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It’s no secret that some filmmakers have mixed feelings about Warner Bros.’s decision to give their theatrical releases simultaneous premieres on HBO Max. Denis Villeneuve, for one, has made no secret of hoping moviegoers will see his new takes on Frank Herbert’s Dune on the big screen. Maybe he’s right, but you’ll find it on HBO Max anyway, making it one of the month’s most exciting premieres. Maybe a more natural fit, however, is this follow-up to a show that made HBO what it is today. That seems like a good way to kick off this look at what’s coming in October.
Watch all of these shows and films for free with a subscription to HBO Max. An HBO Max subscription costs $14.99/month (in line with pricing for Netflix or the popular $13.99 Disney Bundle). See full HBO Max sign-up details here.
The Many Saints of Newark (October 1)
We may never definitively know what became of Tony Soprano after the abrupt cut to black in the series finale of The Sopranos. But while we’ll never be sure about Tony Soprano’s ending, this prequel will fill in some of the blanks about his beginnings. Co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase and directed by series veteran Alan Taylor, the film revisits some formative episodes in the life of young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini). Vera Farmiga co-stars as Livia Soprano, an essential element to any Tony Soprano origin story.
David Lynch: The Art Life (October 1)
David Lynch is famously coy in interviews, which makes Jon Nguyen 2016’s documentary that much more remarkable. Observing as Lynch goes about his daily routine and works on art projects, Nguyen finds Lynch in a relaxed and relatively forthcoming mood as he talks about his past, his films, his art, and what inspires him.
We’re Here (Second Season Premiere, October 11)
The cross-country adventures of a trio of former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants continue with this second season that follows Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela as they attend drag events in places as far-flung as Kona, Hawaii and Evansville, Indiana.
Succession (October 17)
When we last saw the Roy family back in 2019 it was, well, kind of a mess. Don’t expect that to change with this pandemic-delayed third season, which picks up where the second season left off: with the power struggle to control the Roy empire, and the Roy name, threatening to create a full-on schism.
Dune (October 22)
In some ways, director Denis Villeneuve has been ramping up to the daunting task of filming Frank Herbert’s sweeping, science fiction classic — a book concerned with everything from ecological destruction, drug addiction, and religion — for a while. Villeneuve followed the thoughtful first contact movie Arrival with Blade Runner 2049, and each new venture into science fiction has just grown larger in scale. This is the second version of the novel to reach the big screen, after David Lynch’s 1984 version. But despite the troubles that met that film, this new take looks like it’s sparing no expense to realize Herbert’s far-future worlds, bringing in an all-star cast led by Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya to help bring that world to life.
Love Life (Second Season Premiere, October 28)
Following one character across several romances, Love Life became one of HBO Max’s signature original series when it premiered last year. Anna Kendrick served as that first season’s star. Here she passes the torch to William Jackson Harper, playing a heartbroken man destined to experience even more romantic ups and downs.
Insecure (Fifth Season Premiere, October 24)
Issa Rae made her breakthrough via this series chronicling the romantic and professional ups and downs of a young Los Angeleno named Issa and her friends. An adaptation of her online series Awkward Black Girl, it’s won a passionate following over four seasons, but its run will come to an end with a final season that kicks off here. Will Issa find contentment at last? Only if this last chapter radically departs from what’s come before.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (Eleventh Season Premiere, October 24)
Before the month ends, Larry David will pick up the adventures of his faux pas-prone alter ego for an eleventh season. Undoubtedly, the many who’ve missed his cringe-inducing encounters will eagerly tune in to see what happens next.
In the Heights (October 28)
If global events had gone a different way we would have seen this adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first hit musical last year, when it might have joined Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story in creating a musical revival. Instead we’ve had to wait a year for this tuneful slice-of-neighborhood-life look at New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which returns to HBO Max after premiering simultaneously in theaters and on the service in June. (It’s hard to keep track of these things sometimes.)
Selena + Chef (Third Season Premiere, Date TBD)
Still unscheduled but set to premiere sometime in October, Selena + Chef returns for a third season. The premise remains simple: chefs help Selena Gomez learn to cook (while donating money to charity). The quintessential “good vibes only series,” it’s not hard to see why the show has picked up a following during the pandemic.