HBO Max finally has a release date – but is its launch content any good?

HBO Max, the next big streaming service, finally has a release date of May 27 2020, it’s been confirmed. The service, which is the creation of WarnerMedia, will launch with a number of exclusive shows on day one, including the Anna Kendrick anthology series Love Life and a talk show with Elmo from Sesame Street. That’s in addition to a vast catalogue of content from the HBO archives, like The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the promise of monthly originals to come. HBO Max will boast 10,000 hours of content at launch. As previously announced, it’ll cost $14.99 per month. It hasn’t been confirmed which devices will be compatible with the HBO Max app, but an FAQ page explains it’ll work with ‘popular devices’ like phones, tablets, games consoles and media players, as well as working in-browser on Mac and PC. Here, in brief, are the originals confirmed for day one. The aforementioned Love Life stars Anna Kendrick, and follows one character from first to final love, with each season featuring a different set of characters. Legendary sounds like a competitive  show themed around ballroom culture. #MeToo documentary On The Record will be available on day one on the factual side. On the all-ages side, Craftopia sees kids compete in various crafting challenges, and its host is YouTube personality LaurDIY. Looney Tunes Cartoons is an animated show featuring Bugs Bunny and company, that aims to recapture the high-end nature of the original animated shorts featuring the long-running characters. The Not Too Late Show with Elmo is what it sounds like, as the Sesame Street icon grills the likes of John Mulaney and John Oliver. It’s an eclectic spread that reflects the service’s attempts to hit every audience at once. It arguably has no true heavy hitter like Disney had on day one with The Mandalorian, though Love Life might be a breakout. Here’s a trailer:

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What else makes HBO Max worth a look?
As with Disney Plus, the back catalogue is what’s appealing about HBO Max, and unlike Disney, the archive is much broader and more adult. That HBO archive is enormously appealing, and given that this service costs the same as a HBO Now subscription, it seems like a win-win. On day one, HBO Max will also have popular older shows Friends, The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Doctor Who, Rick and Morty, The OC and more available to stream. Some shows on The CW like Batwoman and Katy Keene will also stream on there. On the movie side, a big launch highlight is 20 Studio Ghibli movies. Over the first year, you’ll see over 2000 movies added to the service. Every Batman, Lord of the Rings and Matrix movie will live on HBO Max at some point, too, including the award-winning Joker. Basically, if Warner Bros owns it, you’ll eventually be able to stream it. It’s also licensing content from other studios, too, with South Park coming to the service in its first year, and movies sourced from The Criterion Collection. HBO Max also has a big selection of new originals in the works, including a Friends reunion special and a Michael Mann-directed adaptation of the book Tokyo Vice starring Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort. Recently, three new HBO Max series to be produced by JJ Abrams were revealed: Justice League Dark, based on the DC characters, The Shining spin-off Overlook and an original ’70s drama called Duster. We look forward to checking it out, and seeing if it’s worth the $14.99 subscription fee.