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The 42 best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video

Our pick of the streaming service's highlights. Updated for October 2021

We know, we know: there’s too much choice these days. You can’t just sit down and watch a movie because there are too many to choose from, so you just spend hours scrolling through potential films and then go to bed.

Not now, you don’t – everything on this list is worth watching. And we know, because we’ve watched them all. The lengths we go to keep you guys happy, eh…

Of course to watch the films and TV shows here you’ll need an Amazon Prime Video subscription. Come on, you didn’t think it was going to be free, did you? 

You’re also going to need a player that supports it. Take your pick from any of the following: Roku players, Google Chromecast, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and of course Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire Stick. Or maybe you have the Prime Video app built into your smart TV.

Got Netflix too? Then you’ll want to check out our 40 best movies and TV shows on Netflix UK and New on Netflix UK lists.

Joker

Joaquin Phoenix gives a tour-de-force performance in this Oscar-winning origin story. How did an aspiring stand-up comedian become Gotham City’s greatest villain? Director Todd Phillips crafts a much more nuanced and tragic superhero movie than we’ve seen from recent DC Comics-derived efforts – it’s more Taxi Driver than Man of Steel, and all the better for it.

Watch Joker on Amazon Prime Video

Invincible (S1)

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman brings another of his cult comic books to the screen. This adult animated series tells the story of a teenage superhero coming to terms with his newfound powers – and dealing with the fact that his father is the most powerful and famous masked crusader on the planet.

If that sounds like something you’ve seen a thousand times before in superhero fiction, we urge you to give it a chance anyway: the show throws a shocking curveball early on that is guaranteed to make you pay attention. Stephen Yuen, J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Mahershala Ali and Mark Hamill are among the star-studded voice cast.

Watch Invincible on Amazon Prime Video

Us

Writer-director Jordan Peele’s follow-up to the astonishing Get Out doesn’t initially feel as hard-hitting as its predecessor, but cleverly concealed just beneath its home invasion horror exterior sits a pointed critique of class, upward mobility and the American Dream. Even on the surface it makes for an exciting and gory thrill ride, as a middle-class African-American family is assaulted by a pack of twisted doppelgangers. Dig a little deeper and it might give you cause to question your own position in society’s hierarchy, though – and whether or not your own aggrieved double is out there somewhere, just waiting for the right time to take your place.

Watch Us on Amazon Prime Video

Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s western (or, more accurately “southern”) takes its cinematic cues noth from spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation flicks. Set mostly in the Deep South, Django Unchained pits Jamie Foxx’s former slave against the plantation owners and overseers who’ve separated him from his wife.

He’s joined on his mission by sharpshooting German bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), but Leonardo DiCaprio steals the show as chief villain Calvin Candie, who cloaks the barbarity of his gladiatorial slave fights beneath a veneer of civilisation, and Samuel L Jackson as Candie’s house slave (and éminence grise) Stephen.

Foxx plays Django as a modern Man with No Name – though in his case his silence is more the result of tightly-wound fury than stoicism; when he eventually unleashes vengeance on his oppressors, it’s spectacularly cathartic.

Watch Django Unchained on Amazon Prime Video

Unforgiven

While traditional Westerns celebrated the derring-do of their sixgun-toting, Stetson-wearing heroes, Unforgiven was one of the first to explore darker themes. Its own protagonist, Clint Eastwood’s William Munny, is a former gunslinger with a violent past: “That’s right, I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walked or crawled at one time or another.”

Munny, now a widowed pig farmer with two young children, is hired by a group of sex workers after one of their number has been disfigured by a pair of cowboys. He and his companions’ job is to dispense Old West-style justice to the miscreants, but there are two obstacles in his way: Munny’s reluctance to return to a life of killing; and local lawman Little Bill Dagget (Gene Hackman), another former gunfighter who takes an extremely dim view of assassins.

Watch Unforgiven on Amazon Prime Video

Blade Runner 2049

The sequel to Ridley Scott’s enduring cyberpunk thriller has been a long time coming (30 years in fact), but it’s worth the wait: Blade Runner 2049 is among the best-looking movies ever made, with the masterful cinematography of Roger Deakins bringing director Denis Villeneuve’s nightmarish vision of a future Los Angeles to life.

As a whole, the film isn’t quite as peerless as its visuals. At nigh-on three hours it’s too ponderous for its own good, despite retaining the original Blade Runner‘s spirit through a mixture of thrilling action sequences, philosophical pondering and memorable characters – including a few familiar faces. It’s all tied together by a compelling detective yarn, in which Ryan Gosling’s latest generation replicant seeks answers to a deadly riddle.

Watch Blade Runner 2049 on Amazon Prime Video

Fleabag (S1-2)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars in this beloved sitcom about a single woman’s attempts to navigate the many pitfalls of modern London life: love, family, work. Even if that sounds like a hackneyed synopsis, or one that could describe something in the region of 10,000 British sitcoms, you should delve into Fleabag anyway; Waller-Bridge’s eyes-open approach – acerbic, unashamed, raw – doesn’t feel unoriginal in the slightest. It’s also extremely funny, which is probably worth mentioning too.

Watch Fleabag on Amazon Prime

Hannibal (S1-3)

Mads Mikkelsen is, quite frankly, one of the most interesting and watchable actors of his generation, and never more so than when clad in the perfectly cut suits of this TV incarnation of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. As per Thomas Harris’ original books, Lecter is a psychiatrist brought in to assist FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), but it’s not long before the doctor is manipulating the fragile Graham. This is high-brow stuff by the standards of its genre, chock-full of startling imagery, Lynchian characters and dinner scenes that will make your stomach rumble – a little unsettling once you realise what’s in most of them.

Watch Hannibal on Amazon Prime Video

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is one of the most iconic and influential horror movies of all time. When an outbreak of the undead ushers in the fall of civilization, a quartet of survivors decamp to an abandoned shopping mall in a bid for safety – only to discover that the shambling brain-chomping hordes have also found themselves drawn to this palace of consumerism.

You’d have to be braindead to miss the satire, sure – but there’s so much else going on here that it hardly matters. Zack Snyder’s 21st-century reimagining isn’t a patch on this for atmosphere, and the practical effects and prog-rock synth score give it an eerie atmosphere you simply don’t get with modern horror flicks.

Watch Dawn of the Dead on Prime Video

The Babadook

This Australian indie horror movie is likely to stick with you for some time. In addition to all the thrills, spills and chills you’d expect from a standard horror flick, The Babadook has something extra hidden in its basement under the stairs: smarts.

Yes, this film will fray your nerves like wool dragged across a barbed wire fence, but it’s also a meditation on loss and trauma. Can widowed mother Amelia finally lay the repressed memory of her husband to rest and save her son Samuel from the malevolent force stalking them in the process? You’ll just have to watch this modern classic to find out.

Watch The Babadook on Amazon Prime Video

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford’s first Indiana Jones movie is a brilliant blockbuster that set the standard for every action-adventure flick since. A throwback to the swashbuckling serials of producer and writer George Lucas’ childhood, it sees Ford’s roguish archaeologist seeking to locate the Ark of the Covenant ahead of the Third Reich, who plan to use the ancient artefact’s powers to subjugate the world.

The special effects and ‘cultural depictions’ have noticeably aged somewhat since the film’s 1981 release, but when something’s this good it’s easy to look beyond that. This is Hollywood filmmaking at its purest: an entertaining, fast-paced and iconic movie that the whole family will adore.

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on Amazon Prime Video

Bosch (S1-7)

Based on the novels by James Connelly, Bosch is among Amazon’s most reliable original series. A super-authentic (or at least it feels that way) police procedural set in Los Angeles following the travails of homicide detective Harry Bosch, it’s proof that sometimes sticking to a formula really does work.

Bosch himself sounds like a walking cliché: a grizzled, no-nonsense cop with dark secrets lurking in his past, a love of jazz music and a low tolerance for pen-pushing superiors – but thanks to strong writing and Titus Welliver’s game performance, rooting for him as he navigates political machinations, corrupt colleagues and murderous criminals is never a problem.

Watch Bosch on Amazon Prime Video

What We Do in the Shadows (film)

Taika Waititi’s outstanding mockumentary about a coterie of New Zealand vampires really hits the horror-comedy spot – and doesn’t hang about while doing so. With plenty of laughs mined from the awkwardness of being a neurotic immortal in the modern world, it’s certainly leaning more towards the comic side of the spectrum, but it’s not lacking in genuine moments of creepiness. If you’re a fan of This Is Spinal Tap as well as Interview with the Vampire, this is a perfect movie to sink your teeth into.

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Amazon Prime

The Matrix

If you’ve never seen The Wachowskis’ modern sci-fi classic, drop what you’re doing and “jack in” (not being rude, honest) to Prime Video right now: this isn’t just a great action flick, it’s packed with cultural touchstones and iconic moments and still looks amazing over two decades after it came out.

Keanu Reeves plays hacker Neo, an office-bound drudge who finds himself drawn into a reality-shattering adventure full of flying bullets, mind-blowing martial arts sequences and some early CGI that doesn’t look like absolute rubbish (the same can’t be said for the effects in the disappointing but larger-budgeted sequels, strangely enough). Whoa!

Watch The Matrix on Amazon Prime Video

Saint Maud

Writer-director Rose Glass’s startling debut is presented as a psychological horror movie – but might better be viewed as an exploration of loneliness and its dangers.

Young born-again Christian Maud is a private palliative nurse, assigned to a cancer-stricken former dancer after leaving her previous job under a cloud. As she becomes closer to her new charge, she is told her purpose is not only to ease her pain, but save her immortal soul – but are the voices she hears actually God or something more sinister?

Watch Saint Maud on Amazon Prime Video

The Revenant

Emerging from a shallow (and somewhat premature) grave, trapper Hugh Glass sets out on the long, icy journey towards revenge, evading marauding Native Americans, foraging for sustenance and performing gruesome self-surgery in a series of incredible sequences. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s direction and the flawless camera work help the viewer feel every moment of Glass’ struggle to survive.

Despite uttering a mere handful of lines during the film’s nigh-on three hours of running time, DiCaprio bagged his first Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant. Seeing what he goes through here, you can see why the Academy was so impressed. As a pure physical performance, it’s remarkable – and it’s just one notable aspect of a movie packed with them.

Watch The Revenant on Amazon Prime Video

Sound of Metal

Ruben is a noise-metal drummer, endlessly touring tiny venues with his partner Lou in a beaten-up RV, but the couple’s rootless but contented lifestyle comes to a sickening halt when Ruben begins to experience hearing loss. With the realisation that his career as a musician may be over, tempting him back to his old addict’s ways, Ruben checks himself into a rural deaf community – but he remains fiercely driven by a hope of fixing his affliction, getting back on tour and getting back to Lou.

Riz Ahmed is utterly fantastic in the lead role (Oscar-nominated, no less), but everything about Darius Marder’s debut movie works so well: the sound design that puts you in Ruben’s head; the supporting performances of Paul Raci and Olivia Cooke; and the themes of identity, dependence and acceptance that run through it.

Watch Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime Video

Palm Springs

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, strangers who happen to be guests at the same wedding, find themselves stuck in a seemingly infinite time loop in this offbeat romantic comedy. If they fall asleep or die, they simple wake up once again and have to live the entire day through. Trapped together, the pair decide to make the most of their predicament, indulging in wilder and wilder behaviour in the knowledge that, whatever might happen, they’ll be back at square one eventually. Everything, it seems, has become meaningless.

If might sound like something you’ve seen before (“Groundhog Day!” we hear you scream), Palm Springs manages to feel different by dint of focussing on a pair of people rather than just one. The relationship and tensions between the two keep the film nicely involving – and it’s very funny to boot.

Watch Palm Springs on Amazon Prime Video

I Care A Lot

Proof that it’s possible to make an engaging film even when none of the characters are “good”, noble or particularly likeable, I Care A Lot stars Rosamunde Pike as professional legal guardian Marla Grayson – a ruthless predator who makes a handsome living by exploiting the elderly people she’s supposed to be caring for.

Her latest ward (Dianne Wiest – who doesn’t crop up in films that often these days) looks like a potential goldmine but turns out to be a doorway to trouble, thanks to some unlikely connections with the criminal underworld. Peter Dinklage and Eiza González also star in this viciously black but deliciously enjoyable comedy.

Watch I Care a Lot on Amazon Prime Video

Mad Men (S1-7)

Mad Men (S1-7)

On the face of it, Mad Men is a drama series about a group of people who work in advertising in 1960s New York, and it succeeds on that level thanks to a well-drawn cast of characters, an intriguing plot and an almost absurd amount of attention to period detail.

But underneath all that it’s an exploration of 20th century America, identity, consumerism, freedom, family and the concept of happiness. You could probably call it existentialist if you were feeling fancy, and you’d be well within your rights – but despite its lofty preoccupations it’s also devilishly witty, moving and entertaining with it. It may be the most painstakingly crafted television series of all time, and it’s certainly among the finest.

Watch Mad Men on Amazon Prime Video

The Report

The political thriller sees Adam Driver’s character, Daniel Jones, set an assignment by the Senator Diane Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation into the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods during the Bush era.

The project engulfs Jones’ life, his relentless determination to complete his report almost jeopardizing his career and sacrificing any social or personal life, but the injustice and corruption at the heart of it are too important to ignore. The Report’s fast-paced narrative and sharp dialogue make it easy enough to follow, but some of the torture-scenes are hard to stomach. The fact it’s based on a true story is frightening.

Watch The Report on Amazon Prime Video

Pan’s Labyrinth

A film about fairies, fauns and fantastical underground kingdoms might not sound particularly grown-up, but Mexican maestro Guillermo Del Toro’s knack of infusing reality with the otherworldly has never been more creepily captivating than in Pan’s Labyrinth.

Some of the beasts young Ofelia encounters as she attempts to complete the tasks set for her by the guardian of the labyrinth are the stuff of nightmares, but above ground her murderous stepfather is arguably scarier than them all. Pan’s Labyrinth is like Narnia reimagined by Ernest Hemingway.

Watch Pan’s Labyrinth on Amazon Prime Video

The Shield (S1-7)

In this cop drama the hero isn’t just a somewhat flawed detective (“Oh, he likes a bit of a drink, y’know…”) but an unabashed murderer, racist, womaniser and thief, The Shield pioneered the kind of grey area telly we take for granted today. Yes, Michael Chiklis’ Vic Mackey is a truly nasty individual, possessed of all the worst traits we associate with bent coppers, but he’s feared by criminals and respected by his colleagues (most of whom aren’t upstanding examples of humanity themselves). So is his brand of corrupt law enforcement a necessary evil?

Debuting in 2002, the series does look its age – some of the camerawork and editing in particular is a bit jarring – but once you get over its quirks The Shield’s brisk storylines and moral quandaries swiftly draw you in.

Watch The Shield on Amazon Prime Video

American Gods (S1-3)

Based on the beloved Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods (exclusive to Amazon Prime currently, and available in 4K Ultra HD) weaves together cords of ancient mythology, modern mythology, Americana and pop culture to create a modern fantasy tale – a tale about immigration, above other things.

The cast includes the classy likes of Ian McShane, Peter Stormare and Gillian Anderson, but British viewers will be shocked to see former Hollyoaks hunk Ricky Whittle in the leading role – and doing a very decent job along with it. After a long wait amidst behind-the-camera turmoil, the second season has arrived too.

Watch American Gods on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Bone Tomahawk

Genres get hacked up as much as the unfortunate characters in S. Craig Zahler’s brutal directorial debut. This film starts out in familiar Western territory, but gradually descends into a nightmarish, schlocky horror flick – albeit one with some tension-shattering comedic dialogue and character moments. There’s an old-school video nasty vibe to Bone Tomahawk that you don’t often see in modern movies, not to mention a refreshing tendency to take its time.

Kurt Russell leads the strong cast (familiar faces Richard Jenkins, Matthew Fox and Patrick Wilson also appear) as a stoic small-town sheriff spurred into action when a group of cave-dwelling Native Americans kidnap two of his townspeople. Resolving to rescue the victims and punish the perpetrators, a small posse ventures out into the dry, rocky wilderness, not realising what awaits them.

Watch Bone Tomahawk on Amazon Prime Video

Parasite

Bong Joon-ho’s pitch black comedy won both the Cannes Palm d’Or and Oscar for Best Picture, and while it’s something of an outlier for the latter (the Academy usually prefers feel-good or outwardly worthy films, not to mention those in English), upon watching it it’s easy to see why it’s been so lauded: it’s masterfully crafted, funny, shocking and insightful – not to mention possessed of a genuinely riveting plot.

The film revolves around two Korean families: the poverty-stricken Kims and the wealthy Parks. The Kims concoct a scheme that sees all four of them become well-paid household employees of the trusting Parks, but an unforeseeable revelation makes their triumph short-lived. A scathing examination of wealth, class, inequality and how the modern world makes parasites of us all.

Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime Video

The Boys (S1-2)

What if superheroes were not only real, but as messed up and prone to bad behaviour as the rest of us. That’s the premise behind this superb comic book adaptation, in the world’s most famous costumed crusaders are owned and controlled by Vought, a ruthless corporation that keeps their misdeeds – which range from voyeurism and drug abuse to outright murderous psychopathy – under wraps in order to keep the cash flowing.

When one outrage leaves a young man bereaved and hellbent on revenge, he joins a group of like-minded vigilantes with the aim of bringing down Vought once and for all. Effortlessly blending humour, action and drama, The Boys manages to be Amazon’s best original series in ages.

Watch The Boys on Amazon Prime

The Vast of Night

A New Mexico switchboard operator hears a mysterious sound on her headset, sparking off a series of creepily escalating revelations in this retro sci-fi movie from first-time director Andrew Patterson.

From its late 1950s small town America setting to its sound design and music, The Vast of Night gleefully channels classic mystery shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and The X-Files, not to mention films like Super 8 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But it’s far from derivative, and its snappy dialogue and stylish camerawork give it a singular, stylish air. The plot might be fairly simple, the cast small and unknown, but Patterson makes the most of every cent of his tiny budget.

Watch The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime Video

Justified (S1-6)

Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, this six-season series stars Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a modern-day US Marshal who brings an Old West sensibility to his job. Sent back to his hometown after falling out with his superiors, he’s quickly dragged into a feud with an old friend turned enemy, played with career-defining aplomb by Walton Goggins.

Watch Justified on Amazon Prime Video

Heat

Michael Mann decided to remake his own TV movie LA Takedown into a huge, sprawling star-studded action-thriller – and the result is of the best action-thrillers of the 1990s.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino grab the limelight as a meticulous bank robber and the obsessive cop driven to hunt him down, but there’s so much more to admire here aside from these titans’ (admittedly excellent) performances: the effortless style with which Mann directs everything from diner table conversations to huge shootouts; the supporting cast, packed with some of Hollywood’s finest character actors; the clarity with which its themes manifest themselves on screen.

Nitpickers will say that Pacino is perhaps a little OTT, or that some of Mann’s many subplots would have been better left on the cutting room floor – but you should ignore them and watch this anyway.

Watch Heat on Amazon Prime Video

Suspiria (2018)

This Amazon-funded reimagining of the Dario Argento classic will divide audiences. Ponderously paced and tottering under the weight of more themes and ideas than it knows what to do with, Suspiria is peak arthouse horror – and many will find the eventual bloodshed too little reward for the investment. Others will appreciate the movie’s strong sense of place (late 1970s Berlin, a city riven with political turmoil) and the way it generates an atmosphere of oppressive discomfort throughout with its use of sound effects, strange camera angles and Thom Yorke’s krautrock-inspired score.

Dakota Johnson stars as an unworldly young dancer joining a prestigious all-female company that just might be a coven of witches, while Tilda Swinton impresses in three separate roles.

Watch Suspiria on Amazon Prime

The Expanse (S1-5)

Amazon Prime recently acquired the first three seasons of this beloved space opera series, in which humanity has colonised the solar system amidst a looming conflict between Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt. It then financed and produced a fourth and fifth, injecting a bunch of cash into the series and giving the production values (already pretty high) a boost. At least one more season is coming too.

But that’s not to say that this is a show that lives and dies on its visuals. The Expanse will likely appeal to anyone who appreciates sprawling, critically-acclaimed and morally complex dramas – it’s like Game of Thrones with rail guns and zero-g instead of dragons and Valyrian steel. Better yet, it’s all available to stream in beautiful 4K UHD – provided you have a TV with the prerequisite number of pixels, natch.

Watch The Expanse on Amazon Prime

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (S1-3)

Hankering for a grown-up TV show in the vein of Mad Men? One also set in mid-century Manhatten? The Marvelous Mrs Maisel might be the new series for you.

Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a vivacious, quick-witted upper middle class housewife with what she thought was the perfect 1950s New York lifestyle: husband, kids, beautiful Upper West Side apartment; the works. When things take an unforeseen turn and flip that all upside down, she stumbles into trying out standup comedy – and discovers she has something of a talent for not only making people laugh, but for hitting upon life’s truths and enigmas while doing it.

The first season won three Golden Globes and five Emmys, suggesting this Amazon Original may have an even bigger future ahead than Transparent.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime

Manchester by the Sea

If you’re looking for a chucklesome barrel of laughs, we’d suggest you steer well clear of this brilliantly written, impeccably acted but unrelentingly heavy drama, in which sullen, reclusive handyman Lee (Casey Affleck in Oscar-winning form) is called back to his long-abandoned hometown by a death in the family.

Faced with new responsibilities and torn between duty and personal comfort, Lee is forced to confront a past tragedy and its effect on him. If Manchester by the Sea sounds serious and weighty, it is – but it’s also packed with affecting and amusing human moments that make it far more than your average Oscar-baiting gloom-fest.

Watch Manchester by the Sea on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Mr. Robot (S1-4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug4fRXGyIak

An office drone by day, Elliott Alderson (played brilliantly by Rami Malek) is also a morphine-dependent keyboard vigilante who hacks the lives of everyone he meets. That is until he’s lured in by Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) to join the hacktivist group ‘F Society’, whose grand plan is to cancel world debt by attacking ubiquitous conglomerate E Corp (or Evil Corp, as Elliott calls it).

Cue a trip down a rabbit hole that twists through Lynchian dream sequences, episode-long musings about the hackability of human minds, and a mounting sense of paranoia that leaves you suspicious of everything down to Elliott’s malfunctioning radiator.

That Mr. Robot resists Hollywood’s ‘Computers for dummies’ approach to the Internet is just one of the reasons why it’s great. The others are that it’s stylishly shot, unpredictable and offers a new take on cyberpunk, while wearing its influences (The Matrix, Fight Club and American Psycho) as proudly as the badge on its title character’s shirt.

Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all available for binge-watching right now.

Watch Mr Robot on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Red Oaks (S1-3)

A hidden gem in Amazon’s catalogue, Red Oaks‘ unremarkable premise belies a nuanced show that blends humour and pathos with surprising aplomb.

Set in ’80s New York suburbia, the show (now running to three full seasons) follows the bumbling but tumultuous life of David Myers. From the aloof love interest to parental turmoil at home, all the classic teen drama tropes are covered, with just enough of a twist to sustain your intrigue.

What really elevates this show above the many others that riff off a similar tune is its riotous roster of characters. Sleazy yet feckless tennis coach Nash alone is worth the price of admission.

Watch Red Oaks on Amazon Prime

The Man in the High Castle (S1-4)

What if the Allies had lost the Second World War, and America was currently ruled by Germany in its eastern half and Japan in its western half? Well, you can find out in this big budget Amazon Prime original series, a thriller which zips around a 1960s North America that’s more “Ja wohl!” than “Aw shucks!”.

Dealing with underground resistance groups, various plots and an alternative Cold War (waged between Imperial Japan and the German Reich, now the world’s only superpowers), it’s the kind of series that’ll appeal to history buffs, sci-fi fans and anyone who’s into high concept, high budget television.

Watch The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Instant Video

L.A. Confidential

This superlative adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel of the same name is a gripping journey into the gloomy, seedy underbelly of 1950s Los Angeles, exploring the spiral of bloody events that occur where Tinseltown, police corruption and the mob crash together.

Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey all deliver fine performances as a trio of LAPD detectives with very different personalities, and L.A. Confidential‘s labyrinthine plot, its beautifully realised recreation of the tarnished dream of post-Golden Age Hollywood, and its sheer attention to detail all work together to make this one of the defining movies of the late 1990s.

Watch L.A. Confidential on Amazon Prime

The Walking Dead (S1-9)

The zombie apocalypse scenario has now been covered so many times that when the dead do eventually start clawing their way out of the ground in a shambling tide of brain-hungry violence, it’ll hardly be worth mentioning. That’s not to say that it doesn’t make cracking TV, though, and if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t yet seen The Walking Dead, there are a full nine seasons’ worth of horrific violence, bad decisions, cannibalism, baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire and more to enjoy!

Watch The Walking Dead on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Transparent (S1-5)

Amazon’s been trying to “do a Netflix” by creating its very own blockbusting TV shows for ages now, but this is the first time it’s got it right. For a start, Transparent is really bold – it tells the story of a sixty-something divorcee announcing to his three grown-up kids that he’s always felt different and is now going to live as a woman.

Sounds heavy, and it sort of is, but it’s also darkly funny, with a degree of wit and sharpness that’s still rare even in this golden age of TV. The bickering between the three kids (each of whom is riddled with their own individual problems and peccadillos) is as chucklesome as it is awkward and real. Amazing telly.

Watch Transparent on Amazon Prime Instant Video now

Patriot (S1-2)

This quirky espionage comedy-drama blends deadpan humour, action and a coterie of memorable characters into something that feels truly original. Michael Dorman excels as permanently put-upon CIA operative John Lakeman, who really just wants to be a folk singer – life, needless to say, has other plans for him. The smart plot takes in Iran, nuclear weapons, a single-minded Luxembourger cop and a lot more info about industrial piping than you’d ever need know. Patriot is one of Amazon’s best original series, which is why it’s a true shame that there are (currently) no plans for a third season.

Watch Patriot on Amazon Prime

Parks and Recreation (S1-7)

The show that propelled Amy Poehler to Golden Globe­-presenting notoriety and Chris Pratt to blockbuster ultra­-stardom has its wit and one­-liners honed to perfection. Taking Modern Family‘s warmth, mixing it with Arrested Development‘s absurdity and building it around The Office‘s mockumentary formula, it centres on the inconsequential workdays of the least consequential department (Parks and Rec) of the council of made­up middle- American town of Pawnee, Indiana.

Like The Office, its brilliance lies in its characters and their relationships, although its comic set pieces are also ingenious. But unlike The Office, it’s not tragic – it’s bright, touching and will leave you grinning from cheek to cheek. It takes until series two to really hit its stride, but Parks and Recreation is a true must­-see.

Watch Parks and Recreation on Amazon Video