into period dramas in general and Downton Abbey specifically, you're probably going to be into The Gilded Age, which comes from Downton creator Julian Fellowes. And if you're not usually a fan of that kind of thing, you might be after you see this cast list. It's got Carrie Coon! It's got Christine Baranski! It's got Cynthia Nixon! And it's got a lineup of recurring and guest stars that reads like a who's who of Broadway, including Nathan LaneAudra McDonaldKelli O'HaraDonna Murphy, and Michael Cerveris. NEW YORK CITY, BABY! Anyway, the plot, if it matters, revolves around a pair of old-money sisters (Baranski and Nixon) warring with their new-money neighbor (Coon) in 1880s New York City. Everybody raise a pinky. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]


30 Coins

For fans of: Unexplained phenomena
Number of seasons: 2

Paul Giamatti, 30 Coins

Paul Giamatti, 30 Coins

Manolo Pavón/HBO

This Spanish-language mystery horror series follows Father Vergara (Eduard Fernández), a priest exiled to a small town in Spain as he attempts to move on from his dark past. When supernatural occurrences begin happening, he teams up with the town's mayor (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and a veterinarian (Megan Montaner) to try to figure out what is going on and how it relates to a coin he owns. In Season 2, Paul Giamatti joins the mix as Christian Barbrow, a sinister American billionaire. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


Our Flag Means Death

For fans of: Planks and pranks, the Taika Waititi cinematic universe
Number of seasons: 2

Taika Waititi, Our Flag Means Death

Taika Waititi, Our Flag Means Death

Nicola Dove/Max

Taika Waititi produces and stars alongside Rhys Darby in this swashbuckling comedy from David Jenkins, the creator of People of Earth. Darby plays an aristocrat whose midlife crisis leads him to leave his family behind and fulfill his dream of being a seafaring bandit, except he's bad at it because he's too nice. He leads his skeptical crew around on a ship called the Revenge, which naturally leads to many hijinks. Throw in a surprising and sweet romance between Darby's Stede Bonnet and Waititi's infamous bad boy pirate Blackbeard, and you have yourself a big ol' internet hit. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Starstruck

For fans of: Notting Hill, charming characters falling in love
Number of seasons: 3

Rose Matafeo, Starstruck

Rose Matafeo, Starstruck

Mark Johnson/Max

The rom-com isn't dead; it just moved to television. Like a reverse Notting Hill, the endearing series Starstruck follows Jessie (played by creator Rose Matafeo), a New Zealander living in London who spends a boozy New Year's Eve with a guy named Tom (Nikesh Patel), only to wake up to the realization that he's a famous movie star. The whole thing — each season zips by in six half-hour episodes — plays like an old-school screwball comedy. They just can't quit each other. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer


Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

For fans of: That late '70s/early '80s energy, basketball, Michael Cooper
Number of seasons: 2

DeVaughn Nixon, Quincy Isaiah, and Delante Desouza, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

DeVaughn Nixon, Quincy Isaiah, and Delante Desouza, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

Warrick Page/HBO

Los Angeles Lakers fans have been spoiled with multiple NBA championships and hall of fame players over the last 40 years, and now they get spoiled with an HBO series about their team's success. The first season follows the Lakers' Showtime era beginning with the drafting of Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and the purchase of the team by Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly), and the whole thing is shot with filters that make it look like footage from that era, which will be amazing to some and annoying to others. It's Boogie Nights, but with basketball instead of pornography. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


How to with John Wilson

For fans of: Kooky characters, the mundanity of everyday life, New Yawk City
Number of seasons: 3

John Wilson, How to With John Wilson

John Wilson, How to With John Wilson

Thomas Wilson/HBO

How to With John Wilson is a philosophizing Peeping Tom series that undergoes two sets of different "through my eyes" filtration. First, through its creator John Wilson, an introverted master of observation who distills complex social interactions to their simplest explanations, and second, through the lens of the camera he carries around New York City (as well as Idaho, Florida, and other spots his investigations take him), which concentrates his viewpoint into a single image, like that weirdo from American Beauty. It's all edited together to tell his story in ways no one expects. Wilson is able to take these ill-fitting themes and massage them into a cohesive, touching rumination on existence. It's a show that is impossible to explain, but one watch, and you'll get it. -Tim Surette [Trailer


Harley Quinn

For fans of: Raunch, good DC
Number of seasons: 4

Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn

Max

The hit DC animated series will be back for a fifth season on the same Bat-channel. In the meantime, catch up on Season 4 of Harley Quinn, which picks up with Harley (Kaley Cuoco) teaming up with the Bat-Family now that Batgirl (Briana Cuoco) has taken the reins — and Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader) has gone to jail for tax invasion. Superhero stories like this don't come along every day. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]       


Ten Year Old Tom

For fans of: Animation for adults, adults voicing children
Number of seasons: 2

Ten Year Old Tom

Ten Year Old Tom

HBO

Not many remember The Life & Times of Tim, an awkwardly drawn and deliriously funny animated series on HBO (three seasons, 2008-2012) that followed a sheepish 20-year-old adult-in-training and the wild cast of characters orbiting his life, but I sure do because it's gosh darn hilarious (and because I like his name). Creator Steve Dildarian finally returns to show biz with a new series, and he's really not changing much except a letter here and a generation there. Ten Year Old Tom retains Tim's unique animation and perspective, but I'm guessing there will be fewer hookers in this one. UPDATE: I was wrong! -Tim Surette [Trailer]


Warrior

For fans of: Bruce Lee, Peaky Blinders by way of Gangs of New York
Number of seasons: 3

Andrew Koji, Warrior

Andrew Koji, Warrior

David Bloomer/Cinemax

Warrior is a breakthrough in Asian representation on the screen, but that's just a bonus of this action drama that's finding new life on Max after toiling in obscurity on Cinemax. Based on the writings of Bruce Lee and brought to the screen by his daughter Shannon, Warrior's depiction of the Tong Wars in San Francisco in the late 1800s is appropriately gruesome and takes more turns than Lombard Street, showing a time, place, and people that television somehow always overlooks. It's Peaky Blinders with an added layer of racial issues. It's Gangs of New York with more flying kicks. But it's also wholly original as a story of immigrants making their way in a country that only barely tolerated them and fighting back against that hatred. -Tim Surette [Trailer


Sex and the City/And Just Like That...

For fans of: Classic, beloved shows and their inevitable reboots
Number of seasons: 6 (of Sex and the City), 2 (of And Just Like That...)

Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett, And Just Like That...

Sarah Jessica Parker and John Corbett, And Just Like That...

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

Even if you haven't seen Sex and the City, you know about Sex and the City. Four best friends in New York City! Navigating love, navigating life, navigating the transition from late '90s fashion (fun) to early 2000s fashion (horrendous)! It's always been enormously popular, but hasn't always gotten credit as a quote-unquote "important" show, as is usually the case with a lot of things that are quote-unquote "for women," but it really is a great show, even for all of its many faults. Its reboot, And Just Like That..., which premiered in 2021 and catches up with three out of four of the women now that they're in their 50s, is not as great, but if you're a fan (like I very much am), it's hard to resist. -Allison Picurro [Trailer] 


The Righteous Gemstones

For fans of: Danny McBride's comedy style, Succession for Christians
Number of seasons: 3

Adam Devine, Danny McBride, and Edi Patterson, The Righteous Gemstones

Adam Devine, Danny McBride, and Edi Patterson, The Righteous Gemstones

Jake Giles Netter/HBO

Danny McBride is so good at making shows about awful, obnoxious people. His latest, The Righteous Gemstones, is a dark comedy about a world-famous televangelist family whose patriarch, Eli (John Goodman), has made his fortune by preaching the good word of the Lord to the public and opening a string of megachurches, often at the cost of smaller churches. McBride, Edi Patterson, and Adam DeVine play his three horrible adult children, all of whom are in constant competition with each other to see who can become Daddy's favorite and take over the empire (seriously, it's Succession), and Walton Goggins plays his loathsome brother-in-law. Every comedy is actually a drama these days, but The Righteous Gemstones is, thankfully, first and foremost occupied with making you laugh, even as its characters do and say absolutely despicable things. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


SmartLess: On the Road

For fans of: SmartLess, rich dudes being dudes (and rich)
Number of seasons: 1

Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett, SmartLess: On the Road

Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett, SmartLess: On the Road

Max

The incredibly popular podcast SmartLess, with hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, goes from listen only to listen and look only in this docuseries about their tour across America, with guests such as Matt Damon, Will Ferrell, and David Letterman. I don't think there's really any other way to say it, so I'll just say it: If you like the podcast, then you'll like the show. -Tim Surette [Trailer]      


The Other Two

For fans of: Molly Shannon, making fun of the entertainment industry
Number of seasons: 3

Drew Tarver and Helene Yorke, The Other Two

Drew Tarver and Heléne Yorke, The Other Two

Greg Endries/HBO Max

Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider's showbiz comedy is one of the funniest shows on TV, period. It follows forgotten older siblings Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorke) who have to deal with the fact that their teen brother has become a world famous pop star overnight. As his star rises, they flail forward, trying to forge their own career paths despite the world constantly kicking them down at every turn. It's a satire that isn't cynical or smug, and it's the surprisingly rare comedy of today that is primarily focused on making its audience laugh. You will absolutely walk away with "My Brother's Gay (And That's Okay)" stuck in your head. And that's OK. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Unicorn: Warriors Eternal

For fans of: Genndy Tartakovsky
Number of seasons: 1

Unicorn: Warriors Eternal

Unicorn: Warriors Eternal

Adult Swim

Unicorn: Warriors Eternal is an impossible animated series to accurately describe, but here we go. A steampunk robot travels through time imbuing teenagers in Victorian England with the spirits of warriors tasked with battling an entity for eternity, forcing these unsuspecting vessels to abandon their lives and save the world. The better description is to say it's another winner from Genndy Tartakovsky (Primal, Samurai Jack), a visually stunning, emotionally rich piece of oddball art. -Tim Surette [Trailer]     


White House Plumbers

For fans of: Big mustaches, historical buffoonery, 
Number of seasons: 1

White House Plumbers

White House Plumbers

Phil Caruso/HBO

Justin Theroux's big, glorious mustache should be enough to get you to watch White House Plumbers, but if you need some more information about the "plot," here you go: Theroux and Woody Harrelson star in this series that goes behind the scenes of the Watergate scandal, spotlighting the two bumbling idiots who accidentally overturned Nixon's presidency while trying to protect it. -Allison Picurro [Trailer | Review]     


Love & Death

For fans of: True crime limited series
Number of seasons: 1

Elizabeth Olsen, Love & Death

Elizabeth Olsen, Love & Death

Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max

You've seen the story of Candy Montgomery unfold on Hulu's Candy, but now it gets HBO-ified. Elizabeth Olsen leaves the confines of WandaVision's Westview for the suburbs of Wylie, Texas, to play Montgomery, who was accused of murdering her friend Betty Gore with an axe after having an affair with her husband. The limited series was written by the indefatigable David E. Kelley and also stars Jesse PlemonsKrysten RitterLily Rabe, and Patrick Fugit. -Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]


Somebody Somewhere

For fans of: Finding yourself, feeling so good you might burst
Number of seasons: 2

Jeff Hiller and Bridget Everett, Somebody Somewhere

Jeff Hiller and Bridget Everett, Somebody Somewhere

Sandy Morris/HBO

Comedian Bridget Everett stars in this indie-com about a woman named Sam learning to find herself in Kansas after the untimely death of her sister. But it's not a sad show! In fact, Somebody Somewhere is about relishing the joys of friendship, expressing yourself, and embracing what makes you unique, but in that weird way that the choir club at high school used to do. And its second season doesn't miss a beat. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


Barry

For fans of: Murdering, acting
Number of seasons: 4

Bill Hader, Barry

Bill Hader, Barry

HBO

Barry, which follows Bill Hader's titular depressed hitman trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles, is either TV's funniest drama or its most dramatic comedy. It has rarely missed, and it's solidified itself as one of our best character studies of damaged people. Its frequent moments of sly, absurd humor keep it from diving into unwatchably dark territory, and the material is elevated by a dynamite ensemble cast, which features the great Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, and Stephen Root. This is the kind of show that's always firing on all cylinders. And its fourth and final season doesn't miss a beat. -Tim Surette [Trailer 


Succession

For fans of: Cruelty, insults, business, sad and pathetic men
Number of seasons: 4

Jeremy Strong, Succession

Jeremy Strong, Succession

David Russell/HBO

Who's doing it like Succession? Jesse Armstrong's series about the power struggles of the members of the exorbitantly rich Roy family, whose father is the CEO of a billion-dollar media conglomerate, is worth every bit of the hype surrounding it. Yes, it's about the business stuff (though I don't really know anyone watching it because they're super passionate about business), but it's mostly about the truly horrifically twisted family dynamics, and about the awful things wealth and power do to people. Considering the clashing personality types at play — from king sad boy Kendall (Jeremy Strong) to slimy, immature Roman (Kieran Culkin) to cold, calculating Shiv (Sarah Snook) — it's not difficult to understand why it's inspired so many memes. Sometimes it's just fun to watch bad people behave badly, when it's all happening within the confines of a fictional TV show. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Perry Mason

For fans of: Grizzled, hard-drinking detectives, reboots
Number of seasons: 2

Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

HBO

You probably remember Perry Mason as an imposing defense attorney somewhere inside that imposing suit as he boiled down murder cases and, like clockwork, wrung out a confession from someone who wasn't his client to prove his client's innocence. Throw most of that out the window, as HBO reboots Perry Mason with a terrific Matthew Rhys playing the iconic TV character as a slightly disheveled, grumpy, boozing, f---ing malcontent who, in Season 1, works a case about a murdered baby in dirty, grimy 1930s Los Angeles. This is how prestige television is done — even if the story ultimately comes up a bit short, the performances and visuals are enough to keep you watching — and Season 2 is a marked improvement. -Tim Surette [Trailer


The Last of Us

For fans of: Mushrooms, when Pedro Pascal plays a father figure
Number of seasons: 1

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us

Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal, The Last of Us

Liane Hentscher/HBO

One of the best video games of the past decade gets its long-awaited live-action adaptation in HBO's The Last of Us. The drama is set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic version of the U.S. that has been overrun by cannibalistic, zombified creatures and follows a survivor's (Pedro Pascal) journey to smuggle a teenage girl (Bella Ramsey) out of the quarantine zone. The series was co-developed by Chernobyl's Craig Mazin and the game's creative director Neil Druckmann, with an ensemble cast that reads like a Who's Who of great TV character actors like Murray BartlettAnna Torv, and Melanie Lynskey. -Allison Picurro [Trailer Review]


I Hate Suzie

For fans of: Hot messes, the trappings of fame
Number of seasons: 2

Billie Piper, I Hate Suzie

Billie Piper, I Hate Suzie

HBO

It's OK to watch someone during the worst time of their life, really! It's good for learning from their mistakes and enjoying a little schadenfreude, and in the SkyTV series I Hate Suzie, it's also very funny. Billie Piper delivers an award-worthy performance as she absolutely becomes Suzie Pickles, an actress whose career and family get blown to bits when her phone is hacked and racy photos are leaked on the internet. The scramble to save face and her marriage is a bumpy one for Suzie, who goes through the wringer in the dark comedy that isn't afraid to mix raunch with sharp observations about celebrity. There's an element of horror to the show as the walls close in on Suzie and she retreats into some self-destructive behavior in strange places, and the anxiety it produces is almost too much, in a great way. In its three-episode second season, the delirium continues as Suzie gets a part in a televised Christmas special and fights to regain the love of the public. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


South Side

For fans of: Hangout comedies, wigs, the White Sox
Number of seasons: 3

Sultan Salahuddin and Kareme Young, South Side

Sultan Salahuddin and Kareme Young, South Side

Comedy Central

South Side follows two friends in Chicago who are trying to become venture capitalists but are stuck working boring day jobs until it happens. Creators Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle have created a delightfully singular little world. This is the ultimate hangout show in that nothing really happens, but the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny and the characters are excellent. It's the kind of show you watch and wonder why you didn't start watching it sooner. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Sort Of

For fans of: Silly and sad TV shows, thoughtful explorations of identity
Number of seasons: 3

Amanda Cordner and Bilal Baig, Sort Of

Amanda Cordner and Bilal Baig, Sort Of

HBO Max

A tender, low-key dramedy about a non-binary millennial who drops everything to care for the young kids they nanny after the mother of the family suffers an accident, Sort Of is a quietly groundbreaking gem of a series. It avoids leaning into self-importance and flows with the unhurried authenticity of everyday life, all anchored by its wonderful star and co-creator, Bilal Baig. Its explorations of identity are presented with droll frankness; its jokes can catch you by surprise with their subtlety. It's like a breath of fresh air in TV form. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


The Sex Lives of College Girls

For fans of: The comedy stylings of Mindy Kaling, embarrassing college exploits
Number of seasons: 2

Amrit Kaur, Pauline Chalamet, Alyah Chanelle Scott, and Reneé Rapp, The Sex Lives of College Girls

Amrit Kaur, Pauline Chalamet, Alyah Chanelle Scott, and Reneé Rapp, The Sex Lives of College Girls

HBO Max

I'm a simple person, and if you tell me Mindy Kaling is producing a show about weirdo teen girls, I will absolutely be watching that show. With The Sex Lives of College Girls, we get a break from reliving the mortification of high school on Never Have I Ever to relive the mortification of college. It follows a quartet of friends who are thrown together when they become freshman year roommates and begin to navigate their newfound freedom together. As the title promises, it does, in fact, deal with sex quite a lot, but in a fun, refreshing way that explores all the fumbling awkwardness of those in-between years where you're not quite adolescent but not quite an adult either. And because this is a Kaling show, many of its best moments come when it focuses on the friendships between its core four. What's better than that? -Allison Picurro [Trailer


The White Lotus

For fans of: Social satires, cursed hotels, Jennifer Coolidge
Number of seasons: 2

Aubrey Plaza, The White Lotus

Aubrey Plaza, The White Lotus

HBO

The first season of Mike White's riveting dramedy was set at an exclusive billion-star Hawaiian resort, though it was hardly relaxing for any of its characters, whether they were there for vacation or working to meet the needy needs of their wealthy clients. In Season 2, the location changes to Italy and a whole new cast of high-strung characters take the spotlight. White has created a dark comedy that he's proven works well in any corner of the world, and it's a joy to watch even when it seems as though the stakes are low. -Tim Surette [Trailer | Season 2 Review


Los Espookys 

For fans of: Surreal comedy, very literal and very stylish inner demons
Number of seasons: 2

Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, Los Espookys

Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, Los Espookys

Pablo Arellano Spataro/HBO

Los Espookys, HBO's zany Spanish-language comedy about a group of friends who turn their love of horror into a peculiar business, deserves to be a huge hit. Julio TorresAna Fabrega, and Fred Armisen co-created and star in the series, which is finally releasing its second season after a long COVID-induced hiatus, and hopefully the world will finally come around to its many goth charms. There's nothing quite like it on TV, taking place in the cross-section between the real and the surreal, and relishing its own oddness. It was canceled after Season 2, sadly. -Allison Picurro [Trailer] 


House of the Dragon 

For fans of: Game of Thrones, white wigs
Number of seasons: 1

Matt Smith, House of the Dragon

Matt Smith, House of the Dragon

Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon, HBO's Game of Thrones prequel series, needs no introduction, but I'll attempt to give it one anyway: Set two centuries before Game of Thrones, the series centers on the Targaryen family as they fight for control of the Iron Throne. Expect power struggles and white hair. In his review for TV Guide, Liam Mathews wrote that the show doesn't "break the wheel" — it's really just more Game of Thrones, which isn't a bad thing: "If you're even a little bit open to getting burned by dragon fire, House of the Dragon is willing to meet you where you're at." -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


Abbott Elementary 

For fans of: Teachers, optimism, mockumentaries
Number of seasons: 3

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary

Pamela Littky/ABC

Abbot Elementary is a mockumentary in the vein of The Office or Parks and Recreation about an underfunded public elementary school in Philadelphia, where the teachers try to provide for their students as best they can without getting burnt out by the lack of resources, respect, administrative support, and difficulty of the job itself. The main character is Janine Teagues (series creator Quinta Brunson), an idealistic second-grade teacher in her second year on the job. Every episode, she tries to go above and beyond the call of duty, with alternately triumphant or humbling results. The show has a sweet-and-salty sense of humor and a cast of characters who feel like people who could actually exist in real life. We've all relied on commiseration with competent coworkers to help us endure bad bosses like Ava Coleman, the preening and vindictive principal hilariously played by Janelle James. We called it the best show on TV right now for a reason-Liam Mathews [Trailer


Selena + Chef

For fans of: Watching Selena Gomez wield a knife, saying "I could totally make that"
Number of seasons: 4

Selena Gomez, Selena + Chef

Selena Gomez, Selena + Chef

HBO Max

Selena + Chef fully embraces the simplicity of pandemic TV production, asking Selena Gomez to do just about everything, from turning on the cameras to bringing in the deliveries to prepping the food, giving viewers the rare opportunity to see Selena in her natural habitat and dressed down in sweats. The entertainment is twofold: Not only do we learn how to cook some great meals, but Gomez's combination of inexperience (in early seasons, almost every chef was terrified of her slasher-film knife skills), incompetence (she started a fire in Season 2), coolness (the fire didn't faze her AT ALL), and commitment (she was never afraid to get her hands VERY dirty) are inspirational. If she can do it, so can you. Gomez and her roster of guest chefs are all charming to the point that watching the show is like hanging out with friends. In Season 4, they go to the beach. -Tim Surette [Trailer


Industry

For fans of: Corporate drama, young people drama
Number of seasons: 2

Myha'la Herrold, Industry

Myha'la Herrold, Industry

Simon Ridgway/HBO

Industry, which can best be described as the exact midpoint between "Succession for Instagram influencers" and "Euphoria for business majors," is just so good. The finance world series revolves around a group of young bankers trying to secure their dream jobs at a prestigious London investment bank, and focuses as much on their career drama as it does on their interpersonal drama. The market is always in shambles. Alliances are always shifting. Sometimes Jay Duplass is there. It's a great show. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

For fans of: Pretty Little Liars
Number of seasons: 1

Malia Pyles, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Malia Pyles, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin 

Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

It simultaneously feels like five minutes and 18 years since Pretty Little Liars ended, but that doesn't really matter, because it's now being rebooted, kind of. It follows a new group of teen girls being terrorized by an anonymous person seeking revenge for sins committed by their parents two decades earlier. Uh oh! Though it's set in a new town and focuses on a new group of liars, it takes place within the original Pretty Little Liars universe. For fans of the original series, watching this is a no-brainer, but for everyone else, it's worth noting that it's gotten solid reviews. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal

For fans of: Prehistoric times, stunning animation, unlikely friendships
Number of seasons: 2

Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal

Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal

Adult Swim

Adult Swim's Emmy-winning series takes its time. The first five episodes of Season 1 were released in 2019, and the last five were released a year later. Season 2 followed in 2022, and a third season is on the way. As always with this incredible series, it's worth the wait. The animated series follows a caveman named Spear and his unlikely but incredibly loyal friendship with a Tyrannosaurus named Fang as they struggle to survive a brutal prehistoric world populated by man-eating dinosaurs, savage primates, and eerie supernatural beings. There's no real dialogue, but it's a tribute to Tartakovsky's storytelling and direction that the emotional impact is so visceral, making it one of the best shows on TV, animated or not. -Tim Surette [Trailer


The Rehearsal

For fans of: Nathan for You, challenging the parameters of reality
Number of seasons: 1

Nathan Fielder, The Rehearsal

Nathan Fielder, The Rehearsal

HBO

Nathan Fielder is really good at making social experiment TV (like his great Comedy Central series Nathan for You, or How to With John Wilson, which he produces) in which many episodes are built around interactions with everyday people. His latest series is a little harder to describe — in it, Fielder helps people plan for big moments in their lives through elaborately constructed rehearsals, but as is usually the case with Fielder's work, it becomes about so much more the longer it goes on. If Fielder's deadpan character appeals to you, and you can allow yourself to be in on the joke with him, you'll love The Rehearsal. -Allison Picurro [Trailer | Review]


Irma Vep

For fans of: When TV shows feel like very cool movies, meta commentary
Number of seasons: 1

Alicia Vikander, Irma Vep

Alicia Vikander, Irma Vep

Carole Bethuel/HBO

Irma Vep, a limited series adaptation of Olivier Assayas's 1996 movie of the same name, might just have been the coolest show of 2022. Stylish and layered, the series stars Alicia Vikander as a disillusioned actress who is in France filming a remake of a classic French silent film called Les Vampires. It's full of meta commentary on the film industry, great music, and fashionable clothes. It reminds us that Vikander is an Academy Award-winning actress, dammit. It's tres chic. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Hacks

For fans of: JEAN SMART, odd couple pairings, comedy
Number of seasons: 2

Jean Smart, Hacks

Jean Smart, Hacks

Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max

Jean Smart is a living legend, and we owe it to human civilization to do everything we can to support her, starting with watching everything she's in. Smart stars in what's easily Max's best original comedy as Deborah Vance, an aging Las Vegas comedian whose time at the top is nearing its end, so circumstance teams her up with an entitled young comedian (Hannah Einbinder) recently canceled for a joke she made on Twitter. The cast also includes Kaitlin Olson and co-creator Paul W. Downs. -Tim Surette [Trailer


The Staircase

For fans of: Murder mysteries, great performances, owls
Number of seasons: 1

Colin Firth and Toni Collette, The Staircase

Colin Firth and Toni Collette, The Staircase

HBO Max

2022 was a banner year for true crime cases getting turned into scripted miniseries, and The Staircase comfortably slotted right in among the rest. Colin Firth, in one of the more impressive performances of that year, plays the author Michael Peterson, who in 2001 was accused of murdering his wife after claiming she died by falling down the stairs. The starry cast also includes Toni Collette, Parker PoseySophie Turner, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Before you say, "Well I've already seen the documentary, I don't need to see this," know that this adaptation adds enough to make it interesting, including the making of the documentary. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]    


We Own This City

For fans of: The Wire, corrupt cops, Jon Bernthal
Number of seasons: 1

Jon Bernthal and Jamie Hector, We Own This City

Jon Bernthal and Jamie Hector, We Own This City

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

The Wire is one of the greatest shows of all time. Two of the men behind it, David Simon and George Pelecanos, return to Baltimore with We Own This City, a limited series tracing the real rise and fall of the Baltimore Police Department's Gun Trace Task Force and — say it with me — corruption in the police department as a symptom of a city's institutional decay. Jon BernthalJamie Hector, and Josh Charles star. Bernthal is a delightful S.O.B. in this. -Liam Mathews [Trailer   


The Flight Attendant

For fans of: Questioning reality, communicating with the dead, the general spirit of Alfred Hitchcock
Number of seasons: 2

Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

Phil Caruso

Sometimes you just want to kick back and watch people make bad choices. The Flight Attendant delivers. The darkly comedic thriller stars Kaley Cuoco, never better, as a hot-mess flight attendant named Cassie who wakes up after a boozy night in Bangkok next to her fling's dead body. Cassie's fumbling quest to clear her name forces her to face what's screwed up in her, confronting memories she's repressed for decades. It's a fizzy, addictive caper with a Hitchcockian flair, and Cuoco makes it impossible to look away as her character spirals. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer | Season 2 Review]


Peacemaker

For fans of: Muscles, violence, perverted jokes
Number of seasons: 1

John Cena, Peacemaker

John Cena, Peacemaker

HBO Max

John Cena brings his The Suicide Squad DC Comics character Peacemaker — a buff guy who wants peace so badly he's willing to be extremely violent about it — to the small screen, with James Gunn writing all the episodes and directing five of them. If you saw the surprisingly great The Suicide Squad (not to be confused with but of course it's going to be confused with the dud Suicide Squad), you know the tone of this, with Gunn riding the gross-out humor of The Suicide Squad into an origin tale of the best character from the film who wasn't a walking weasel and Cena showing off his magnetic star power as a doofus meathead. Superhero purists may scoff at this, but those who love muscles, violence, and perverted jokes will lap it up. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


Euphoria

For fans of: Twentysomething actors playing badly behaving teens, sparkly makeup, Zendaya
Number of seasons: 2

Zendaya, Euphoria

Zendaya, Euphoria

HBO

Euphoria is the kind of show that'll make you say, "I'm never having kids!" Sam Levinson's gloriously messy, semi-autobiographical series centers around Rue (Zendaya), a high school student fresh out of rehab who has no intention of staying sober, and her toxic friendship with Jules (Hunter Schafer). Rue, Jules, and their classmates party, do drugs, and engage in general debauchery as they struggle to find themselves, but the show is so lovingly empathetic of their uniquely teenage despair while also having some of the best cinematography on television. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Search Party

For fans of: Poking fun at millennials, incompetent people doing crime, genre-bending
Number of seasons: 5

Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, and Meredith Hagner, Search Party

Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, and Meredith Hagner, Search Party

Mark Schafer/HBO Max

Search Party originally aired on TBS, where it was generally ignored for its first two seasons, but thankfully, Max rescued it from getting lost in the shuffle of cable TV. The satirical comedy stars Alia Shawkat as Dory, an aimless twenty-something living in Brooklyn who decides to assign purpose to her life by tracking down an old college classmate who has recently gone missing. That's how it starts out, anyway. Search Party goes to all kinds of audacious, dark places, boldly switching genres every season by adding in elements of crime thrillers and court dramas, and upping the stakes all while retaining its signature sharp sense of humor. It's a trip, but if you're willing to go along with it, you're in for a great ride. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Station Eleven

For fans of: Dystopian worlds, pandemic stories, the city of Chicago
Number of seasons: 1

Himesh Patel and Matilda Lawler, Station Eleven

Himesh Patel and Matilda Lawler, Station Eleven

Parrish Lewis/HBO Max

For better or worse, many shows have already addressed the pandemic, but Station Eleven is a little different than the rest, if only because the book it's based on (also called Station Eleven, written by Emily St. John Mandel) was written years before COVID (the miniseries also started filming before the pandemic). It centers on a group of survivors in the wake of a global pandemic that has ravaged much of the world as they work to figure out how to go on in the face of so much devastation, with the story often switching back and forth between the pre-virus past and the post-virus future. Mackenzie Davis, Matilda Lawler, and Himesh Patel star. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Insecure

For fans of: Talking to yourself in the mirror, female friendships, emotionally messy men
Number of seasons: 5

Insecure

Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae, Insecure

Merie W. Wallace/HBO

Issa Rae's opus centers around her alter-ego Issa Dee and Issa's best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji), who are both trying their best in their careers, their relationships, and their lives. Insecure is so good at so many things: presenting nuanced looks at the friendships between Black women, making life's everyday hardships alternately funny and heartbreaking, and of course, having a never-ending rotating door of handsome dudes. It's one of the best, funniest, and smartest comedies of the past decade. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Landscapers

For fans of: Very polite British people doing murder, twisty genre-bending
Number of seasons: 1

Olivia Colman, Landscapers

Olivia Colman, Landscapers

Stefania Rosini/HBO

If you've recently found yourself looking around at all the TV shows airing right now and thought, "Needs more prestige miniseries based on real crime cases," I have some good news for you. Inspired by the actual story of Christopher and Susan Edwards, Landscapers stars Olivia Colman and David Thewlis as a married couple sentenced to life in prison for murdering Susan's parents and subsequently burying them in their backyard. Personally, I'd be captivated watching Olivia Colman read a really long CVS receipt, and you can rarely go wrong with an HBO crime series. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Gossip Girl

For fans of: The omniscient voice of Kristen Bell, flip phones
Number of seasons: 6

Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl

Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl

The CW

The crown jewel of late aughts TV, Gossip Girl revolves around a group of rich kids who go to an elite Manhattan high school, all while their scandalous inner lives are tracked and put on display by the mysterious Gossip Girl. It's silly, it's stupid, it's perfect, and it catapulted people like Blake LivelyLeighton Meester, and Penn Badgley to stardom. Max also put out a, to be nice about it, not as perfect revival in 2021 that focuses on an all-new cast. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]  


David Makes Man

For fans of: Coming-of-age stories, magical realism
Number of seasons: 2

Isaiah Johnson and Akili McDowell, David Makes Man

Isaiah Johnson and Akili McDowell, David Makes Man

Rod Millington/OWN & Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Nothing else on TV moves like David Makes Man, a tender coming-of-age drama from Moonlight co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. The first season is told through the eyes of 14-year-old David (powerhouse talent Akili McDowell), who can't reconcile the person he is at his magnet school with his home life in the projects. As he deals with academic pressure, his mother's struggle to make rent, and the local boys who are eager to recruit him to the drug trade, each world he inhabits is written with equal empathy and humanity. When Season 2 jumps ahead to find David (played as an adult by Kwame Patterson) in his 30s, it only underlines the way adults still carry their youth with them. David Makes Man is a remarkable show, suffused with magical realism and drenched in the sunlight and sweat of South Florida. The impression it leaves is vivid and unforgettable. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]


Mare of Easttown

For fans of: Wawa, Philadelphia accents, family tension with a side of murder
Number of seasons: 1

Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Michele K. Short/HBO

On the surface, Mare of Easttown seems like any other crime show about a grizzled cop solving a case. The series follows Mare (Kate Winslet, giving one of the best performances of her career), a Pennsylvania detective, as she investigates the killing of a local teen girl while simultaneously coping with her own trauma. But despite how many dark murder dramas are out there, Mare is singular: It's an enthralling mystery; it's a character study of damaged people; it is, occasionally, a mother-daughter sitcom. It'll keep you hooked until the final shot, in which Mare finally begins dealing with the piece of her past she's had the most difficulty accepting. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Scenes From a Marriage

For fans of: Unhappy people in unhappy relationships, monologues
Number of seasons: 1

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, Scenes from a Marriage

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, Scenes from a Marriage

Jojo Whilden/HBO

Certified beautiful people Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain play an unhappily married couple in this remake of Ingmar Bergman's 1973 miniseries (which is also streaming on Max). Isaac and Chastain make all five melancholy, dialogue-heavy hours of this show worth it, their crackling chemistry bringing every moment of their characters' history together to life. They hate each other, they love each other, they should break up, they should stay together – it changes by the minute, and it all feels real. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


The Way Down

For fans of: True crime, cult leaders, tall hair
Number of seasons: 1

The Way Down

The Way Down

HBO Max

This true crime series looks at Gwen Shamblin Lara, the founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church, which mixed the worship of Jesus Christ with a weight-loss program and was accused of being a cult. Lara parlayed her status as a best-selling author for her book The Weigh Down Diet into the leader of the church, which she founded in 1999 and led all the way up to May of 2021 when she [spoiler!!!]. The church was criticized for emphasizing looks and creating a Stepford Wives-like community of women and using religion to boost business. -Tim Surette [Trailer


Frayed

For fans of: Difficult women, complicated family dynamics
Number of seasons: 2

Sarah Kendall, Frayed

Sarah Kendall, Frayed

HBO Max

Set in the late '80s, the spiky dramedy stars (and was created by) Sarah Kendall as a woman who is forced to relocate herself and her two children from London to her hometown of Newcastle in Australia after the death of her husband leaves the family broke. She moves back in with her alcoholic mother and is forced to contend with things from her past she hasn't dealt with in years — starting with the fact that she's been faking her British accent. It's as funny as it is dramatic, with lovably complex characters and sharp writing that will make you wish it was longer than two seasons. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Six Feet Under

For fans of: Feeling the full spectrum of human emotion, family dramas
Number of seasons: 5

Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, and Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under

Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, and Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under

HBO

Alan Ball's series follows the lives of the Fisher family, who take over the Los Angeles funeral home that was left to them by their recently deceased father. You may or may not know that Six Feet Under is best remembered for its iconic series finale sequence, but most everything that happens before that is incredible too. The Fisher family is dysfunctional and troubled, and the show is unique for its willingness to have frank, complicated discussions about the many facets of dying and grief. While you should probably know before going in that this one is pretty dark (each episode begins with a different death), don't let that deter you from watching. It's something special. -Allison Picurro [Trailer]


The Leftovers

For fans of: Confronting the unknown, purposely mysterious mythology
Number of seasons: 3

Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux, The Leftovers

Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux, The Leftovers

Van Redin/HBO

Co-created by Lost's Damon Lindelof and author Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers could be read as a direct response to the controversy around the Lost finale: On The Leftovers, the lack of answers was the point. Set in the dazed aftermath of the sudden vanishing of 2 percent of the world's population, the series evolved past its bleak first season to tell a story more expansive, and more quietly magical, than anything else on TV. But while the unrelenting anguish of the first few episodes turned some viewers off, it wasn't a flaw in the big picture. The distance between where The Leftovers began and where it ended was part of what made the second and third seasons so effective: It was thrilling to watch the show break its own rules. When the characters found their own ways to heal, it was both a rebellion and a relief. The Leftovers didn't capture life exactly as it is but as it feels. It will be looked back on as a snapshot of a chaotic era striving for grace. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer


The Wire

For fans of: Gritty stories about America, classic TV, participating in the argument about the best TV show ever
Number of seasons: 5

Wendell Pierce and Dominic West, The Wire

Wendell Pierce and Dominic West, The Wire

HBO

Created by David SimonThe Wire is rightfully lauded as being one of the greatest shows of all time. Set in Baltimore, the crime drama focuses largely on the city's drug trade, but with each season it peels back another layer, expertly exploring other facets of the city, from the local government to the educational system. It's unflinching and fascinating, set on exposing the American underbelly, but more than anything, it really just is that good. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


The Sopranos

For fans of: Italians, New Jersey, complicated men
Number of seasons: 6

The Sopranos

The Sopranos

HBO/Getty Images

Have you heard of this one? David Chase's groundbreaking drama is about as popular now as it was when it first aired, and for good reason. It is quite simply one of the best to ever do it, following James Gandolfini's mafia man with feelings, Tony Soprano, as he tries to reckon with the weight of the horrifically violent things he's done as a mob boss while balancing his role as a husband and father. It's an absorbingly vibrant story about America, the things capitalism does to a person's soul, and track suits. If you love any show made after The Sopranos, there's a pretty good chance it was, in some way, inspired by The Sopranos. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


Enlightened

For fans of: Canceled-too-soon greats, the genius of Laura Dern
Number of seasons: 2

Laura Dern, Enlightened

Laura Dern, Enlightened

HBO

One of the best series HBO has ever produced, Mike White's half-hour dramedy Enlightened stars Laura Dern — in arguably her greatest TV performance — as a former corporate exec who heads to a spiritual retreat after a mental breakdown. There, she becomes a new age, eco-friendly goddess who rejoins her company at the bottom, where she plots to take down the corporation. Extremely touching and hilarious, Enlightened was ahead of its time. -Allison Picurro [Trailer] 


Watchmen

For fans of: Superheroes but not the Marvel kind
Number of seasons: 1

Regina King, Watchmen

Regina King, Watchmen

HBO

Based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel and created by Damon Lindelof, Watchmen is the rare superhero story that resonates with people who love superheroes and people who hate superheroes. Set in an alternate version of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where cops conceal their identities to protect themselves, it picks up 34 years after the original Watchmen story. Regina King gives a powerhouse performance as Angela Abar, who is unexpectedly drawn into a mysterious conspiracy after the death of a colleague. The show is an incredible showcase for actors like King, Jean Smart, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, while also serving as a history lesson, bringing the 1921 Tulsa race massacre to greater public consciousness. It also notably manages to make such a sprawling story digestible to people who aren't familiar with the original Watchmen. From start to finish, it's an expertly crafted series. -Allison Picurro [Trailer


I May Destroy You

For fans of: The genius of Michaela Coel, mixing sly humor with tragedy
Number of seasons: 1

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

HBO

Rising super-talent Michaela Coel created, writes, directs, and stars in this timely and unflinching drama made in partnership with the BBC. She plays Arabella, an author who is drugged and sexually assaulted in a bar, and comes to with a vague memory that something bad happened to her, but she's not sure who's responsible. She tries to find out who did it, while also maintaining her friendships and finishing her book. The series deals with some intensely heavy topics, but it has a sly sense of humor that will make you laugh when you're least expecting it. -Liam Mathews [Trailer


Rick & Morty

For fans of: Dimension-hopping, idiot men, shows too smart for normies
Number of seasons: 7

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty

Adult Swim

Adult Swim's animated series is a sci-fi/comedy adventure, following psychotic scientist Rick, who ropes his clueless grandson Morty into his adventures across the universe. People who love this show really love it, and are quick to point out it's more than just a gross-out cartoon full of aliens. To their credit, the show takes time fleshing out the histories and inner workings of its characters, and goes beyond the temptation to make every episode a goofy sci-fi parody. It's fun! It will probably run forever! -Allison Picurro [Trailer


The Boondocks

For fans of: Cartoons with a huge dose of social commentary, the vocal stylings of Regina King
Number of seasons: 4

The Boondocks

The Boondocks

Adult Swim

Aaron McGruder's satirical cartoon follows Huey (Regina King), a wise-beyond-his-years 10-year-old who lives in a predominantly white suburb with his younger brother, Riley (also Regina King!), and their grandfather (John Witherspoon), and it does a singular job of highlighting the many facets of the Black experience in the United States. Huey is a kid with the weight of the world on his shoulders — he knows too much, he sees right through the adults around him, and he's perpetually trying to push back against a broken system, usually unsuccessfully. One of the best things about The Boondocks is its enduring relevance, presenting takes on race, class, identity, and the government that have aged shockingly well, considering this show first aired in 2005. -Allison Picurro [Trailer