It's almost Halloween, so before we get into the best shows and movies streaming on HBO and HBO Max, we should sort out your Halloween costume. You could go as HBO Max, but you'd need a pretty big costume to fit all the goodies the streamer has for you this month. You'd need to be part sand worm thanks to the big sci-fi epic Dune, part young Tony Soprano for the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, part d-bag to be any of the Roys from Succession, part angry rioter because of the Jan. 6 documentary Four Hours at the Capitol, and part neurotic old man because of a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Wow. That's going to be one ugly costume.
Our list of suggestions for the best shows and movies on HBO and HBO Max in October is below.
The Many Saints of Newark
Oct. 1 on HBO Max (also in theaters)
As far as reboots/revisits/reimagines/re-whatevers of beloved properties go, The Many Saints of Newark — the Sopranos prequel film that promises to give us the Tony Soprano origin story we've been waiting years for — seems like it could end up falling among the better ones. Even if it's not perfect, it's still has a lot going for it: the involvement of Sopranos creator David Chase (he pulled double duty as screenwriter and producer), a stacked cast led by James Gandolfini's son Michael assuming the role originated by his father (cue my tears), and narration provided by Christofuh himself, Michael Imperioli (though the character only appears on screen as a baby). Many Saints takes us back to the 1960s, when Tony was just a teenager learning the ropes from his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), a conflicted mobster dealing with his own host of personal and professional issues. (Sound familiar?) The starry ensemble is rounded out by Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Leslie Odom Jr., and Corey Stoll.
We're HereSeason 2
Oct. 11 on HBO, HBO Max
I loved this series, in which RuPaul's Drag Race alums Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen, and Eureka O'Hara recruit small-town residents to participate in drag shows, in its first season, and I'm very excited to get more of its quirky brand of warm-hearted goodness in Season 2. This is one of those reality shows where the hosts briefly become therapist-like figures to the episode's subjects, but seeing as the queens are often working with queer people struggling with various aspects of their identity, We're Here ends up being even more uplifting for it. Plus, it should come as no surprise to hear that its core trio is extremely good at being on TV.
Oct. 15 on HBO Max (also in theaters)
Chalamaniacs, our time has finally come. We were supposed to see Dune, Denis Villeneuve's sprawling film adaptation of Frank Herbert's iconic sci-fi novel, way back in 2020, and then a whole bunch of stuff I won't get into happened, and now here we are at the tail end of 2021, bracing ourselves for the act of suspending our disbelief enough to imagine a world where Oscar Isaac is Timothée Chalamet's biological dad. (Literally, anything is possible in science fiction. Even that.) Set in the distant future, Dune is an epic hero's journey about Paul Atreides (Chalamet), the son of a noble family tasked with traveling to a dangerous planet in order to protect his people. And, of course, there are the sandworms. Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin co-star.
Succession Season 3
Oct. 17 on HBO, HBO Max
In my house, October 17 has officially been named a national holiday — that's how excited I am about the return of the Roys in all their unhinged glory. Things are shaping up to be extra unhinged in Season 3, which picks up in the immediate wake of Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) televised betrayal of his dad (Brian Cox), leaving the rest of the family, as well as everyone else in the world, to deal with the fallout. What results is a full-scale blood war between Kendall and Logan as they battle for control of Waystar Royco, with the rest of the siblings (plus Cousin Greg) forced to choose sides. Let the memes begin.
Four Hours at the Capitol
Oct. 20 on HBO, HBO Max
Do you remember the moment you found out about the insurrection on U.S. Capitol back in January? Wasn't that insane? Well, HBO is looking to take you right back to that with its new documentary about the attack, which famously came on the day Joe Biden's presidency was certified by Congress. If you're looking to get inside the minds of the people who were actually there, waving around their Trump flags and violently pushing their way into the Capitol at the expense of a few lives, well, here's your chance. Harrowing!
Oct. 24 on HBO, HBO Max
It's going to be really hard to say goodbye to Insecure. After five seasons, the comedy is wrapping up this year, but it's not letting its heroine off the hook just yet. In these episodes, Issa (Issa Rae) is trying to manifest a "drama-free and happy" life, but that seems like it might be a difficult vibe to achieve when the fate of so many of her relationships, most importantly the ones she has with Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Lawrence (Jay Ellis), are uncertain. I can't wait to find out what Mirror Issa has to say about this latest crop of problems.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Oct. 24 on HBO, HBO Max
Larry David would have LOVED the pandemic as an instant excuse to avoid social obligations, but where's the fun in watching that? Season 11 of David's Curb Your Enthusiasm puts Larry in a post-pandemic world where he still has to mill about with those who bother him the most: everyone. Following the events of Season 10, Larry will be saddled with lawsuits that pinch his wallet and he'll get involved in local politics. The guest list sounds great too: Woody Harrelson, Lucy Liu, Kaley Cuoco, Seth Rogen, and many familiar faces from seasons past. -Tim Surette
Love LifeSeason 2
Oct. 28 on HBO Max
In its first season, Love Life, HBO Max's anthology dramedy, was a cute show about Anna Kendrick looking for love... in her life. In its second, William Jackson Harper gets to be the one on the hunt for some love. He plays Marcus, who is fresh off a break-up with his long-term girlfriend and forced to reconsider everything he thought he knew about romance as he gets back out into the world of dating.