HBO Max has officially launched, as of Wednesday, May 27, and in addition to the sprawling library of licensed titles that are available to subscribers at launch, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service also features a small sample of the ton of new original series and movies which will be available to stream.
Over the last few months, HBO Max has gradually unveiled more and more of its slate of original programming, which ranges from the Gossip Girl sequel series to a Green Lantern TV series from Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti. HBO has also announced a three-project commitment with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot label, including a Shining spin-off and a DC show based on characters from the Justice League Dark universe, and more.
HBO Max Original Scripted Series
Americanah: Twitter dreams come true with this series created by Danai Gurira and starring Lupita Nyong’o (who will also executive produce). The 10-episode limited series is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Beth & Sam: This series, first announced by Deadline, is a romantic comedy about two women who seemingly have every reason not to be together — including the fact that one of them is supposedly straight and married. Emily Wilson and Betsy Thomas will serve as co-showrunners and will also executive produce alongside Jim Parsons and Jamie Tarses.
The Boondocks: A reimagined revival of the Peabody Award-winning satirical animated comedy is coming in fall 2020. Additionally, all 55 episodes of the original version of The Boondocks that aired on Adult Swim are available on HBO Max as of launch.
Circe: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are behind an eight-episode adaptation of Madeline Miller’s Circe. The series is described as “an epic fantasy based on the recent bestseller about one of the most evocative goddesses in Ancient Greece.”
Close Enough (July 9): Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel‘s animated series about a millennial couple and their divorced friends was set to air on TBS, but was delayed several times and is now headed to HBO Max as an original.
College Girls:This new comedy from Mindy Kaling follows three 18-year-old college freshman roommates attending the fictional Evermore College. “A bundle of contradictions and hormones, these sexually active college girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating,” according to the official HBO Max description.
Crime Farm: Nicole Kidman produces this psychosexual love story that follows Selma and Richard Eikelenboom, forensic homicide experts whose marriage thrives on their all-consuming investigations into the depravity of the world’s most notorious criminals, but is challenged by a particularly demanding case.
DC Superhero High: Ever wonder what Batman was like in high school? Elizabeth Banks‘ half-hour comedy shows teens trying to figure out the day-to-day pressures of high school, unaware that they will grow up to be some of DC’s most iconic heroes.
Dune: The Sisterhood: Denis Villeneuve will accompany his star-studded film adaptation of Dune with a companion series on HBO Max, titled Dune: The Sisterhood. The series will center on on the women of Bene Gesserit as they navigate the political framework of The Imperium to make way for the planet Arrakis.
Duster: J.J. Abrams and LaToya Morgan will co-write this action thriller set in the ’70s southwest and centered on a getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate that goes from “awful to wildly, stupidly, dangerously, awful.”
Frayed (July 30): Set in 1989, this comedy follows the journey of Sammy Cooper, a fabulously wealthy London housewife who is forced to return to her hometown in Newcastle, Australia. In coming home, Sammy must revisit her past and the events that led her to flee as a teenager years ago.
The Flight Attendant: Kaley Cuoco’s first live-action TV role following The Big Bang Theory is an intercontinental murder mystery based on Chris Bohjalian’s best-selling 2018 novel. Cuoco plays Cassie, a flight attendant who wakes up next to a dead body after a layover in Dubai. As the FBI begins to question the events of the layover, Cassie must consider whether she actually is a killer.
Grease: Rydell High: Get out your T-Bird and Pink Lady jackets, because Grease is back, baby! The musical series will take place in the ’50s, just like the original musical, and will explore “the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty, and the rollercoaster of life in Middle America with a modern sensibility.”
The Green Lantern:Greg Berlanti is taking his DC Empire to space. The super producer promises that Green Lantern will be the biggest DC show his team has ever created, though other details about the superhero show were scarce at the time of the announcement.
Head of the Class: A re-imagining of the 1986 ABC hit, Head of the Class follows a group of overachieving high school students who meet their greatest challenge — a teacher who wants them to focus less on grades and more on experiencing life.
Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020: This series, inspired by Broadway star Laura Benanti, will explore tried-and-true themes of classic teen movies through the totally unique lens of a world turned upside down by the global pandemic. The cast, featuring a diverse group of super-talented student actors with compelling backstories, will play seniors from the same high school and while the pandemic may have shut down their school, the drama and romantic intrigue live on.
I May Destroy You (June 7, alongside HBO debut): Feted as the “voice of her generation,” Arabella (Michaela Coel) is complex, original and highly talented. But, distracted by the pressures of her first triumph, she is struggling to write her second novel and is in danger of becoming destructive and self-absorbed. After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes irreversibly and Arabella is forced to reassess everything: her career, her friends, even her family. As Arabella struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she begins a journey of self-discovery. Often painful, sometimes funny, it leads her to some surprising places — and controversial conclusions.
Justice League Dark(working title): One of three J.J. Abrams projects placed at the streaming service, the tentatively named Justice League Dark will feature characters from the titular comic book run, but details are still being developed.
Lovecraft Country (Aug. 2020, alongside HBO debut): Another Jordan Peele banger, the series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
Love Life(May 27): Anna Kendrick stars in her first-ever TV show — a comedy anthology series where Kendrick falls in and out of love. The series is executive-produced by Paul Feig, and made its debut when the streaming service launched. Though a new episode was scheduled to be released every week, HBO Max has accelerated the schedule, and now plans to release episodes 4, 5, and 6 on Thursday, June 4, with the final episodes set to be added on Thursday, June 11.
Overlook: This Stephen King-inspired genre piece will feature characters from The Shining and will tell stories from the most famous haunted hotel in fiction. It’s produced by J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot, who are also behind Hulu’s Castle Rock.
Perry Mason (June 21, alongside HBO debut): Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this new series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys). When the case of the decade (the decade is of course, the 1930s) breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured Los Angeles and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.
The Prince: HBO Max has greenlit an animated comedy from Family Guy producer Gary Janetti called The Prince, which will be a satirical look at the current royal Windsors as told through the eyes of young Prince George, William and Kate’s eldest son. Deadline reports that the cast includes Orlando Bloom, Condola Rashad, Lucy Punch, Tom Hollander, Alan Cumming, Frances De La Tour, and Iwan Rheon.
Raised by Wolves: Ridley Scott will executive-produce the sci-fi series from Aaron Guzikowski about two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet. As the growing colony of humans almost falls apart due to religious differences, the androids realize how dangerous and difficult their task really is.
Rap Sh*t: Issa Rae‘s next comedy follows a group of female rappers from outside of Miami trying to make it to the next level of their careers.
Room 104 Season 4 (July 24, alongside HBO debut): Created by Mark and Jay Duplass, the late-night, half-hour anthology series Room 104 returns with 12 new episodes, telling unique and unexpected tales of the characters who pass through a single room of a typical American chain motel.
Santa Inc.: HBO Max has ordered eight half-hour episodes of Santa Inc. from Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen. This Christmas-themes adult animated comedy series follows the story of Candy Smalls (Silverman), the highest-ranking female elf in the North Pole. When Santa Claus’ (Rogen) successor is poached by Amazon on Christmas Eve, Candy gets the opportunity to pursue her ultimate dream — to be the first female Santa Claus in the history of Christmas.
Search Party (June 25): The dark comedy series starring Alia Shawkat is moving from its original home on TBS to HBO Max. Seasons 1 and 2 will be available at launch, and HBO Max will unveil a third season shortly thereafter. A fourth season has already been ordered.
Starstruck: This comedy series follows 20-something Rose, a millennial in London, juggling two dead-end jobs and navigating the awkward morning-after when she discovers the complications of accidentally sleeping with a movie star.
Strange Adventures: Strange Adventures is a DC hero anthology series that will tell one-hour “morality tales” featuring characters across the DC Comics library. The series will be executive-produced by Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, and Gotham‘s John Stephens.
Tokyo Vice: Ansel Elgort will try to end corruption in the eponymous police department in this new series based on Jake Adelstein’s 2010 memoir of the same name. Miami Vice‘s Michael Mann is set to direct the pilot episode.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Adam McKay takes point on this anthology series inspired by the best-selling novel of the same name by David Wallace-Wells. Each episode will focus on a fictional story of what could happen if we continue to allow our Earth to cook like a baked potato.
XOXO Gossip Girl: Set after the events of the 2007 CW series, the Gossip Girl sequel will follow a new set of Upper East Siders, the scandals that unfold in their inner circle, and the trials and tribulations of private school life.
Untitled Aniello, Downs, Statsky Project:HBO Max has ordered 10 episodes of the single-camera dark comedy from Broad City alums Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky. The series, which will star Jean Smart, focuses on a dark mentorship that forms between a Las Vegas diva (Smart) and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old.
HBO Max Original Unscripted Series
Birth, Wedding, Funeral: In each episode, host Lisa Ling will immerse viewers in a different country to reveal their cultures through the lens of the three universal rituals — births, weddings, and funerals.
Brad & Gary Go To…: The six-episode series will follow Hollywood power couple Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti as they go on a jet-setting culinary adventure around the globe, inspired by their Instagram stories that went viral this summer.
The Dog House(July 30): Set inside a rural British Dog Rescue Centre famous for its commitment to matching homeless dogs with new owners, The Dog House bears witness to the joy, comedy and pathos of the human-dog dating experience.
Expecting Amy (July 9): A raw, behind-the-scenes docuseries following comedian Amy Schumer as she goes through a difficult pregnancy while on tour.
Ellen’s Home Design Challenge: DeGeneres adds another competition show to her resume with Ellen’s Home Design, a competition series where interior designers are “pushed to expand their creative horizons.”
EQUAL: Greg Berlanti and Jim Parsons are among the producers of this four-part docuseries that captures the gripping and true backstories of the leaders and unsung heroes, pre-Stonewall, who changed the course of American history through their tireless activism.
First Dates Hotel:If you’re looking for a new romance reality show, First Dates Hotel from DeGeneres sends single people on tailor-made romantic experiences in Italy to hopefully find love.
Friends cast reunion: Although it is not technically a series, the unscripted reunion of the cast of Friendswill surely be a must-watch for those fans signing up for the series’ new streaming home. The special was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but is expected to bring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc back together on-screen for the first time since the beloved sitcom came to an end.
Full Bloom: This floristry competition series will take root on the streaming service in 2020.
Generation Hustle:Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney digs into the millennial drive for success with a new series that explores young(ish) people’s quest for fame, money, and power.
The Greatest Space:This competition show will pit interior designers against each other in a globe-trotting adventure where they’ll make-over an “eclectic mix of rooms” including empty ballrooms and vacant boathouses.
Heaven’s Gate: A four-part series that explores the infamous religious movement and the stranger-than-fiction circumstances that culminated in the biggest mass suicide to ever take place in the U.S. as the Hale-Bopp comet passed by Earth in March 1997.
Hot Dog: Are you in need of more dog content? We all are, which is why this dog grooming competition show is happening. Each episode will feature three dog groomers facing off against each other, and the judging panel will be led by Jess Rona, dog groomer to the stars.
The House of Ho (July 16): A docuseries profiling the Ho family, a Vietnamese American family that came to America to chase the dream and built a multi-million dollar Texas bank and real estate empire. They’re a tight-knit family with a lot of drama. Kinda Kardashian-ish.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (June 28, alongside HBO debut): This six-part documentary series based on the book of the same name explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer.This series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame.
Karma (June 18): Karma takes sixteen contestants, ranging in age from 12 to 15, completely off the grid, away from parents and the normal comforts of home, to solve puzzles and overcome physical challenges, with the laws of karma setting the rules.
Legendary (May 27): The producers of Queer Eye take audiences into the “wild world of voguing” — as seen on FX’s Pose — in this new reality competition series.
Team Coco Comedy Specials: Conan O’Brien and his team will be bringing five hour-long comedy specials to the service. Two of the five specials will be hosted by O’Brien, featuring short sets from multiple up-and-coming comics, curated by the host. The three other specials will be hour-long sets from comics also handpicked by O’Brien. In addition to those five, the host is also executive-producing a special from James Veitch.
Untitled Selena Gomez Project: In HBO Max’s first quarantine inspired project, Selena Gomez will be showing off her home cooking skills as she helps audiences turn the same old groceries — or lack thereof — into surprising and delicious meals.
HBO Max Original Kids and Family Programming
As the parent company of Cartoon Network and Looney Tunes, WarnerMedia has an impressive collection of children’s content that will also hit a nostalgia nerve for their parents. Many of HBO Max’s original series are also aimed at children and families.
Adventure Time: Distant Lands(June 25): These four new specials will continue the Adventure Time stories that captured imaginations and introduced unlikely heroes Finn and Jake, best buds who traversed the mystical Land of Ooo and encountered its colorful inhabitants. The first of these specials is BMO, which follows the lovable little robot on a new adventure.
Craftopia(May 27): YouTuber Lauren Riihimaki will host a kids’ competition series in which their crafting skills will be put to the test.
Esme & Roy (June 25): Esme and Roy are best friends — and the best monstersitters in Monsterdale! The animated series from the makers of Sesame Street will bring little viewers into a colorful world where even the littlest monsters can overcome big challenges together.
The Fungies!: The new animated series will explore Fungietown with Seth, a science-loving elementary school student who loves making new discoveries and going on adventures. While Seth is on the hunt for the next great scientific discovery, he’ll constantly stir up trouble for the other inhabitants of his fun-loving town.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai: How did Gizmo and his kind become the gremlins? That’s what the prequel series will explore, with at least 10 episodes dedicated to Gizmo’s history before the iconic ’80s movies.
Jellystone: Your favorite Hanna-Barbera characters will come together in Jellystone to live, work, and stir up trouble for their neighbors. The iconic character cast includes Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Yakky Doodle, Jabberjaw, and more.
Game of Thrones Targaryen Prequel Series House of the Dragon Is Coming to HBO
Little Ellen: The animated series from DeGeneres will follow a 7-year-old version of the talk show host during her childhood adventures in New Orleans.
Looney Tunes Cartoons (May 27):The classic Looney Tunes characters will be featured in 80 new episodes, each 11 minutes long and comprised of animated shorts that vary in length and include adapted storylines for today’s audience.
Mecha Builders: The Sesame Street universe will expand on HBO Max with a new animated spin-off featuring Sesame Street characters in robot animation style.
The Not Too Late Show with Elmo (May 27): It’s a talk show for kids! Elmo will get his own talk show in the upcoming months to interview his Sesame Street friends and special guests.
Sesame Street: The way to Sesame Street now leads through HBO Max.
Tig N’ Seek (July 23):Eight-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat, Gweeseek, search for the lost items of Wee Gee City. With Tiggy’s cheerful attitude and Gweeseek’s exceptional inventing capabilities, the duo navigate day-to-day dilemmas at the Department of Lost and Found.
Tooned Out: Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) executive-produces this live-action animated hybrid half-hour comedy about a man who starts seeing iconic cartoon characters from his childhood who help him get through a rough patch in his life.
HBO Max Original Movies and Documentaries
15 Minutes of Shame: Monica Lewinsky and Catfish‘s Max Joseph’s documentary takes an in-depth look at the public shaming epidemic in our culture and explores our collective need to destroy one another.
An American Pickle (Aug. 6): Based on Simon Rich’s 2013 New Yorker novella, An American Pickle stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly and when he emerges in present-day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day. But when he seeks out his family, he is troubled to learn that his only surviving relative is his great-grandson Ben Greenbaum (also played by Rogen), a mild-mannered computer coder whom Herschel can’t even begin to understand.
Bobbie Sue: Gina Rodriguez stars as a headstrong young lawyer lands a career-making case with an upper crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise. But after discovering her powerful client, a lifelong idol of hers, is trying to cover up exploiting workers within her company, Bobbie decides to take both her and the law firm on, caution and etiquette be damned.
Bourdain: A documentary about the life of the late storyteller, explorer, and chef Anthony Bourdain.
Camp: HBO Max’s feature-length adaptation of Lev Rosen’s hit YA novel Camp follows the journey of 16-year-old Randy Kapplehoff who loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists. Randy reinvents himself over the summer as Del, a buff, masculine and on-the-market camper. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bed sheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him. But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much he is willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
Charm City Kings: A young teen in Baltimore (Di’Allo Winston) is tempted by a life of fast money and violence in this film about an infamous group of dirt bike riders, known as The Midnight Clique. Directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Sherman Payne, the film, originally set to be released in theaters in April, won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at Sundance.
Chelsea Handler Special: Chelsea Handler‘s long-awaited return to stand-up — this will be her first special in six years — comes fresh off the national tour of her #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, Life Will Be the Death of Me, and will feature all-new original material. Handler will share her hilarious experiences about her family, friendships, and her first foray into therapy — where she was able to unearth why everyone on this planet annoyed her so much. Handler has always been a trusted voice, providing much needed perspective, and now she turns the attention on herself, reflecting on her personal journey toward self-awareness, assisted by her reliable companion, cannabis. Never one to hold back, the one-woman stand-up show takes a brave look at Handler as she faces herself in front of everyone.
Justice League Director’s Cut: HBO Max has announced that it will release the long-awaited director’s cut of the 2017 Justice League film. More commonly known as “The Snyder Cut.,” Zack Snyder’s uncut version of the movie is rumored to be a more cohesive and darker take on the Justice League film, and fans have clamored for its release since the movie debuted to less than stellar reviews. HBO Max plans to release the film sometime in 2021.
Let Them All Talk: Steven Soderbergh directs an all-star cast — Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges, and Gemma Chan — about an author who takes a journey with some old friends and her nephew to have some fun and heal old wounds.
On the Record(May 27): A Sundance documentary details the sexual assault allegations made against Russell Simmons and features accusers Drew Dixon, Sil Lai Abrams, and Sheri Sher.
Persona: A documentary about America’s obsession with personality testing and where it came from.
The Scoop: This documentary will follow CNN’s female reporters as they cover the 2020 presidential race.
Superintelligence: Melissa McCarthy stars in this comedy movie about a very ordinary woman who becomes a sentient artificial intelligence’s human test subject. Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, and James Corden also star.
Throttle: Stephen King and Joe Hill‘s short story Throttle is in the early stages of being adapted into a feature film. It follows a father and son who lead a biker gang in the American desert but get terrorized by a big rig truck.
UNpregnant: Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira star in this adaptation of the young adult novel about an unexpectedly pregnant 17-year-old who goes on a three-day, 900+ mile road trip to New Mexico with her ex-best friend to get an abortion.
HBO Max Pilots
The following shows haven’t officially been ordered to series on the streaming service, but are making first episodes in hopes of being expanded. The talent list includes Ava DuVernay, Riverdale‘s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, J.J. Abrams, and more. Check out what could be coming to HBO Max in the near future.
Anna K: A Love Story: If you love a modernized version of classic literature, strap in because Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are adapting Jenny Lee’s upcoming novel, Anna K: A Love Story, which updates Leo Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina with a modern, multicultural twist.
DMZ: Ava DuVernay joined the HBO Max family when she agreed to executive produce DMZ, a comic-book adaptation about a near future in which the United States is embroiled in a new civil war.
Drama Queen: Another one of many projects that J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot will be brining to HBO Max is Drama Queen, a half-hour comedy based on the childhood of TVLine founder and former TV Guide reporter Michael Ausiello.
Gumshoe: A sweet, innocent, young cop and a creepy, crime-obsessed teen team up to solve a murder in this single-camera comedy.
Minx: This comedy is set in the 1970s and follows a young feminist who teams up with a small publisher to create the first erotic magazine for women.
Red Bird Lane: This YA supernatural horror series follows eight strangers who arrive at an isolated house for different reasons, and wouldn’t you know it? Something terrifying is waiting for them there.
Rules of Magic: Marvel’s Jessica Jones scribe Melissa Rosenberg is developing a Practical Magic prequel, based on Alice Hoffman’s novel.
The Shelley Society: Fans of creepy things should get ready for The Shelley Society from Aguirre-Sacasa, Tessa Leigh Williams, and James DeWille. The “Victorian X-Files” series has a pilot order at the streaming service and will follow a young Mary Shelley as she leads a band of “romantic outlaws” against monsters supernatural threats.
Untitled Mike Schur Comedy: The Good Place creator produces this comedy about two female friends: One is a Las Vegas diva and one is an entitled 25-year-old.
Vegas High: A girl is torn between her Mormon faith and the exciting lifestyle of 1990s Las Vegas in this coming-of-age drama that will star Jordana Spiro and Coolio.
HBO Max launched on May 27.