My HBO Watchlist
These past few years HBO has garnered a reputation for putting out quality original shows and racked up an impressive amount of Emmy award nominations along the way- making it the perfect destination for my summer binge. I was able to complete 4 completely different series – “Big Little Lies”, “Euphoria”, “Westworld”, and “Years and Years”. Now summer is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself a nice afternoon off from school to binge a little tv. So for any students out there that are looking for something to binge and destress from school, I highly recommend these shows, and if you’re on campus I recommend even more because you get HBO for free!
Big Little Lies
I have quite the guilty pleasure for reality tv shows, and while this is not at all a reality tv series. I feel it is what you would get if you took a beach town reality tv show and made it into a drama series with some heavier topics. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies” revolves around 5 women and the dark sides to their lavish beach town lives. The idea of deconstructing the lives of these successful and rich women and seeing how their “perfect” lives are really just a big mess made for a very good first season. The second season is where Meryl Streep came in and she did marvelous, of course. The second season wasn’t as dramatic and just featured a lot of one-off conflicts with each character that served to keep the story going, but good nonetheless. Great performances all across the board, it’s a really entertaining and dramatic series that I never expected to get so wrapped up in. If you’re looking for a good old scandalous drama then I recommend “Big Little Lies”.
Starring Zendaya, “Euphoria” is another high school drama series, but this time on HBO and with a lot more nudity, drugs, and other various adult content. The show follows Rue Bennett, a 17 year old drug addict, as she and her classmates struggle to find love and meaningful relationships in a world riddled with sex, drugs, and personal trauma. The storyline of Rue Bennett is quite personal for show creator Sam Levinson as he too struggled with a drug addiction and used it as some of his inspiration for the show. The show features stellar performances from every cast member, beautiful cinematography, excellent writing, and a killer soundtrack. I say it’s another high school drama series, but it’s really much more than that. It’s deeper, more intense, heart wrenching, personal, and quite comical at times. Once you start you’re in for a ride of wild emotions, and it’s all worth it in the end.
This show is truly something else, and I was not expecting it at all. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Thandie Newton, “Westworld” is about an amusement park where the inhabitants of the park are what as known as hosts. They’re robots, the hosts are robots, and in this park the guests can do as much as their hearts desire with the hosts. No consequences whatsoever, and the hosts can’t fight back. That is until things change quite drastically. It’s a sci-fi meets western based on the original 1970s film of the same name, and full of tons of shocking reveals and great character development. It’s one of those shows where the beginning can be a bit slow, but that’s because it’s all build up for what’s going to happen in the end. Once you reach the end it’s all worth, the revelations are things you would never see coming and it’s written perfectly leaving you so excited for what it all means for the next season. It’s got great performances with a very intriguing theme of what it means to be human, and the path to becoming a fully conscious being with free will. Also the opening credits are my favorite of any show.
Years and Years
I’m a sucker for almost anything set in a near future society, and anything British. So of course I had to check out this BBC turned HBO limited series starring: Emma Thompson, Rory Kinnear, and Anne Reid. “Years and Years” is about a family in England as they deal with the political and social turmoil that comes with each new year starting with 2019. It builds on the current world issues like immigration, politics, and advancements in technology and tells them through the eyes of the family members and how it is affecting their personal lives. As you’d expect its chock-full of social commentary with some nice twists and turns along the way. It was smart having the story be from the perspective of an ordinary family, as it made it easier to connect with them and get invested in their lives. My first impression was that this series would be a pretty simple family drama, but it became a more complex, well grounded series about society and how we don’t do enough to make the world better. It was a very relatable, heartwarming, and an exciting journey all packed into a 6 episode series.
You can never go wrong when looking at HBO for a new show to watch. All these shows are quite the catch, and they have such uniqueness that separates them from all the other shows out there. Whether you check out the shows on this list or any of their other original series, you’re in for a treat!