For better or worse, Game of Thrones is over and, if you’re like me, you now have a Westeros-sized void in your heart that needs filling immediately. Fortunately, HBO is home to the best TV shows ever made, pound-for-pound. So, before you (or your ex’s brother’s friend) think about cancelling the HBO subscription, you might want to reconsider.
In 1986 a massive explosion occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and subsequently released radioactive material across much of Eastern and parts of Western Europe. The HBO miniseries, that just began airing in May, is captivating audiences with its tense, eerie portrayal of the literal fallout of the health and ecological disaster. Starring Jared Harris, Stellen Skarsgard, and Jessie Buckley, you can watch Chernobyl right now.
2. Big Little Lies
Based on the bestselling book by Liane Moriarty, and featuring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoe Kravitz, Big Little Lies tells the tale of three mothers whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Season 1 arrived to immediate audience and critical acclaim and season 2 arrives in just a few weeks and adds Meryl Streep to the mix. Now’s the perfect time to binge season 1.
If you’re looking for another HBO prestige drama based on a beloved written series, Watchmen is definitely a series to keep your eye on. Helmed by LOST writer Damon Lindelof, Watchmen explores an alternate world where superheroes are seen as criminals and outlaws. It stars Regina King, Jeremy Irons, and Don Johnson and premieres this fall.
Folks, you heard it here first. Barry is the new Breaking Bad. It’s a bold statement to be sure, but the series helmed by Bill Hader and Alec Berg is a perfect blend of high stakes drama and gut-busting comedy. Following the life of the titular Barry, an assassin for hire that discovers a new love for acting, Barry just concluded its second season and is 100% worth the watch. Trust me.
Zendaya, Drake, Future the Prince, an Israeli series, produced in partnership with A24? Euphoria combines a lot of ingredients that sound bonkers in the same sentence but, by the look of things, are probably going to work out. The cinematic and moody teen drama premieres this June.
Succession follows the aging head of a massive media conglomerate and his children all vying for positions of power after he steps down. It’s got the Game of Thrones family squabbles and political intrigue, just without the dragons. Season 1 was categorically excellent and HBO has confirmed that season 2 will premiere this summer, likely in August.
7. His Dark Materials
HBO is certainly going all in on adaptations of acclaimed fantasy novels. Based on the trilogy of the same name, His Dark Materials, the first season promises to follow Lyra, a brave girl who comes from another world. She’s looking for a kidnapped friend and uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and undertakes a mission to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. It’s got James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson, Dafne Keen, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and certainly has that HBO polish few shows can rival. It premieres “soon,” which likely means later this year.
8. The Righteous Gemstones
From the creators of Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals, The Righteous Gemstones combines long-time HBO funnyman Danny McBride with Adam Devine and John Goodman in a dark comedy look at the world of megachurch preachers and their hypocritical lives. It premieres this summer.
9. Deadwood: The Movie
It’s been 13 years since Deadwood was on HBO as a television series, but Deadwood: The Movie is putting all eyes back on the yee-haw saga. If you haven’t, absolutely watch the original three seasons starring Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant. The movie event drops into town this summer.
10. True Detective
Season 1 of True Detective is hands-down one of my favorite series in TV history. Season 2 is… not anywhere close. Fortunately, it’s an anthology series, so we can all pretend that season 2 never happened. Season 3 returns to nearly the same heights as season 1, is very much worth the watch and restores my faith in the gritty crime series.
Issa Rae acts as showrunner and lead in the hit HBO comedy about two best friends in their late 20’s who are definitely not “killing it.” The first three seasons have been phenomenal and HBO continues to tease the imminent announcement of a season 4, so if you haven’t caught up on the show, you absolutely should.
12. Silicon Valley
The Mike Judge comedy starring Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, and Martin Starr has had five successful seasons so far and HBO has confirmed a season 6. If you’ve ever worked the tech field or for a start-up, Silicon Valley is required viewing.
13. Game of Thrones: The Last Watch & Future Projects
Even though the credits just rolled on the final season, you don’t have to say goodbye to Game of Thrones just yet. The Last Watch, a documentary about the behind-the-scenes production of the massive series releases May 26th! Hundreds and hundreds of people put their hard work into Game of Thrones and their labor deserves to be appreciated, so I’m really excited to give this a look.
In addition, a yet-untitled prequel series is in the works and will eventually premiere on HBO. Set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, this show will likely cover the Long Night and the first attack of the White Walkers, before the Wall was built. Naomi Watts is currently set to star.
The first season of Westworld came as a surprise treat to HBO drama fans. Here was a series with the character nuance, scale, and epic set pieces that Thrones fans had come to know and love. Right before the Season 8 finale aired on Sunday, HBO released the new trailer for the much-anticipated Season 3 of Westworld. We now know that Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is a new main character in the show and that this season will take place outside of the park. Color me excited.
If you’re looking for a completed series to begin binging right away, look no further than:
1. The Leftovers
The Leftovers is a relatively quick three seasons and explores a world where a random 2% of the population mysteriously vanishes at the same time and what would happen to the 98% left behind. Season 1 is pretty good, but season 2 and 3 elevate the show to one of my all-time favorite television series ever. If you’re a fan of LOST, writer Damon Lindelof takes character and mystery to the next level in The Leftovers.
2. The Wire
If you haven’t watched The Wire, what are you waiting for? Often acclaimed as the greatest television series of all time, The Wire takes place on the hardened streets of Baltimore and explores themes of drug violence, police violence, the working class, politics, and public education. It’s the cop show that makes every other cop show look stupid in comparison. Watch all five seasons today.
Veep is the funniest TV show of the last 10 years. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus vehicle just concluded its final season and is one of those rare comedies that kept on getting funnier right up til the end. Seriously, I have not snort-laughed at a show in quite some time, but Veep made me choke on whatever snack I was eating, every single episode. Pure gold.
4. The Sopranos
It’s the show that put HBO on the map and ushered in the new golden era of TV. It’s the series with that infamous ending which sparked a million conversations and theories. It’s the best damn show on TV, period. If you haven’t watched the chronicles of Tony Soprano, you haven’t been watching the best that television has ever had to offer.