The A.V. Club’s quick and dirty guide to HBO Max

The A.V. Club’s quick and dirty guide to HBO Max

Clockwise from top left: The Flintstones (Image: Warner Bros.); Singin’ In The Rain (Screenshot: YouTube); Bugs Bunny (Screenshot: YouTube); Friends (Photo: Getty Images); American Pie (Screenshot: YouTube); Adventure Time (Image: Cartoon Network); Love Life (Photo: Sarah Shatz/HBO Max); Justice League (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics)
Clockwise from top left: The Flintstones (Image: Warner Bros.); Singin’ In The Rain (Screenshot: YouTube); Bugs Bunny (Screenshot: YouTube); Friends (Photo: Getty Images); American Pie (Screenshot: YouTube); Adventure Time (Image: Cartoon Network); Love Life (Photo: Sarah Shatz/HBO Max); Justice League (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics)

It’s not TV. It’s not HBO—nor is it HBO Go, or HBO Now. It’s HBO Max, the subscription service that’s streaming the conglomerated content libraries of Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Turner, and all the other brands AT&T recently scooped up and reshaped into WarnerMedia. It’s why Friends left Netflix, how future generations will discover The Sopranos, and where you can watch Rick And Morty over and over—Rick And Morty adventures dot com w w w dot Rick and Morty dot com. Well, more precisely,, a destination that will one day satisfy your appetite for movies made before 1980 and at the howling request of Justice League fans.

But how do you get HBO Max? Or do you already have it? And once you’ve confirmed your access, what do you get with it? You have so many questions, and fortunately, The A.V. Club has so many answers.


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How to get HBO Max

How to get HBO Max

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How to get HBO Max

HBO subscribers who get their service through (and are direct-billed by) AT&T, AT&T TV, DirecTV, U-Verse TV, Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV and select independent cable, broadband, and telco providers through the NCTC like WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN and MCTV now have HBO Max at no additional cost. [UPDATE: And now Comcast, too.] We tried it out this morning, using a DirecTV login (which was previously used for free access to HBO Go), and voilà—we reached an interface quite similar to that of Hulu, only against a violet ombre backdrop. Existing HBO Now subscribers (including those who are billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum and Verizon Fios Internet) also get instant access to HBO Max today at no additional cost. Conveniently enough, the HBO NOW app will automatically update to the HBO Max app on supported devices.

If you don’t currently have HBO or HBO Now, you can sign up for HBO Max directly through or through AT&T, DirecTV, U-Verse TV, Apple, Cox, Google Play, Hulu, Optimum, Samsung Smart TV, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, YouTube TV, and select independent cable, broadband and telco providers through the NCTC. There’s a complete list of providers here.

Finally, here’s a brief rundown of the supported devices you can use to access HBO Max: Android phones and tablets, Android TV including Sony Android TVs (2016 models and later), Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD), Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices, computers/laptops (Chromebooks, PC and Mac browsers), Samsung Smart TVs (specifically, models from 2016-2020), PlayStation 4 systems, and Xbox One. This list will be updated by HBO Max, and you can keep an eye on it here.


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TV and documentary originals now streaming

TV and documentary originals now streaming

Top left: Love Life; bottom left: On The Record, The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo. Right: Legendary.
Top left: Love Life; bottom left: On The Record, The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo. Right: Legendary.
Photo: Sarah Shatz (HBO Max), Zach Dilgard (HBO Max)

TV and documentary originals now streaming

Like its competitors, HBO Max comes to the market with both vintage programming and fresh content. The A.V. Club has already surveyed some of these offerings; read on for some quick thoughts, or click the linked titles for the full review.


“Leave it all on the floor!” is the directive of Legendary. The command speaks to the jaunty energy of HBO Max’s first reality competition show. Pose on FX helped introduce the underground ballroom community, voguing, and houses to mainstream viewers, and Legendary makes the concept into a reality show by bringing together eight houses to compete for a cash prize of $100,000. Competitors are enjoyably shady with each other; there seems to be a significant budget for outfits and accessories; and the judging panel is varyingly supportive, dismissive, thirsty, and impressed. Although there is some bumpiness in the show’s early stages (only the first two episodes were available for review), it’s also clear that Legendary has assembled all the components needed to be a RuPaul’s Drag Race-style hit. [Roxana Hadadi]

On The Record

“The documentary On The Record has been described as a film about the secret life of hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, and about the multiple women—and in particular one woman, Drew Dixon—who have accused him of sexual harassment and rape. But that description puts too blunt a point on the story Dixon tells here, and on the repercussions that the doc’s co-directors, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, intend to explore. This isn’t a movie about a mogul who may have gotten away with heinous crimes. On The Record is more about a show business system ill-designed to process the friction these kinds of accusations create. It’s also about how some remarkably gifted people end up getting squashed, to keep the gears of profit properly greased.” [Noel Murray]

The Not-Too-Late-Show With Elmo

For its target audience, Not-Too-Late is extra time to spend with the Sesame Street monsters and menagerie—15 more minutes, to be exact. It’s Elmo (Ryan Dillon), hosting a star-studded chatfest that takes place between dinner clean-up and pajama time, with Cookie Monster (David Rudman) as announcer/sidekick/comic devourer of desserts and props and Mama Bear (Jennifer Barnhart) leading the house band. On the surface, it’s the most entertainment-forward project to ever emerge from Sesame Workshop—Sesame Street’s long-running tradition of celebrity cameos made into a show of its own. But pay close enough attention to the structure and the contents, and the service element emerges: With mobile devices and other screens playing an increasing role in daily life, here’s a show that fights against tech’s negative impact on sleep by getting kids ready for bed. [Erik Adams]

Love Life

Love Life fails to live up to expectations, offering rote observations about interpersonal relationships and shallow characterization. At the start of the series, a chipper British narrator relates statistics on relationships and marriage that will either make people feel bad about their prospects for a second marriage (despite the fact that the same “anecdata” indicates second marriages are often more successful than first marriages), or emphasize the rarity of “true love.” Love Life then purports to show us the people behind the numbers, but Boyd and his fellow executive producers Bridget Bedard and Paul Feig struggle to make any of the characters consistently three-dimensional. [Danette Chavez]

Looney Tunes Cartoons

Animation stalwart Peter Browngardt tries his hand at reviving Warner Bros. classic, never-dormant-for-long—the 2010s alone saw the premieres of The Looney Tunes Show and New Looney Tunes—cartoon property. The result, Looney Tunes Cartoons, is familiar and fun; Browngardt has reteamed with fellow SpongeBob SquarePants alums like Caroline Director (who writes) and Kenny Pittenger (who directs). Each 15-minute episode features two shorts and an interstitial; the first new entry sees Daffy and Porky Pig reunited and on an appropriately ludicrous treasure hunt. But it’s cast MVP Eric Bauza, who voices Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and Tweety, who really connects the past to the present. Even when the animation feels a little off—not in terms of quality, just different—Bauza makes sure each one of Bugs’ sneers and Daffy’s sputters lands.


Call it Making It Junior (or don’t, so you don’t end up confusing the HBO Max launch with the rollout for NBC’s streaming service, Peacock). Hosted by popular YouTube crafter Lauren “LaureDIY” Riihimaki, Craftopia is a kid-centered crafting competition series that lets the imagination and glitter run wild. Each episode includes two rounds of competition, a rotating guest judge spot, and multiple prizes—finding a blinged-out panda in the crafting supply center nabs you anything from a mini-drone to a karaoke machine. This new series should keep you and your tweens engaged during and after stay-at-home orders are lifted, even if you never get around to starting your own papier-mâché projects.


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What’s in the TV library?

What’s in the TV library?

As the name implies, a robust selection from the hallowed halls of the Home Box Office. (Well, “robust” by some definitions #ReleaseTheTanner88Cut) But there’s also plenty of TV to watch that aired elsewhere, including the sitcom reruns that kicked off a streaming war. If only we could solve these disputes the old-fashioned way—you know, like an elaborate trivia game based on the biographies of the contestants.

Adam Ruins Everything

Adventure Time

The Alienist

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

At Home With Amy Sedaris

The Bachelor

The Bachelorette


The Big Bang Theory

The Boondocks (2005-14)

Conan travel specials

Dexter’s Laboratory

Doctor Who

Doom Patrol

The Flintstones

The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air


Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

The Honourable Woman

The Jetsons

The O.C.

The Office (U.K.)

The Powerpuff Girls

Pretty Little Liars

Pride And Prejudice (1995)


Rick & Morty

Robot Chicken

Samurai Jack

Sesame Street

Space Ghost Coast To Coast

Steven Universe

United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell

Whose Line Is It Anyway?


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Feature presentation(s)

Feature presentation(s)

Feature presentation(s)

From cinematic treasures hand-picked by Turner Classic Movies to today’s superhero blockbusters and the new-to-streaming masterpieces of Studio Ghibli, here are some of the movies now streaming on HBO Max.

2001: A Space Odyssey

42nd Street

A Hard Day’s Night

A Nightmare on Elm Street films

A Star Is Born (1937, 1954, 1976, 2018)

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Walk To Remember

Alien quadrilogy (go to the Alien page to find Alien: The Director’s Cut)

American Pie

Analyze This

An American In Paris

Apocalypse Now





Babette’s Feast

Batman & Robin

Batman Beyond: The Return Of The Joker

Batman Forever

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Batman vs. Robin

Batman: Gotham Knight

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

Belle De Jour


Big Top Pee-wee

Bonnie And Clyde

Boys Don’t Cry



Broken Arrow


Casino Royale

Cast Away

Citizen Kane


Cold Mountain

Cool Hand Luke

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy, Stupid, Love


Deep Blue Sea


Dick Tracy

Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard With A Vengeance

Downtown Abbey

Drop Dead Fred

Empire Of The Sun

Fast Five

Fight Club

Friday The 13th (2009)

Gangs Of New York



Glengarry Glen Ross

Good Will Hunting

Gone With The Wind

Great Expectations (1946, 1974)

Green Lantern

Gremlins and Gremlins 2

Grosse Pointe Blank


Hairspray (1988, 2007)

Half Nelson

Happy Death Day

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

Harry Potter films

Hedwig And The Angry Inch

Hellboy (2019)

Her Smell

Hobbs & Shaw

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Hope Floats

How The West Was Won

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Isn’t It Romantic

Jaws films

John Tucker Must Die

John Wick 3


Josie and the Pussycats

Justice League

King Kong (1933)


La La Land

Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)


Looney Tunes classic shorts

Lord Of The Rings films

Love Actually

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Million Dollar Baby

Moulin Rouge!

Mr & Mrs Smith

Mrs. Doubtfire

Muriel’s Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding


North By Northwest

Nocturnal Animals

Notting Hill

One Fine Day

Out Of Africa

Pearl Harbor

Pet Sematary (1989)


Policy Academy films

Point Blank

Practical Magic

Pride And Prejudice (1940)

Pretty in Pink


Punch-Drunk Love

Quantum Of Solace

Raising Arizona

Ready Or Not

Rebel Without A Cause

Requiem For A Dream

Save The Last Dance

Scary Movie 3



Set It Off


Shutter Island

Singin’ In The Rain

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 1 and 2

Slumdog Millionaire

Studio Ghibli films

Sucker Punch

Suicide Squad



Teen Witch

That Thing You Do!

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

The Darjeeling Limited

The Devil’s Advocate

The Family Stone

The Hot Chick

The Kids Are All Right

The Land Before Time films

The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Movie

The Maltese Falcon

The Meg

The Mighty Ducks films

The Others

The Outsiders

The Philadelphia Story

The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Searchers

The Singing Nun

The Skulls

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

The Wild Bunch

The Witches Of Eastwick

The Wizard Of Oz

Three Kings

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Tropic Thunder


Two Weeks Notice



What About Bob?

What Women Want

Wonder Woman



X-Men: Dark Phoenix


As for what’ll be there a few days from now…


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