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Best Showmax series: Must-watch shows to binge

A promo shot for season 2 of Westworld
(Image credit: Westworld)

Showmax is South Africa's gateway to great local content and the easiest place to watch the best series produced by HBO. 

These award-winning series are waiting for you to binge-watch, with almost all the seasons right at your finger tips. With more spare time, now you can catch up on gripping dramas like The Night Of, hilarious comedies like Silicone Valley or well-known epics like Westworld. 

Unlike Netflix, Showmax doesn't regularly change its content, so you can start a series and not rush through for fear of not completing it. 

With this in mind, here are some truly binge-worthy series. 

The Deuce 

(Image credit: Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO )

Set in New York in the 1970s, The Deuce follows the lives of pimps, prostitutes and the battle to have porn legalised. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco are the two biggest names in the show. It essentially tells the tale of the Golden Age of porn, through the lives of hustlers and hoodlums. 

Some of the characters you really grow to love, the others not so much. It brilliantly showcases the lives of sex workers and the conditions they are subjected to, as well as their relationship with the police. It’s quite a raw portrayal of life during this time. The Deuce refers to 42nd Street in New York, which is the southernmost part of Time Square. Back then, this area was complete anarchy: Crime, drugs and of course, sex. 

Brooklyn 99

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

(Image credit: NBC)

We forgive you if you haven’t watched this yet but also you’re only doing yourself a disservice. The antics of Jake Peralta and the Brooklyn 99 squad is one of the best written comedies to date. It’s quick, the humour is dry, the characters are diverse and you really can’t help but love all of them, except maybe Hitchcock. If you need a good laugh, this show will do just that. It really is worth investing your time in.

Survivor SA

(Image credit: Showmax)

We’re ashamed to admit it but this show honestly goes in. Rather than watching some lame American reality tv show – why not watch a hilarious South African reality TV show? 

The psychology behind Survivor is honestly what keeps me coming back for more. People get so hectic with one another. They form ‘alliances’ with complete strangers and sell each other down the river: it’s epic. It’s one of those shows where you can shout at your screen and without even realising it, you’re addicted. It’s silly, it’s South African, it’s Survivor. 

Devils

(Image credit: Showmax)

Based on the novel by Guido Maria Brera, this series is similar to Billions but for those with shorter attention spans. Based in London, the series is based on a group of traders making huge money off of “intuition”. In the first episode a major trader of New York - London Bank dies at work, *drama* and we spend the rest of show finding out whether or not someone else is responsible for his demise. 

It follows a group of traders, led by Massimo Ruggero, our protagonist. Patrick Dempsy stars as the antagonist of the show, a nice change of pace for the actor. The show is filled with conspiracy, betrayal, forgiveness and a thinly veiled, yet welcomed, love story. 

Game of Thrones

(Image credit: HBO)

This may seem like an obvious choice but honestly if you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, do it. There’s a reason why majority of the world have watched it. Just when you start to really enjoy a storyline, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss slip in a plot twist. If you’re in to medieval dramas, this is as good as it gets, without all the religious references. It brings magic, mythology and mystery to the table. Whatever assumption you have of Game of Thrones, you’re wrong. It is not what you think it is at all. Luckily for you, you don’t have to wait 2 years between seasons. 

His Dark Materials 

(Image credit: HBO)

Based on the young adults series by Phillip Pullman, this series transports you to a parallel world. Humans are born with their "souls" inside companion daemon which takes on the shape of an animal and cannot be separated from them. 

The story centres around Lyra who is on a discovery mission to find herself, her parents and unravel a plot about why so many children have gone missing.

The Night Of

(Image credit: Netflix)

A Pakistani-American student looking for a fun night out meets a mysterious young woman, and his plans change. After a mind-bending evening of drugs and passion, the woman is dead and he can't remember a thing. 

This mystery thriller will keep you glued, wanting to figure out how it will end. Did Naz do it? 

The Twilight Zone 

(Image credit: 10 / CBS)

This remake of the classic anthology series by Get Out's Jordan Peele is a masterpiece. 

Using some of the plots of the iconic original series, Peele weaves together science fiction, mystery and horror to reflect societal issues and topics relevant today. 

In one episode a passenger listens to a podcast outlining how his plane is going to go down while he is traveling on it. Each episode keeps you hooked and thoroughly entertained. 

Insecure 

(Image credit: DSTV)

Follow two 20-something female protagonists as they navigate their careers and relationships in the context of being African American in the United States. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always entertaining. This contemporary look at the young adults experience has been nominated for multiple awards for its innovative work. 

Veep 

(Image credit: HBO)

A spoof that has almost hit too close to home with the current American political climate, this show follows US Vice President Selina Meyer as she strives to fight her way to significance and power. 

Tali's Wedding Diary 

(Image credit: Showmax)

A home-grown mockumentary comedy that is a laugh-a-minute. The creators of SuzelleDIY have created a character named Tali, a Joburg princess planning her wedding in Cape Town. Taking on all the classic spoilt bridezilla tropes, with truly South African and Capetonian twists. If you are a local, you will identify with these characters more than not.

Sex and the City 

(Image credit: Showmax)

One from the HBO hall of fame, Sex and the City might be a little dated with its 90s references but still worth a binge. Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte set-up the blueprint for the single woman ensemble series and for good reason. It doesn't shy away from some hard-hitting issues and really brings home the beauty of strong female friendships. Nothing is off limits, which is why we fell in love with the gals the first time around.

Westworld

A promo shot for season 2 of Westworld

(Image credit: Westworld)

This futuristic thriller will keep you captivated. It is easy to lose track of the storyline if you don't pay attention. 

Based in a futuristic playground for the rich, Westworld allows human guests to play roles in a robot-filled wild west. After years of the hosts playing along with every whim, Dolores, the oldest host,  starts to take her destiny into her own hands. 

Harlots 

(Image credit: Showmax)

Take a look into the seedy, fictional, underworld of the harlots, sex workers in 18th Century London. A time when brothels catered to the poor, and the higher class battle for supremacy were thick with plots of sex, revenge and cunning ways. 

The Case Against Adnan Sayed 

(Image credit: Showmax)

This series delves into the case of teenager Adnan Sayed, who was convicted of the murder of his highschool ex-girlfriend in 1999. The case was first brought to light in the hit podcast Serial, and then turned into this documentary series. Many questions remained unanswered and the series follows a family-attorney who attempts to reopen the case and bring Sayed home. 

Black Tax

(Image credit: Showmax)

A new South African comedy series follows professional Thuli Dlamini as she grapples with the issue of "black tax", having to pay everyone back as you become more successful. This is a light-hearted take on a pressure many people in the country feel. 

Victoria

(Image credit: Showmax)

This beautifully shot insight into the life of Queen Victoria offers excellent story-telling and intrigue. From her earlier wobbly years when it appeared there were foes than friends to her establishing herself on the throne. This series follows the journey of one of the world's longest reigning monarchs, battling for her divine right in a world run by men. 

Silicon Valley

(Image credit: HBO)

This is a fairly insightful look into the tech world of Silicon Valley, LA. Six men founded a start-up and experience the ups and downs of the ongoing boom in the tech industry. With spoofs on major tech giants like Google and Amazon, this comedy works for insiders and those who can barely charge their laptop. 

Succession 

(Image credit: HBO)

Logan Roy has built a powerful media company and is feeling the pressure to step down. But which of his children will succeed him? Pitting them against each other, Logan begins a game of back stabbing and plotting by his ambitious progeny. Only the strong survive. 

Big Little Lies 

(Image credit: Showmax)

A star-cast of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz play women living and taking care of their children while carrying their individual struggles. They are bonded by a tragedy and must work together to keep their secret, no matter the cost. It is a gripping series that will keep you wanting more.