How many hours have you spent combing through streaming services looking for the next great show to watch? If you’re anything like me, then it’s probably more than you’re comfortable admitting. But don’t fret, we’ve scoured the depths of the seven seas of streaming to deliver you our take on what the best shows to watch right now are. Here’s our list of the best shows on Amazon Prime Video.
Sci-Fi of Epic Proportions
1. The Expanse
Developed by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, Based on The Expanse by James S. A. Corey
Starring Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, and Wes Chatham
After its third season, The Expanse was on the edge of doom as Syfy announced that it had no intention of producing more seasons. This led to a massive fan campaign in which a plane was flown over Amazon headquarters with a banner that pleaded “Save The Expanse.”
As it turns out, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was a huge fan of the show, and he personally tasked his original studios team to procure the rights to make more seasons. Now the sci-fi epic The Expanse is comfortably at home with Amazon, and steadily making gains on finishing the story of Captain James Holden and his crew’s journey across Earth, Mars, the Belt, and other worlds.
A Different Kind of Superhero Show
2. The Boys
Starring Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, and Dominique McElligot
The Boys is based on the comics of the same name created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and two seasons in, it’s already become one of the best shows on Amazon Prime Video.
The Boys stormed onto Amazon Prime Video like a bat out of hell in 2019. Few Prime originals before it made such waves upon release, both in terms of rhetoric and viewership. According to Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke, The Boys surpassed expectations internally which led to the greenlighting of the second season before the first had even aired. Now it’s one of the service’s flagship programs .
Cold War Spy Thriller
Created by Joe Weisberg
Starring Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich, and Costa Ronin
Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell deliver career performances as two Soviet spies that become entangled in Cold War tensions while undercover in the U.S. But it’s Noah Emmerich, their unsuspecting FBI neighbor who steals the show with a tremendously nuanced performance.
There are those who will argue that The Americans is not only one of the best shows in recent memory, but one of the best shows of all-time. And that argument is surely well-founded – The Americans has perhaps a better narrative arc from start to finish than any other show of its time.
Hilarious Espionage Thriller
Created by Steven Conrad
Starring Michael Dorman, Kurtwood Smith, Michael Chernus, and Kathleen Monroe
Patriot stars Michael Dorman as an undercover spy who is tasked with stopping an impending nuclear threat. But despite its grave subject matter, Patriot is quite funny.
To say that Patriot has flown under the radar in the television echo-sphere is an understatement. Despite having one of the most passionate followings of any TV show today, it seems that nobody is talking about the series at large.
Starring J. K. Simmons, Olivia Williams, Harry Lloyd, and Nazanin Boniadi
Counterpart delves deep into the question: what if there are parallel realities? J. K. Simmons stars in a dual-role as paper-pusher Howard Silk in one reality and ruthless spy Howard Silk Prime in another.
It’s all terribly high-concept, but through great acting and some sharp writing, Counterpart demands our attention as an audience.
Journey into the Afterlife
Created by Greg Daniels
Starring Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards, Zainab Johnson, and Kevin Bigley
What happens when we die? Well in the world of Upload, you can, you guessed it, ‘upload’ your consciousness into a virtual heaven. It’s a seriously high-concept plot, but creator Greg Daniels and the writing team do a great job of balancing the gravitas with comedy.
Upload isn’t perfect by any means, but with a second season already greenlit by Amazon, there’s plenty of room for it to improve.
Fuller’s Take on the Cannibal
Developed by Bryan Fuller, Based on Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, and Laurence Fishburne
To this day, I still can’t believe that the TV show Hannibal originally aired on NBC. Bryan Fuller’s take on fiction’s most famous cannibal is bold, suggestive, and grossly grotesque. There are some moments throughout the show’s three-season run that had me shielding my eyes.
But if you’ve got the stomach for it, Hannibal is one of the most rewarding shows on television. Mads Mikkelsen commands the screen in the title role so excellently that some have argued his performance exceeds that of the great Anthony Hopkins, who won an Academy Award as Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs.
The Maestro and His Orchestra
Starring Lola Kirke, Gael García Bernal, Saffron Burrows, Bernadette Peters, and Malcolm McDowell
Mozart in the Jungle is a dramedy that follows the fame and exploits of a fictional composer named Rodrigo. At the core of Mozart is a story that focuses on the immense pressure of celebrity and genius.
Mozart asks us to consider what these things mean and what benefits and detriments they have on everyday life. Oh, and it’s also got plenty of classical music, that’s been expertly reinvented for modern audiences.
Rotoscoping Animation Done Right
Starring Rosa Salazar, Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddarth Dhananjay, Daveed Diggs, and Bob Odenkirk
Undone is a fascinating study in varying paths of life: familial drama, the crisis of adulthood, mental illness and grief. And it’s all told through a distorted lens, one in which we never really know what’s real and what’s not.
Rosa Salazar is excellent in the leading role of Alma, a spiraling young woman who’s desperately trying to come to terms with herself and the distant death of her father. For anyone with an interest in rotoscoping animation, Undone is a must-watch.
Style Over Substance Fantasy Series
10. Carnival Row
Starring Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevingne, Simon McBurney, Tamzin Merchant, and David Gyasi
Carnival Row is a big-budget steampunk fantasy series from René Echevarria that borrows tropes with reckless abandon to create a visually daring series that hasn’t quite come into its own yet.
Although Carnival Row wasn’t as surefire of a success with critics as Amazon hoped it would be, the series has already been renewed for a second season.
Office Space Comedy
Created by Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck, Connor Pritchard, and Dominic Russo
Starring Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, and Anders Holm
Workaholics is as stupid as it gets – and that’s a compliment. The show follows three college friends as they transition to the working world while refusing to surrender their partying ways.
The three Workaholics co-creators and stars Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, and Anders Holm channel a type of comedy perfect for casual viewing, just don’t expect to find anything profound along the way.
Prohibition Classic Series
12. Sneaky Pete
Created by David Shore and Bryan Cranston
Starring Giovanni Ribisi, Marin Ireland, Shane McRae, Libe Barer, Peter Gerety, and Margo Martindale
Giovanni Ribisi stars in Sneaky Pete as a former convict who steals the identity of his cell-mate, Pete, upon release. Bryan Cranston served as a co-creator, producer, and actor in the series.
Sneaky Pete flew under the radar through its three season run, but fans and critics largely agreed that it was one of the best shows on Amazon Prime in the service’s foundational years.
Relationship Dramedy Series
Starring Rob Delaney, Sharon Hogan, Ashley Jensen, and Mark Bonnar
Catastrophe is a great comedy series that’s elevated by some sharp scripts. The series was created/written by stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan and follows the story of their two characters' relationship as unexpected lovers.
Although Catastrophe originally aired in the U.K. on Channel 4, it’s now available to watch in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video.
Historical Fiction Drama Series
Created by Frank Spotnitz, Based on The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rufus Sewell, Joel de la Fuente, and Luke Kleintank
Those who love history are sure to find something to appreciate in The Man in the High Castle; a show that explores an alternate reality in which the Axis powers won World War II.
The Man in the High Castle was one of Amazon’s first big-budget original series. Although the show fluctuated in quality through its four seasons, it left an indelible imprint on Amazon’s approach to production.
Poignant Anthology Series
15. The Romanoffs
Created by Matthew Weiner
Featuring Aaron Eckhart, Corey Stoll, Christina Hendricks, Amanda Peet, Diane Lane, Radha Mitchell, Kathryn Hahn, and Hugh Skinner
The Romanoffs tells the story of eight separate descendants of the famed Russian Royal family, the Romanovs.
Amazon reportedly paid a fortune for the rights to The Romanoffs – an eight-part anthology series directed entirely by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. Although the show enjoyed considerable hype before release, it didn’t quite live up to critics’ lofty expectations. I’d say that when The Romanoffs is at its best, it’s on par with the very best of Mad Men, but when it’s at its worst, you might struggle to think that Weiner was even associated with the project.
Modern Spin on a Classic Tale
16. The ABC Murders
Based on The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
Starring John Malkovich, Rupert Grint, Andrew Buchan, and Eamon Farren
BBC’s The ABC Murders is a remake of Agatha Christie’s classic detective fiction story. John Malkovich stars in the series in the role of fictional detective Hercue Poirot, and does a good job even if he doesn’t seem like a natural fit at first.
If you’re a fan of Christie’s works, then you’ll probably like The ABC Murders. Be warned though, the show does take some creative liberty with her story.
Period Piece Mini-Series
Based on A Very English Scandal by John Preston
Starring Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Monica Dolan, and Alice Orr-Ewing
The true story of A Very English Scandal is absolutely bonkers. There’s lies, deception, and drama in spades. The mini-series follows the events of the Jeremy Thorpe affair, in which the U.K. politician stood trial for allegedly planning the murder of his former lover, Norman Josiffe.
Over three episodes, we see how Thorpe, once the leader of the Liberal Party, descends into madness over the possibility that an alleged homosexual relationship with Josiffe will be revealed to the public.
Stand-up Comedy Drama Series
Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, and Tony Shalhoub
This wonderfully recreated period-piece follows the comedy career of the titular Midge Maisel. Although Midge has all the keys to success in her hands, she isn’t quite happy and longs for a reality in which she’s the star.
Perhaps the best aspect of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is its colorful production design. Both the set dressing and wardrobing really immerse us as viewers within 60’s New York City.
A Forgotten Classic
19. The Prisoner
Starring Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick, Denis Shaw, and Fenella Fielding
The Prisoner is an oft-forgotten relic of television’s past. Patrick McGoohan served as co-creator and star of the series, which follows an excommunicado spy who’s imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village.
Make no mistakes about it, The Prisoner is a weird show – one that’s full of bizarre imagery and confounding plots. But at its core, The Prisoner is a challenge in abstract storytelling. It also mimics elements of Soviet Montage Theory and British New Wave filmmaking tactics.
Waller-Bridge’s Big Hit
Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, and Bill Paterson
Writer/Actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge became an overnight sensation for her work on Fleabag – a show that follows the life of a young woman’s trials and travails in London.
Fleabag won six Emmy Awards across its twelve episode run, nabbing Waller-Bridge three personal awards for: Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Series.
21. Mr. Robot
Created by Sam Esmail
Starring Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, and Christian Slater
Mr. Robot is the story of a group of hackers who seek to disrupt the inherently corrupt nature of wealth inequality in a dystopian society. Whew, that’s a lot. But Mr. Robot is a truly complex story and is layered with hidden details both in its visuals and its narrative.
Mr. Robot wasn’t just the show that established Sam Esmail, it also brought star Rami Malek to prominence.
Surrealist Thriller Series
Created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, Based on Homecoming by Gimlet Media
Starring Julia Roberts, Bobby Canavale, Stephan James, Shea Whigham, Janelle Monáe, Chris Cooper, and John Cusack
Homecoming is a surrealist vision that parallels the unspoken nightmares that stoke much of the world today. Julia Roberts stars in this suspense-thriller about a wellness center where soldiers go to be rehabilitated back to civilian life, from Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot. Roberts plays the role of Heidi Bergman, the chief social worker at the facility.
Similarly to Mr. Robot, nothing is as it seems in Homecoming. With these two shows, Esmail has established himself as one of the premiere talents working in television today. A second season of Homecoming was released without Esmail as director and it received mixed reviews.
Historical Fiction Series
Created by Michael Hirst
Starring Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Gustaf Skarsgård, and Alexander Ludwig
Who would’ve ever thought that a History channel original drama series would go on to rival the epic scale of Game of Thrones? Not me, that’s for sure. But that’s exactly what Vikings did, and in many ways, it surpassed the quality of its closest contemporary.
Vikings is a great series with a scope that’s as wide as any other show on television. Although much of the steam that carried Vikings through its first four seasons has largely dissipated, the highest highs of the show remain some of the highest highs in recent TV history.
Classic Character Reboot
Starring John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce, Abbie Cornish, and Ali Suliman
John Krasinski has been on an absolute tear since the end of The Office. In 2018, he established himself as a talented writer/director with his film A Quiet Place. Through his work in film and television. Krasinski has shown that he’s comfortable behind the camera, and in front of it.
But when it was announced that Krasinski was going to star in the role of CIA operative Jack Ryan, some people responded with skepticism. However, through two seasons, Krasinski has shown he’s capable of handling the role – even if the show doesn’t match the quality of Harrison Ford’s Jack Ryan movies.
Noir With a Modern Spin
Starring Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Amy Aquino, and Lance Reddick
Bosch is a police procedural that follows the life of titular character Harry Bosch. Not only was Bosch one of Amazon’s first original series, it’s also one of its best. Titus Welliver stars in the show and does a great job in the title role.
Bosch is Amazon’s longest-running show and is set to conclude with a seventh and final season. Through its long run, Bosch has become one of the best TV shows on Amazon Prime.
Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video doesn’t just have great television shows, it has great movies as well. In this next article, we break down the best movies that are on Prime Video, both from Amazon Original Studios and other studios that are leased to the service. Make sure to check our list out each month! We update the list as movies come and go.