Go outside? Fuggedaboutit.
HBO is enticing people to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic by making almost 500 hours of its most popular programming available to stream for free beginning Friday, including every episode of “The Sopranos,” “Veep,” “Succession,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Wire,” “Ballers,” “Barry,” “Silicon Valley” and “True Blood.”
The WarnerMedia-owned /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T -0.10% premium cable network’s complimentary service is already live, and will be available for a limited time for viewers who download the HBO NOW or HBO GO apps, or who visit HBONOW.com or HBOGO.com . Look for a new row that says “Stream for Free: No Subscription Required,” and then you can begin binge-watching the nine series mentioned above (but sorry, no “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld” or “Big Little Lies” here), as well as 20 Warner Bros. movies including “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” The free service also includes 10 HBO documentaries and docuseries, such as “McMillion$” and “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”
The free, limited-time service is intended to “provide some entertainment relief for those doing their part to keep everyone safe and healthy in this time of social isolation,” the company said in a press release.
HBO has not disclosed when this promotion will end — but of course, we still don’t know exactly how much longer Americans will need to continue sheltering in place and practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus from getting even worse.
It should be noted that this free service is also coming about a month head of the planned debut of HBO Max, the upcoming subscription service to compete with the likes of Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +0.76% , Disney Plus /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.46% , Amazon’s /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.28% Prime Video and Hulu for $14.99 a month. The HBO Max and HBO Now subscriptions boast all of the network’s content — such as those missing “Thrones” and “Westworld” episodes — so this free sampling could also be intended to whet the appetite of viewers stuck at home to sign up for one of the full packages.
AMC Networks is also offering some of its most popular shows for free for the time being. The complimentary content in its “We’re With You” campaign includes: the first half of “The Walking Dead” season 10 on AMC.com through May 1; a collection of free BBC America nature documentaries until the end of April on BBCAmerica.com and the BBC America app; IFC comedy series like “Baroness von Sketch Show” on IFC.com and IFC TVE; and select SundanceTV series like the first season of “Liar” in front of the paywall on Sundance Now through April 14.
And there will also be programming marathons to keep people glued to their seats, such as AMC’s “Middle Earth Get Away” (aka a “Lord of the Rings” marathon on April 11); BBC America’s “Hunger Games” marathon on April 5; or SundanceTV’s “Around The World With 007” featuring classic James Bond films on April 18-19.
And if you’re looking for more things to stream to take your mind off of the volatile news cycle at the moment, check out this guide on 25 comfort shows to binge during this pandemic, as well as this list of what’s worth streaming in April.
Or visit MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.