We know, everybody has weighed in on the topic by now, but we wanted to wait until the dust settled and all the kinks were worked out before we passed judgment on HBO Max. As of August 27, it has been three months. In that time the site has run its first scripted series (LOVE LIFE), added quite a number of unscripted fare (like LEGENDARY), offered a Feature Film presentation (AN AMERICAN PICKLE) and its first documentary (CLASS ACTION PARK). It has more to come, of course, like the highly anticipated RAISED BY WOLVES by Ridley Scott When you add content from the likes of TNT, TBS, TCM and HBO then you are starting to be a contender in the streaming biz. HBO Max is certainly putting in a strong effort.
Of course, it has had its issues. They all do, even though PR tries to downplay it. There is the quibble of its price point being too high, the mishmash of brands that has people confused, and a rotating library as opposed to a comprehensive one, plus its absence from major platforms, are just a few big ones. HBO Max has made itself known more for these issues than for it’s actual content. The potential is there, but we are not fully heralding its praises. Thank goodness there is still the stand-alone HBO site (formally HBONow) to enjoy. But all of that is not even the crux of the matter for HBOWatch. So, what is it that doesn’t have us on the bandwagon? We have already mentioned it in a previous post. It is simply three letters – H, B & O.
We are simply HBO purists for the most part around here. This writer alone has watched the channel back when it signed off at midnight each day. We have enjoyed FIRST & TEN with Delta Burke and O. J. Simpson, DREAM ON, OZ and on through TANNER 88 and THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW We moved to SEX AND THE CITY, THE SOPRANOS and THE WIRE to GAME OF THRONES, SUCCESSION and BARRY and onto the next great thing. WarnerMedia has now taken HBO, the high standard of quality it has been known for, for decades, and turned it into a run-of-the-mill store for just about anything. HBO is now known for dime-a-dozen cooking and competition shows, for example, and that, to us, kind of sullies the HBO brand. The content library, in fact, looks pretty weak if you extract the HBO content. That is not what we hoped for from a streamer that wanted to rival Netflix. I hope HBO Max doesn’t gobble up all the good content for itself, making HBO look bare. It is sadly inevitable that HBO will go dark at some point and it will only be HBO Max.
HBOWatch will not, however, ignore HBO Max as if it doesn’t exist. Though very few of our staff subscribes to the Max service, we will at least start to integrate HBO Max developments news and Max Original reviews as much as we can. It is a lot to keep up with, but we will keep tabs on the site because, like it or not, it is what HBO is now and we are not giving up on Home Box Office any time soon.