It is a big month for our brand of choice in October. Unfortunately, HBO Max is stealing all the thunder. For example, SUCCESSION returns this month and if you look at the poster, which, you will below, in small print it says “HBO Original” above the show title and then across the bottom it declares that it is streaming on HBO Max. Well, doesn’t that exclude those who watch it on play.HBO or on a cable/satellite channel. Small grumble; big month so let’s take that look at what’s on for October 2021. It’s jam-packed!
A few quick points:
Some Major Titles Return to HBO
Pa’lante Programming Aplenty
Earlier Same-Day Premiere Movies Return
LOVE LIFE Season Two
and Bada-Bing!, if you know what I mean
Original Series:Let’s talk about the top drama and the return of SUCCESSION. Created by Jesse Armstrong, the award-winning drama series, whose second season won a total of seven Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, will debut its nine-episode season SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max. Simply put, ambushed by his rebellious son Kendall at the end of Season 2, Logan Roy begins Season 3 in a perilous position. Scrambling to secure familial, political, and financial alliances, tensions rise as a bitter corporate battle threatens to turn into a family civil war. Yes, that might be simply stated but there is nothing simple about it. The return will no doubt be intricated and nuanced as the Roy family rages on. Don’t forget, as previously mentioned, that Alexander Skarsgård and Adrien Brody join the cast this year. There is no episode breakdown for Season Three, as of this writing, but here is our first posting of the trailer.
Next, let’s talk about the top comedy and the return of INSECURE. The Emmy-winning HBO comedy series will return for its fifth and final season SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 (10:00-10:30pm ET/PT). The final ten episodes will debut weekly on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max. It, of course, is helmed and starring NAACP Image Award winner and six-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Issa Rae. Again, simply put, the series continues to follow our favorite characters as they evaluate their relationships, both new and old, in an effort to figure out who and what comes with them in this next phase of their lives. This fifth season also stars series regulars Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales and Courtney Taylor. There is no episode breakdown for Season Five, as of this writing, but here is our link to the season’s Teaser.
Do you know how each season’s titles had similar titles? Season 1’s all ended as “…as Fuck” like “Racist as Fuck”; Season 2 stated with “Hella…” like “Hella Great”; in Season 3, they ended with “-like” as in “Obsessed-like” and in Season 4 they used ‘Lowkey” as in “Lowkey Lost.” Well, in Season Five they use “Okay.” and the final episode, the 44th overall, will be entitled “Everything Gonna Be, Okay?!”
Next, let’s talk about the top classic and the return of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning comedy series starring Larry David returns for its ten-episode, eleventh season SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24 (10:40-11:20pm ET/PT), with new episodes airing subsequent Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Originally debuting on HBO in 2001 and presenting 100 episodes to date, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM stars Seinfeld co-creator David as an over-the-top version of himself in an unsparing but tongue-in-cheek depiction of his fictionalized life. The series also stars Susie Essman (Broad City), Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs), Cheryl Hines (Suburgatory), J.B. Smoove (Mapleworth Murders), Ted Danson (The Good Place) and Richard Lewis (Anything But Love). The comedy series continues to prove how seemingly trivial details of one’s day-to-day life – a cold cup of coffee, a stained shirt, a missing toothbrush – can precipitate a catastrophic chain of events. To keep the narrative spontaneous, the series is shot without a script and cast members are given scene outlines and improvise lines as they go. Come on, that method must really work or it never would be in its 11th season!
Next, let’s talk about a top unscripted show and the return of WE’RE HERE. This Emmy-nominated unscripted series recruits local residents across small-town America to participate in a one-night-only drag show. In each episode, renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley visit a different small town to inspire and teach their own “drag daughters” to step outside their comfort zone for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag. It returns for its eight-episode, second season MONDAY, OCTOBER 11 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT). Find its Teaser here.
Debuting on National Coming Out Day, this season follows the renowned drag queens as they continue their journey spreading love from Spartanburg, SC, Temecula, CA, Del Rio, TX, Selma, AL, Evansville, IN, Watertown, SD, Kona, HI, and Grand Junction, CO. Episodes will debut weekly on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.
Wrapping up its limited run on HBO this month is SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE with a couple of scenes to go. Its final episodes are –
–Episode 4 “The Illiterates”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3 (9:00-10:00pm ET/PT)
Jonathan (Oscar Isaac) and Mira (Jessica Chastain) reconvene, exploring the root of their connection but ultimately finding the source of their animalistic impulses. Teleplay by and Directed by Hagai Levi
–Episode 5 “In the Middle of the Night, in a Dark House, Somewhere in the World”
Debut Date: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10 (9:00 – 10:00pm ET/PT)
Teleplay by Hagai Levi and Amy Herzog and Directed by Hagai Levi
Also, concluding with one last episode is LAETITIA from HBO International. HBO acquired the North American television and streaming rights to the six-episode French limited drama series. Based on true events, it chronicles the disappearance of a teenage girl in western France. The concluding episode is –
Debut date: MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 (10:00-10:50pm ET/PT)
As disturbing new allegations surface, Béatrice (Alix Poisson) meets with Touchais (Yannick Choirat) to share the full extent of her complicated history with the twins. Later, Jessica (Marie Colomb) confronts her birth and adoptive parents for her own peace. Written by Antoine Lacomblez & Jean-Xavier de Lestrade; Directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. That leaves us with you know who? Yep, Bill & John.
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, the weekly live show, is devoted to news and comedy, allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues. Editions debut Fridays at 10:00pm ET. The series is currently in its 19th season and has been renewed through 2024. The executive producers are Bill Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Billy Martin; co-executive producer, Chris Kelly; producer, Matt Wood; director, Paul Casey. The latest topics have included the Texas Abortion ban; California’s Recall Vote results and how Facebook feeds your outrage. LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER, running Sundays at 11:00pm ET moved back to a studio and won another Variety Show Emmy since we mentioned him here last. Topics he recently discussed included the longtime leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko and the current attacks on voting rights, who’s behind them, and what we can do about it. We leave this topic with Oliver’s Emmy win.
Originals Exclusive to HBO Max:Season two of the Max Original romantic comedy anthology series LOVE LIFE, debuting with three episodes on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, focuses on Marcus Watkins (Emmy nominee and executive producer William Jackson Harper) as he comes out of a years-long relationship with the woman he thought was going to be his person. After the rug is pulled out from under him, he is plunged back into the search for the romantic fulfillment that he thought he had already found. In addition to Harper, season two also stars series regulars Jessica Williams, Punkie Johnson and Chris “Comedian CP” Powell; recurring guest stars Arian Moayed, Leslie Bibb and John Earl Jelks; and guest stars Maya Kazan, Ego Nwodim, Kimberly Elise, Blair Underwood, Janet Hubert, Jordan Rock and Steven Boyer. Keith David narrates. Season one’s Anna Kendrick, who also executive produces, Zoë Chao, Peter Vack, Sasha Compére and Nick Thune will appear in season two. Here is a look:
HBO Max launched a Pa’lante programming initiative to showcase Hispanic creativity and it explodes this month will quite a bit of content. Looking at the debut dates chronologically we find the following: On OCTOBER 04 comes NINA FURIA, a YA drama YA series, about the everyday lives of a group of Nicaraguan students exiled in Costa Rica; October 14 is the date for LOVE SPELLS (Amarras) and THE MISSING (Os Ausentes). On OCTOBER 26 is the debut of MARICON PERDIDO. Created and written by Bob Pop and directed by Alejandro Marín, Maricón Perdido is a fictional story, freely inspired by the writer’s own life. The protagonist is a small-town boy who is trying to find his own identity and whom the viewer will see at different stages of his life: the eighties, when he is an overweight teenager and a fan of musicals; the period of discovery during his time as a student in Madrid, and finally the present, where the viewer will see him as a writer. Movies include EL VERANO QUE VIIMOS. A description states – after a year without seeing each other, a group of friends gets together to spend the New Year’s in the countryside. During the next days, unsolved problems and tensions from the past will surface that need to be faced sooner or later. Short films include MUY GAY TOO MEXICANO and ROSA. Plus, there are additional episodes of SELENA + CHEF. There is plenty of Pa’lante to discover!
HBO Saturday Night Movies: You should at least recognize a few of the latest debuts as they were Same-Day Premieres on HBO Max earlier in the year. Here is a look at Voyagers, Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and In The Heights.
Okay, that is four titles but there are five Saturdays in October. Which one gets a repeat? The first one as SATURDAY, OCTOBER 02 (8:00-10:00pm) houses the 2013 comedy The Internship for whatever reason. The following week starts off the debuts with VOYAGERS. Find it SATURDAY, OCTOBER 09 (8:00-9:50pm). In this one, an expedition to colonize a distant planet descends into chaos as the young astronauts explore their most primitive natures in this sci-fi thriller. Starring Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, and Colin Farrell. Written and directed by Neil Burger. We’ll get you the trailer in a minute or so. On SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16 (8:00-9:40) Angelina Jolie comes to HBO with THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD. If you didn’t see it in theaters or on HBO Max now is your chance for this title and the other two movies coming later in the month. Jolie stars as a haunted smoke jumper who is determined to save a little boy from two killers and a raging forest fire that’s headed in her direction. Directed by Taylor Sheridan, this work might have the best timing the way the Western fires have been raging. THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO ITis next on SATURDAY OCTOBER 21 (8:00-9:50pm). Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return once again as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.IN THE HEIGHTS takes the last spot SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30 (8:00-10:25pm). That’s the movie musical with music & lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda that got made after Hamilton! exploded. The least known of these movies gets the trailer here.
Movies Exclusive to HBO Max: Two huge titles here and I mean huge. First up, uploading right on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 01 is THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK. This much-anticipated feature film prequel to David Chase’s groundbreaking, award-winning HBO drama series THE SOPRANOS makes its debut in theaters and on HBO Max. Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city —and under the influence of the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti. Fans of series can catch up on the iconic series with the Sopranos spotlight page and curated trays on HBO Max. The spotlight page and trays in-app highlight essential episodes, the evolution of Tony, and more great viewing for fans before they watch the feature film prequel. I told you it was huge!
It launches the same month you get DUNE, which uploads on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22. Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) directs Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal bestseller of the same name. A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, this work tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
HBO Documentary Films: Only one documentary is announced, at this time, for the tenth month. We can find FOUR HOURS AT THE CAPITOL debuting WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20 (9:00-10:30pm ET/PT). is a harrowing and immersive chronicle of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, when thousands of American citizens from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election, many with the intent of disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency. The film is executive produced by Dan Reed (HBO’s LEAVING NEVERLAND, 3 DAYS OF TERROR: THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKS and TERROR AT THE MALL) and directed by Jamie Roberts. An HBO Documentary Film presentation in association with the BBC.
This month we can also find the concluding two installments of NUCLEAR FAMILY. It resumes on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 03 (10:00-11:00pm) and ends the next week at the same time. Remember, that is the one that follows filmmaker Ry Russo-Young as she turns the camera on her own past to explore the meaning of family. She and her sister Cade were born to two lesbian mothers through sperm donors; those donors wanted an active part in their lives. Awkward, right? AXIOSpicks up on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 03 (6:00-6:30pm).
HBO MAX Original Documentary:The streamer has two new documentaries of its own. The first is 15 MINUTES OF SHAME. This original documentary film examines social behavior by embedding with individuals from across the U.S. who have been publicly shamed or cyber-harassed – while exploring the bullies, the bystanders, the media, psychologists, politicians and experts in between. It is about one of the most pressing and unaddressed issues of modern life, brought to you by the people who know it best. The documentary is executive produced by Monica Lewinsky and uploadsTHURSDAY, OCTOBER 07. Uh, do you think she knows anything about public shaming?? The other documentary is entitled REIGN OF SUPERWOMEN and it launches onTHURSDAY, OCTOBER 21. It is a look at superheroines in pop culture. The five-part documentary series THE WAY DOWN picks up its story with two more installments coming in October.
HBO MAX Original Special: The Max Original stand-up comedy special, PHOEBE ROBINSON: SORRY, HARRIET TUBMAN, debuts THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14 on HBO Max. After a “truly trash” year, actor, producer, and New York Times bestselling author Phoebe Robinson (HBO’s 2 DOPE QUEENS) is finally out of quarantine and ready to get back onstage. Bringing her signature brand of authentic confessional humor to her first-ever solo stand-up special, Robinson gets real about therapy, interracial dating, reparations, hanging out with Michelle Obama, aging out of watching civil rights movies, and more in a no-holds-barred hour of comedy that’s both unflinchingly honest – and uniquely hilarious.
WarnerMedia Kids & Family:Originally this section was a look at children’s entertainment that was featured on HBO Family. This is where we’d give a nod, for example, to SESAME STREET. That channel still exists and so does SESAME STREET but now it is all buried in a ton of content that includes CARTOONITO programming and Hanna-Barbara classics. We felt a name change and there it is.
You know, we have yet to mention anything about Halloween in this post so far so, let’s correct that by announcing…
Cuddle up with your favorite four-legged mystery-solver Scooby-Doo for this year’s inaugural SCOOBTOBER programming event beginning FRIDAY, OCTOBER 01 on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. The annual Halloween event celebrates the spookiest month of the year with a hair-raising lineup that kicks off with new episodes of SCOOBY-DOO AND QUESS WHO?The latest series from Warner Bros. Animation stars Scooby and the Mystery Inc. crew who join forces with some of the biggest names in pop culture to solve their toughest mysteries yet. Also streaming during Scoobtober on HBO Max are 28 Scooby-Doo movies from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and the popular library animated series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
Also streaming will be a three-part mini-series event all about DC’s Aquaman. Uploading is AQUAMAN: KING OF ATLANTIS – DEAD SEA on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, PRIMODIUS on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21 and TIDAL SHIFT on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28.
HBO Sports: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL offers another installment on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19(10:00-11:00pm) and the sports documentary LEVEL PLAYING FIELD concludes on TUESDAY OCTOBER 05. This last installment, “The Assist” explores the intersection of sports and politics through an examination of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream’s landmark role in the election of Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock.
HBO Latino: There is usually a lot to say in this category but, I guess, with the PA’LANTE initiative dominating Latino content we are light here. The movie TU ME MANQUES(I Miss You) has won for best picture in a couple of worldwide film festivals and it debuts here on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15 (8:00-9:55pm). Following his son Gabriel’s death, Jorge (Oscar Martínez) travels from conservative Bolivia to New York City to confront Gabriel’s boyfriend Sebastian. While the two battle over Jorge’s inability to accept his son, Sebastian channels his grief into a bold new play in honor of his lost love, in which Gabriel’s inner turmoil is transformed into an eye-popping gay fantasia. Carried over from last month HUESPED AMERICANO(The American Guest), the one about Teddy Roosevelt in the Amazon concludes MONDAY, OCTOBER 18 and ENTRE HOMBRES (Almost Men), about a stag party gone wrong for Brazilian politicos, ends WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20.
Other Movies & Shows: There is plenty of other content loading up, of course. Movies like Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Natural Born Killers, Shaft and The Perfect Storm are included. So are American Gigolo, American Graffiti, Best Man Down, Black Hawk Down,Desperately Seeking Susan, Endless Love,Just Mercy,Like Water For Chocolate, M*A*S*H, The Running Manand Twelve Monkeysjust to name a few.Do you remember the seriesFull House, Family Matters and Step By Step? Relive them on HBO Max beginning in October.
Next Month’s Tease: Actress Robin Wright’s directorial debut lands on HBO in November. Do you know what it is?
Last month’s answer – We gave you some names. Who are they? Tom Wambsgans=Shiv’s husband in SUCCESSION; Leon Black=J. B. Smoove’s character in CURB…; Taurean Jackson=Leonard Robinson’s character in INSECURE and D. J. Pierce= Shangela Laquifa Wadley of WE’RE HERE. They all return in October!
Final Clip: Shame on us, okay? We squeezed out INSECURE’s trailer from up above. So, here it is.
Enjoy the month! Discover HBO.
About The Author
Editor at Large of HBOWatch.com and the internet's foremost HBO expert.