HBO Series: 5 South Park Episodes Banned From Streaming

There's a lot to dig through when you sign up. To narrow it down, you need to know what the best series on HBO is.

By Faith McKay and Staff | Updated

HBO produced original programming before streaming was ever an option. This has given us several decades of original programming from the network and now that they’re on board with their own streaming service, there is a lot of content to dig through when you sign up.  To narrow it down, you need to know what the best series on HBO is.

Over the years, HBO has set themselves apart by being a network where you can find shows they wouldn’t air on the more traditional channels. They became known for swearing, sex, and violence. As they’ve grown, they’ve become known for award winning series. A lot of their shows are dark. They take unexpected turns. At their best, they are packed full of characters viewers can’t stop watching. 

HBO Max Changes Everything

With the new launch of HBO’s new streaming service HBO Max and so far the news coming from HBO is quite stunning. With all the programming and choices HBO Max has going for it, one would think its most popular top-streamed show would be Game of Thrones or perhaps Friends. You could even add the Sopranos to that list. Surprisingly though, you would be very wrong if any of those three were your guess. No, one week in and the most popular show at launch was none other than Looney Tunes Cartoons. Yes. Over GoTSopranos, and Friends.

Another big surprise is that HBO Max’s second most popular streamer is another kids’ show, Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo. While it is still early in the game, this presents HBO with something of a dilemma. It’s nice to have two kids’ shows as some of their most popular but what does that say for the adult content they are producing? Obviously, a streaming service that is geared more toward adults would like to see those numbers rise and maybe they will. They are, after all, only a week into launch. Let’s see what the next few weeks have in store for HBO Max.

Streaming Now On HBO

On the list below we’re looking at some of the best series you can find when you sign up for HBO or their newly launched HBO Max. Some of the series on this list are currently airing, but with so many years of content creation, a lot of them are shows that aired for many years and are now perfectly bingeable. 

This list was narrowed down using the critics’ scores while also taking into consideration the lasting impact and following of some of the series on this list. For the sake of narrowing things down further, it doesn’t include mini-series. Still, there are many honorable mentions–there are too many series on HBO streaming for any one list to conquer–but these are the best HBO shows available right now and coming soon.

South Park

HBO bought the rights to stream South Park and the long-running show is now available exclusively on HBO Max. Or at least most of it is.

When HBO moved South Park over to their network, they decided to ban five specific episodes of the show and will not make them available to view. All five episodes are South Park adventures featuring depictions of the prophet Muhammad. In some cases those episodes already had the depictions edited out before they even aired, but HBO is still banning them fully, regardless of that change.

The five episodes in question are: “Super Best Friends” (season 5), “Cartoon Wars Part I & II” (season 10), “200” & “201” (season 14).

South Park’s other 302 episodes are available to stream on HBO Max.

Looney Tunes Cartoons

HBO Max cartoons

This version of Looney Tunes Cartoons are decidedly different from yesteryear. The shorts still include Looney Tunes’ most popular characters, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Taz, Marvin the Martian, and yes, even Beaky Buzzard. But the cartoons have been updated to reflect a much more modern era. The series has also updated the drawing style to give it a more modern look. And it has been a hit.

Not everyone is happy, however, with the changes they’ve made to the characters. In particular fans have noticed that the new show censors out Elmer Fudd’s gun. In the classic Looney Tunes shorts, Elmer Fudd is a hunter chasing after a rabbit, Bugs Bunny. Hunters have guns. Elmer Fudd sticking his gun in a rabbit hole is one of the most iconic Looney Tunes images. But HBO doesn’t like guns so they’ve taken his away. The show’s EP flatly says, “We’re not doing guns.” They believe that depicting guns helps spread gun violence.

Here’s what Elmer Fudd looks like now…

Apparently cannons don’t count as guns? It’s a strange distinction, but one HBO has decided to make.


Westworld on HBO
  • 86% Positive Reviews From Critics //  2 seasons, 22 episodes  

Westworld is a science fiction/Western that manages to cover a lot in only two brief seasons. Dark and strange myths, a futuristic western-themed amusement park for adults to do morally questionable things without consequences (or at least that’s the proposal), plot twists that keep you guessing, and a top of the line cast all come together to make this show stand out in HBO’s best of lineup. 

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies
  • 89% Positive Reviews From Critics //  2 seasons, 14 episodes 

Some of the best HBO streaming has to offer includes a lot of dark comedies and quite a few shows based on best selling novels. 

Big Little Lies is based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name. The story is about little lies that turn into something much bigger. It follows characters played by Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley at the center, with a show stealing Nicole Kidman. At first glance it sounds like a drama like many others, with murder and family troubles, but it’s the performances, the characters, and the subtle storytelling and twists that make this show stand out. 

Silicon Valley

  • 94% Positive Reviews From Critics // 6 seasons, 54 episodes 

When one man creates a game-changing app, he needs to get investors and keep working to make his mark and turn his startup company into something bigger. The story builds out as a group of friends work their way through the ups and downs of business. Silicon Valley is an American comedy series about working in the tech industry. It’s often compared to Office Space, which was also created by Mike Judge.

Interesting note: Alec Berg is one of the writers and producers behind Silicon Valley. He has also worked on two other best HBO comedies streaming on this list: Curb Your Enthusiasm and Barry


  • 95% Positive Reviews From Critics // 3 seasons, 36 episodes 

This profanity-laced western (there are 1.56 F-bombs per minute) has an outstanding cast and a smattering of real-life historical figures. Fan favorites include Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, George Hearst, Wild Bill Hickok, and of course, Al Swearengen. 

This story follows Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870s as danger and corruption turn the settlement into a small town. This show’s a rough and tumble western with characters that keep you coming back to find out what brutal thing will happen next.

Despite its popularity, this used to be a controversial show to recommend. It was cancelled with many unresolved story lines. Now, we have the Deadwood movie, also streaming on HBO, so there’s never been a better time to binge this one. Deadwood: The Movie had a score of 98% positive from critics.


Barry on HBO
  • 99% Positive Reviews From Critics // 2 seasons, 16 episodes 

Have you been watching Barry? I recently recommended this show to a friend and had a difficult time trying to explain the tone they should expect from this show. 

Bill Hader, of SNL fame, created Barry for HBO. He often writes and directs the episodes and is the star of the show. His character, Barry Bergman, is a hit man. Yes, his job is dangerous and takes him into wild scenarios, but mostly, it’s a way to make a living doing something he knows how to do, like if you picked up a job in retail in high school and wound up working that job for the next ten years. The show follows Barry–the hitman–as he decides to take acting classes in LA and begins to connect with other people and build a life for himself. 

This is a dark comedy with incredible writing, and my personal favorite streaming on this list of the best series on HBO.

Curb Your Enthusiasm 

Larry David
  • 92% Positive Reviews From Critics // 9 seasons, 90 episodes 

This best HBO comedy embraces cringeworthy humor. If you can enjoy watching a dark and awkward (and morally messed up) guy go about his life, then you’re probably going to be a big Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. 

Larry David created and starred in Curb Your Enthusiasm, a sitcom following a TV writer in LA. This show was known for using improv and often featuring celebrities who played themselves on the show. 


Veep on HBO
  • 93% Positive Reviews From Critics // 7 seasons, 66 episodes 

Veep earned HBO 67 Emmy nominations and 14 wins over its seven seasons. That in itself is worth taking a second look at Armando Lannucci’s ensemble comedy series. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President of the USA, Veep is a political satire that is both hilarious and cynical. You won’t root for political heroes to overcome the darkness, you’ll be laughing at the darkness. Veep does its very best to have you laughing every few minutes and is well known for having eerily accurate to real life events that add to the laughs. 

The Larry Sanders Show 

Larry Sanders
  • 100% Positive Reviews From Critics // 6 seasons, 90 episodes

The Larry Sanders Show is older than most of the series on this list. It aired on HBO from 1992 to 1998. This sitcom followed a team working on a fictional late night talk show and had real life celebrities played parody versions of themselves on the fictional late night show. Larry Sanders influenced a lot of sitcoms that have come after it and earned many awards during its run. 

Game of Thrones 

Dragons on HBO
  • 89% Positive Reviews From Critics // 8 seasons, 73 episodes 

If you have somehow avoided watching Game of Thrones on HBO over the past few years, I hope you’ve also avoided some of the bigger spoilers. You probably know this series has dragons, fans talk about it a lot, and you’ve possibly heard that “Winter is coming.” This is all true.

This fantasy series is based on George R. R. Martin’s novel series, “A Song of Ice and Fire“. It’s about dragons, for sure, but it’s also about politics and war. There is sex, violence, and more characters than you’d expect, all of them with their own twisted motivations as they work to out maneuver each other and take over the world. 

The Sopranos

Sopranos on HBO
  • 92% Positive Reviews From Critics // 6 seasons, 86 episodes

In the early 2000s, everyone was talking about The Sopranos. For many, it was the reason they subscribed to HBO. 

The Sopranos is a drama series about mobster Italian families. The show follows Tony Soprano and his suburban family, as he battles with other mobsters and the FBI. Understandably, Tony Soprano is battling with a lot of stress. One of the interesting things about this series is watching Tony Soprano, an all around bad man (he’s responsible for a lot of violence in the world) deal with his anxiety, his family, and the things that make him very human. 

The show is a funny family drama but it’s also a serious crime show with incredible violence. You’re going to want to talk to people about the finale after you watch this one. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The Wire 

Best show The wire
  • 94% Positive Reviews From Critics // 5 seasons, 60 episodes 

The Wire is intense. It’s a good show to start when you know you have time to binge and it’s even better if you can watch it with someone else, so convince your friend to bunker down and bring lots of snacks for this one.

The Wire follows the police and drug dealers in Baltimore. There aren’t necessarily “good guys and bad guys” in this series, this story is a more human look at both sides as many characters (journalists, politicians, and more) show new angles on a very human situation. 

The Wire stands out amongst other best HBO streaming series options for being realistic, covering deeper topics than are normally seen in crime dramas, and for its very insightful and human characters while still being edge of your seat viewing.

The Best HBO Series

On the list below we’re looking at some of the best series you can find when you sign up for HBO or their newly launched HBO Max. Some of the series on this list are currently airing, but with so many years of content creation, a lot of them are shows that aired for many years and are now perfectly bingeable. 

This list was narrowed down using the critics’ scores while also taking into consideration the lasting impact and following of some of the series on this list. For the sake of narrowing things down further, it doesn’t include mini-series. Still, there are many honorable mentions–there are too many series on HBO streaming for any one list to conquer–but these are the best HBO shows available right now and coming soon.

Coming Soon

Perry Mason – June 21, 2020

HBO series

HBO is resurrecting the classic detective show Perry Mason in stunning, sexy, star-studded film noir fashion. The new series is exec-produced by Robert Downey Jr. and stars Matthew Rhys as a gritty, fedora-wearing Perry Mason. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), John Lithgow (The Crown), Chris Chalk (Gotham), Shea Whigham (Joker), and Juliet Rylance (The Knick) co-star.

Here’s the first ever trailer for HBO’s new Perry Mason

The Last Of Us: The Series

HBO series

HBO is working on turning the popular Playstation 4 video game The Last Of Us into a television series. The 2013 survival horror game is follows characters through a post-apocalyptic world. What sets it apart from others of the genre is that instead of using zombies or a flu as the impetus for global breakdown, mutant Cordyceps fungus is responsible for all the horror.

The news was first announced by The Last Of Us’s developer on Twitter…

The Last Of Us Series will follow the events of the original game, retelling them in television form. It may also include parts of the game’s sequel, The Last of Us II which is set to be released in May of 2020.

Neil Druckmann, who has been involved as a writer in The Last of Us world in the past, is on board to work on the series which is headed by Craig Mazin. Mazin was the writer and EP of the widely criticized Chernobyl miniseries, but before that he wrote a bunch of Scary Movie sequels and the terrible comedy The Hangover III.

Parasite: The Series

HBO series Parasite

Even before Parasite won Best Picture at the 2020 Oscars, HBO was working on a series version of the film. Oscar-winning Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho is actually involved in translating his award winning movie to the small screen and to do it he’s working with fellow Oscar winner Adam McKay.

We don’t know much about the plot yet, except that it won’t necessarily be an exact mirror of the plot of the movie. The film is about a poor Korean family conning their way into employment with a wealthy family, integrating themselves into their lives, and then accidentally stumbling into something shocking.

Casting has just begun on HBO’s Parasite series and the movie is in very early development, but word is that Mark Ruffalo may star. News of the Avengers‘ involvement comes from Collider where they say Parasite’s producers are “eyeing” Ruffalo to play one of series leads.

Friends Reunion Special

Friends on HBO

Friends debuted on NBC more than 25-years-ago and for the first time since it ended, the cast is getting back together. After what Deadline describes as “tough negotiations” HBO has reached an agreement with all the main cast members to appear. That means Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow all back together at once on your television. Word is that it cost as much as $3 – $4 million per cast member to get them involved in what they’re calling the Friends Reunion Special.

Matthew Perry teased the announcement of the Friends reunion earlier this week with a mysterious tweet…

The Friends Reunion Special will be a single, hour long, “unscripted” event. Unscripted probably means they won’t be playing their characters, rather they’ll just show up as themselves and reminisce about the good old days making Friends. Sure you’d rather see Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry playing Monica and Chandler, but when the cast can make this much money just for sitting around and being themselves that’s probably never going to happen. This is as good as it gets, Friends fans.

Courtney Cox

Anyone hoping Courtney Cox will show up to the reunion special primed with amazing anecdotes about her time on the show should probably think again. She says she doesn’t remember anything about it.

The revelation came on her recent Jimmy Kimmel Show appearance where she told the host, “I don’t remember even being on the show, I have such a bad memory… I remember obviously loving everybody there and having fun and I remember certain times of my life. I was there, but I don’t remember episodes.”

She added that she has recently started binge-watching the show. Perhaps so she’ll know what they’re talking about when she’s on the reunion special?

To be fair, Courtney was on Friends nearly thirty-years-ago. That was a totally different part of her life.

The Friends Reunion Special is part of HBO’s plan to push subscribers to its HBO Max streaming service. Friends fans who still spend all their time watching NBC are sure to sign up in droves for this special event.

Batman Elseworlds

Batman HBO

HBO is reportedly working on a limited series about Batman. What it will be about and who will star in it, are currently being decided. Go in depth on their plan with our complete Batman on HBO guide.

Superman Elseworlds

Rumor has it that with Green Lantern Corps in production and with Watchmen done, HBO is spinning up other superhero programming. At the top of that list are a group of limited series based on Superman.

The series would have no connection to the rest of the DC superhero universe and would feature different actors playing the characters than we’ve seen before. Reportedly they could be considering the plotlines of Superman: Speeding Bullets and Superman: The Dark Side for development.

Superman: Speeding Bullets is an alternate universe tale where Superman is raised by Thomas and Martha Wayne, rather than the Kents. In Superman: The Dark Side baby Kal-El ends up being raised by the villain Darkseid.

HBO Streaming Devices

Apple Pulls HBO Support

Apple announced some potentially bad news for anyone using Apple TV to stream HBO content. HBO has announced that HBO Go and HBO Now will no longer be supported on second and third-generation Apple TVs. HBO Go had an original exit date of April 30 but HBO has since pushed that date out to May 15. HBO Now, on the other hand, will still be leaving Apple TV but is still going to be available for “a few additional months.”

HBO provided a support document to Apple TV users, here is what they announced in full: 

“In order to provide the best streaming experience, we need to make some changes to our supported devices list. Starting on April 30, 2020, HBO GO will no longer be available on the Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation).”

Not sure which Apple TV you have? Identify your Apple TV model. 

If Apple TV was your primary streaming device, here are some other ways to stream HBO GO on your TV:

  • Stream HBO GO using another streaming player or a game console. For a list of supported devices, see Supported devices.
  • Use AirPlay to stream HBO GO to your Apple TV.
  • Use an HDMI cable to connect your phone, tablet, or computer to your TV.
  • Use Chromecast to cast HBO GO from your phone, tablet, or computer to your TV.”

HBO also has the same announcement on its HBO Now website. The prevailing thought, though no official announcement has been made, is that both the Now and Go will be folded into HBO’s new streaming service, HBO Max, which is set to launch in May of this year.