We know, we know: there’s too much choice on streaming services 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 best things on Amazon Prime Video, you’ll need an Amazon Prime Video subscription. Come on, you didn’t think it was going to be free, did you? Well, in fact, some of the things below are exactly that, because we’ve expanded our scope to included the best things to watch on Amazon’s ad-supported Freevee service too.
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. You’re in a good place to check out the best things to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
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.
Lee Childs’ tremendously popular series of novels regularly describe their hero Jack Reacher as a 6’5” man mountain. His size and stature are pretty much the first thing anybody who meets him comments on – so casting the notably non-mountainous Tom Cruise as Reacher in two Hollywood movies always seemed like a misstep. Amazon’s original series remedies this by putting towering hunk Alan Ritchson in Reacher’s boots, but it’s also a brilliantly watchable, breakneck thriller that emulates the novels’ brisk, gripping pace.
Reacher is built like a brick outhouse and only marginally more talkative, but he’s blessed with a keen intelligence, a heart of gold and the ability to absolutely annihilate any lowlife who gets in his way. When he wanders into a small Georgia town and finds himself arrested for murder, all his wits, wiles and muscles are all called into action.
Not to be confused with the movie that inspired it – and from which it draws its winning blend of dark deeds, intricate plotting, looming dread and comic “Minnesota nice” dialogue – this is yet another TV series that begs to be binge-watched over a weekend.
Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman all deliver fine performances as residents of the snowbound titular town, but it’s Billy Bob Thornton, oozing malevolence and menace as drifter Lorne Malvo, who lingers longest in the memory.
Once that’s out of the way, the fantastic second, third and fourth series are also on Prime for you to devour too – and each features a different story, with a totally different cast, set at a totally different time.
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.
The English (S1)
This moving and grimly violent miniseries (co-created by Amazon with the BBC) stars Emily Blunt as a British aristocrat brought to the American West in search of revenge. Her orbit collides with Chaske Spencer’s Eli Whipp, a Native American former army scout on his own journey, and the pair gradually uncover the shocking details of a shared past as they traverse the dust-covered, blood-drenched plains and prairies of the frontier. Brutal and beautiful in equal measure, with a shock around every corner, The English is guaranteed to take you on an emotional rollercoaster over its six episodes.
Barbarian opens with a young woman arriving at her Airbnb in a dark, deserted and ominous Detroit suburb – only to find the house already occupied by someone else. He claims to have booked it through another short letting app and suggests she come in to work out how this transpired.
Does she take up the stranger’s offer or give up and look elsewhere for accommodation, with no guarantee that she’ll find anywhere to stay at all? It’s a situation it’s easy to imagine finding yourself in, which makes what happens next all the more disturbing. We’ll say no more, save to advise you to make sure you have some large sofa cushions nearby to hide behind while you watch what unfolds in this wildly inventive (and highly satirical) horror movie, which has swiftly reached cult status among fear fans.
Blade Runner 2049
The sequel to Ridley Scott’s iconic cyberpunk thriller was a long time coming (30 years in fact) but most viewers will find it well worth the wait: Blade Runner 2049 counts among the most visually striking movies ever made, with Roger Deakins’ masterful cinematography bringing director Denis Villeneuve’s vision of a nightmarish neon-lit future to life.
As a whole however, the film isn’t quite as stellar as its visuals. At almost 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. Overall it works, being held together by a competent detective yarn in which Ryan Gosling’s new-gen replicant seeks answers to a deadly riddle.
Daisy Jones & The Six (S1)
Loosely by the real-life shenanigans of Dreams-era Fleetwood Mac, this miniseries (based on the bestselling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid) recounts the rise and fall of a 1970s rock band, told as former members recount the truth about the group’s breakup for a documentary.
The series – an Amazon production – stars Riley Keough and Sam Claflin as the band’s feuding lead singers and features a ton of original 1970s-style tunes, and overall it’s plush, shiny and pristine – perhaps a little too much for its subject matter, which desperately wants to be edgy but never feels quite as convincingly dark as it should be. Even so, the songs, production design and compelling inter-character relationships make it an addictive and enjoyable watch.
The Silence of the Lambs
The only horror film in history to bag Best Picture at the Oscars, The Silence of the Lambs introduced the wider world to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the famous Baltimore psychiatrist and infamous cannibalistic killer played by Anthony Hopkins in a star-making turn. But here’s the thing: Lecter isn’t the film’s true bad guy, but plucky young FBI agent Clarice Starling’s best shot at stopping another, currently active serial killer. Can Starling convince Lecter (now incarcerated for his crimes) to draw up a profile this new murderer so she can catch him before he strikes again?
While the horror here is usually psychological rather than visceral, there are more than enough shocking moments to keep slasher aficionados sated. And any movie lover will enjoy the craft on show, with fantastic performances from Hopkins and Jodie Foster and a script full of memorable lines. You’ll never think of fava beans and a nice Chianti in the same way again.
Not to be confused with the anthology series (a spiritual spin-off – and also on Prime Video), this multiple Oscar-winning thriller stars Frances McDormand as the heavily pregnant police chief of a small Minnesota town where nothing much happens – until it does. When a kidnap plot goes horrifically awry and bodies start turning up in the snow (beautifully filmed by Roger Deakins), McDormand’s friendly, no-nonsense approach to law enforcement is put to the test.
Fargo is far from a typical noir. The Coens (themselves Minnesota natives) wring something uniquely comic from each and every one of their characters, from William H. Macy’s pitiful car salesman to Peter Stormare’s laconic bleach-blond thug-for-hire. Their keenly observed portrayal of what’s known as ‘Minnesota nice’ is particularly funny, and somehow even more so when it’s playing out against the film’s grim backdrop of greed, violence, betrayal and moral decay.
Watching an indie movie about jazz drumming might not sound like the most riveting way to spend an evening, but trust us: Whiplash is no ordinary indie movie about jazz drumming.
Miles Teller plays a New York music college student determined to become one of the skin-bashing greats. The only problem? He’s never quite good enough to impress his extraordinarily demanding band conductor, played in Oscar-winning form by J. K. Simmons. Simmons’ monstrous mentor dominates the film right through to the unforgettable final reel. We doubt you’ve ever seen a music movie that exhibits this much blood, sweat and tears.
Often dismissed as Goodfellas’ lesser cousin due to its casting of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese’s 1995 mob opus remains a brilliant crime movie in its own right. Detailing the mafia’s involvement in 1970s Las Vegas, it does sometimes feel like Scorsese is retreading old ground (in particular when it comes to Pesci’s character, who feels like a tribute act to his earlier Oscar-winning turn in Goodfellas), but there’s so much style and substance on show here that it never really matters. A masterpiece of mood and technical ability.
In some ways, this is Quentin Tarantino at his least Tarantino-esque. Unlike everything else he’s written and directed, Jackie Brown is an adaptation (of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch) rather than something directly out of QT’s brain.
A fast-moving crime thriller with a relatively small cast and short running time, it’s also free of the sense of bloat and self-indulgence that characterise most Tarantino movies. That said, this story of a middle-aged flight attendant smuggling on behalf of a ruthless arms dealer bears some of the director’s most admirable hallmarks: excellent casting, stylish camerawork and editing, an evocative soundtrack and a rock-solid sense of cool.
The Shawshank Redemption
Mild-mannered banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is handed two life sentences for crimes he didn’t commit, and in the grim confines of Shawshank Penitentiary, he’d be forgiven for giving in to despair. But a series of small victories against the soul-crushing bureaucracy, the mentorship of old lag Red (Morgan Freeman) and his interest in geology help Andy chip away at the walls threatening to stifle him.
Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s short story failed to set the box office alight on its release, but (appropriately, given its theme of persevering against the odds) it’s since established itself as a beloved classic. Its story of hope in the face of impossible odds, and a slow-burn style that recalls the classics of the ‘30s and ‘40s, has won it a place at the top of countless best films lists.
Jury Duty (S1)
One of the few Amazon originals made specifically for its ad-supported Freevee offshoot (which means you don’t need a full Prime account to watch – just the ability to sit through a few unavoidable commercial breaks), this brilliant reality show from the creators of the American Office is a fly-on-the-wall series about the ups and downs of serving on a jury.
The thing is, aside from a single member of the jury who’s not in on the joke, every person on-screen is an actor: the other jurors, the judge, the bailiffs, the lawyers and everyone else involved in the trial know exactly what’s going on. So, like some massively extended Beadle’s About skit, our unfortunate mark is dragged into all manner of awkward and embarrassing situations for the viewer’s amusement. Cruel perhaps, but brilliant all the same.
Don’t let this South Korean horror movie’s 2.5-hour runtime put you off. Atmospheric, disturbing and often incongruously funny, this is a masterpiece of disquiet and tension that’ll sit with you long after the final credits roll.
When a series of grisly killings occur in a quiet mountain community, suspicion and superstition run rife. The spotlight quickly falls on an eccentric Japanese man who lives out in the woods, but the investigation into the murders is far from straightforward, leaving both the protagonists and the audience in an almost permanent state of discomfort. As a horror film this really has it all, and goes to some extremely uncomfortable places, all while keeping you constantly guessing until the end. Masterful.
Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise plays a spineless military officer forced to fight on the front lines against an alien invasion in this ingenious and underrated sci-fi action movie. With no actual combat experience, he dies almost immediately – only to find himself waking up again that morning and repeating the experience, only slightly differently. Yes, you’ve guessed it: he’s only gone and got himself trapped in a time loop. How the heck is he going to get out of it? By saving the world, perhaps…
With great performances from Cruise and Emily Blunt, killer visual effects and a clever hook, it’s strange that Edge of Tomorrow didn’t prove a bigger hit. The bland title didn’t do it many favours (it’s often known as Live Die Repeat, which would’ve been a much bolder name to market it under), but despite its lacklustre box office performance it’s proved something of a slow-burn success – so much so that a sequel is currently in development.
It may be set in outer space, but Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller is remarkably contained; grounded, even. There are no flying saucers or little green men here, just a worryingly feasible disaster in orbit that leaves astronaut Ryan Stone stranded hundreds of miles above the Earth. It’s heavy on spectacle and big on intensity but for much of the film, the only person on screen is Sandra Bullock delivering a career-best performance as Dr Stone.
To achieve the film’s extraordinary long takes in zero gravity, Cuarón used innovative visual effects trickery: actors stood inside a box delivering their lines, while lights moved around them to simulate the lighting sources shifting as their characters moved. Then their faces were composited into CGI spacesuits for the final shot; in many sequences, the only real thing in the frame is Sandra Bullock’s face.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (S1-5)
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.
Triangle of Sadness
Wealth, beauty and social hierarchy are in the crosshairs of Ruben Östlund’s insightful, hilarious (and frequently disgusting) social satire, which won the Cannes Palme d’Or and was nominated for Best Picture at the 2023 Oscars.
In series of long chapters focussing on specific situations, Östlund delivers a pitch-black dissection of the hyper-rich, viewed through the eyes of a pair of (relatively poor) model-cum-influencers invited onto a luxury cruise. From painfully awkward interactions between members of different societal tiers, to a Captain’s dinner that goes terribly wrong, to a brilliant final section in which all manner of traditional roles – gender, class, race – are turned upside down, this is an enjoyable but bleak exploration of how the modern world keeps power and money intrinsically intertwined.
Created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, Swarm is a riotously creative comedy-horror series about the destructive potential of toxic fandom. Our anti-heroine Dre (superbly played by Dominique Fishback) is shy, quiet and socially inept, but feels empowered in her membership of ‘The Swarm’, the obsessive online fanbase surrounding global popstar Ni’Jah (clearly inspired by real-life idol Beyoncé).
When a family tragedy coincides with the surprise release of Ni’Jah’s latest album and video, the apparent relationship between the two events sends Dre over the edge into a deranged orgy of violent, psychotic behaviour. A dark, disturbing and entertaining exploration of ‘stan culture’ that’s among Prime’s best original series.
Nathan For You (S1-4)
This brilliant spoof reality series, in which deadpan Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder swoops in to save ailing businesses with absolutely woeful (but somehow incredibly clever) advice, has largely flown under the radar this side of the pond, but do yourself a favour and give it a shot. Often so surreal, awkward and bizarre that it’s hard to believe Fielding’s unsuspecting clients aren’t in on the joke (they’re not), Nathan For You is a true comedy original.
Mad Men (S1-7)
Mad Men may be among the most painstakingly crafted television series of all time; it’s certainly among the best. Like The Sopranos, it succeeds in skirting the line between entertainment and “high art” brilliantly, all while being funnier than 90% of comedy shows.
On its most basic level, this is a drama series about people who work in advertising in 1960s New York. It succeeds on that front thanks to a brilliantly written cast of characters, an interesting plot and an almost absurd amount of attention to period detail, all of which make it an engaging and entertaining watch.
But just as The Sopranos used its mafia setting to interrogate wider themes about family, psychology and work, Mad Men uses advertising to explore capitalism, happiness and identity. You could probably call it existentialist if you were feeling fancy, and you’d be well within your rights – but it’s devilishly witty, moving and fun with it.
The Boys (S1-3)
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.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s thriller might arguably be a case of style over substance, but when the style – neon-lit noir meets synth-pop soundtrack – is this impressive, who cares? Ryan Gosling simmers as a reticent Hollywood stunt driver who supplements his income by working as a wheelman for a vicious gang of thieves, but soon finds his uncomplicated lifestyle upturned by the arrival of Carey Mulligan’s young single mother.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
The Expanse (S1-6)
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.
Mr. Robot (S1-4)
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.
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.
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.
The Walking Dead (S1-11)
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!
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.
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.