23 Movies and Shows We're Watching While HBO Is Free

Lookout, weekend. Here we come… straight for the couch. It's been a long week indoors for many of us, and while the weekend usually signals the start of something new as far as our everyday routines go, that's probably not the case right now as those who can are staying home to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

That said, if you're looking to virtually escape to another world, you're in luck: Beginning today, April 3, HBO has launched its #StayHomeBoxOffice campaign, which provides nearly 500 hours of free programming to anyone via the HBO Now and HBO Go streaming apps. This is the first time HBO has made this volume of programming available outside of the paywall.

That's right. You can finally catch up on must-see series like The Sopranos or plan a virtual ladies night with your crew and all stream Crazy, Stupid, Love at the same time. The best part? Well, it's a toss-up: the fact that a huge portion of HBO's catalog is totally free or that you don't need to share the popcorn. We'll let you decide. 

Just in case you can't choose what to watch first, we've compiled the who, what, and wear for a handful of our personal favorites below. So whether you strongly identify with Succession's Shiv Roy or have never even heard of Sookie Stackhouse, we're here to help you find a stylish streaming companion to thoroughly enjoy from the comfort of your couch. 

HBO Series

Silicon Valley (6 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Amanda Crew 

WHAT: Monica Hall, the youngest-ever associate partner at Raviga Capital and board member for Pied Piper

WEAR: Polished professional moments in the otherwise hoodie-and-jeans-filled valley

"Silicon Valley is a show that should technically spark none of my interests. I love the typical fare targeted to millennial females, but I swear this show has cross-category appeal, even if you care very little about the tech scene. It's funny, well-acted, and completely binge-able." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

Six Feet Under (5 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO 

WHO: Lauren Ambrose

WHAT: Claire Fisher, the youngest of the Fisher family 

WEAR: Moody '90s artist vibes and lots of black (obviously)

Conventional family drama meets dark comedy in this early aughts hit about the Fisher & Sons Funeral home. You'll probably recognize several familiar faces (Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause, plus a few fun cameos) from early in their careers. Trust us—this dark comedy is not nearly as morbid or depressing as it sounds. 

The Sopranos (6 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Edie Falco

WHAT: Carmela Soprano, stylish New Jersey housewife

WEAR: Perfectly coiffed hair, manicured nails, and the latest piece of jewelry from Tony

Put the baked ziti in the oven because it's time to fire up The Sopranos. Hailed as one of the first series to usher in the premium TV era, The Sopranos is a traditional family drama with an emphasis on the family. Although each character is deeply flawed in his or her own way, it's hard not to root for characters like Adriana, Carmela, and even Tony at times. As for the likes of Christopher, Meadow, and Paulie? They tend to be more of an acquired taste. 

Succession (2 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Sarah Snook

WHAT: Siobhan "Shiv" Roy, heir presumptive?

WEAR: Turtlenecks, high-waisted pants, power layers in neutral tones, and delicate jewelry

"This show is smart, witty, and surprisingly full of great fashion moments. (I stan Shiv Roy.) It's a great binge, and even better, there are only two seasons (a third is in the works), so it doesn't feel like a daunting commitment." — Jessica Baker, entertainment director

"Give me more and more of this messed-up family! The budget is high in this series, and it makes you want more and more of this lavish life. Super binge-worthy! In fact, I may binge again." — Alexa Wiley, art director

"I love Succession because it's a modern-day Game of Thrones set in Manhattan. It's the smartest show on TV where I don't know whether to laugh or wince at how the Roy family aims to outdo each other. And it also gave us Shiv Roy, arguably responsible for bringing turtlenecks and pearls back into fashion." — Vanessa Muro, research director

True Blood (7 Seasons)

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Courtesy HBO

WHO: Anna Paquin

WHAT: Sookie Stackhouse, waitress 

WEAR: Southern belle sensibilities mixed with vamped-up period pieces

If you came of age during the Twilight phenomenon, consider True Blood the grown-up (and much better, in my opinion) version of your favorite vampire lore. Anna Paquin leads a star-studded cast of humans and vampires, including her now-husband Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgård, Evan Rachel Wood, and the late Nelsan Ellis as the inimitable Lafayette Reynolds. 

Veep (7 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

WHAT: Vice President Selina Meyer

WEAR: Smirks, power suits, and dresses in nonpartisan hues. 

"Veep is an absolute masterpiece. It is so smart, so biting, so f-ing funny. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the whole cast are brilliant. Real former White House staffers have also said it’s the most realistic depiction of working there, which I find fascinating, too. The episodes hold up with rewatching." — Michelle Plantan, VP of social and innovation

"Every episode of Veep literally makes me laugh out loud. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the cast are simply perfect." — Alyson Stehly, copy chief 

The Wire (5 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Michael K. Williams

WHAT: Omar Little, notorious Baltimore stick-up man

WEAR: Signature trench coat, do-rag, and gold chains

"It's hard to think of a more realistic TV drama than The Wire, which captures the gruesome (and true) stories of Baltimore’s drug crime scene and the institutions that police it. The show may be rough to start, but once you come to know the characters (featuring Michael B. Jordan and Idris Elba’s breakout roles), you’ll be hooked through all five seasons. This is the only TV series that’s stuck with me years after watching it." — Aralyn Beaumont, copy editor

"According to about 500 different media outlets (and me), The Wire is officially the best TV show ever made. Firstly, I'm delighted to present to you a slick young Idris Elba and a roguish young Dominic West, who put on flawless Baltimore accents so thick I still refuse to believe either of them is actually British. (#LifeProTip: Watch with subtitles.) There are no clear good guys or bad guys. You don't know who to root for. All you'll know is that Omar is probably the greatest character ever to exist. It's long and often anti-climactic and entirely brilliant. Settle in and enjoy." — Natalie Cantell, director of branded content

Ballers (5 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

WHAT: Spencer Strasmore, a retired football player looking to reinvent himself

WEAR: Alternate between short-sleeve tees and sharply tailored suits

"Ballers is a raw look at what life is like to be young, rich, and at the top of your profession with nowhere to go but down." — Alex McLaughlin, senior director of data and analytics

Barry (2 Seasons)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Bill Hader

WHAT: Barry Berkman, a hitman slash aspiring actor

WEAR: Henleys, button-ups, and a messenger bag

This fish-out-of-water story brings an unexpected dose of levity to the dark art of murder for hire. If the premise alone doesn't pique your interest, consider this: One of Saturday Night Live's most hilarious castmates ever goes toe-to-toe with The Fonz (or Barry Zuckerkorn if you're an Arrested Development fan). That's right, Henry Winkler plays Gene Cousineau, an oddball Hollywood acting coach based loosely on Stella Adler, who championed the power of imagination in the actor's toolkit. Plus, both Hader and Winkler have won Emmys for their roles, and a third season is in the works!

Documentaries

Jane Fonda in Five Acts (2018)

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Courtesy HBO

WHO: Jane Fonda

WHAT: Jane Fonda as Hanoi Jane, Barbarella, and a beacon of the women's movement

WEAR: Several iconic outfits pre-dating her Fire Drill Friday's Ferrari-red coat

According to documentarian Susan Lacy, "This film goes to the heart of who [Jane Fonda] really is, a blend of deep vulnerability, magnetism, naïveté, and bravery, revealing a life transformed over time."

The Apollo (2019)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: The world-famous Apollo Theater

WHAT: A landmark performance venue in Harlem, New York

WEAR: Attire fit for an evening at the theater

This illuminating documentary explores the history of The Apollo Theater from its inception in 1913 to the present. Packed with footage from music, comedy, and dance performances, this feature also includes original interviews with stars including Angela Bassett, Common, Jamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Paul McCartney, and Pharrell Williams. 

Elvis Presley: The Searcher (2018)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Elvis Presley

WHAT: Rock and roll pioneer, heartthrob

WEAR: Blue suede shoes, of course

You are probably familiar with Elvis Presley as a pop culture icon, but did you ever wonder how the King of Rock and Roll got his start? This two-part documentary chronicles Elvis's life journey from his childhood in the south to the recording of his album Jungle Room in 1976. It also includes original interviews with other music industry giants including Bruce Springsteen, Robbie Robertson, Emmylou Harris, and the late Tom Petty.

McMillions (2020)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Jerry Jacobson

WHAT: Uncle Jerry, mastermind

WEAR: G-men suits and FBI windbreakers

Fans of true crime, this one is for you. This six-part documentary series has everything: revenge, drugs, and Ronald McDonald! Tune in to see how $24 million was stolen from the McDonald’s Monopoly game during the 1990s and how the FBI finally cracked the case. 

Movies

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Meryl Streep

WHAT: Francesca Johnson, a middle-aged farm wife

WEAR: Plain house dresses reflecting the setting of rural Iowa in 1965

Did you know that Clint Eastwood both starred in and directed The Bridges of Madison County? While that might be impressive enough to get you to press play, consider that The New York Times called this tear-jerker film "Meryl Streep's [best] role in years." And that was in 1995! 

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Emma Stone

WHAT: Hannah, a law student

WEAR: Stone's character proves you can never have too many going-out tops, cute jackets, or flowy dresses, especially when you're in a star-studded rom-com. 

"Crazy, Stupid, Love is just so cute and funny. It's one of the rare movies I'd watch more than once. Emma Stone is so charming in it, per usual. Actually, the entire cast is spot on."  — Alyson Payer, senior editor 

"No matter how many times I watch Crazy, Stupid, Love, it always manages to make me laugh. To me, that's a sign of a great comedy." — Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour, senior editor

Red Riding Hood (2011)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Amanda Seyfried

WHAT: Valerie, aka Red Riding Hood

WEAR: A bright-red hooded cloak, obviously

Loosely based on the childhood folktale, Red Riding Hood was Seyfried's biggest role following her iconic portrayal of Karen in Mean Girls (2004). Although the movie received lackluster reviews, praise for Seyfried's role was high and likely helped earn her the role of Cosette in 2012's Les Misérables. Press play on this movie for a twist on an old favorite and stay to witness the multifaceted Seyfried.

Sucker Punch (2011)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Jena Malone

WHAT: Rocket, rebel with a cause

WEAR: Thigh-high boots, miniskirts, and leather accessories or, as The New York Times described it, "garish boudoir fashions, cropped schoolgirl uniforms, and the latest action lingerie."

In search of some serious escapist action? Follow a bevy of badass female characters played by Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Vanessa Hudgens through a mental hospital, a bordello, and various battlefields in this surprisingly enjoyable original film from the mind of Zack Snyder. Fair warning: This isn't a movie you can just have on in the background. This feminist-leaning tale of fantasy and action make this worth watching with a close eye. 

Pan (2015)

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Courtesy of HBO

 

WHO: Rooney Mara

WHAT: Tiger Lily (problematic, we know)

WEAR: Aside from the questionable casting of Mara as an Indian princess, you've got to admit, her eye makeup is on point. 

Envisioned as an alternative origin story for Peter Pan and Captain Hook, this adaptation goes heavy on the pirates and CGI effects. On the plus side, this is one you can watch with the whole family. But in the opinion of this pop culture aficionado, you really can't do better than the original 1960 version with Mary Martin in the titular role. 

Isn't It Romantic (2019)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Rebel Wilson

WHAT: Natalie, Australian architect living in New York

WEAR: A colorful wardrobe befitting flights of fancy and falling in love in NYC

"I watched Isn't It Romantic on a plane ride and thought it was so funny. It's not my kind of movie, to be honest, but it offered some good belly laughs. I may have been sleep-deprived during my original viewing, so I'd be down to watch it again to see if it's still as hilarious." — Courtney Higgs, associate beauty editor

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Sophia Lillis

WHAT: Nancy Drew, teenage detective

WEAR: Skater girl–meets-sleuth attire, complete with comfy shoes, soft sweatshirts, and a serious flashlight

With so many iterations of Nancy Drew out there, it's hard to stand out and add to the cannon. But Hidden Staircase puts a decidedly 21st-century spin on the classic young-detective lit by making Lillis's portrayal of the protagonist more acerbically comedic. This is in sharp contrast not only to the original material but also with Emma Roberts's more pristine version, which came out over a decade ago. Another clue? Ellen DeGeneres produced this version, so you know it's ultimately a feel-good flick, even if the plot is a bit rough around the edges. 

Arthur (1981)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Liza Minnelli

WHAT: Linda Marolla, an aspiring actress from Queens

WEAR: Over-the-top accessories, '80s style

If you're in search of some free fun for the whole family, you can stop scrolling right here. Arthur is a typical screwball comedy in which love bridges the gap between two very different worlds. Set in New York City in the '80s, this movie stars Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli in the lead roles but earned John Gielgud, the acerbic valet, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The sequel, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, is also available for free streaming on HBO. Both originals are much better than the 2011 remake starring Russell Brand. 

Blinded by the Light (2019)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Javed Khan 

WHAT: A high school student growing up in '80s England

WEAR: A pair of perfectly worn-in jeans

Fans of Bruce Springsteen will immediately be drawn to this movie based on the title alone, but they'll stay for the heartwarming coming-of-age tale in which The Boss is a source of creative inspiration and acceptance for a Pakistani teen looking to find his own voice. 

Unknown (2011)

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Courtesy of HBO

WHO: Liam Neeson

WHAT: Dr. Martin Harris, biotech professor

WEAR: A durable leather jacket

Fans of Liam Neeson know the actor possesses a very particular set of skills. At the top of that list is starring in edge-of-your-seat thriller movies. Unknown, released in 2011 in between installations of the popular Taken trilogy, is a prime example of this skill set. Press play on this Berlin-set mystery to follow Neeson as Dr. Harris, a professor who wakes up from a coma and must reclaim his identity after no one recognizes him—including his wife. 

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