The Best Max Shows, from ‘Hacks’ to ‘Harley Quinn’

It’s hard to even know what to say in this intro space. When we first launched this feature 10 months, Max had a different name and a much different library. It was, we wrote at the time, “a premiere destination for new shows and limited series: a successor to the HBO originals legacy that until recently seemed set to surpass it.”

Now, in the immediate wake of a complete relaunch and the residual fallout from sweeping away a giant chunk of shows that presumably were going to be available for a lot longer, it’s an interesting time to take stock of what originals are available three years after the original thing launched. They range from the franchise extensions that the company’s current leadership seems to be prioritizing going forward to the exciting, fresh ideas coming from writers that (at least until recently) were empowered to bring something new to the platform. There are adaptations of previous works, profiles of monumental figures in entertainment history, and productions that span various locations across the globe.

Hopefully there’s more impressive work on the horizon, regardless of what form it eventually comes in. For now, as we approach the midpoint of the year and with an elongated work stoppage still looming, it’s a good time for us refresh what from the purple service is still worth seeking out on the blue one. Here are our picks for 15 series to seek out, whether your subscription is new, dwindling, or neither. (It’s worth noting as we did before: These are not the best HBO original series of all time. Those network-born beauties, including everything from “Succession” to “Room 104,” have a list of their own.) And in honor of those shows that were part of the previous version of this collection, we’ve left our words of tribute at the end.

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