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.
Fuller’s Take on the Cannibal
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.
Cold War Spy Thriller
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.
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.
Waller-Bridge’s Big Hit
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.
Public Service Sitcom Series
Parks and Recreation stars Amy Pohler as city planner Leslie Knope who works in the department of, you guessed it, parks and recreation. The series was created by sitcom veterans Greg Daniels (The Office, King of the Hill) and Michael Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place).
Parks and Recreation is the perfect show to put on for some casual viewing. It doesn’t demand too much attention, nor does it ever feel inaccessible. Simply boot up Prime Video and load the series up for a good laugh or two.
The Maestro and His Orchestra
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.
Style Over Substance Fantasy Series
6. Carnival Row
Carnival Row is a big-budget steampunk fantasy series from René Echevarria. It stars an all-star cast, including: Orlando Bloom, Cara Delevigne, Simon McBurney, and Jared Harris.
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.
Stand-up Comedy Drama Series
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.
Historical Fiction Drama Series
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.
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.
Classic Character Reboot
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.
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.
Poignant Anthology Series
11. The Romanoffs
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 its own lofty expectations with critics.
The Romanoffs tells the story of eight separate descendants of the famed Russian Royal family, the Romanovs.
A Forgotten Classic
12. The Prisoner
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 utterly fascinating to try and make sense of. It also mimics elements of Soviet Montage Theory and British New Wave filmmaking tactics.
A Different Kind of Superhero Show
13. The Boys
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.
Amazon’s The Boys is based on the comics of the same name created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and although it’s only one season in, it’s already become one of the Amazon Prime TV shows.
Prohibition Classic Series
14. Sneaky Pete
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 its foundational years.
Sci-Fi of Epic Proportions
15. The Expanse
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.
Modern Spin on a Classic Tale
16. The ABC Murders
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.
Period Piece Mini-Series
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.
Noir With a Modern Spin
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.
Historical Fiction Series
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.
Relationship Dramedy Series
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.
Surrealist Thriller Series
Julia Roberts stars in this suspense-thriller from Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot. Homecoming is about a wellness center where soldiers go to be rehabilitated back to civilian life. 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.
22. Mr. Robot
How could we include Sam Esmail’s mini-series Homecoming without including his most famous show Mr. Robot? The first three seasons of Mr. Robot are available on Prime Video now. The fourth and final season of the show just aired recently on USA.
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.
Hilarious Espionage Thriller
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.
Patriot stars Michael Dorman as an undercover spy who is tasked with stopping an impending nuclear threat. Despite the grave subject matter, Patriot is also quite funny though.
Journey into the Afterlife
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.
Rotoscoping Animation Done Right
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 is desperately trying to come to terms with herself and the distant death of her father.
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.