It’s possibly the worst time of the year to hear about the best of TV, considering syllabus week is over and the real work of the semester has just begun.
A minefield of exams, papers, projects and labs awaits this semester, but for the weekends spent in and the chances to wind down after hours, these shows are the best of the best currently available to stream on HBO Max, if you set aside classics like “The Sopranos” and smash hits like “Euphoria," of course.
“The Other Two”
“The Other Two” won’t scratch the itch of cancelled sitcoms like “Superstore” or be the balm that prevents you from a thousandth binge of “The Office,” but the comedy is twice as funny and incredibly timely in the era of TikTok stars dominating the Netflix homepage and … seemingly everywhere else.
This story of the literal other two, less successful siblings of a suddenly famous tween singer (a la Justin Bieber circa the early 2010s) is equal parts hilarious and biting satire. With earned heart-warming moments padded out with the most genuine laughs I’ve gotten out of a comedy in ages, “The Other Two” is perfect for both a weekend-long binge or a short study break.
"The Other Two" is currently airing its second season, with episodes dropping each Thursday, and the first season is already released on HBO Max — though the first season originally aired on Comedy Central, it’s all available to stream.
Though maybe not the best watch for business majors (one should never, ever use “Succession” as a manifesto or rulebook) it is, in my honest opinion, the best show currently on television.
It might sound like a snooze fest at first glance: The seemingly ripped-from-the-horrific-headlines tale of a bunch of terrible rich people vying for their even more terrible, even more rich CEO father’s throne is hardly inspiring. But at its core, it's a sometimes nail-biting, sometimes cringe inducing, sometimes tear-jerking, sometimes hilarious and always entertaining masterpiece of television.
The cast is full of characters you love to hate and hate to love, and the masterful writing, score and talent of the actors and directors involved is proven by its multitude of Emmy wins and nominations. It’s the perfect show for when you need less comfort, and more high-stakes drama to distract you from that essay due tomorrow.
"Succession" has released two full seasons, and the third is set to begin airing sometime in October.
“The White Lotus”
“The White Lotus” was, for some, the indisputable show of the summer. With weekly trends on Twitter and great ratings for the HBO show, piecing together the mystery and watching the chaos unravel on “The White Lotus” was what I looked forward to most every week.
A biting satire of the rich travelers at a luxury resort in Hawaii disguised as a murder mystery, “The White Lotus” tackles everything from colonialism to cancel culture in ways that sometimes falter, but are mostly done with care and comedy.
The weekly format of the show worked in its favor when it came to discussing the mystery week to week, but the build up of tension and intriguing characters won’t be lost on a binge that you can easily do as a reward after a hard week of studying.
“The White Lotus” was a miniseries, so it won’t be airing any more episodes. But, it was renewed for a second season anthology style, so keep a lookout for any news on a new resort and new cast of characters to love to hate.
While the original (worth a watch even in spite of some questionable plot lines that aged poorly) is also available to stream, the sequel of “Gossip Girl” is an HBO Max original that’s indisputably worth a stream.
Is it cheesy? Always. Is it good? Sometimes. But if soapy melodrama and incredibly timely jokes and references are your niche, then this version is definitely for you.
While the newest iteration of this iconic teen show doesn’t have as much ridiculous high stakes drama as its namesake (yet!), it’s plenty of fun and easy to laugh at, both when it wants you to and when it doesn’t want you to.
The drama is still tense enough that it’s fun to watch without becoming completely “so bad its good," and the directing, acting and costuming are mostly up to par.
“Gossip Girl” is the perfect background noise or show to unwind to at the end of the night with a cup of tea and a craving for some teen silliness when college gets to be a little too stressful. Although it’s currently on hiatus, the second half of the first season will debut in November.
HBO Max might not have all the readily available favorites that competitors like Netflix and Hulu do, but when it comes to high-quality entertainment, there’s plenty to find. Whether it’s a diamond in the rough reboot of a former favorite, or a future classic drama on par with other HBO classics, there’s bound to be something you can watch to destress, unwind and switch your attention to.