The big day has arrived. HBO Max is now simply Max. What does this mean for subscribers? Well, first off, this rebranding comes with a collection of new shows, premieres, and seasons. Whether you love juicy reality TV shows, twisted espionage dramas, cuddly creature features, tasty food docs, or quirky comedies — or if you’ve been waiting 20 years for the resurrection of Clone High — Max has got something new for you.
But that’s not all! Along with all the titles dropping on Max’s debut day, we’ve also highlighted the best in movies, TV shows, and miniseries that are still a part of this evolving streaming services.
Here’s the best of what to watch now that HBO Max has become Max.
Everything you need to know about HBO Max becoming Max
Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, and John F. Kennedy are back! Or should I say, their clones are back. This revival of Clone High, which ran on MTV from 2002 to 2003, brings us back to a high school populated by the clones of well-known historical figures. While the powers that be hope to use them for a nefarious purpose, all these clones want is to survive high school — and maybe find love along the way.
Clone High brings the action of the original series into 2023 and adds some new characters like Harriet Tubman, Frida Kahlo, and Confucius to its cast. However, the behind-the-scenes team features some familiar faces, with original creators Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Bill Lawrence returning. And what have they done since the original days of Clone High, you may ask? Lord and Miller went on to direct bangers like The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, as well as produce the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, while Bill Lawrence has most recently co-created and served as showrunner on Ted Lasso and Shrinking. Needless to say, we’re in good hands.* —Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
Starring: Will Forte, Nicole Sullivan, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Christa Miller, Donald Faison, Judah Miller, Ayo Edebiri, Vicci Martinez, Kelvin Yu, Neil Casey, Jana Schmieding, Sam Richardson, Mo Gaffney, Al Madrigal, Danny Pudi, and Emily Maya Mills
How to watch: Clone High premieres May 23 on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai
In 1984, Gremlins introduced audiences to the cute and catastrophic cryptids, the Mogwai. Cuddly little critters with big ears and a love of humming, they seemed like the perfect Christmas gift — as long as you didn’t get them wet or feed them after midnight. But if you ever wondered where Gizmo came from, before that curious shop in New York City’s Chinatown, then you might enjoy this animated prequel series.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai ushers audiences back to China, when the elderly shopkeeper in Gremlins was a little boy on a life-changing adventure. Brought to life with colorful animation, creatures familiar and new, and a star-stuffed voice cast, this show brings a softer, more family-friendly edge to the Gremlins franchise than you might expect after the mayhem of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. But hey, if your kiddos aren’t ready for live-action gremlins and their homicidal shenanigans, this could be a decent introduction to the iconic horror-comedy franchise. —Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
Starring: Ming-Na Wen, James Hong, BD Wong, Gabrielle Nevaeh, Sandra Oh, George Takei, Randall Park, Bowen Yang, Izaac Wang, and Matthew Rhys
How to watch: Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai premieres May 23 on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Kendra Sells Hollywood
You might remember Kendra Wilkinson from such reality TV as The Girls Next Door, which chronicled the lavish lives of Hugh Hefner’s live-in girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion. Or perhaps Kendra, her 2009 spinoff show? Or 2012’s follow-up, Kendra On Top? Her latest, Kendra Sells Hollywood, follows the model into her new career as a real estate agent in Los Angeles. With HBO merging with Discovery+, this reality series‘ second season is premiering on the newly rebranded Max.
While Season 1 covered Kendra’s start at Douglas Elliman’s real estate company, as well as her adjustment to life after divorcing footballer Hank Baskett, Season 2 is dealing with professional stressors, jealously, and a past that’s coming back to haunt her. If you love reality TV drama and rapturous shots of posh homes, you’ll want to check out this one. —K.P.
Starring: Kendra Wilkinson, Jessica Hall, and Kent Speakman
How to watch: Kendra Sells Hollywood premieres May 23 on Max.(opens in a new tab)
SmartLess: On the Road
Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Jason Bateman’s podcast SmartLess became such a hit, the three comedic stars just had to take it on the road. This Max Original unscripted series follows them through tour dates in Boston, Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Madison, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, where they not only entertained live audiences but also welcomed celebrity guests including Conan O’Brien, Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin Hart, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, David Letterman, and more.
The six-part docuseries not only gives home audiences a taste of the fun had on stage, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the mirth, mayhem, and name-calling that went on and on. Tune in and crack up. To skip this would be a huge mistake. —K.P.
Starring: Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Jason Bateman
How to watch: SmartLess: On the Road premieres May 23 on Max.(opens in a new tab)
If you’re a fan of pulse-pounding historical thrillers, keep HBO’s upcoming Spy/Master on your radar. At the height of the Cold War, tensions are high and paranoia runs amok. No one knows this better than Victor Godeanu, the fictional right-hand man to the very real Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
Not only is Godeanu deeply entrenched in the inner workings of Ceaușescu’s regime, he’s also a mole for the Russian KGB, and his cover could be blown at any time. To escape discovery, Godeanu attempts to defect to the United States, a move that puts himself and his family at great risk. What follows is a tense espionage drama that plays out over the course of one very fraught week.* — B.E.
Starring: Alec Secăreanu, Svenja Jung, Parker Sawyers, Aidan McArdle, Ana Ularu, Laurenţiu Bănescu, Andreea Vasile, Nico Mirallegro, Iulian Postelnicu, Claudiu Bleont, and Elvira Deatcu
How to watch: Spy/Master is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
What Am I Eating? With Zooey Deschanel
The New Girl star is back on TV with her adorkable vibes and an ardent interest in better understanding the truth of the American food industry. Per the trailer, she’s „on a mission to debunk some of the worst myths about food.“ This includes giving a thoughtful look at maligned fats, plunging into the juice cleanse trend, and breaking down when it’s best to buy organic.
The vast morass of DietTok
What Am I Eating? With Zooey Deschanel has a sprightly vibe in its exploration, looking not to shame viewers for their cravings but to educate the lot of us on how to eat better and be better informed about what we choose to eat. Reported segments usher us into bakeries, berry farms, and restaurant kitchens with experts and journalists, who are happy to chew the fat for our entertainment and enrichment. With six bite-sized episodes, this docuseries is easy to digest. —K.P.
Starring: Zooey Deschanel
How to watch: What Am I Eating? With Zooey Deschanel premieres May 23 on Max.(opens in a new tab)
Of course, Max has a massive selection of movies and shows from their HBO Max days. Below are some highlights, for whatever you might be seeking. Amazing films? Heralded TV dramas? Binge-worthy miniseries? Winsome rom-coms? Classic movies or side-splitting comedies? We’ve got you covered.
The Last of Us
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey share a blissful moment in „The Last of Us.“
Credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO
Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin’s astonishing adaptation of the popular video game, The Last of Us offers nine hour-long episodes that spin a compelling and self-contained story. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star as a pair of survivors thrown together in a post-apocalyptic America, ripped apart by a tenacious fungus that turns man into (essentially) zombies. To save the future of all mankind, mercenary Joel must get snarky teen Ellie across the U.S. to a safe zone. Along the way, they’ll not only have to face a variety of vicious creatures but also humans who bring new meaning to the word evil.
Best of all, this series not only offers hair-raising horror, goofy puns, and a playlist that’ll get stuck in your brain; it also delivers some of 2023’s most emotionally devastating onscreen moments. Lean into it, and give yourself a good long cry.* —K.P.
How to watch: The Last of Us is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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The Dark Knight
It’s daunting to pick just one Batman movie from the literal dozens available on Max, but in the end the top spot could only go to 2008’s The Dark Knight, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Mask of the Phantasm, we will avenge you — someday).
The Dark Knight is more than the obvious peak of Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the final, mesmerizing performance that won Heath Ledger an Oscar. Over a decade later, the film’s exploration of nuance within the poles of good and evil remains as prescient as ever. We’re drawn to the chaos and fury of Ledger’s Joker, yes, but we are as compelled by Bruce’s struggle (Christian Bale) and Harvey’s fall from grace (Aaron Eckhart). You don’t get a line like „You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain“ without seriously contemplating its meaning.* —Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: The Dark Knight is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians revitalized the rom-com genre upon its release in 2018. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, the story follows Chinese-American professor Rachel (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding), for a wedding only to discover that his family is one of the wealthiest in the country. Rachel is also forced to confront Nick’s traditional mother, who believes she is not good enough to marry her son.
With dazzling visuals and snappy writing, this one is definitely worth revisiting.* — Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow
How to watch: Crazy Rich Asians is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Mare of Easttown
Kate Winslet tackles a twisted crime in „Mare of Easttown.“
25 years ago, Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) was a star high school athlete with a promising future ahead of her. Nowadays, she’s a bitter, divorced detective whose name is being dragged through the mud over a missing persons case she couldn’t solve. When another local girl vanishes, Mare must push aside personal dramas — and inner demons — to crack the case. This small but gruff blue-collar town outside of Philadelphia is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, so surely someone must know something. Creator Brad Ingelsby brings together a crackling cast that includes Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Guy Pearce, and Evan Peters. Together, they build an enveloping atmosphere of snark and suspicion and a darkly amusing crime drama that had tongues wagging, critics cheering, and jaws dropping. It’s no mystery how Mare of Easttown earned 16 Emmy nominations in 2021.*—K.P.
How to watch: Mare of Easttown is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Singin‘ in the Rain
Easily one of the greatest movie musicals ever made, Singin‘ in the Rain tells the story of Hollywood’s shift from silent films to talking pictures. Caught in this transition is leading man Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), whose leading lady Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) has the most grating voice imaginable. With the help of his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and aspiring actor Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), he plans to make a movie musical. What follows are some of the best musical numbers in history, with show-stopping choreography accompanying catchy tunes. The title number is an absolute joy, as are „Good Morning“ and the comedic masterpiece „Make ‚Em Laugh.“ But it’s the 13-minute „Broadway Melody“ sequence in all its Technicolor glory that solidifies Singin‘ in the Rain as one of the all-time greats. — B.E.
How to watch: Singin‘ in the Rain is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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When you think of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, you probably think of Spirited Away or My Neighbor Totoro. But Miyazaki has been telling visually stunning stories for decades, and it’s high time to dive a little deeper into the Ghibli catalog. Start with Princess Mononoke, the story of a leader determined to protect her lands from human consumption. Though she may align ideologically with Pocahontas, Princess Mononoke is far more ruthless, stopping at nothing to defend her fantastical home. Caught in the middle of this fight is a young prince, Ashitaka, hoping to help both sides achieve peace before a demon’s curse can kill him.
Mononoke has all the markings of a Ghibli classic, like wood spirits, gorgeous animation, and ruminative landscapes, but it boasts a more adult tone than many of Miyazaki’s other pieces. There is blood and war and pain in this whimsical world, and the story is more complex and engaging because of it. For an added treat, the script for the English dub was written by sci fi/fantasy legend Neil Gaiman, so you can watch the English version confident nothing is lost in translation.*—Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor
How to Watch: Princess Mononoke is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Worlds collide in this 2020 cringe comedy that’s been widely hailed by critics. When a Jewish college student (Rachel Sennott) dutifully attends a shiva alongside her parents, she’s prepared to field questions about her unimpressive job prospects and lack of a boyfriend. However, she’s not ready for her secret sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) to show up, much less with his beautiful blonde wife (Dianna Agron) and their rosy-cheeked baby. Making matters even more fraught, her former best friend is slinging her serious side-eye. Something has got to give. In her remarkable debut feature, writer/director Emma Seligman creates laughs and suspense with an electrifying tapestry of observational humor, social awkwardness, jolting humiliation, and sexual tension. You’ve heard of feel-good comedies? Well, this is a feel-anxious-as-hell comedy, dragging us through each embarrassment with our harried heroine. And yet, we can’t recommend the experience highly enough.*—K.P.
How to watch: Shiva Baby is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Not to be confused with the subpar American remake, Ghosts is the best Britcom you’re not watching. Imagine an office comedy, where rather than snarky paper pushers and bored secretaries, the characters were a motley band of ghosts all cursed to walk the halls of a forgotten English manor until they get „sucked off.“ (That’s what they call moving on to the great beyond.)
The kooky characters from across time include a chess-loving caveman (Laurence Rickard), a pervy politician (Simon Farnaby), a lovelorn Romantic poet (Mathew Baynton), a naive Georgian party girl (Lolly Adefope), a scowling Edwardian matriarch (Martha Howe-Douglas), and a Tudor nobleman who’s always losing his head (literally!). Culture clashes have been an issue across the ages, but matters get more intense — and hilarious — when a near-death experience clues the new owners (Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe) into their ghostly housemates.
Created by its spirited ensemble who’d previously starred in Horrible Histories and Yonderland, Ghosts has a crackling comedic chemistry, even when the subject matter turns to the macabre. Whether it’s the stress of home renovations, the uncovering of a long-buried betrayal, chasing off home invaders, or the addictive nature of binge-watching Friends, these hilarious haunts find plenty of humor after death.* —K.P.
How to watch: Ghosts is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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Zoë Kravitz listens in and rattles us in „Kimi.“
Credit: HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures
What would you do if you overheard a crime being committed? That’s the curious question that plays at the core of Steven Soderbergh’s 2022 thriller, written by Jurassic Park’s David Koepp. Named for a virtual personal assistant that recorded audio of a seemingly deadly incident, Kimi stars Zoë Kravitz as Angela Childs, a tech worker whose sharp ear and big heart mean she can’t walk away once the screams play. In tracking down the truth, Angela will face off against corporate greed, mysterious stalkers, and her struggles with crippling agoraphobia. Laced with psychological suspense and a mesmerizing mystery, this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat…and maybe side-eying your Echo.*—K.P.
How to watch: Kimi is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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I mean, it’s Beetlejuice… What more is there to say? It’s always a joy to revisit — or visit, if you’ve somehow never experienced this Tim Burton classic — Catherine O’Hara lip-synching for her life to the Banana Boat Song, baby goth Winona Rider pouting around in a black veil, or Michael Keaton in an endless gross-out competition with himself. If you need some fantastical kooky fun, or just a quick 92-minute throwback to the days of good ol‘ Burton imaginative world-building, you can’t go wrong calling in the bio-exorcist.* —Oliver Whitney, Freelance Contributor
How to watch: Beetlejuice is now streaming on Max.(opens in a new tab)
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The Shawshank Redemption
Based on a Stephen King novella, The Shawshank Redemption follows the sentence of Andy (Tim Robbins), convicted of murdering his wife and her lover in cold blood. While doing time he befriends Red (Morgan Freeman) and forms other alliances, adjusting to prison life but never eliminating dreams of escape.
Like the best prison dramas, parts of Shawshank are genuinely difficult to watch. Andy witnesses rampant corruption and power abuse within the system, as well as how prison deteriorates the mental health of the long-incarcerated — who sometimes cannot reclaim their lives even after making parole. Andy’s story often triumphs, but it is those whose end in tragedy that leave a mark.* —P.K.
How to watch: The Shawshank Redemption is now streaming on Max(opens in a new tab).
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Mind Over Murder
A pair of actors re-enact a controversial interrogation in „Mind Over Murder.“
Credit: HBO Max
The story of the Beatrice Six is so full of twists, turns, and uncomfortable truths that it can be difficult to know who to believe. It all began in 1985, when beloved grandmother Helen Wilson was murdered in her home. Six suspects would be collected by local police. Five would give confessions. But decades later, when DNA evidence can’t prove a single one of them was in Wilson’s home, the case and the community are thrown into spin.
Documentarian Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation) speaks with members of the Beatrice Six, the police force that targeted them, and the surviving family members of Helen Wilson to investigate how this case was horrendously mishandled and its impact 35 years later. Moreover, the six-part mini-series follows a local theater production that uses transcripts from every step of the case to try to make sense of this hometown horror. The result is a documentary mini-series that is rivetingly dedicated not only to the truth but also to reclaiming the humanity of all of the victims of this horrendous miscarriage of justice. —K.P.
How to watch: Mind Over Murder is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)
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*Asterisks connote this blurb has appeared on a previous Mashable list.