5 great (HBO) Max TV shows to watch on Father’s Day

A family of four poses in The Sopranos.

What do you want to get your dad for Father’s Day this year? Word to the wise, it might be bad form to buy your father ties and socks, unless they really love clothing. For our money, the best thing to give is the gift of binge watching with your loved ones on a quiet Sunday afternoon. And if you’re a Max subscriber, then we’ve already got some suggestions in mind.

Our picks for the five best (HBO) Max TV shows to watch on Father’s Day 2024 include an overlooked sci-fi series, three all-time great HBO originals, and an updated take on one of the world’s greatest superheroes. All five of these series also feature fathers and their children as main characters, and that’s a theme that’s worthy of exploration this Father’s Day.

Fringe (2008-2013)

John Noble and Joshua Jackson in Fringe.
Warner Bros. Pictures

It would take too long to list all of the ways that Fringe was a more modern version of The X-Files, and how its depiction of mad science fiction made for some riveting television. One of the lesser-discussed core aspects of the show was the relationship between Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his estranged son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) brought the Bishops back together against Peter’s will, but they make for a formidable trio when facing the unknown.

Walter and Peter’s reconciliation takes a long time to unfold, especially when some very big secrets about their shared past come to light. But the Bishops’ story is the thing that holds the entire series together, and if you watch it all the way through, then you may be moved by a white tulip… and what it means to Walter and Peter. Fringe‘s case-of-the-week stories are also very bingeable before later seasons get more serialized.

Watch Fringe on Max.

The Sopranos (1999-2007)

Jamie-Lynn Sigler and James Gandolfini in The Sopranos.

The Sopranos ushered in the age of the TV antihero with Tony Soprano, as played by the late James Gandolfini. Tony was the head of a New Jersey crime family, and also the head of his own family. But the pressure from both sides of his life forced Tony into therapy with Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) at the beginning of the show and throughout the series.

Tony really tries to be a good father to his kids, Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) and A.J. (Robert Iler), but never at the expense of his other family. There’s an episode in the first season where Tony literally sneaks away from Meadow during her trip to a potential college just so he can murder a guy who ratted on the crime family years earlier. Tony’s also not on great terms with his wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), and yet there’s something really endearing about Tony trying to make it all work. He’s a bad man with some good qualities, and the audience just loved Tony no matter what he did.

Watch The Sopranos on Max.

Succession (2018-2023)

A family stands on a building in Succession season 4.

If you think Tony Soprano was a handful, meet Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the patriarch of HBO’s Succession. The only way Roy could have been more like real-life media mogul Rupert Murdock is if he was Australian. The series is about Roy’s very tenuous relationship with his children as he attempts to decide which of them are worthy of being the heir to his media empire.

Roy’s adult children — Roman (Kieran Culkin), Connor (Alan Ruck), Siobhan (Sarah Snook), and Kendall (Jeremy Strong) — are all willing to do almost anything to ingratiate themselves with their father and earn his favor. There’s a good deal of black comedy in this show that explores just how far the Roy children are willing to go for approval or power that may never come to them.

Watch Succession on Max.

The Leftovers (2014-2017)

Justin Theroux in The Leftovers.

The most important part of The Leftovers is not the Sudden Departure, which is the show’s version of the Rapture. One day, 2% of the world’s population just vanishes, and the series never offers a definitive answer about what happened to them. Instead, this is a story about Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), his family, and the people around him as they all struggle to rebuild their lives. Kevin is father of Jill (Margaret Qualley) and Tommy (Chris Zylka), but his relationship with both has suffered since his wife, Laurie (Amy Brenneman), ran off to join a cult.

Kevin’s potential lover/partner, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon), has plenty of psychological problems of her own after losing her husband and kids to the Sudden Departure. Nora’s relationship with Kevin is also one of the key parts of the series, as they lose and regain each other’s hearts. Once you get past the occasional metaphysical weirdness of the show, it’s easy to see that the emotional moments are what make this series so riveting. Case in point, season 2 features Kevin forgiving the man who shot him before reuniting with the people he needs the most. It’s an incredibly moving episode, and that’s not even the end of the story.

Watch The Leftovers on Max.

Superman & Lois (2021-present)

The cast of Superman & Lois.
Warner Bros. TV

The idea of Superman as a full-time father has only come about in the comics within the last decade. The movies have’t quite caught up to the idea, Superman Returns notwithstanding. But Superman & Lois fully embraces the idea of Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) as the parents of two teenage sons: Jonathan (Jordan Elsass for the first two seasons, Michael Bishop thereafter) and Jordan (Alex Garfin).

Superman & Lois‘ best scenes still tend to be about the titular couple. However, the series really does take the time to explore what it’s like for Jordan and Jonathan to grow up in the shadow of Superman, especially when only one of them gets powers. It’s clear from the start that Clark loves his family more than anything else, and that’s only part of what makes Hoechlin such a great Man of Steel.

Watch Superman & Lois on Max.