Opinion: Free HBO

Sophie Bearman | The Street

500+ hours of free HBO and where you should start

Due to stay-at-home orders and the temporary closure of entertainment venues, streaming services are using this opportunity to draw potential customers to their platform. In an attempt to do so, HBO made nearly 500+ hours of content form their streaming library free to the public for the month of April. These selections vary from original series and documentaries to a handful of movies.

With so much binge-able content available at your fingertips, here are some recommendations on where to start your Stay-at-Home Box Office experience.

The Sopranos (6 Seasons, 86 Episodes)

In a day and age when there are so many great crime-dramas on TV, people tend to forget about The Sopranos. Before Breaking Bad’s Walter White, there was Tony Soprano, the New Jersey mafioso struggling to juggle the responsibilities of a father and husband as well as the responsibilities of a modern-day godfather. But what made the series so groundbreaking was its portrayal of a mob boss and the effect his profession had on his family at the turn of the 21st Century. It created such a real and gritty depiction of the roles and dealings of the Italian Mob but also included the perspectives of the Italian-American families benefitting off of the crimes perpetrated by their loved ones. In the end, The Sopranos is such an easy binge because it uses family ties to help viewers relate to the criminals and mafiosos being portrayed.

Barry (2 Seasons, 16 Episodes)

Many shows walk the thin line between dark comedy and comedy. Netflix’s BoJack Horseman and FX’s Fargo to name a few. But there is something special about HBO’s Barry. Barry tells the story of army veteran tuned hitman Barry Berckman (Bill Hader) and his transformation to become an actor in Los Angeles. While the premiss might be considered goofy, it is far from it. Barry establishes itself from the start by discussing how an individual’s decisions define their moral compass. Seeing all this portrayed by Bill Hader however, gives the show even more of a selling point. Hader plays Barry flawlessly by hitting the entire range of Barry’s emotions. From his highest highs to the lowest lows, Hader can execute them all making it scary to watch at times.

Ballers (5 Seasons, 47 Episodes)

Ballers is a show that provides a very refreshing change of pace for one of Hollywood’s biggest names. Everyone is familiar with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from various blockbuster films. But in these films, Johnson plays the role of the big hulking macho man. What makes Ballers so entertaining is seeing “The Rock” take on a character with a little more depth. Johnson plays retired football star Spencer Strausmore as he begins navigating the Miami sports scene as the financial manager for rising athletes. As Spencer, Johnson is finally given a role with real-world personal struggles instead of over-the-top physical struggles. He deals with reckless athletes that are throwing away financial opportunities and issues regarding his mental health from playing as a professional athlete. Both of which are almost more fun to binge than all fourteen Fast and Furious movies.

For more information on all the HBO content now available for free click here.