The Absolute Best Fantasy TV Shows on HBO Max


While browsing HBO Max‘s Fantasy Offers, house of the dragon is not the only television series that deserves your attention. The streaming service features all flavors of fantasy, from the hilarious to the harrowing.

Here are our top picks for fantasy shows currently available on HBO Max.

Ollie Upton/HBO

House of the Dragon (2022—)

If you’ve missed Game of Thrones, immerse yourself in House of the Dragon, a prequel set some 200 years before Thrones. The show focuses on the dragon-riding Targaryen family. King Viserys (Paddy Considine) sits on the Iron Throne and he has declared his daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock/Emma D’Arcy) to be his heir. But not everyone likes the idea, including the bloodthirsty Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and Queen Alicent (Emily Carey/Olivia Cooke), who is the mother of the son Viserys has dreamed of for years. And if you know author George RR Martin, you know to prepare yourself for sword fights and tournaments, weddings as bloody as any battle, and family dysfunctions that, uh, involve incest. Jaime and Cersei have nothing against these couples.

Cartoon Network/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Over the Garden Wall (2014)

Half brothers Wirt (Collin Dean) and Greg (Elijah Wood from Lord of the Rings/Hobbit) get lost in a supernatural forest called The Unknown while trying to find their way home. A friendly frog, a talking thrush, and a mysterious woodsman (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) join them on their quest while a creepy beast tries to turn them into trees. You’ll get modern Hansel and Gretel vibes. The 10 episodes are a decent 11 minutes each, so this show doesn’t require a huge time commitment.

Cartoon Network/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003)

Young genius Dexter with his Peter Lorre accent has clueless parents and an older sister who just don’t understand his scientific abilities. He can invent a cloning machine, a Beardatron that instantly grows facial hair, or teach animals to talk, but he can’t seem to get rid of his nemesis, the brilliant boy Mandark. This is Genndy Tartakovsky’s third animated series to make this list, and like the others, it’s high-quality, wacky creativity.

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BBC/HBO

His Dark Materials (2019-2022)

Based on the popular book series, His Dark Materials follows scrappy orphan Lyra and her demon (animal companion) Pan as they learn to read a mysterious truth-finding instrument called the alethiometer and embark on a vital and dangerous journey. CNET’s Katie Collins writes that while the adaptation is a fantastical adventure, “it’s also a nuanced exploration of religion, philosophy, physics, alchemy, politics and myth.” The first two seasons are now streaming on HBO Max, and a third season is in the pipeline.

Cartoon Network

The main character in Samurai Jack has been sent to a dystopian future by a shapeshifting demon named Aku and must travel back in time to stop evil from triumphing. The animated show blends traditional Japanese samurai warfare with robots, monsters, aliens and more. Creator Genndy Tartakovsky was inspired by David Carradine’s 1970s kung fu show, which sent a martial arts-trained Shaolin monk through the American Wild West. HBO Max has all five seasons; the first four, which ran from 2001 to 2004, and the fifth revival season, which ran in 2017 and is considered by many to be a darker, more mature version of the series.

HBO

Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

You don’t know anything, Jon Snow, until you’ve seen the massive 73-episode Game of Thrones series. You might not like the controversial ending, but the show itself, with its dragons, white walkers, direwolves and more, is a fantasy masterpiece. Just don’t get too attached to any of the characters as few of them have happy endings. Oh, all right. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is one to cling to.

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Swimming for adults

Is Rick and Morty fantasy? science fiction? Something else? The acclaimed adult animated series centers on mad scientist Rick, his grandsons Morty and Summer Smith, and their parents as they all embark on bizarre adventures in all dimensions. In one episode, Rick learns that he may have impregnated a planet – not an inhabitant of the planet, but the actual planet. You have to see it to understand it.

Cartoon Network

The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005)

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are no ordinary kindergarteners: they are superhero sisters with a scientist father, Professor Utonium, and they help their town of Townsville fight off criminals. They may be the cutest, baddest girl power superheroes of all time. The show aired on Cartoon Network from 1998 to 2005, and all six seasons can now be seen on HBO Max.

HBO

The Leftovers (2014-2017)

Based on Tom Perotta’s 2011 novel, The Leftovers tells the story of a world where 2% of the population simply disappears in an event known as the sudden departure. It is not the story of those who have disappeared, but that of those left behind who have to try to come to terms with their inexplicable loss. All three seasons air on HBO Max.

Adult Swim/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal (2019—)

Genndy Tartakovsky, known for Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory among others, was inspired by pulp novels and the like for Primal. It’s about the bond between a caveman and a tyrannosaurus, bound by tragedy, who struggle to be the most unlikely of pals. While the series is far from silent, there’s no dialogue, so prepare for that. The first 10-episode season is now streaming on HBO Max.

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Cartoon Network/YouTube/CNET screenshot

Steven Universe (2013-2020)

The magic of Steven Universe is not expressed in a simple explanation of the plot. In this stunningly deep animated show, Steven Universe adventures while being surrounded and supported by his friends the Crystal Gems, magical humanoids who teach him about love, loss and family. (Steven himself is half human, half Gem.) All five seasons plus the Steven Universe Movie and an epilogue series, Steven Universe Future can be seen on HBO Max.

Photo by Eli Joshua Ade/HBO

There’s horror, there’s the supernatural, and yes, there’s fantasy elements in Lovecraft Country, the acclaimed 2020 HBO series about a black man traveling through the segregated South in the 1950s. Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) searches for his missing father and must fight not only against racism and prejudice, but also against terrifying, non-human monsters reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft novel.

Cartoon Network

Adventure Time (2010-2018)

Jake the Dog and Finn the Human live in the post-apocalyptic land of Ooo, where they interact with such colorful creatures as the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants), Princess Bubblegum and more. Don’t be fooled by the idea that this is a children’s series: Adults love Adventure Time too.



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