The Best HBO Shows You Should Watch Right Now

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It’s not TV. It’s HBO.

That’s the moniker that graced pay cable screens throughout the 1990s, as the “Home Box Office” network began experimenting with original programming for the first time. Most of those early shows were comedies, and some were even groundbreaking (lookin’ at you The Larry Sanders Show), but it wasn’t until the late 90s and early 2000s that HBO became responsible for inventing what is now known as “prestige TV.”

The Wire and The Sopranos were unlike anything else on television, not only at the time, but in history. HBO’s subscription model allowed the content to be darker, sure, but also more creative. Writers weren’t working towards ad breaks, and bottle episodes of The Sopranos began to feel more like short feature films than television.

For decades now, HBO has solidified itself as a place for quality original TV shows. When a new HBO show is premiering on a Sunday night, you know it’s at least worth checking out to see if it’s for you. But the breadth of material may seem overwhelming. There’s a lot to choose from whether you’re watching HBO on demand or online—or even for free.

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So we’ve put together a list of the best HBO shows ever made, which should hopefully serve as a viewing guide for the streaming service HBO Max. A starting point to help guide you to the absolute best that HBO has to offer. These shows range from historical dramas to sci-fi thrillers to unique comedies. There’s something for everyone here, and again, most of it is unlike anything else you can find on TV. But of course HBO isn’t just “TV” is it?

Six Feet Under

Image via HBO

Created by: Alan Ball

Cast: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Matew St. Patrick, Jeremy Sisto, Rachel Griffiths, and James Cromwell

Proof positive that HBO was doing “prestige TV” extremely well before “prestige TV” was even a thing, Six Feet Under is an absolute gem of a drama series. The show debuted in 2001 and ran for five seasons, telling the story of a family who runs a funeral home in Los Angeles. As the title suggests, this is a show about death, and indeed each episode begins by depicting the death of the person coming to the funeral home that week. Creator Alan Ball would later go on to create the soapy vampire series True Blood, but Six Feet Under shows a softer, more mature side from the writer. The show also happens to have one of the best series finales ever made, if not the best. And it’s well worth taking the journey to get there. – Adam Chitwood

Veep

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Image via HBO

Created by: Armando Iannucci

Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh, Kevin Dunn, Gary Cole, Sarah Sutherland, Sam Richardson and Clea Duvall

One of the best TV comedies of the 21st century, Veep is an absolute riot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the Vice President of the United States, Selina Meyer, who struggles to find anything meaningful to do in her largely ceremonial role. But what began as satire soon became reality, as the very actions that seemed outlandish and hilarious on Veep started happening in real U.S. politics. The show does a swell job of keeping the story fresh by switching up Meyer’s role over the seven seasons, and also has one of the most seamless TV showrunner transitions in history as Armanda Iannucci leaves the series and is replaced by Seinfeld alum David Mandel. Veep can be prickly, and it’s not for those easily offended, but Louis-Dreyfus does all-timer level work here. – Adam Chitwood

Barry

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Image via HBO

Created by: Bill Hader and Alec Berg

Cast: Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, and Anthony Carrigan

It’s hard to describe exactly what Barry is, other than to say it’s just great storytelling. It’s kind of a dark comedy, but also kind of a drama. The stakes feel real and this show will make you cry, but it’s also hilarious. Bill Hader co-created, writes, directs, and stars in the series as the titular Barry, a hitman who’s had enough with this profession and decides he wants to pursue a career in acting. He begins taking acting classes from a charismatic teacher (Henry Winkler), but quickly discovers leaving the past behind is easier said than done. Everything about Barry is next-level. The comedy and writing, yes, but also the filmmaking and execution. Again, it’s a show that defies easy categorization, but just trust me. Watch Barry and you won’t be disappointed. – Adam Chitwood

The Wire

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Image via HBO

Created by: David Simon

Cast: Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, Wood Harris, Deirdre Lovejoy, Larry Gillard, Jr., Idris Elba, Lance Reddick, Chris Bauer, Sonja Sohn, Aidan Gillen, Amy Ryan, and Michael K. Williams

David Simon’s signature crime opus is arguably five of the best seasons of television ever made. The Wire tackles drug crime and corrupt institutions in Baltimore by examining the problem at every conceivable level, with the specific area of focus changing every season. Season 1 centers on a block of tenements in the slums where most of kingpin Avon Barksdale’s operation is conducted. Season 2 moves to the docks, a predominantly white working-class community similarly mired in drugs and two-bit crooks. We eventually see the bureaucratic side, as a bold police captain attempts to quietly legalize the drug trade in one neighborhood in a desperate attempt to reduce violent crime. And we also see how crime in Baltimore bleeds into the schools, when a former detective begins working as a teacher. In addition to just being a gritty, gripping story, The Wire is absolutely loaded with charismatic actors, turning every player in the game into a rich, compelling character. The clinically cold mastermind Stringer Bell (Idris Elba), the devil-may-care stickup man Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), and the quietly brilliant detective Lester Freamon (Clarke Peters) are particular standouts, centered around professional disaster Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), who more or less serves as the lead character in all five seasons. I really can’t say anything more about The Wire without potentially spoiling the story, but if you’ve never seen it, there has never been a better time to post up on the couch and absolutely blaze your way through all 60 hours. – Tom Reimann

Watchmen

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Image via HBO

Created by: Damon Lindelof

Cast: Regina King, Don Johnson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Jeremy Irons, Tim Blake Nelson

Straight up, Damon Lindelof pulled off a thermodynamic miracle with Watchmen. It’s audacious enough to try and adapt the landmark comic book by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, but to create a sequel set 30 years later that fundamentally changes aspects of the original work? That’s the closest you can come to blasphemy in the comic book world. But Watchmen just works, and on a few different levels at that. Led by a powerhouse performance by Regina King as vigilante Sister Night, the show manages to dissect the superhumanly unfair racial divide across all of American history while still unraveling a twisty puzzle-box mystery all dressed up in spandex. (All set to a thumping banger of a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.) Jeremy Irons is trapped in a castle with an army of clones, chewing scenery to pieces. There’s a rogue Lube Man on the loose. Watchmen is a lot, but the wild ride is worth it every step of the way. – Vinnie Mancuso

Looking

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Image via HBO

Created by: Michael Lannan

Cast: Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Lauren Weedman, Russell Tovey, Raúl Castillo

A slice-of-life odyssey brimming with personality, authenticity, soulful performances, and some of the most handsome dramedy cinematography you’ll ever see, Looking is a severely underseen jewel in the HBO crown. Jonathan Groff leads a warm and witty ensemble cast of gay men trying to get by in San Francisco. Only running two seasons and a finale movie, the show feels like it has always existed and continues to exist forever, a testament to how effortless, how pure, and how simple-yet-complex the show’s preview and aesthetics are. During its original air date (2014-2016), it was oft unfairly compared to more showy HBO programs like Girls or Sex and the City. But where those shows wear “slice of life relationship drama” like a showy fur coat, Looking presents material in a similar vein with less affect, less “look at what we’re doing!” This is not to say you won’t notice the filmmaking of Looking — indie auteur Andrew Haigh is an executive producer and directs many of the episodes, and his sumptuous handheld vibes crossed with, truly, the best television color correction I’ve ever seen yields an inviting and wholly unique visual language. For an absolute gem of quietly beautiful LGBTQ+ storytelling, look no further than Looking. – Greg Smith

Flight of the Conchords

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Image via HBO

Created by: James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie

Cast: Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Kristen Schaal, Arj Barker

New Zealand duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie took their musical comedy act to HBO in 2007 with  Flight of the Conchords, and managed to mint for themselves a very fun and successful crossover. Clement. and McKenzie play Jemaine and Bret, fictionalized versions of themselves, in a show which follows the pair’s pursuit of fame and fortune in the music world as the folk-rock duo Flight of the Conchords. Managed by a bumbling, adorably inept manager (Rhys Darby) and hounded by their sole fan (Kristen Schaal), Jemaine and Bret have to navigate trying to stay afloat living in New York City while somehow trying to pull off a successful music career. Flight of the Conchords is a delight for fans of deadpan comedy, with Clement and McKenzie’s chemistry firing on all cylinders as the throw out one-liners or witty banter. The mid-00s HBO comedy also features Clement and McKenzie performing songs like “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)”. Flight of the Conchords may have been short-lived, but the show continues to age well and remains a glorious slice of comedy. – Allie Gemmill

Game of Thrones

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Image via HBO

Created by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden, Gwendoline Christie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sean Bean, and many more

Game of Thrones is one of those things that only happens once in a lifetime, like celebrating your 21st birthday, or hang gliding into an active volcano. Everyone in the world was into this goddamn show, and the final season finally completed the epic story and wrapped up the many mysteries and loose ends. Kind of. Mostly. Ok, it maybe only wrapped up a few of them, but at least it ended, right? That was something!

Look, however you feel about the extremely divisive final season, Game of Thrones managed to grab us all by the throat and refused to let go for nearly an entire decade. The experience of sitting down to watch the next chapter of a story virtually every single person I know was deeply invested in was unique, and honestly even a little profound. Dissecting every episode, trading theories, and making predictions was just something you did whenever you got together with friends and coworkers. We all super gave a shit about Westeros, and Jon Snow’s parents, and Dany’s dragons. And while the finale may have felt a bit like getting tackled out a 400 story window into a city-wide garbage fire by a drunk giant, Game of Thrones was one of the most epic fantasy stories ever told in any medium. The feeling of community around the series was on the level of Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and those are absolutely crazy heights for a cable TV show to reach. Game of Thrones may have banished Jon Snow to the North Pole and left the kingdom in the hands of King Boringturd the Dull, but something like 44 million of us watched that shit go down around the world. You don’t get storytelling that epic on television, it just doesn’t happen. I’m not likely to sit down for a full series rewatch any time soon, but it’s even less likely that I’ll ever again experience anything like watching Game of Thrones unfold over the past 8 years with a mind-boggling chunk of my fellow humans. – Tom Reimann

The Sopranos

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Image via HBO

Creator: David Chase

Cast: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, Dominic Chianese

Simply put, there is nothing else in entertainment history quite like The Sopranos, the godfather of our modern TV boom. David Chase brought a gangster epic down to an intensely personal level, turning criminals into suburban folk figures that you want to watch navigate a BBQ as much as a mob hit. Leading the charge is James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, one of the most powerful performances in any medium. Gandolfini could scare the crap out of you with a change in how aggressively he’s breathing through his nose, so it’s a miracle that you also can’t help but love Tony even as he grows nastier with each season. Gandolfini’s mob boss is achingly vulnerable, and his sessions across from therapist Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) are still a marvel to watch. Add in some of the sharpest writing of all time alongside a rotating cast of instantly iconic supporting characters and The Sopranos remains the timeless backbone of HBO’s original slate. – Vinnie Mancuso

Eastbound and Down

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Image via HBO

Created by: Ben Best, Jody Hill, Danny McBride

Cast: Danny McBride, Steve Little, John Hawkes, Katy Mixon, Jennifer Irwin, Elizabeth De Razzo

There has never been a redemption story quite like Kenny Powers’ (Danny McBride) in Eastbound and Down. A former baseball star clinging to his past and dealing with delightfully cringe delusions of grandeur, Kenny’s path back to achieving the level of notoriety he once enjoyed is bumpier than most, with lots of obstacles — like taking a job as a middle school P.E. teacher to pay the bills until the MLB comes a-knockin’ — preventing him from achieving his goals. McBride’s successful creative partnership is well documented, beginning with The Foot Fist Way, moving in Eastbound & Down, and culminating with follow-up TV show Vice Principals. Eastbound might just be the best of the efforts as McBride comfortably takes center stage as the lovingly delusional Kenny while Hill writes and directs every absurd, wild, and wonderful twist and turn. Eastbound’s commitment to heightening the absurdity of this aforementioned quest while grounding the series in the real world makes it a bingeable watch. Additional performances turned in by Katy Mixon as Kenny’s high school sweetheart-turned-work colleague he’s trying to win back, John Hawkes as Kenny’s beleaguered but loving brother, and Steve Little as Kenny’s devoted ally and pseudo-henchman add some rich emotional depth to one fading star’s pursuit of a second chance at fame. – Allie Gemmill

Crashing

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Image via HBO

Created by: Pete Holmes

Cast: Pete Holmes, Lauren Lapkus, George Basil, Jamie Lee, and Artie Lange

If you’re a stand-up comedy fan, Crashing is a must-see. Produced by Judd Apatow, the show is loosely based on the life of its star and creator, Pete Holmes, who was inspired by his divorce to finally give a career as a stand-up comedian a serious try. Each episode finds Pete crashing on a different comedian’s couch, which opens the series up to guest stars galore ranging from Jim Norton to Bill Burr to Sarah Silverman. And while the series was cut short after three seasons, it’s a really funny and surprisingly emotional journey to watch Pete’s career finally take off. – Adam Chitwood

Band of Brothers

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Image via HBO

Created by: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg

Cast: Damian Lewis, Ron Livingston, Scott Grimes, Donnie Wahlberg, Kirk Acevedo, Eion Bailey, and Michael Cudlitz

A who’s who of acting talent, Band of Brothers, far from a miniseries version of Saving Private Ryan (despite the attachment of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg), takes the long view on the arc of World War II. The series starts all the way back at jump training for “Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division. Watching how these men are slowly chipped away at by what most would agree was a “necessary” war is a stirring and profound experience. Men who are teased as heroes come down with shell shock. It’s all about the trauma these men experienced and the cost of literally saving the world from tyranny. Band of Brothers serves as a powerful reminder that there’s no such thing as a “good” war. – Matt Goldberg

The Comeback

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Image via HBO

Created by: Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King

Cast: Lisa Kudrow, Malin Akerman, Robert Bagnell, Lance Barber, and Robert Michael Morris

Quite possibly the best HBO show you never saw, The Comeback is a gem. The mockumentary series premiered in 2005 and lasted only one season before being cancelled, but was revived in 2014 for a second season due to its cult favorite status. It aired the wake of Friends’ conclusion and found Lisa Kudrow playing a formerly famous TV star attempting a comeback with a supporting role on a new sitcom. Kudrow turns in a truly iconic comedic performance here that’s layered with vulnerability, especially in the somewhat darker second season. If you’ve never seen The Comeback, now’s a great time to catch up. – Adam Chitwood

Succession

Image via HBO

Created by: Jesse Armstrong

Cast: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun, J. Smith-Cameron, Hiam Abbass

The trials and tribulations of the callous, ambitious, and occasionally hilarious Roy clan, as seen over the course of two seasons of Succession (so far), are some of the most eminently watchable I’ve come across in my time. It’s not hard to loathe the privilege of the Roys, an uber-wealthy family anchored by chill Roy patriarch and media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox), but it’s also not hard to love them, either.

Succession plays like a modern King Lear, with Logan attempting to crown one of his four children — Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Connor (Alan Ruck) — as his worthy successor. The battle scars of growing up in wealthy, sheltered, cold, and power-hungry household have barely healed over for the adult Roy children as they covertly compete for the company throne. Watching them try to remain allies while they undermine one another’s efforts makes for devilishly good television that will immediately suck you in from the first episode onward. Every performance is damn near perfect, with the writing, direction, and music from composer Nicholas Brittell catapulting this show into the top tier of HBO shows. – Allie Gemmill

Westworld

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Image via HBO

Created by: Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy

Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, and Ed Harris

It’s no secret that HBO planned Westworld as its “next big thing” after Game of Thrones, and while the show is certainly a success, it’s not exactly an easy watch for some. This is a sci-fi series full of great ideas that are sometimes executed well, but even if you find yourself frustrated or confounded by the storytelling, it’s hard to resist the urge to find out what happens next. Based on the film of the same name, Westworld takes place in a future in which a theme park has been built where humans can interact with robot “hosts” that look just like them, and have been programmed to be friends, villains, and yes romantic companions. The thematic thrust of Westworld is “does free will exist?” not just for humans but for the hosts, who are beginning to grow into a consciousness all their own. It’s a show that’s unafraid of tackling big ideas that also boasts some incredible production value and more twists than you can count. If you find yourself even semi-engaged with the pilot, stick with it. You’re probably gonna enjoy the rest of the ride. – Adam Chitwood

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Image via HBO

Created by: Larry David

Cast: Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, J.B. Smoove, Richard Lewis, Ted Danson, Wanda Sykes, Vivica A. Fox, Bob Einstein

Simply put, Curb (as it is affectionately known) is one of the greatest comedy TV series of all time, just below Seinfeld on my list. And what do you know, they share a creator in common — the incomparable Larry David, who may very well be the funniest man on the planet. Think about how well we know Larry, with all his weird quirks and peccadilloes. The show may boast a ton of improvisation, but whether on the page or off the cuff, this version of Larry David (who doesn’t seem too far from the real deal) is a brilliant creation, especially on a cable network where anything goes. Of course, every hero (in his own mind) needs a villain, and Susie Greene, as played by Susie Essman, is Larry’s greatest foil. I can’t imagine anyone playing Susie with the same attitude that Essman brings to the character, who is one of HBO’s greatest swearers — right up there with James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano and Wendell Pierce’s Bunk from The Wire. Jeff Garlin is the best friend every guy would love to have, Bob Einstein’s Marty Funkhauser was always a delightful scene-stealer, and Richard Lewis is an always-welcome addition to their clique. Cheryl Hines is wonderful and endlessly forgiving as Larry’s wife, and the show got a real shot in the arm with the arrival of J.B. Smoove’s Leon Black and the rest of his displaced family — people who weren’t afraid to hold Larry accountable for his often questionable behavior.

The list of guest stars this show has enjoyed over the years is truly amazing, from the cast of Seinfeld to standouts like Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Gina Gershon, Martin Scorsese, Michael J. Fox and Bill Buckner. Sure, some episodes are better than others, but the sheer act of watching Curb for 30 minutes on a Sunday night is sometimes the one thing I look forward to most in a given week. Maybe that says more about me and where I’m at in my life, but maybe it’s one of the only shows on TV that is actually worth the hype. There are episodes of Curb that have me laughing from start to finish, and not only is the show extremely rewatchable, but it’s also endlessly quotable. How many things started on Curb? Respect for wood. The stop-and-chat. The long stare into someone’s eyes to see if they’re lying. Curb Your Enthusiasm is pretty, pretty, pretty good if you ask me! – Jeff Sneider

True Blood

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Image via HBO

Created by: Alan Ball

Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Deborah Ann Woll, Joe Manganiello, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Jim Parrack, and Carrie Preston

Addictive. Ridiculous. Over-the-top. Sappy. Insane. These are just a few of the adjectives one could use to describe True Blood, one of the most successful shows in HBO history. Over the course of seven seasons, the supernatural soap followed the exploits of a 173-year-old vampire named Bill who fell in love with a human named Sookie, and the menagerie of colorful characters who inhabited the show’s Deep South setting. The series touches upon a number of thematic ideas, using the ostracizing of vampires as a metaphor for homophobia and the fight for gay rights to varying degrees of success. While the series goes off the rails a number of times, like an addictive Ryan Murphy show you’ll find it’s hard to quit outright. True Blood is a stew of great, good, bad, and terrible, but there’s something about it that’s just appealing on a base level. And no, it’s not the gratuitous sex. – Adam Chitwood

The Larry Sanders Show

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Image via HBO

Created by: Dennis Klein, Gary Shandling

Cast: Gary Shandling, Rip Torn, Jeffrey Tambor, Wallace Langham, Janeane Garafolo, Penny Johnson Jerald, Jeremy Piven, Bob Odenkirk

Running for six seasons and providing plenty of room for iconic comedian Gary Shandling to do his thing, The Larry Sanders Show is, to this day, just an incredible HBO offering. Taking a somewhat satirical aim at the frequently weird inner workings of the late-night world and the entertainment industry at large, The Larry Sanders show is perfect for those in need of some sardonic, Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque wit in your daily TV diet. Shandling is the human embodiment of a chef’s kiss as he plays late-night TV host Larry Sanders. The show is a bit of a rollercoaster, delivering scenes filled with uncomfortable moments (for better or worse) with truly great, heartfelt scenes. The Larry Sanders Show also boasts one incredible supporting cast of comedic talent, including Jeffrey Tambor, Rip Torn, Janeane Garofolo, Wallace Langham, Jeremy Piven, and Bob Odenkirk.

The Leftovers

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Image via HBO

Created by: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perotta

Cast: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Margaret Qualley, Chris Zylka, Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo, Ann Dowd, and Scott Glenn

Damon Lindelof’s first new TV series after Lost, and after writing a series of feature films wrapped in mystery boxes (Star Trek, Prometheus, Tomorrowland), makes clear from the opening credits that if you’re here for answers, you’ve come to the wrong place. The Leftovers takes place three years after a global event called the “Sudden Departure” resulted in 2% of the world’s population disappearing into thin air. The show never explains why or how, but instead focuses on those left behind, and how a sudden inexplicable loss results in changes both large and small in their lives. After an admittedly deadly serious first season, the show livens up in Season 2, which also shifts the setting from upstate New York to Texas. It’s in Seasons 2 and 3 that The Leftovers really found its groove, and solidified itself as one of the best shows of the 21st century with ambitiously wild storytelling leaps, complex characters, and a willingness to “let the mystery be.” Deeply profound and moving but also hilarious and human, you’ve never seen anything quite like The Leftovers before. – Adam Chitwood

Big Little Lies

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Image via HBO

Created by: David E. Kelly

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Adam Scott, and Alexander Skarsgard

Big Little Lies is a whodunnit unfolding in one Monterery, one of the wealthiest areas of California. The series begins by letting us know that a murder has been committed at a school event, but we’re not told who was involved. Then the story unfolds in flashback, and we’re introduced to the main players – Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and Jane (Shailene Woodley), three mothers raising young children in the uber rich community. The show delivers two things that are indelibly watchable – an engaging murder mystery, and a front row seat to the petty cattiness of the extremely wealthy. But one of the things that Big Little Lies does so well is gradually humanize the characters – Madeline and Celeste begin the series as intolerable monoliths of white privilege, but as we spend more time with them we learn that Madeline is actually a genuine person and Celeste is essentially a prisoner of her violent, sociopathic husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgård). Jane is the odd duck, a middle class single parent who just moved to Monterery and is suffering from some secret trauma. Madeline and Celeste decide to take Jane under their wing, and crazy shit begins to unfold thereafter. The acting is terrific, especially the performances given by Kidman, Skarsgård, and Laura Dern, who plays a particularly hateable community shot-caller named Renata Klein (and even Renata becomes more humanized as the show progresses). Originally conceived as a miniseries the show got a surprise second season that further ups the stakes of the mystery. Few things are more satisfying to me than a well-told mystery, and Big Little Lies absolutely delivers. – Tom Reimann

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