Friday, May 29, 2020

HBO Max Is Somewhat Disappointing

Today I started the free trial of HBO Max, the new subscription streaming service from WarnerMedia Entertainment. Sadly, I am not particularly impressed with it, particularly given a subscription costs $14.99 (compared to $8.99 for Netflix's Basic Plan and $5.99 for Hulu's Basic Plan). In my opinion, it's not really worth $14.99.

That is not to say there aren't things I like about HBO Max. I have to say that I am impressed with their selection in the Turner Classic Movies section. It is true that they have a lot of classics that most classic film buffs have already seen and seen multiple times at that. As might be expected, they have The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Casablanca (1942), Gone with the Wind (1939), King Kong (1933), and so on. That having been said, they also have quite a few movies that some classic film buffs might not have seen. They have a good selection of classic foreign films, such as The 400 Blows (1959), 8 1/2 (1963), Cries and Whispers (1972), and Seven Samurai (1954). Their selection of silent movies could be better. While they have quite a few Charlie Chapliin movies, they are missing Buster Keaton's The General (1926), The Navigator (1924), and other key films. They are lacking many other well known, classic, silent movies as well. Regardless, HBO Max has more classic movies than most streaming services around.

I also have to say that, as might be expected, they do have a good selection of HBO originals. If one wants to watch Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, Game of Thrones, or Six Feet Under they can. They also have quite a good selection of HBO's original movies. If I have only one complaint with their selection of HBO originals, it is that they don't have some of their older made-for-cable movies. While it is nice to be able to re-watch many of HBO's original shows, it would also be nice to watch some of their older movies as well.

I have to admit that HBO Max does have a good selection of recent movies. They have all of the Harry Potter movies and such recent films as Wonder Woman (2017). I can't see anyone complaining too much about their offerings of recent movies, although there are some obvious titles missing (why do they have Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but not Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?). 

While HBO Max does fairly well with regard to classic films and HBO originals, it falls down in other areas. Their selection of TV shows leave a lot to be desired, with the only shows pre-dating the Nineties being Hanna-Barbera cartoons such as Josie and the Pussycats and Jonny Quest. Given HBO Max belongs to WarnerMedia, I was hoping that they would have a big selection of television shows from the history of Warner Bros. Television. Where is Maverick? Where is 77 Sunset Strip? Where is ER? Their selection of television shows leaves a lot to be desired for a classic television fan. Indeed, I can still watch Friends on about two or three channels on my cable system! I don't need a streaming service for that. I would like a streaming service for many of the classic Warner Bros. Television shows, particularly the older ones.

Sadly, HBO Max also fails with regards to their selections of DC properties as well. There are some movies and television shows based on DC characters that are not available on HBO Max for some reason. The classic 1966 Batman TV series is missing, as are the classic Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV series, the Christopher Reeves Superman movies, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman The Animated Series, and several others. As a lifelong DC Comics fan, I am seriously disappointed in their offerings under the DC section.

In the end, I can't help but be disappointed in HBO Max. It would be one thing if the streaming service was more inexpensively priced, but at $14.99 I was expecting much, much more. In fact, HBO Max makes me think it would have been a better idea for WarnerMedia to have revived the streaming version of the Warner Archive and stocked it with classic films from the various film libraries owned by Warner, the classic Warner Bros. Television shows, various DC Comics shows, and so on. I think something like that would be much better than HBO Max the way it is now. I would certainly be much more likely to subscribe to a service like that! As it is, I have already cancelled my HBO Max subscription


Dennis Bedard said...

another big problem is that you need Apple 4th Gen TV to get it.

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