15 HBO Max Miniseries For When You Don't Want to Commit to a Multi-Season Show
If anyone knows how to bring historical figures and book characters to life in the form of a television miniseries, it's HBO for sure. From fiction favorites like Olive Kitteridge and My Brilliant Friend to American epics like The Plot Against America and From the Earth to the Moon, there's no shortage of compelling stories in HBO Max's original miniseries collection. Don't have time to commit to a multi-season show with hours and hours of content, but still want to watch television over film? Completely binge-watchable in a single sitting and with all the good stuff packed into a concise arc, these 15 miniseries will have you hooked by episode one.
Don't miss these series, sign up for HBO Max ($14.99 per month).
Catherine the Great
Starring Helen Mirren as Catherine the Great, this miniseries chronicles the life of the 18th century Russian monarch during her affair with Grigory Potemkin. It reveals a side of Catherine the Great that's hardly ever addressed, and highlights the unbreakable bond she shares with her lover and the influence he had on her politics.
Part psychological thriller, part horror, and part crime drama, this miniseries based on Stephen King's novel follows a mysterious police investigation in Cherokee City, GA. When it results in the murder of a young boy by a seasoned cop and it's clear supernatural forces were at play, investigators are left questioning everything they believe in.
At the center of this historical drama is the Chernobyl disaster of 1989. The day of the incident and the events leading up to the trial is seen through the perspective of characters adapted from factual narratives of engineers, first responders, and scientists present.
Set in a coastal Maine town, Olive Kitteridge follows the life of a retired middle school math teacher as well as her husband and her son. Divided into four parts, the series, like the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel it was based on, spans 25 years of Olive's life.
Following the storyline of the 1941 novel and the 1945 film noir of the same name, a woman named Mildred Pierce is left by her husband at the peak of the Great Depression. Determined to raise her two daughters on her own, Mildred decides to open her own restaurant and struggles to survive.
The Plot Against America
An alternate American history during World War II based on Philip Roth's novel is told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey. American aviator Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election and turns the nation toward fascism.
My Brilliant Friend
Based on Elena Ferrante's novel of the same name, this Italian language miniseries tells the coming of age story of two young Neapolitan girls, Lila and Elena. The best friends experience life both together and apart as they navigate life in post-World War II Italy amidst the familial pressures of overcoming their impoverished upbringings.
From the Earth to the Moon
Though it takes its title from Jule Verne's science fiction novel, this docudrama co-produced by Tom Hanks is actually based on Andrew Chalkin's A Man on the Moon. In this dramatization, fictional journalist Emmett Seaborn reports on the Apollo space program during the 1960s and early 1970s.
Recently divorced Eve Fletcher and her college student son Brendan experience freedom for the first time in the comedic adaptation of the novel by Tom Perrotta. This dual coming of age story explores the impact of internet porn and social media in a hilarious way.
Angels in America
This six-part miniseries starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep is based on a two-part play by Tony Kushner and explores the AIDS epidemic, Regan-era politics, and the social climate of 1985 through the eyes of six New Yorkers. At the center of the narrative is Prior Walter, a gay man living with AIDS who is visited by an Angel.
This eight-episode miniseries, based on the psychological thriller of the same name by Gillian Flynn, brings us Amy Adams's television debut. After being released from a psychiatric hospital for alcoholism and self harm, reporter Camille Preaker, returns to her hometown to investigate the unsolved murders of two young girls.
HBO Miniseries: Parade's End Trailer
Chronicling the tail-end of World War I, Parade's End tells the story of English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens and his tumultuous relationship with his toxic wife Sylvia and suffragette Valentine Wannop. This adaptation of the historical fiction novels by Ford Madox Ford showcases idealism, elitism, and British life in the dying days of the Edwardian era.
Originating as a DC comic series, this superhero miniseries introduces new characters and storylines as a continuation of the Watchmen comics instead of a reboot. In Tulsa, OK, 34 years after the original story takes place, masked vigilantes who were once seen as heroes are now treated as outlaws.
Years & Years
Dystopian Britain slowly turns into a dictatorship at the hands of Vivienne Rook, a celebrity businesswoman turned politician with controversial opinions. The Lyons, an ordinary Manchester family endure 15 years in the unstable sociopolitical climate.
A wealthy therapist's life begins to unravel after she learns that her husband might be to blame for a violent widespread disaster. Based on by Jean Hanff Korelitz's You Should Have Known, a psychological thriller set in New York City, this miniseries is a modern twist of the whodunnit.