Best Max shows: 28 great series to stream in May 2023

Character poster for Succession season 4, one of the best Max shows
Succession is one of the best Max shows around. (Image credit: HBO)

Welcome to our best Max shows article. In this guide, we've rounded up the greatest TV series that are available on HBO Max's streaming successor. So, if you've just signed up to Warner Bros. Discovery's (WBD) new super streamer, we're here to help you separate the wheat (those top tier shows that are worth watching) from the chaff (those that aren't).

Max replaced HBO Max, which was one of the best streaming services around, as WBD's primary streamer on May 23. Apart from its obvious rebranding, the introduction of new subscription plans, and the integration of Discovery Plus' complete library into HBO Max, though, not much has changed when it comes to the best shows on Max. Many of the choices we previously included in our best HBO Max shows list, then, have been kept in this best Max series one. 

Want more information on Max? You can learn more about other major alterations to the service in our main Max hub, as well as our guide on seven things HBO Max fans need to know about the new streaming service. For now, though, read on to get the lowdown on the best Max shows worth watching in May 2023.

The Last of Us

A promotional image of Ellie and Joel in The Last of Us TV show

The Last of Us is arguably the greatest video game TV adaptation of all-time. (Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us is a TV adaptation of the smash hit PlayStation game of the same name. We follow Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they cross a post-apocalyptic America, ravaged by a fungal outbreak that has turned the population into crazed cannibals known as "the infected". What ensues is a grisly journey, full of eye-opening insights to the pair's complicated pasts, and grim encounters with the infected.

Widely praised by fans of the game and those who have never played it, The Last of Us has been incredibly well received. In our The Last of Us review, we enjoyed the remarkable production design and the powerful story but felt the premise feels a little tired and the pace could be quicker. But why not watch to find out for yourself and see if it truly is one of the best Max shows around?

Seasons on Max: 1


A screenshot of five characters in the Industry TV show

Industry is a captivating drama series. (Image credit: BBC)

Industry follows a group of young graduates competing for a limited set of permanent positions at Pierpoint & Co, a prestigious investment bank in the heart of the city of London. Desperate to win the job, the young pretenders push themselves to absolute extremes to win the approval of clients and their superiors, regularly crossing the line as they do so. 

Led by a handsome cast, Industry fizzes with intrigue and energy. It's well worth an investment of your time, in our view.

Seasons on Max: 2

House of the Dragon

Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) gets comfy on the Iron Throne in House of the Dragon.

House of the Dragon confirmed that Game of Thrones still had a place in our TV lives. (Image credit: HBO)

HBO went through a multitude of options as it looked to find the right Game of Thrones spin-off, but executives eventually settled on House of the Dragon. They made the right choice.

Based on Fire and Blood, author George R. R. Martin’s 2018 "history" of the Targaryen dynasty, the show (set two centuries before Game of Thrones) tells the backstory of the dragon-riding family, and the war of succession that breaks out after kindly King Viserys (Paddy Considine) names his daughter as his heir.

Starring Matt Smith, Emma D'Arcy, Olivia Cooke, Rhys Ifans, and Steve Toussaint among others, the show keeps many of the traditions that made Game of Thrones so enthralling, while offering up its own fiery twist on the world of Westeros. One of the best Max shows, if we do say so ourselves.

Seasons on Max: 1

The Sopranos

A promotional image for The Sopranos on HBO Max

The Sopranos: a show worth singing about. (Image credit: HBO)

In 1999, The Sopranos changed the face of HBO forever. The iconic show tells the story of mafia head Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), as he navigates family life and criminal business, all of which is intertwined with conversations with his therapist, Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). 

Even though the show ended in 2007, it’s still talked about for its ability to balance intricate relationships and organised crime with sensitivity and wit. All six seasons have a home on Max, and continue to resonate as truly today as they did back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  

Seasons on Max: 6


Bill Hader's Barry stares at an object off screen in the HBO Max show's third season

Bill Hader's Barry juggles his lives as a hitman and an aspiring actor. (Image credit: HBO Max)

Saturday Night Live graduate Bill Hader is both co-creator and star of this Max TV series about a professional hitman who moves to Hollywood and joins an acting class. The titular character tries to put his criminal past behind him to embrace a career as a performer but – as is usually the way with these things – finds his old life catching up with him. 

There’s plenty of drama to be found in Barry’s (often drastic) efforts to keep his two lives separate, but the show’s comic edge keeps things (and Barry himself) from getting too dark. A worthy and hugely underrated inclusion in our best Max shows list.

Seasons on Max: 4

Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) contemplates life on the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones was a cultural phenomenon in the 2010s. (Image credit: Helen Sloan / HBO)

Over the course of its eight seasons, Game of Thrones was the hugely popular adaptation of George RR Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire novels that proved a long-running fantasy drama could keep the world engrossed.

Set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the show sees warring families fighting for control over the Iron Throne, in a saga filled with immense battles, unlawful romances, and something nasty north of the Wall. Whether you’ve watched it before or you’re looking to come to the show for the very first time, Max has every single episode to enjoy. Find out which Game of Thrones season we think is best while you're here.

Seasons on Max: 8

Mare of Easttown

Kate Winslet stars in HBO Max TV show Mare of Easttown

Kate Winslet has plenty to deal with in acclaimed police drama Mare of Easttown. (Image credit: HBO)

Kate Winslet heads up Mare of Easttown as Marianne 'Mare' Sheehan. She's a police detective from Pennsylvania investigating a mysterious murder of a teenage mother while also balancing her own troubled home life. 

Once known for being the town superstar of her high school basketball team, Mare has to deal her small town’s opinions of her as the murder remains unsolved for over a year. Meanwhile, events in her personal life (divorce, her son’s suicide,  a battle for custody of her grandson from her former daughter-in-law) are aired and judged publicly. 

A gripping and at-times emotional watch, Mare of Easttown is as riveting a drama as we've come to expect from HBO. Stick it on your best Max shows watchlist ASAP and then check out these six similarly gritty dramas worth streaming on Max.

Seasons on Max: 1

The White Lotus

The cast of The White Lotus TV series on HBO Max

The White Lotus: we know you'll enjoy your stay. (Image credit: HBO Max)

One of the most talked about TV show on the planet in recent years, Mike White’s comedy-drama is essential viewing. 

Set in a luxury Hawaiian resort, the first season of The White Lotus assembles a quality cast to poke a satirical finger at the disparities between the haves (the guests) and the have nots (the staff who work to make sure their stays are suitably memorable). The similarly brilliant season two relocates the vacation and the formula to Sicily, and you can read our thoughts on The White Lotus season 2 before you check it out.

White (whose previous filmography includes School of Rock and – weirdly – The Emoji Movie) ensures there’s a dark edge to many of the laughs, in a show that extends HBO’s impressive track record when it comes to prestige TV. 

Seasons on Max: 2


Jean Smart's Deborah looks solemn as Hannah Einbinder's Ava talks to her in Hacks season 2

After years of stealing shows as a supporting player, Jean Smart relishes the opportunity to take the lead in Hacks. (Image credit: HBO Max)

Jean Smart, who almost stole the show in Mare of Easttown, finally gets to enjoy the limelight in this HBO comedy-drama.

Smart plays Deborah Vance, a once hugely successful stand-up comedian, who’s unhappy to discover that the head of the Las Vegas casino where she performs wants to pare back her performance schedule. Desperate to win over new fans, Smart is introduced to Hannah Einbinder’s Ava, a young comedy writer who’s found herself unable to find work after being fired from her job over an insensitive tweet.  As you might imagine, the two don’t get along initially, but as both Vance’s material and her attendances begin to improve, they find a way of working together. 

Equally hilarious and heartbreaking, Hacks is another highly underrated offering from HBO. One not to be missed.

Seasons on Max: 2

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm: a show that turns embarrassment into an artform. (Image credit: HBO)

After he’d co-created all-conquering sitcom Seinfeld, few would have predicted Larry David’s next move. Backed by HBO money, he made a fictionalised version of himself (and Hollywood friends such as Ted Danson) the center of a semi-improvised comedy. 

While Curb Your Enthusiasm is frequently so cringeworthy it makes you want to hide from your TV, David turns the comedy of embarrassment into an artform – if there was ever a superhero whose power was putting their foot in it, his screen self would be the blueprint for all of the best Max shows (well, comedies anyway) around.

Seasons on Max: 11


Logan Roy walks away from a helicopter in Succession season 3

Succession has become the latest all-time great Max series. (Image credit: HBO)

Since British writer/creator Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, Fresh Meat) introduced us to the Roy family, we've shared the boardroom with a family so dysfunctional it's a wonder they became giants of the business world. To make matters worse, patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) – owner of media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo – isn't exactly a shining example of a loving father figure.

But Succession isn't just the story of the battle for control of a business. The show's mix of corporate backstabbing, feuding siblings, and some of the best writing in TV (it's worth it for the insults alone) all combine to make it one of the best Max shows – nay, best TV shows – period.

Seasons on Max: 4

Rick and Morty

Rick holds Morty's arms in Rick and Morty season 6

Rick and Morty takes sci-fi comedy to places it's never been before. (Image credit: Adult Swim)

Rick and Morty may not be as prolific as The Simpsons, South Park, or Family Guy – it’s managed just 61 episodes in nine years – yet it deserves a place in the pantheon of great TV animation. 

After starting out as an NSFW twist on Back to the Future’s Marty McFly and Doc Brown, the story of an ordinary kid and his genius grandfather has evolved into a unique mix of sophisticated sci-fi gags, intricate plotting ,and family soap opera. As with The X-Files, the jury’s out on whether it’s better when it’s telling standalone stories or advancing its increasingly complex arc plot, but Rick and Morty remains the jewel in Adult Swim’s crown.

Seasons on Max: 6


A still image of John Cena's titular anti-hero in the Peacemaker TV show

From The Suicide Squad to saving the world with Peacemaker. (Image credit: HBO Max)

We were first introduced to Peacemaker – a violent red-white-and-blue antihero/villain with questionable morals – in The Suicide Squad movie, and this HBO Max original provides the DC Comics character with his very own TV show. 

Series creator James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) has described Peacemaker (played by John Cena) as "the world's biggest douchebag", but here he's forced to team up with government agents to take down some pretty gnarly parasites with world domination on their minds. His primary goal remains peace, however, and he doesn't care how many men, women and children he needs to kill to get it.

If you want to know more about screen adaptations of DC Comics, check out our guide to watching the DC movies in order. Alternatively, just give this top tier TV series a whirl.

Seasons on Max: 1

Station Eleven

Mackenzie Davis in the HBO Max TV adaption of Station Eleven

Station Eleven deserves more eyes on it than it gets. (Image credit: HBO Max)

Station Eleven is a miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel, which depicts a very dark dystopian future. 

Set 20 years after a flu pandemic that causes a worldwide apocalypse, the show follows a group of people working as traveling performers to get by until they come across a violent cult led by a man with a link to one of the group. 

HBO Max originally took on this 10-part series in a fantastic fashion, with the small screen adaptation truly bringing Mandel's dystopian world to life. Max is now its new home, but it's still another dystopia-set TV series that you'll want to consider.

Seasons on Max: 1


A promotional image for Italian crime drama Gomorrah showing five key characters

Brutal Italian drama Gomorrah has become a hit all over the world. (Image credit: Viaplay)

Vicious Italian drama Gomorrah became a global hit, with the series ending up in over 190 territories around the world. 

The crime drama follows Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D’Amore) in the Naples underworld as he navigates life as part of a crime family struggling between power of the young and power of the old. Gomorrah’s last season aired in 2021 yet continues to shine as a great example of TV tackling organised crime in warring families on the brink of anarchy.  

Seasons on Max: 5


A screenshot of Hooded Justice, one of the masked vigilantes in the brilliant Watchmen TV show.

Watchmen is a TV sequel to the legendary graphic novel series/Zack Snyder-directed movie. (Image credit: HBO)

Another of the best Max shows inspired by DC Comics is limited series Watchmen. It's not the first time viewers have seen Watchmen on their screens, following the 2009 movie of the same name, but it’s a whole new story picking up 34 years after the events of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel.

With masked vigilantes now outlawed, Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof's intelligent story delves into the racial politics of the United States, while providing a worthy continuation of one of the most influential works in comic-book history.

Seasons on Max: 1

The Wire

Omar Little wields a shotgun in a screenshot from The Wire

The late Michael K Williams was one of the many breakout stars of The Wire. (Image credit: HBO)

When it comes to The Wire, you probably fall into one of two camps. Either you’ve watched it and have spent a large chunk of the last 15 years telling everyone you know that they should see David Simon’s ambitious cop drama because it’s the greatest TV show ever made. Or you’ve spent the last decade and a half listening to people telling you The Wire is the greatest TV show ever made and you should therefore watch it right now. 

The good news is that, whether you’re a fan keen for a re-watch, or a newbie looking to see what the fuss is about, all five seasons are available on Max. Saying anymore about it would spoil what's on offer, so go on: hop to it.

Seasons on Max: 5


A promotional image for Chernobyl on HBO Max

Chernobyl is not for the faint hearted. (Image credit: HBO)

In 2019, HBO brought the historical tragedy of Chernobyl Power Plant in Ukraine to life in this heartbreaking drama, retelling the story of how one of the worst nuclear disasters ever came about. 

The five-part miniseries depicts stories of the disaster and the devastating aftermath in which many sacrificed their own lives to save others. The show received critical acclaim for its dramatization of events, with powerful acting and a team of equally powerful writers to boot. 

Seasons on Max: 1

I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel stars as Arabella Essiedu in I May Destroy You on HBO Max

Creator/star Michaela Coel makes I May Destroy You essential viewing. (Image credit: Showmax)

A collaboration with the BBC, I May Destroy You – written by and starring Michaela Coel – won universal praise when it debuted in 2020. 

Coel plays Arabella, a young woman who awakes from a night out unaware of what happened to her. She then comes to the devastating realization that she was drugged, asking the question, “If you can’t remember it, how could you consent?”

In a single season filled with incredibly frank and brave moments, I May Destroy You uses dark humor and poignant questions to tell Arabella’s story. Some scenes are unbelievably hard to watch, but it's also incredibly important viewing. Truly one of the best Max shows ever made.

Seasons on Max: 1

Six Feet Under

A promotional image for Six Feet Under on HBO Max

Raise a glass to the brilliance of Six Feet Under. (Image credit: HBO)

Six Feet Under is the aptly-named series depicting the lives of the Fisher family after their father, Nathaniel Fisher Sr, leaves behind his funeral home business in LA for his offspring to run. 

The show isn’t just about the family struggles of running a business with conflicting voices, but – perhaps unsurprisingly, considering it’s set in a funeral home – it also pays close attention to the topic of death. The show show embraces the opportunity to tackle existential issues with a healthy dose of dark humor, buiding up to an ending that many still talk about today. 

Seasons on Max: 5


Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in Girls.

This Lena Dunham-starring comedy series is absolutely worth your time. (Image credit: HBO)

Created by and starring Lena Dunham, this iconic show follows four girlfriends in New York as they struggle through their day-to-day lives. That means juggling career decisions and complicated relationships, while leaning on their inner circle for support. 

Girls primarily revolves around Lena’s character, Hannah, a writer looking for her shot at the big time, but intertwines with each unique story of her friends; Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna. Girls also tackles topics that have left viewers divided, but remains a poignant and truthful examination of 20-something life.

Seasons on Max: 6

Band of Brothers

Richard Winters points his rifle at someone off screen in Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers is an emotional and hard-hitting miniseries.  (Image credit: HBO)

Based on the true stories collected in historian Stephen E Ambrose’s book of the same name, Band of Brothers dramatizes the exploits of WWII US paratrooper unit Easy Company during the war.

With Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks as executive producers and a cast list including Tom Hardy, Damian Lewis, and Michael Fassbender, it’s no surprise this miniseries has received rave reviews and continues to stand out as one of the best Max shows. It's grisly, highly emotional, horror-infused, and – understandably – dramatically intense. 

The Pacific, which follows three marines from different regiments as their stories intertwine during the WWII battle between US and Japanese forces, is also available to stream.

Seasons on Max: 1 (2 if you include The Pacific)

Boardwalk Empire

A promotional image for Boardwalk Empire, which shows its various cast memebrs

With a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire was always going to be essential viewing. (Image credit: HBO)

Boardwalk Empire started with a bang when it hit HBO in 2010, as legendary movie director Martin Scorsese took the helm for the pilot. It then ran for five seasons on HBO, depicting political figure Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) as he climbs the political rankings and takes control of Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

But his rise to power isn't without constant run-ins with other opposing politicians aiming to take him down at every turn, not to mention the gangsters he builds relationships with to take advantage of prohibition era bootlegging. A period crime drama that encapsulates everything great about HBO's burgeoning suite of content.

Seasons on Max: 5


Zendaya's Rue looks at someone off camera in Euphoria season 2

Zendaya has won plenty of acclaim for her performance as Rue in Euphoria. (Image credit: HBO)

While Euphoria is set in a high school, following a group of students navigating their teenage lives, the storylines that weave their way through this HBO drama are incredibly serious and tackle topics that not many teen dramas have dared to take on before. 

Most prominently, Euphoria follows Rue (Zendaya) and her constant struggle with drug addiction, Nate (Jacob Elordi) and his troubled relationship with his macho father, and Jules (Hunter Schafer) and her battle to find belonging with her transgender identity. 

Adapted for US audiences from an Israeli show of the same name, Euphoria has received critical acclaim for its hard-hitting subject matter and emotional performances. Euphoria season 3 is on the way soon.

Seasons on Max: 2

It's a Sin

A promotional image of the cast of It's a Sin on HBO Max

It's a Sin may just be the pinnacle of Russell T Davies's TV writing career. (Image credit: HBO Max/Channel 4)

It’s a Sin is a five-part British drama which first appeared in the UK on Channel 4 and is now streaming in its entirety on Max. It closely follows a group of friends during the AIDS epidemic as it first began in 1980s London. Each one has their own heart-rending story to tell, in a show that explores what life was like when people were suffering from a disease that was initially ignored. 

This hard-hitting drama is brought to life by the incredible writing of Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) as well as the acting of a brilliant ensemble cast led by Olly Alexander, lead singer of Years & Years. 

Seasons on Max: 1

I Hate Suzie

Billie Piper as Suzie and Leila Farzad as her agent, Naomi Jones, in I Hate Suzie.

I Hate Suzie is a dark comedy drama that'll leave you as dumbfounded as much as you'll cry laughing. (Image credit: Sky)

Former Doctor Who star Billie Piper teams up with her Secret Diary of a Call Girl collaborator (and regular Succession writer) Lucy Prebble for this powerful satire on the entertainment industry. 

It’s the story of former pop idol and TV star Suzie Pickles (Piper), who finds her personal and professional lives unravelling after nude photos are leaked online by phone hackers. Both seasons of this UK drama are simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, while the fact that Suzie’s fictional career closely mirrors Piper’s own adds extra weight to her brilliant performance.

Seasons on Max: 2

The Leftovers

Justin Theroux's Kevin Garvey in a forest in The Leftovers

Justin Theroux plays police chief Kevin Garvey in The Leftovers. (Image credit: HBO)

Lost co-creator/showrunner Damon Lindelof spun another high-concept mystery tale with this HBO drama, which ran for three seasons from 2014-2017. Based on Tom Perrotta’s novel, it takes place in a world still reeling from the shock disappearance of 2% of the population three years earlier. 

As the supernatural show dives headlong into the spiritual consequences of a seriously weird situation, Justin Theroux's police chief, Kevin Garvey, finds himself caught between family issues and the various cults that emerge in the wake of the “Sudden Departure”. It’s a compelling, thought-provoking ride but, this being a Lindelof show, don’t expect The Leftovers to give you all its answers on a plate. One of the best Max shows, this most certainly is.

Seasons on Max: 3

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

A screenshot from Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is a fascinating sports drama. (Image credit: HBO)

HBO is no stranger to depicting true stories in original TV shows on the platform and Winning Time is another thriving example of that. 

Looking closely at the on- and off-court lives of iconic basketball team the LA Lakers in the 1980s, Winning Time is based on a book by Jeff Pearlman, around what’s known as the ‘Showtime’ era for the players. It charts the defining moments of the players’ fame including both the successes and failures. One for all of you sports fans out there.

Seasons on Max: 2

Tom Power
Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.

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