The amount of streaming services has really gotten out of control in the past year. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount Plus), and Peacock are available, and each has different levels of pricing. You probably have to sample a healthy range of them if you have scored free trials for Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, as I did.However, those trials are beginning to wind down. That means it's time to find out what's worth keeping and what's worth ditching: you should absolutely play favourites with these many monthly bills. I was shocked to hear that HBO Max was mine.

HBO Max isn't especially well-defined. Thanks to licensing deals, it has baffling gaps in its catalog, which made its initial pitch of being a house for different "hubs" a little shaky, such as the DC Universe or Adult Swim. (It's HBO ... and more?) And it has a peculiar tendency to make the buzziest initial reunion specials, such as the newly added live reading of The West Wing and the upcoming reunion of Mates.There are a lot of movies, too: you can go from Hammer Horror to Studio Ghibli to Yojimbo to Mr. Ripley, The Talented, and back to 13 Going On 30, all on the same day.

HBO Max is the new premium cable network from HBO. The network is known for prestige TV and prestige programming. Some have questioned the network's brand identity.However, streaming services are not networks. They need, and a lot of, material. This means that the programming of HBO Max should not actually be treated as carefully as HBO's slate is. Per behind-the-scenes sources, the fear was that the brand would be diluted by HBO Max.A diluted HBO is exactly what I wanted. I adore watching shows like Deadwood or The Leftovers, but the expectations set by prestige TV also encourage me to make myself a prestigious viewer. HBO Max does away with its sister network's pretension. I can watch the animated series Primal, finally binge The O.C. for the first time.

The same tiered bundles of programming that cable packages once provided have been recreated by streaming services. But there is versatility that still makes it superior to streaming. It's important to re-evaluate what you're subscribing to constantly to make sure it's earning its keep. For now, few streaming services receive $15 like HBO Max does for me.