Everything you need to know about HBO Max


HBO was determined to suck up all the news oxygen yesterday, wasn’t it? First, it decided not to go ahead with a hotly anticipated Game of Thrones prequel series set in the distant past of Westeros, and then, a couple hours later, announced that it was going ahead with an entirely different Game of Thrones prequel series set in the more recent past. Lost in the shuffle — at least for us Thrones nerds — was WarnerMedia’s announcement of HBO Max, a new streaming service that will feature lots of HBO content, plus a lot more.

I’m still not sold on the name HBO Max, but the service itself looks pretty interesting. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s coming out in May 2020.
  • It will cost $14.99 per month, which puts it at the higher end of the streaming wars. There will also be an ad-supported tier launched in 2021. AT&T customers who already subscribe to HBO will get it for free, while other AT&T customers will be offered bundles at launch.

Okay, let’s talk content. We don’t know everything coming to the service, but we know a lot.

Here’s all the licensed content coming to HBO Max at launch:

  • Friends. All of it.
  • The Big Bang Theory. All of it.
  • The West Wing. Ditto.
  • South Park, all 23 seasons of it
  • Rick and Morty
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Impractical Jokers
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home of CW dramas like Riverdale and Batwoman
  • Studio Ghibli’s entire library will be available to stream, including classics like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
  • Speaking of Japanese animation, HBO Max will have “a new anime every quarter,” curated by the experts at @Crunchyroll
  • Classic Loony Tunes cartoons
  • Lots of Adult Swim shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, and Samurai Jack
  • The Matrix movies
  • The LEGO Movie…movies
  • The Conjuring movies
  • Sesame Street, all 50-plus years of it
    Doctor Who; that’s another big one
  • There will be a lot of BBC on HBO Max, including shows like LutherTop Gear and the original version of The Office — NBC’s streaming service Peacock will have the American take
  • HBO Max will have a ton of DC movies available at launch, including the new hit movie Joker with Joaquin Phoenix
  • AT&T has worked with TCM to bring classic movies to the service, including Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The ShiningA Star is Born, Singin’ in the Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey, “and many more”
  • Both The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies will available on HBO Max

Not a bad lineup; there’s some beloved stuff in there.

Here are the original series and movies:

  • Dune: The Sisterhood, a sci-fi show about the Bene Gesserit order from Frank Miller’s Dune universe
  • Tokyo Vice, about the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat starring Ansel Elgort.
  • The Flight Attendant, a one-hour thriller series based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, starring Kaley Cuoco
  • Love Life, a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology starring Anna Kendrick
  • Station Eleven, a post-apocalyptic limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s book
  • Made for Love, a 10-episode half-hour series based on the novel by Alissa Nutting
  • Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment based on the 1984 movie
  • Crime Farm, a drama a drama about married forensic homicide experts
  • Circe, a modern take on Greek mythology based on Madeline Miller book’s novel
  • Americanah, an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about Ifemelu (Lupita Nyong’o), a young woman raised in Nigeria who falls in love with her classmate
  • Four new Adventure Time specials are coming
    Rydell High, a Grease spinoff series, which…okay
  • Anna K, a modern-day, YA retelling of Anna Karenina
  • A Gossip Girl sequel series
  • Rules of Magic, a prequel to 1998’s Practical Magic
  • Red Bird Lane, a YA horror series about eight strangers who arrive at an isolated house and quickly realize that something sinister and terrifying awaits them
  • A revival of The Boondocks
  • Gen:Lock, an animated giant robot show starring Maisie Williams
  • Generation, Lena Dunham’s show about high school students in a conservative community.
  • Rap Sh*t, a new show from Issa Rae (Insecure) about the music business in Miami
  • Starstruck, a six-episode comedy series from comedian Rose Matafeo
  • Search Party, a TBS comedy moving to HBO Max for its upcoming third season.
  • Let Them All Talk, a new movie from Steven Soderbergh starring Meryl Streep as a celebrated author who takes a journey with old friends to have some fun and heal old wounds
  • Ellen DeGeneres has a few projects coming to HBO Max: Ellen’s Home Design Challenge, First Dates Hotel, and a 2D animated children’s series Little Ellen
  • Raised By Wolves, a sci-fi series from Ridley Scott
  • Riverdale producer Greg Berlanti is making four YA movies for HBO Max
  • He’s also making an original Green Lantern show
  • Reese Witherspoon is producing at least two movies for the service
  • College Girls, a new half-hour sitcom from Mindy Kaling
    Superintelligence, a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy as a woman who discovers that the world’s first superintelligence has chosen to observe her and her life as part of a plan to take over everything.
    UNpregnant, an adaptation of the YA novel by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
  • Bobbie Sue, a movie starring Gina Rodriguez as a scrappy, headstrong lawyer

Moving along, here are the service’s unscripted series:

  • 15 Minutes of Shame, a documentary from Monica Lewinsky about people from around the world who have been caught up in a situation that involved public criticism and humiliation
  • Birth, Wedding, Funeral, a docuseries from CNN host Lisa Ling that will explore different countries and cultures
  • Some kind of Bachelor spinoff show “with new additional footage from recent seasons”
  • Expecting Amy, a documentary about Amy Schumer
  • Karma, a competition series hosted by YouTube star Michelle Khare
    Craftopia, a kids crafting competition hosted by Lauren Riihimaki, another YouTube star
  • Equal, a four-part docuseries on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement
  • The Ho’s, an eight-episode half-hour docuseries about a wealthy Vietnamese immigrant family
  • Legendary, a competition series featuring contestants on voguing teams
  • The Greatest Space, a competition show featuring interior designers
  • A documentary about the life of Anthony Bourdain
  • Conan O’Brien will have five stand-up specials available on HBO Max at launch
  • Heaven’s Gate, a four-part original docuseries series about the infamous Heaven’s Gate cult
  • Generation Hustle (working title), a 10-part docuseries about the lengths young people will go for fame, fortune and power.
  • Full Bloom, a competition series, this time with florists
    The Scoop (working title), a documentary about the lives of CNN’s female political reporters covering the presidential campaign
    Persona (working title), a documentary about America’s obsession with personality testing
  • Tooned Out, a live-action-animation hybrid featuring Looney Tunes characters, all spearheaded by Robert Zemeckis — also look out for original Looney Tunes shorts

Finally, HBO Max will have — surprise, surprise — lots of HBO content; we’re talking Game of ThronesThe SopranosSex and the CityWestworld, WatchmenThe Wire, and the rest of the network’s lineup, including the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel show.

Other upcoming HBO content includes:

  • Stephen King’s The Outsider
  • Lovecraft Country, a horror series based on a novel by Matt Ruff and executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams.
  • The Nevers: Joss Whedon’s new sci-fi period drama
  • The Gilded Age, a non-sci-fi period drama by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes
  • Avenue 5, a satire set aboard a space-bound cruise ship from Veep creator Armando Iannucci
  • The Undoing, a psychological thriller from David E. Kelley starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant
  • The Plot Against America, an alternate history drama based on Phillip Roth’s novel, written and executive produced by David Simon and Ed Burns, starring Winona Ryder and John Turturro
    A reimagining of the classic legal drama Perry Mason, with Matthew Rhys in the lead role
  • I Know This Much Is True, a family drama starring Mark Ruffalo as twin brothers
  • Run, a new series from Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller Bridge
  • Mare of Easttown, a limited series starring Kate Winslet as a small-town Pennsylvania detective investigating a local murder.

If HBO Max has all of HBO’s content, I don’t quite know where that leaves HBO Now, the network’s current over-the-top streaming service, to say nothing of the traditional cable channel. I guess we’ll see how things shake out.


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King in the North Black Hoodie from Game of Thrones /

King in the North Black Hoodie from Game of Thrones

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All in all, HBO Max will launch with more than 10,000 hours of content. Is it strong enough to help WarnerMedia to compete in a crowded field that also includes streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Video, CBS All Access, Peacock and Apple TV+? That will be entirely up to you.

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h/t The VergeVariety