HBO Max: 20 Best TV shows to Watch Tonight

While a truckload of new movies hit HBO Max, not a whole lot of TV shows are on the horizon this week. The finale of the documentary series Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump is up now, which captures the inner workings of a privately-owned TV station in the small desert town of Pahrump, Nev. The characters are colorful, memorable, and entertaining.

Another documentary premiered on Tuesday: Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union, giving you a look at Barack Obama’s upbringing before he became the 44th US president. On Friday comes the premiere of Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets A Puppy. The cute kid’s program introduces doggo Tango. Just guess how she got her name!

Read more: The 10 best movies to watch on HBO Max

Best HBO Max Original TV Series

Animation

Adventure Time: Distant Lands (2020-2021)

Two years after Adventure Time ended, this four-hour-long special came along, and it’s a brilliant treat for fans of the animated series. The miniseries nails the spinoff brief, introducing new characters and expanding on the Land of Ooo universe while remaining true to its source material. Its heroes Finn and Jake, his magical doggo pal, set off on new adventures, along with Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen, and BMO. The hourlong format is a nice way to change up and add to the exciting storytelling. A surprisingly emotional ride packed with every ingredient that made the original so beloved.

Infinity Train (2019-2021)

Not a fan of cartoons? Let Infinity Train change your mind – all four seasons of the critically acclaimed show explore complex themes through character-driven storylines. Season 1 follows Tulip Olsen, a girl struggling with her parents’ recent divorce. Along with her pals – a confused robot and a talking corgi – she explores a seemingly endless train, whose passengers all have unresolved emotional issues or trauma. How do they leave the train? By resolving their issues, of course. Dark, challenging, and magnificent, this is animated viewing as you’ve rarely seen it. Definitely not just for kids.

Crime

With its fifth and final season, this Italian crime drama based on a true story has carved itself a place among the great mafia shows. It stands out for its realistic portrayal of the Naples underworld, following a clan’s internal power struggle after its head is arrested. With a dark, claustrophobic atmosphere and believable characters, Gomorrah is a refreshing and complete piece of TV.

Comedy

Starstruck (2021—)

Starstruck is a classic screwball comedy, starring the lovably goofy Rose Matafeo. She plays Jessie, a twenty-something Londoner who parties it up on New Year’s Eve, then later discovers she had a one-night stand with Tom Kapoor, a celebrity played by Nikesh Patel. Follow Jessie as she juggles odd jobs, from cinema worker to nanny, and her blossoming relationship with a film star that involves no hijinks whatsoever. Watch out for scene-stealer Minnie Driver as Tom’s agent in this witty, neatly crafted comedy package.

Hacks (2021—)

The great Jean Smart rightfully takes the spotlight in this acclaimed comedy-drama series. Throwing iPads into swimming pools and delivering withering looks, Smart plays Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedy diva who must face the prospect of appealing to a younger audience or disappearing into obscurity. She’s partnered with Ava (Hannah Einbinder), a young and equally snarky comedy writer, to freshen up her material. Perfectly balancing its biting insight into how the comedy business treats women, with the warmth of an odd couple buddy comedy, Hacks is one of the best originals to come out of HBO Max.

Made for Love (2021—)

Black Mirror, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. This satirical comedy hinges on Cristin Milioti’s comedic talents. Hazel Green escapes a 10-year marriage — until she realizes her husband, a tech billionaire, has fitted a chip into her brain. He can see her every move and track her down to negotiate their marriage. Hazel searches for freedom with the help of her dad, played by Ray Romano, who’s in an unorthodox relationship of his own. A few twists, a helpful dolphin, and socially awkward people also tag along for this disturbing ride.

The best TV show of 2021 might already be here. It’s a Sin follows a group of young gay men living in London during the ’80s, just when HIV/AIDS was first diagnosed. This unique look at the early stages of what became a death sentence is handled with creator Russell T Davies’ trademark irrepressible joy for life. The warm, empathetic characters continue to live their lives to the full, flitting between bustling sharehouses and local bars to the beat of a popping ’80s soundtrack. Fast-paced, stylish, and eye-opening, with a prevailing sense of hope, It’s a Sin is a soaring triumph for everyone to fall in love with.

Betty (2020—)

One of the bright spots was Betty, a fly-on-wall-style tale of skateboarding teens in a balmy New York. Utterly real and breathlessly dreamy at the same time, HBO’s TV follow-up to the indie hit Skate Kitchen painted a picture of young women facing the world head-on, pushing off and gaining speed and reducing obstacles into things waiting to be jumped over while looking cool. My baby daughter turned one while this show was on, and I can’t wait to plonk her on a skateboard. I hope she finds a Betty crew of her own.”

This compulsive thriller starring Kaley Cuoco is one of the best new shows to come out of HBO Max. Cuoco plays Cassie, a reckless flight attendant who sleeps with a passenger on a wild night out. She wakes up in Bangkok with barely any memory — and a dead body in bed with her. With the ghost of the deceased helping her piece things back together, she sobers up and takes on the mystery of what happened. Watch out for a fantastic title sequence, as well as a surprisingly dark psychological layer. But mainly enjoy the amusing combination of an inept detective bumbling through the world of cold killers.

I Hate Suzie seeing Billie Piper team up once again with Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble. The result is a frenetic tour de force of ideas, steered by a vulnerable performance from Piper. She plays the titular Suzie, an actress who, moments after winning a part in a Disney movie, discovers she’s one of the victims in a celebrity phone hacking scandal. Each episode explores a stage of trauma, tackling the question of how compromising leaks both upend and perhaps liberate a person’s life. Amid the ruthless satire is a wonderful friendship between Suzie and her manager Naomi (Leila Farzad).

The Other Two (2019—)

The sibling rivalry is strong and primed for hilarity in this comedy from a couple of Saturday Night Live writers. Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider tell the story of Cary (Drew Tarver) and Brooke (Heléne Yorker), siblings in their late 20s who struggle with the sudden rise to internet fame of their 13-year-old Justin Bieber channeling brother. Molly Shannon is a treat as their mother Pat ushers her children through open doors to success. Once you get over the gimmicky premise, The Other Two’s pop culture satire and surprisingly heartfelt storylines are a winning combination. Schitt’s Creek fans should give this a look.

From the minds of the gang behind Horrible Histories comes Ghosts, a sitcom that manages to become better and better with every episode. The ever-reliable Charlotte Ritchie (Feel Good, Call The Midwife) stars as Alison, a woman doing up the old mansion she inherited with the help of her amateur builder husband. On top of money problems, their reno plans aren’t helped by the ghostly residents who want the house to themselves. If you’re on the lookout for purely light-hearted viewing, Ghosts delivers a high gag rate, a talented comedic ensemble, and even an endearing arc of friendship. Most of all, it’s gleefully silly.

This black comedy takes us from London to Newcastle, Australia, following the misfortune of a woman who loses everything after the untimely death of her husband (don’t ask how he died). Broke and desperate, Sammy is forced to return to her hometown with her son and daughter, where she soon discovers she isn’t exactly a popular resident. The cringe factor is strong as Sammy does everything in her power to return to London, with some standout moments when she reunites with her bickering brother.

This comedy-drama about a Syrian asylum seeker leans heavily on the warmer, cozier side of the equation. It follows the lives of a British family after they return from a holiday in France and discover a passenger hiding in the back of their car. There’s an endless charm in Sami’s fish-out-of-water hijinks as he adapts to his new home. Home mines that feel-good vein, filled with nice people willing to help a good man, even if that’s a struggle for some of the family members.

Sci-fi

Raised by Wolves will satisfy those who want to spend a lot of time (nearly 10 hours) in a world brought to the screen with the help of Ridley Scott. Two androids, Mother and Father, attempt to establish an atheist human colony on a new planet, after a war with a religious order destroys Earth. But they soon discover controlling the beliefs of humans is a tricky task. Directing the first two episodes, as well as pulling the strings as an executive producer, Scott sets up a provocative exploration into AI and religious beliefs. There’s blood, big performances, and a powerful lead in Amanda Collin’s “Mother.”

Romance

Love Life

Love Life is an anthology series that focuses on a different character’s love life until they meet the person they’re meant to be with. The first chapter follows Anna Kendrick’s Darby, an aspiring art collector who dates a range of different men with complicated results. Love Life paints a refreshingly imperfect picture, traveling along, the messy road that ultimately offers a hopeful look at relationships.

Drama

Veneno (2020)

HBO Max thankfully brings this lauded Spanish miniseries to screens around the world. Veneno chronicles the life of Spanish icon Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, a transgender singer and ’90s TV personality better known by the nickname “La Veneno” or “poison” in Spanish. Her enigmatic story comes under the lens of a curious journalism student grappling with her own identity. By turns hilarious, explicit, and heart-breaking, this must-watch biographical miniseries explores survival and the influence of mass media.

New Movies Coming Out in 2022: HBO Max, Netflix, and more