All the Killer Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Stuff We Can't Wait to Watch on HBO Max [Updated]

The Doctor and her fam are coming to HBO Max.
The Doctor and her fam are coming to HBO Max.
Image: BBC

It’s official: HBO Max, formerly known as “the untitled Warner Bros. streaming service,” is launching May 27. While some recently arrived streamers have felt pretty skippable, HBO Max is dangerously near Disney+ levels of “Dammit, just take my money, I need it.” Why? Just check out all this juicy genre content.

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Original programming, available at launch:

Looney Tunes Cartoons

Looney Tunes Cartoons, from Warner Bros. Animation, will feature “marquee Looney Tunes characters featured in their classic pairings in simple, gag-driven and visually vibrant stories,” according to an HBO Max press release—so, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester and Tweety, and the rest of the gang. It will run for 80 episodes, with each running around 11 minutes, with some holiday-themed specials in the mix too.

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The Not Too Late Show with Elmo

The popular muppet gets his own talk show from Sesame Workshop, and the format sounds pretty traditional—celebrity interviews, live musical performances, etc.. Guests will include Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, John Mulaney, and more, with musical guests like Lil Nas X and the Jonas Brothers. Yes, this is clearly aimed at a young audience—but Cookie Monster is also listed among the cast, so you can’t go wrong there.


Original programming, coming soon:

Doom Patrol

The much-anticipated second season of the excellently weird DC Comics superteam series will still be streaming on DC Universe—but HBO Max subscribers will also be able to watch it on the new platform. (All of Doom Patrol season one will also be available on HBO Max, in case you need to catch up before diving into the new episodes.)

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Raised by Wolves

This sci-fi series from Ridley Scott was, at one point, headed to TNT; it’s described as a tale of “two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet,” a task that becomes complicated when the children grow into adults who start beefing over religious differences. The announcement of Raised by Wolvesshift to HBO Max last year brought some updates, including that it’ll run for 10 episodes and star Travis Fimmel (Vikings), with creator Aaron Guzikowski (who penned the script for the 2013 Denis Villeneuve drama Prisoners) writing and showrunning, and Scott making his debut as a TV director.

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Close Enough

Another network migration here: This adult animated comedy from J.G. Quintel (Cartoon Network’s Regular Show) was originally planned for TBS, but is now heading to HBO Max. It’s about “the surreal life of a millennial family living with roommates,” according to the streamer.

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Adventure Time: Distant Lands - BMO

Cartoon Network’s acclaimed Adventure Time gets a second life with four specials that’ll hit HBO Max in the coming months. The first entry, BMO, was previously teased as being about “Finn and Jake’s trusted robot/video game console/VCR/etc. and best friend as they embark on a dangerous mission into the farthest reaches of space.” More on the Adventure Time specials below:

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Original programming, in the works:

Justice League Dark and Overlook (J.J. Abrams shows)

News dropped last week that the ever-present J.J. Abrams, who has an HBO Max deal via his production company Bad Robot, was working on some very intriguing projects for the streamer: a Justice League Dark DC series and Overlook, a spin-off of The Shining set at you-know-which haunted hotel. More here:

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Green Lantern and Strange Adventures

Just before Halloween, HBO Max revealed other DC Comics bases series, Green Lantern and Strange Adventures, were both in active development, with the increasingly busy Greg Berlanti (the CW’s Arrowverse) behind the wheel.

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Snow Crash

Will Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk classic ever get an adaptation, something that’s been twisting in the wind for years? HBO Max is hoping a team that includes director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and writer Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) will make it happen.

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DMZ

Ava DuVernay is working on an adaptation of Brian Wood’s Vertigo comic, set in a demilitarized Manhattan amid an American civil war. Benjamin Bratt and Rosario Dawson are set to star.

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Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel’s wonderful (and suddenly, eerily timely) novel about preserving culture in the post-apocalypse is getting a 10-episode series, with Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, and Gael García Bernal starring, Patrick Somerville (Maniac) writing, and Hiro Murai (Guava Island) directing.

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The Uninhabitable Earth

Climate change—or rather, the effects of climate change on a near-future Earth—will get its own fictional anthology in this planned adaptation of David Wallace-Wells’ book. The title doesn’t bode well for humanity, does it?

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Dune: The Sisterhood

So far there’s been no update on this show in the wake of showrunner Jon Spaihts’ departure last November. But given the ever-building hype over the Dune feature film—which Spaihts co-wrote with Dune director Denis Villeneuve—you have to imagine HBO Max will still want to capitalize on Dune fever.

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Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai

An animated Gremlins prequel was one of the first series teased when WarnerMedia started making rumblings about its streaming service.

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Practical Magic

AHEM. We haven’t forgotten that you tempted us with this, HBO Max.

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From the Library:

Doctor Who

As part of a deal with the BBC, HBO Max will stream all the modern Doctor Who episodes, right up through Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor.

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Studio Ghibli

“Streaming for the first time ever in the U.S., 20 films from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli animation house will be available on HBO Max at launch,” with titles to include Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Forget everything else on this list...this content alone is worth the $15 a month.

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HBO series

Duh, but HBO Max will have all of HBO’s “premium originals,” which of course includes genre standouts like Westworld, Game of Thrones, and Watchmen.

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WarnerMedia series

Masochists can take in all the Big Bang Theory they want; for the rest of us, there’ll be shows like Rick and Morty, The Boondocks (including two new seasons of the beloved animated show!), Sesame Street, CW shows like Batwoman and Nancy Drew, and eventually the South Park library.

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Movies and more

HBO Max is promising “a library of more than 2,000 feature films” within its first year. Of course that includes iconic WB movies like The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Goonies, the Lord of the Rings films, Gremlins, the Lego movies, and all the DC adaptations (including Wonder Woman, Justice League, and “every Batman and Superman movie from the last 40 years).

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This motherlode of movies will also include titles from the Criterion Collection and “a selection of classic films curated in partnership with TCM,” as well as an unnamed array of “titles from New Line, library titles from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, [Looney Tunes], and Rooster Teeth”—that last one to include a second season of Michael B. Jordan’s gen:LOCK.

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Truly, it’s just about all you could ever want, unless all you want is Harry Potter—and even without the boy wizard, that is a lot of content for $15 a month. The list will surely grow and take shape after HBO Max launches on May 27, with more to come once the entertainment industry puts itself back together from its current dismantled state.

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Update, May 7: HBO Max has announced that it’s partnered with Crunchyroll to bring tons of dubbed and subtitled anime programming to HBO Max when it launches. Titles include: Fullmetal Alchemist (full series); Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World (director’s cut, season 1); In/Spectre (season 1); Keep Your Hands off Eizouken (season 1); Rurouni Kenshin (full series); KONOSUBA - God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! (seasons 1-2); Bungo Stray Dogs (seasons 1-3); Berserk (seasons 1-2); Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (season 1); Kill la Kill (season 1); Your Lie in April (season 1); ERASED (season 1); Kiznaiver (season 1); Schwarzes Marken (season 1); 91 Days (season 1); The Testament of Sister New Devil (seasons 1-2); and Rokka - Braves of the Six Flowers (season 1).

In addition, “Crunchyroll will curate additional top anime titles for HBO Max each quarter, cultivating fresh offerings that appeal to new and existing anime fans including Hunter x Hunter and Death Note coming to the streamer within the first year of launch,” according to the press release.

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DISCUSSION

So from what I’ve been able to gather from the HBO website is that current HBO Now subscribers will automatically get HBO Max, but ONLY if they are subscribers directly through HBO. That is, if you are getting HBO Now through any other service (bundled with a wireless plan, paid for through iTunes, etc.), then you will have to pay extra for HBO Max.