I've been giving HBO Max some tough love lately so just to show you that I'm not a hard-hearted man and that it's not all dollars and cents, I figured I'd throw 'em a bone today and give you some recos from their killer line-up. Like I mentioned before, the streamer is similar to Disney+ in that it's built more on previously made content and not relying heavily on new material (at least so far). But unlike Disney+, it has a much deeper collection of both films and TV shows. And there are many worth revisiting or watching for the first time. Here are a few (I'll post movies separately).
"Men of a Certain Age". This 10-year-old TNT drama didn't make a huge ripple when it first aired but not because it wasn't good. Quite the contrary, MOACA was a very good show about a trio of longtime buddies hitting middle age and dealing with all of the requisite bullshit that comes with it. Starring Andre Braugher, Scott Bakula, and Ray Romano, the show wasn't all drama and does provide some levity about three guys realizing they're now on the back nine. It ran for two seasons and won a Peabody Award but it's real legacy might be Ray Romano, Serious Actor. Because ever since, he's crushed every dramatic role.
"Getting On". I never saw the original English version of this show about staff members working at a medical unit for old folks but I can tell you that the American version that aired on HBO was pretty goddamn funny. Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, and Mel Rodriguez play, respectively, a hospital administrator and three nurses at the facility that has more problems than a math book. A sort of sharper-edged cousin of "M*A*S*H", the show mines some dark places for humor and has some great cringeworthy stuff. But the performances from the four castmates carry this show (with Metcalf doing some of the best work of her stellar career).
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". I don't think I have to tell anybody about the premise of this classic, groundbreaking show that put Will Smith on the path to superduperstardom. So this is more just to let people know that you can stream all 148 episodes uncut and commercial-free.
I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid and smoked my fair share of grass as an adult. I never really put the two together. But should I decide to, there's a pretty solid selection of old-school animation to distract me from the present hellscape that is society.
"The Flintstones". The first-ever primetime cartoon was modeled after the wildly popular "The Honeymooners" (loudmouth asshole who outkicked his coverage, put-upon wife who really runs the show, well-meaning but dipshit best friend, and his wife). Was the #1 cartoon family of TV until "The Simpsons" came along.
"Scooby-Doo Where are You!" and "The Scooby-Doo Show". If there's a show to get blazed for, it's probably this one if only because of the myth/urban myth/assumption that Shaggy and Scooby are stoned all the time. And no, they weren't avatars for Western New England colleges.
"Looney Tunes". One of the most enduring and popular cartoons of all time, the Looney Tunes roster was deeper than the Pacific. With over 30 seasons available, you could burn through an elbow on just the Tunes alone. Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner never gets old.
While we're here, "Peanuts" cartoons suck Pigpen's dirty grundle. Seriously, they're humorless and boring. Fuck non-newspaper comic "Peanuts".
I'm also including these shows strictly for PSA purposes: "The OC", "Friends", various forms of Bachelors and Bachelorettes.