HBO Max launches with ‘Friends’ reunion, ‘Justice League: Snyder Cut’ on horizon

Tony Goncalves, Chief Executive Officer of Otter Media, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California.
WTOP's Jason Fraley reports on the launch of HBO Max

Streaming content has exploded in 2020 with the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+ and Quibi, but now there’s a new subscription giant in town with Wednesday’s launch of HBO Max.

The premium platform costs $14.99 per month for new customers, but it’s free for certain HBO subscribers already paying that amount (check your current bundle package).

The WarnerMedia venture includes 10,000 hours of content, including original HBO programming from past and present, major titles acquired from other providers and upcoming releases like the “Friends” reunion and the “Justice League” Snyder Cut.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can watch on HBO Max.

New HBO Originals

“Love Life” – Anna Kendrick stars in this rom-com anthology produced by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”). The first three episodes debuted at launch, while the next seven episodes will drop once a week every Thursday.

“Looney Tunes Cartoons” – Developed by Warner Bros. Animation, this new animated series consists of 1,000 minutes of 1 to 6 minute shorts featuring all of your favorite characters from “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies,” ranging from Bugs Bunny to Daffy Duck.

“On the Record” – Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (“The Hunting Ground,” “The Invisible War”) direct and produce this harrowing documentary about sexual assault accusations against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings.

“Legendary” – This reality show competition about ballroom “voguing” features celebrity judges like Law Roach, Jameela Jamil, Leiomy Maldonado and Megan Thee Stallion.

“Craftopia” – Hosted by YouTube star Lauren Riihimaki, this kids competition pits contestants ages 9 to 15 against each other in a series of crafting challenges.

Current HBO Originals

“Barry” – This Emmy-winning comedy about a hit man turned actor is arguably my favorite show on television. Not only is it easily digestible in half-hour episodes, but it also features killer performances, winning Best Actor twice for Bill Hader and Best Supporting Actor for Henry Winkler.

“Succession” – The reigning Golden Globe champion for Best TV Drama and Best Actor Drama (Brian Cox) follows a dysfunctional American family managing a global media empire.

“Chernobyl” – This five-episode miniseries about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the USSR won Golden Globes for Best Limited Series and Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series (Stellan Skarsgård).

“Watchmen” – Based on the hit graphic novel, this nine-episode miniseries by Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) stars Regina King, Jeremy Irons and Louis Gossett Jr. in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws.

Iconic HBO Classics

“The Sopranos” – Voted by the Writers Guild of America as the Best Written TV Show of All Time, James Gandolfini stars as New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, who sees a therapist to discuss his marital problems, bratty kids and controlling mother.

“The Wire” – Considered by many to be the greatest show of all time, David Simon’s crime mosaic explores a different layer of Baltimore City in each of its five seasons: streets, docks, politics, schools and media. It also features a cast of Dominic West, Idris Elba, Wood Harris, Wendell Pierce and Michael B. Jordan.

“Sex and the City” – This groundbreaking comedy series follows four New Yorkers gossiping about their sex lives in 1990s Manhattan, making household names out of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon.

“Game of Thrones” – Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, this smash hit action-fantasy series follows the Lannisters, Starks and Targaryens fighting for control of Westeros, while the evil White Walkers return to threaten them all.

Acquired Libraries

“Friends” – The service’s biggest coup was landing all 10 seasons of “Friends,” which previously could only be seen on TBS and Netflix. Now, HBO Max has all 236 episodes of the hilarious antics of New York friends Monica, Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe.

“The West Wing” – HBO Max also nabbed “The West Wing” from Netflix, meaning you can watch all seven seasons of Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed White House drama starring Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlet and voted by the Writers Guild of America as one of the Top 10 Best Written TV Shows of All Time.

“The Big Bang Theory” – The popular CBS sitcom just wrapped last year after dominating network TV ratings for over a decade. HBO Max secured the rights to all 12 seasons in a multibillion-dollar deal, causing fans to pull a Sheldon and shout, “Bazinga!”

“South Park” – WarnerMedia shelled out $500 million to acquire all 23 seasons of Trey Parker & Matt Stone’s iconic Comedy Central cartoon that consistently mixes raunchy potty humor and genius social commentary in the misadventures of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” – It’s hard to believe “Fresh Prince” was only on NBC for six seasons, because its cultural impact continues to this day. Bob your head to Will Smith’s catchy theme song, do your best Carlton dance and relive countless hilarious and touching moments with Uncle Phil.

“The Bachelor” – I personally can’t stand reality dating shows — they’re so staged and the couples almost always break up — but I know they have a massive following. No doubt tons of fans will tune in to relive their favorite rose-giving moments on HBO Max.

“The O.C.” – Coming-of-age viewers can stream all four seasons of the West Coast teen series starring Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan, not to mention that iconic theme song “California” by Phantom Planet.

“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” – Travel and cooking fanatics can pour a glass to enjoy all 11 seasons of the hit CNN reality series starring the late Anthony Bourdain during his wining and dining travels around the world.

On the Horizon

“Friends” Reunion – The superstar cast of “Friends” set the internet on fire in late February, when they announced an upcoming reunion special. It was supposed to air in time for the launch of HBO Max, but the group had to “pivot” due to the coronavirus shutdown. Production is currently on hold, but here’s hoping plans resume soon.

“Gossip Girl” Reboot – The hit 2000s series about rich Manhattan prep-school teens is planning a much anticipated reboot with 10 hourlong episodes, narrated by original cast member Kristen Bell and starring newcomer Emily Alyn Lind, who takes over for original star Blake Lively.

“Americanah” – Based on the 2013 novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this 10-episode miniseries will star Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) as a young Nigerian woman named Ifemelu, who immigrates to the United States to attend college while juggling her love life with high school classmate Obinze.

“Justice League: The Snyder Cut” – Superhero fans are jacked for Zack Snyder’s director’s cut of “Justice League.” The 2017 blockbuster obviously made bank due to its built-in brand, but it was slammed by critics and fans, who started the Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Who knows what precedent this will set for angry fanboys, but here’s hoping this cut does Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman justice.

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Entertainment News | Movie News | TV News

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