HBO On Demand used to be simple. It was a benefit from your cable subscription. Now you need HBO Max with your cable or independently. Or get your HBO through Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Sling or DirectTV. The choices are confusing.
Let’s first look at what to watch now with our HBO recommendations.
HBO was the first premium cable channel we subscribed to.
“Dream On” ran 1990 to 1996 and taught us we could see nudity on cable.
HBO Series We Recommend
Watch on HBO Max unless noted. Limited availability through HBO On Demand (see below)
Beware “Watch now on Amazon” HBO listings on IMBD. Unless it says “Watch Now on Amazon Prime” these are Pay per View links or invitations to add an HBO subscription to your Amazon Prime subscription for $14.99/month.
My Brilliant Friend (2018 – ) Season 3 starting in 2020. Beautiful series with important things to say about women, taking place in the south of Italy. Italian with subtitles. From the books by Elena Ferrante.
The Plot Against America (2020 – ): Based on the book by Philip Roth. Starts in 1940 in a Jewish neighborhood in New Jersey. Winona Ryder, Morgan Spector (Homeland), Zoe Kazan (The Deuce), Ben Cole (Sense 8) plays Charles Lindbergh
The New Pope (2019 – 2020): Jude Law, John Malkovitch. Sexy, dark humor yet poignant pope story. Follow-up to The Young Pope.
Avenue 5 (2020): Space comedy (rather dark) starring Hugh Laurie, Zach Woods (Silicon Valley). 30 minute episodes. Apparently we like it better than the IMDB average. Great supporting cast including Laura Chrichlow and Nikki Amuka-Bird. Ethan Phillips was Nelix, the alien cook on Voyager (Star Trek).
Mrs. Fletcher (2019): Dark comedy starring Kathryn Hahn, Cameron Boyce (first 6 episodes), Owen Teague.
Watchmen (2019 -): Alternate reality, sci-fi, based on graphic novel starring Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons
Barry (2018 – ): Bill Hader, Henry Winkler. Dark comedy.
The Deuce (2017 – ): Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco are terrific as is the full ensemble. Times Square back in the day: Season One is set in 1972; Season 2 in 1977.
Big Little Lies (2017 – ): Starring Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz. Critically acclaimed. Season 2 brought in Meryl Streep.
The Young Pope (2016): Follow-up The New Pope came out in 2020.
Westworld (2016 – ): sci-fi. Season 3 season finale in May 2020.
Silicon Valley (2014 – ): Comedy. Season 5 completed in 2018.
Crashing (2017 – ): Based on life of author and star, comedian Pete Holmes. Comedy. Currently in Season 2
VEEP (2012 -): Comedy.
The Night Of (2016): Nine episode mini series is complete.
Vinyl (2016): Music business. Starring Bobby Cannavale (who is also in HomeComing with Julia Roberts)
True Detective (2014 – ) Two seasons. Season 3 (2018) stars 2018 Mahershala Ali.
There are classics from the past like Entourage and Hung but for the current shows, we are down to the above.
The Newsroom (2012 – 2014): created by Aaron Sorkin. Available on Amazon Prime.
HBO Shows We Watched So You Don’t Have To
I Know This Much is True (2020, May 10): Great cast with Mark Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Kathryn Hahn and more but the first one hour episode was so dark, we refuse to go back for more. Yes Mark Ruffalo gave a great performance. Usually we will watch anything with Juliette Lewis but she is so entirely unlikeable at least in the first episode. Book it is based on by Wally Lamb was a best seller.
Talk Shows We Enjoy on HBO
Real Time: Bill Maher
Last Week Tonight: John Oliver
HBO Original Documentary Films
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (March 18, 2019): The story of Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos fraud
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (March, 2018): Five hours in two parts. Extremely well done. Great editing of archive footage and Shandlings personal diaries presented by Judd Apatow. With a plethora of celebrity appearances by his comedian friends. Garry died of a heart attack in March 2016.
If not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017): Aging well. Carl Reiner
On HBO Now and HBO Go with Extras. NOT on Cable HBO On Demand
rough-portrait-of-new-yorker-cartoonists – this page includes a display of cartoons from the show.
HBO Original Films
A Special Relationship (2010): docudrama about Bill Clinton and Tony Blair
Not currently available On Demand. Available on Netflix DVD.
Films Available Through HBO-Go
HBO is constantly retiring films from this library. I recommend that you check regularly to see “coming soon” and “leaving this month. If you are already paying for HBO, it is worth checking. I am only updating this when I happen to newly watch a film that I found here.
Yesterday (2019): Alternate Timeline. Beatles Music. Kate McKinnon (SNL) is the only high profile actor in this group. Pleasant love story.
Game Night (2018): Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams
Beguiled (2017): Civil War drama starring Collin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning
Atomic Blonde (2016): Charlize Theron. VERY violent. Comic book story. Plus: Female Power .
Films Currently Available Through HBO On Demand
Note that On Demand is limited, to access the HBO library you need to set up HBOgo – free with your HBO subscription.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
HBO Content Availability
HBO on Cable – On Demand
In our area Spectrum. Includes HBO On Demand but content there is currently incomplete.
Under Documentaries, our recommended “If not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast (2017)” is NOT included
The next time it will be on the HBO “live” schedule is September
You need to access most HBO archives through HBO Go which is free with your cable subscription.
It would seem that most HBO content should be available On Demand through a cable subscription but we were surprised in July 2017 to find only one episode of WestWorld on HBO On Demand through Spectrum
http://www.hbo.com/schedule?zone=west HBO On Demand: 1610 (Spectrum west)
Categories for On Demand Cable (our Spectrum West – what we found August 2017):
Series are mixed into here
Divorce: 1 episode
Girls: 1 episode
Ballers is repeated from series list
Currently two good recent movies: The Accountant; Hacksaw Ridge
HBO Specials: 20
Season CatchUp: Leftovers. 12 episodes
HBO Series On Demand Limited on Cable as of 2017
Ballers: 25 episodes
Big Little Lies: 7 episodes
Game of Thrones: 22 episodes
Last Week Tonight: 6 episodes
Real Time: 5 episodes
Real Time – Overtime: 5 episodes
Silicon Valley: 11 episodes
VEEP: 12 episodes (59 episodes exist)
VICE: 5 episodes
Vice News Tonight: 8 episodes
WestWorld: ONE episode!
HBO Go: Included free as part of your HBO subscription from a TV provider.
This does not get all the way to complete but it has many more series and more episodes here. So to catch up on past episodes using HBO Go, we use Apple TV to take it to our TV screen.
HBO Now: “The standalone streaming service that gives you all of HBO. No TV package required”
HBO Now costs the same $14.99/month no matter where you get it.
HBO is also available by adding a subscription through Hulu, Sling or PlayStation
Sling: There is an HBO add-on but archives are controlled by HBO and can come and go according to Tom’s Guide: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/what-is-sling-tv-faq,news-20474.html