The 45 Best Shows to Stream on Max

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Angels in America (2003)

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Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Angels in America is one of HBO’s most iconic miniseries about the intersecting lives of New Yorkers during the AIDS epidemic in 1985 (plus a very persistent angel played by Emma Thompson). It is one of three shows to ever sweep every major category at the Emmys.

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Big Little Lies (2017–2019)

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Max

Remember when a cast of acclaimed film actresses coming together for a series was deemed event television? Feels like another lifetime. Regardless of the current state of television affairs, this murder mystery drama adapted from Liane Moriarty’s novel is still an unstoppable force—particularly in its first season directed entirely by the late Jean-Marc Vallée. There are whispers of a third season in development.

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Chernobyl (2019)

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Max

The English-language dramatization of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown is a nail-biting miniseries, with stand-out performances by Jared Harris and Emily Watson as their characters race against time to prevent further damage from one of the worst nuclear catastrophes of the modern era.

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Enlightened (2011–2013)

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Max

Before Mike White created The White Lotus, he made Enlightened with Laura Dern. In this dramedy, Dern stars as a corporate employee rebuilding her life after a mental break that cost her a fancy job title. White co-stars as her new coworker for an underrated two seasons of television.

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The Deuce (2017–2019)

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Max

David Simon’s The Deuce examines New York City’s sex work landscape in the 1970s and 80s and the legalization of porn during that era. The show stars James Franco as twins, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Eileen, an aspiring filmmaker.

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Euphoria (2019–)

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Max

Alright, hear me out. We may never get to see a third season of Euphoria, but it is the blueprint to the careers of some of the biggest Hollywood stars of our time, including Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, Jacob Elordi, Hunter Schafer, and others. Understandable criticism aside, it is worth watching for their performances alone, and may surprise you in its depiction of addiction.

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The Flight Attendant (2020–2022)

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Max

With bingeable manic energy, The Flight Attendant landed with two addicting seasons of television executive produced and starring Kaley Cuoco, a major departure from her The Big Bang Theory character. Beginning with Cassie (Cuoco) being framed for murder, the show unravels broader conspiracies with an extended cast of characters while also exploring alcoholism in unexpectedly moving ways.

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Girls (2012–2017)

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Max

Girls is a relic of the millennial era. In some ways a spiritual successor to Sex and the City, Lena Dunham’s cringe comedy was relentlessly picked apart as it aired in the social media era, every episode prompting a new thinkpiece. But it stands today as a hilarious, thoughtfully-created and satirical time capsule of New York City in the 2010s, likely to be re-discovered by twenty-somethings for generations to come.

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Hacks (2021–)

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Max

Hacks is one of the best comedies airing today, full stop. The series follows Deborah (Jean Smart), a legendary stand-up comic who hires Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a zillennial she hopes will help rejuvenate her comedy career in more honest and authentic ways. Cross-generational jokes abound here and they all land with the help of brilliant comedic timing. The show also punches way above its weight with a fantastic ensemble cast and carefully curated guest stars. The show returns for a third season this May.

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Harley Quinn (2019–)

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Max

Adult animation can be hit or miss, but this comedy carves its own path by centering Harley Quinn’s story (voiced by Kaley Cuoco) on her disentanglement from the Joker and her newfound queerness through a new relationship with Poison Ivy (Lake Bell). The creators of the series have confidently stated the two iconic villains (who engage in “ethical evil” on the show) are endgame—a relief from the “bury your gays” trope on television.

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High Maintenance (2016–2020)

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Max

High Maintenance is a hidden gem in the episodic anthology format. Every episode is from the perspective of a weed dealer’s clients and offers a slightly different flavor, but there is a softness that runs through the series that only a true stoner could concoct—the intimacy of our everyday lives and how weed is used for connection. Although the creators have parted ways with the series, HBO has not officially canceled it, leaving the door open for future drug deliveries. We recommend watching the Vimeo web series before jumping into the HBO-commissioned episodes, both streaming on Max.

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House of the Dragon (2022–)

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Max

Will House of the Dragon ever rise to the heights of Game of Thrones? Time will tell, but it’s as close as we’ll get. The drama follows the Targaryen family in this prequel taking place 172 years before the birth of Daenerys Targaryen. The difference here is more focus on this concentrated set of characters and time jumps that propel the plot forward. But there is plenty of dragon fire, intrigue, betrayal and yes, incest, to be seen here.

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I Hate Suzie (2020–)

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Max

A collaboration between Succession writer Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper, I Hate Suzie begins when an actress’ (Piper) compromising photos are leaked after a phone hack that unravels her life. It returned for a must-watch second season in 2022 that saw Suzie moving on from the scandal to join a Dancing with the Stars-like competition series.

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I Know This Much is True (2020)

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Max

Mark Ruffalo picked up a well-deserved Emmy award for playing a set of twin characters in this heartbreaking miniseries created, directed, and written by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine). The series explores how Dominick supports and copes with his schizophrenic brother Thomas, and the cast is stacked with supporting actors including Juliette Lewis, Kathryn Hahn, Rosie O’Donnell, and Archie Panjabi, among others.

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I May Destroy You (2020)

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Max

Michaela Coel says she wrote 191 drafts of I May Destroy You, a highly acclaimed miniseries following young writer Arabella (Coel) as she recollects her memories of a sexual assault with the support of her friends Terry (Weruche Opia) and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), who each have their own arcs. The 12-episode dark comedy season is both funnier and more touching than you might expect, and should be at the top of your list to experience the force that is Michaela Coel.

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Industry (2020–)

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Max

We, as a society, need to stop sleeping on Industry. The London-based series takes place in the world of finance, but it’s as much about a group of Gen Zs navigating work as it is about sex, drugs, and power—think less Succession and more Skins for adults with stand-out performances from Myha’la Harold, Marisa Abela, Harry Lawtey, and Ken Leung as their superior. The upcoming third season will also feature Kit Harington and Sarah Goldberg.

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Insecure (2016–2021)

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Max

Insecure is to Issa Rae what Girls was to Lena Dunham: an auteur comedy with robust performances by the cast, but groundbreaking for HBO in the way it depicted a Black group of friends living their lives outside of a sitcom context, exploring their friendships, relationships, and careers. It was also a star-making series for actors like Natasha Rothwell and Jay Ellis.

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Irma Vep (2022)

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Max

This quirky miniseries is an adaptation of Olivier Assayas’s 1996 film, with the filmmaker returning to write and direct all eight episodes in a somewhat meta exploration of his own work and legacy. Mira (Alicia Vikander) plays the titular character in a show-within-the-show production filmed in France. The show is narratively loose and somewhat postmodern in its approach, blending tones and surrealism with swaths of characters, described as “catnip for the cinephile” on Rotten Tomatoes.

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It’s a Sin (2021)

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Max

Russell T. Davies’ impact on queer British television cannot be overstated—and It’s a Sin is another exceptional entry into his résumé. The 1980s AIDS-era miniseries is bright and propulsive, which only makes it more gutting when the disease starts impacting the central cast (including a break-out role played by Olly Alexander).

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Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show (2024–)

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Max

Comedian Jerrod Carmichael has carved a niche in comedy by being unabashedly honest and authentic, particularly since coming out in his special, Rothaniel. He’s back with a docu-series meets reality show which unveils every aspect of his life from dating men on Grindr, processing his coming out with his mother, and confessing his romantic feelings to Tyler the Creator.

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