by Julian Spivey
The much-talked about HBO Max streaming service debuts Wednesday, May 27 and I know you’ve had a lot of new streaming services thrown your way with Disney+ and the less than stellar AppleTV+ and Quibi, but you’re going to want to pay attention to this one.
The biggest negative HBO Max will have going for it is it’s going to be the priciest of the streaming services at $15 a month, but when you see the library of television shows and movies below I think you’ll see there’s a reason why it’s the priciest of them all – because it kind of makes Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime look weak by comparison.
We’ll get further into the television shows included with HBO Max in a bit, but I’ll just say it includes “Friends” off the bat because that is the biggest catch as it reportedly paid more than $400 million for the streaming rights to the series to steal it away from Netflix, where it regained mass popularity among younger audiences seeing it for the first time.
What stands out to me most about the library at HBO Max is the film catalogue, especially the number of classic films included, which puts every single other streaming service’s classic film catalogue to shame, even all of those service’s combined.
At least 27 movies that have appeared on one of the two American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All-Time are included on HBO Max.
Gone with the Wind
The Wizard of Oz
Singin’ in the Rain
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Maltese Falcon
Bonnie and Clyde
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
North by Northwest
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (the entire trilogy is on HBO Max)
Rebel Without a Cause
An American in Paris
The Shawshank Redemption
Also included on HBO Max are at least eight Best Picture Oscar winners that weren’t included on the AFI lists:
Out of Africa
Million Dollar Baby
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
And then you have fan favorites like:
Paths of Glory
Once Upon a Time in the West
Cool Hand Luke
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
When Harry Met Sally
And if you’re a fan of the Criterion Collection and its large list of foreign film classics this will also be the streaming service for you (and interestingly enough maybe actually a bad thing for Criterion’s streaming service) with a catalogue that includes:
The 400 Blows
Battle of Algiers
Jules and Jim
But the aspect of HBO Max’s movie catalogue that seems to be speaking mostly to younger audiences as noted in a Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll this week is the DC Universe of superhero movies including the entire Batman series (most notable Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy), Wonder Woman, Justice League and more.
And with the streaming service being affiliated with HBO any of the popular movies that come to the premium network will appear on the service, which currently includes recent fan-favorites like Joker, A Star is Born and Us.
Now on to those television series that should have folks from the ages of one to 101 excited.
We’ve already mentioned “Friends,” which the service spent a boat load on, but the service will also be the streaming home of shows like “The Big Bang Theory,” the most popular network sitcom in the Nielsen ratings of the past decade, and critical and fan-favorites like “The West Wing,” “Doctor Who,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “South Park,” “Mad TV,” and “Whose Line is It Anyway?”
For children and nostalgic adults, the service includes both modern animated hits like “Adventure Time,” as well as iconic classics like “Looney Tunes,” “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons.” “Sesame Street” is also includes for the youngsters to help them out with their numbers and ABCs.
Being the newest part of the HBO family, the streaming service will, of course, feature all current and classic HBO programming like “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Veep,” “Sex and the City,” “Barry” and more.
HBO Max will also have a lot of original programming solely for its service, but it’s to be seen of what kind of quality they will be – but HBO is known for quality programming.
So, yeah, $15/month is kind of a lot to ask of folks who are already spending a lot monthly on other streaming services, but after seeing what HBO Max offers you might be considering dropping one or more of those others for this new service.