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The best TV box-sets on Amazon Prime Video

Feel like a binge-watch? Here are some series to get you started. Updated for October 2021

The arrival of streaming services arguably ushered in the Age of the Binge Watch – a new era of TV in which you, the viewer, retreats to a comfortable hidey hole with a bumper bag of Kettle Chips, a gallon of tea and a burning desire to consume episode after episode of an addictive television series until you’re not sure what day it is.

Amazon Prime Video is packed with TV box-sets that are perfect for this kind of thing – and we’ve picked our favourites here: comfy sitcoms, riveting space operas, involving crime dramas, sweeping historical sagas and more. Each of these series should keep you entertained for many hours, by which time they’ll probably be countless more added to the service – so do be sure to check back periodically for updates.

Happy bingeing, folks.

30 Rock (S1-7)

If you’re one of the four people left on the planet who hasn’t blasted through all of 30 Rock, you need to change that immediately. Loosely based on creator and star Tina Fey’s experiences as head writer on Saturday Night Live, its unrelentingly funny 20-minute episodes are pure streaming joy; once you get going you’ll be hooked until the small hours of the morning. You’re welcome.

Watch 30 Rock on Amazon Prime Video

Bar Rescue (S1-3, 5-6)

“Siri, show me Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, but for terrible American watering holes.” Enter Bar Rescue, a long-running reality series in which “world-renowned bar consultant” (and, if rumour is to be believed, potential future U.S. presidential candidate) Jon Taffer is brought in to restore the fortunes of ailing drinking establishments.

Taffer presents himself as a man guided by science – an empirical data-driven guru who knows that something as apparently simple as the shape of a barstool can mean the difference between profit and loss – but let’s face it, we’re mostly here for the shouting matches and health violation kitchens. Thankfully, with many of the clueless owners thinking they know best and needing a Taffer-style dressing down, confrontations are always high on the menu.

Watch Bar Rescue on Amazon Prime Video

Preacher (S1-4)

This adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s beloved comic book series isn’t afraid to go its own way. Rather than plunge straight into the books’ storyline, it uses the first season to establish the backgrounds of beloved characters such as Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy and set up themes and adversaries that come to fruition in later seasons. The jury may be still out on how successful this approach ended up being (after four seasons, it ended), but the show’s style, humour and (often incredibly violent) drama have led it to attaining something of a cult status of its own.

Watch Preacher on Amazon Prime Video

Fleabag (S1-2)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars in this riotous sitcom about a single woman’s attempts to navigate the many pitfalls of modern London life. Even if that sounds like a hackneyed synopsis, or one that could describe roughly 10,000 British sitcoms, we suggest you delve in anyway, because Waller-Bridge’s eyes-open approach – acerbic, dry, unashamed, raw – doesn’t feel unoriginal in the slightest. It’s also really, really funny, which is probably worth mentioning too.

Watch Fleabag on Amazon Prime

Futurama (S1-10)

While never as culturally important as The Simpsons, Matt Groening’s “other” cartoon sitcom series is arguably more consistent in terms of quality. All 10 seasons of Futurama are currently streaming on Amazon Prime, so it’s a great time to dive into the adventures of Fry, a slacker cryogenically frozen for 1000 years, then thawed out to continue his life in the future.

The setting allows the show’s writers to explore all sorts of fertile avenues, giving the show a satirical bent that keeps it fresh and (for a network series) fairly edgy even today. Unlike The Simpsons, Futurama hasn’t been kept on life support long past its use-by date, so you can dive in safe in the knowledge that things aren’t going to go south halfway through.

Watch Futurama on Amazon Prime Video

Catastrophe (S1-4)

A steamy one-night stand while you’re out of the country for work? Probably the dream of anyone that’s ever seen the inside of an airport business lounge. Finding out said hook-up leaves the other party pregnant? Not so dreamy. That’s the setup for Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s sitcom, equal parts hysterical and cringeworthy yet still capable of tugging on your heartstrings.

Moving to London might be culture shock for Boston native Rob, but it’s no picnic for Irish teacher Sharon either – expect prodding parents, unsubtle school kids and a cool clique of antenatal mummies. Don’t miss a foul-mouthed Carrie Fisher (R.I.P.) as the mother-in-law from hell, either.

Watch Catastrophe on Amazon Prime Video

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (S1-3)

Finished Mad Men and hankering for a grown-up TV show in a similar vein, also set in mid-century Manhattan? The Marvelous Mrs Maisel might be the ideal series for you. Rachel Brosnahan stars as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, an effervescent middle-class housewife with what she thought was the perfect 1950s New York lifestyle: husband, kids and a beautiful Upper West Side apartment. When things take an unforeseen turn, she stumbles onto a stand-up comedy stage – and discovers she has something of a talent for not only making people laugh, but for hitting upon life’s truths while doing it.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Video

The Shield (S1-7)

A long-running cop show where the hero isn’t just a somewhat flawed detective (“Oh, he likes a bit of a drink, you know…”) but an out-and-out murderer, racist, womaniser and thief, The Shield pioneered the kind of nuanced TV that we take for granted today. Yes, Michael Chiklis’ Vic Mackey is a horrible person, possessed of all the worst traits we associate with bent coppers, but he’s feared by criminals and respected by his colleagues (many 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 feels jarring compared to today’s telly – but once you get over its quirks and settle in, The Shield‘s brisk storylines and moral quandaries will swiftly draw you in.

Watch The Shield on Amazon Prime Video

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S1-7)

After Buffy’s forgettable cinematic debut, nobody was expecting much from the small screen adventures of a vampire-snuffing cheerleader. Boy, were we wrong.

Joss Whedon changed the face of television with his memorable story arcs and emotional, earth-shaking series finales while raising the bar for the genre, as Buffy suffers all the agonies of High School – with vampires thrown in. Standout episodes feature a swim team of Fishmen, a vengeful goddess, the ghastly Gentlemen and a corrupt mayor who turns into a giant snake.

Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Amazon Prime Video

The Office (U.S., S1-9)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C2z-nshFts

It may have started life under somewhat uninspired circumstances – US remakes of UK series rarely withstand the dreaded Hollywood “glow up” without losing their fundamental appeal – but The Office swiftly developed its own identity. It might work differently to Ricky Gervais’s original series, but it works all the same.

With Steve Carell in a star-making turn as cringey boss-from-hell Michael Scott and the excellent supporting cast delivering great moments even into the Carell-free final few dozen episodes, it’s hard to think of a transatlantic TV reimagining that’s worked better. You’ll find all nine seasons (that’s 188 episodes by our count) on Amazon Prime.

Watch The Office (U.S.) 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 question posed by this superb comic book adaptation, in which the world’s most famous costumed crusaders are owned and controlled by Vought, a ruthless corporation that keeps their “foibles” – which range from voyeurism to alcoholism to outright murderous psychopathy – under wraps in order to keep the coffers filling up.

When one outrage leaves a young man hellbent on revenge, he discovers a group of like-minded vigilantes, all burning with a desire to bring down Vought once and for all. Effortlessly blending humour, action and drama, The Boys is among Amazon’s finest original series – and has recently returned for a second season.

Watch The Boys on Amazon Prime

The Expanse (S1-5)

A space opera that leans heavily into what fans lovingly refer to as “hard sci-fi” (aka science fiction based strongly on real-world physics and perceived realism rather than space magic), The Expanse is set in a reasonably near future in which humanity has successfully colonised the solar system, only to fall into a cold war-like state as separate factions vie for control of stellar space. We’re introduced to this dangerous world of political turmoil, corporate greed and cold, cold vacuums through the ragtag crew of the Rocinante, a frigate not strictly aligned with any of the region’s major players.

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 Video

Watch The Expanse in 4K UHD on Amazon Prime Video

Bosch (S1-7)

Harry Bosch is ex-special forces, contemptuous of authority and grappling with a troubled past – and also one of the best detectives in the LAPD’s Hollywood homicide division. We wouldn’t blame you for thinking this show based on Michael Connelly’s series of novels sounds cliched, but Bosch (an Amazon original series) is actually a surprisingly innovative take on the police procedural. Each season tells an over-arching story, usually about a single major case, while a handful of intriguing subplots bubble along in the background – some, like Bosch’s search for the man who murdered his sex worker mother decades previously, don’t get resolved for several seasons.

Titus Welliver heads up a colourful cast of recognisable character actors, each of whom gets his or her chance to grab the spotlight occasionally. But this is Bosch (and Welliver’s) show ultimately, and the gruff, complex cop makes for a fascinating focal point.

Watch Bosch on Amazon Prime Video

Watch Bosch in 4K UHD on Amazon Prime Video

Vikings (S1-6)

Don’t let the fact that Vikings is funded by The History Channel fool you into thinking that this series is all that bothered about facts and veracity. While some of its characters were real people and the broad sweep of its plot (sort of) lines up with actual events surrounding the Norse invasions of Britain, this is right up there with The Tudors in the “history riotously sexed up for mainstream entertainment” stakes.

And fear not: it’s certainly entertaining, packed to the gills with scheming, bloodshed, romance, betrayal, a smattering of magic (or is it just madness) and the occasional grand battle or siege. It’s often silly too, but that’s a small price to pay for this much fun.

Watch Vikings on Amazon Prime Video

Mad Men (S1-7)

Mad Men (S1-7)

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

But really it’s a show about America, identity, consumerism, freedom, family and, without wanting to sound too pretentious, about what it is to be a human being in our modern capital-driven world. 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 entertaining with it. It may be the most painstakingly crafted television series of all time, and it’s certainly among the finest. You can watch every episode on Amazon Prime.

Watch Mad Men on Amazon Prime Video

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 terror, it’ll scarcely 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 Video

Archer (S1-5)

A James Bond-esque secret agent with the womanising, drinking and love of casual violence turned right up to 11, Archer is one of the best anti-heroes we’ve seen in an animated show. He’s in good company at private spy agency ISIS (in hindsight, an unfortunate choice of name – and one that was eventually changed by the showmakers) staffed as it is with a collection of pariahs and perverts. Perfect for binge-watching thanks to its 20-minute episodes, it’s generously packed with snappy one-liners and in-jokes. It’s just as good as it sounds.

Watch Archer 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 foul of his superiors, he’s quickly dragged into a feud with an old friend turned new enemy, played with career-defining aplomb by Walton Goggins.

Justified manages to successfully mix long-running plotlines with monster-of-the-week style self-contained episodes, making it prime binge-fodder.

Watch Justified on Amazon Prime Video

Parks and Recreation (S1-7)

The show that propelled Amy Poehler and Chris Pratt to 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 mundane workdays of the least consequential department (Parks and Rec) of the city council of fictional 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 truly hit its stride, but Parks and Recreation is a true must-see.

Watch Parks and Recreation on Amazon Prime Video

Bob’s Burgers (S1-10)

Bob Belcher is an average guy striving to make a living for his family by doing what he does best: cooking burgers. Compared to the Griffins or the Smiths, the Belchers might seem (relatively) normal, but perhaps it’s the relatability of their daily struggles and conflicts that makes this show so enjoyable.

It’s less surreal and smart than Rick and Morty and more story-driven than Family Guy, but Bob’s Burgers has carved out its own unique spot amongst its animated peers. Well worth a look if you’ve grown tired of Family Guy‘s endless cutaway gags.

Watch Bob’s Burgers on Amazon Prime Video

Transparent (S1-5)

Amazon spent a long time (and a lot of money) trying to “do a Netflix” by creating its very own prestigious, award-winning TV shows; Transparent was the moment it got it right. For a start, this 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 humorous, with a sharpness of wit that’s still rare even in this golden age of TV. The bickering between the three siblings (each of whom is plagued by their own individual problems and peccadillos) is as funny as it is believable. Amazing telly.

Watch Transparent on Amazon Prime Video

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (S1-7)

The late Anthony Bourdain was never more watchable than in this long-running CNN series – part travelogue, part culinary culture guide – in which he journeys to hitherto-overlooked countries and regions in search of unique things to munch. He generally finds much more than just tasty tacos or deep-fried sea urchins on his travels, though.

If the idea sounds a bit “Rick Stein on a gap year”, the execution is far more effective. Bourdain’s empathy, curiosity and adventurous spirit shine through over the course of seven series (there are several more that haven’t yet been added to Prime Video). A true feast of eye-opening, mouth-watering TV.

Watch Parts Unknown on Amazon Prime Video

The Handmaid’s Tale (S1-3)

Margaret Atwood’s bestselling sci-fi novel gets the big budget telly treatment here, with Mad Men‘s Elizabeth Moss outstanding in the leading role. Moss plays Offred, one of thousands of “handmaids” who serve as breeding stock to the ruling class in a brutal theocratic near-future United States, now renamed the Republic of Gilead. Assigned to a senior member of the government who has not been able to conceive with his own wife, Offred’s role is more maid than concubine – but even in a place as authoritarian as Gilead the powerful are able to do pretty much as they please.

The producers have expanded the scope and plotlines of Atwood’s book while retaining its essential feminist premise, making this a grimly involving look at patriarchy taken to the terrifying conclusions of its twisted internal logic.

Watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Amazon Prime Video