How do you begin to just the best shows on Amazon? We took a look at what ratings were available, what shows got the most buzz – and, of course, we watched a lot of TV! Amazon has some of the best TV shows, but they also boast some of the best movies too. Original content in particular is important, so there are some things you can only find via Amazon Prime Video. We also looked for content with great production values and content that’s easily available in higher resolutions for the ultimate experience.
Add all that together, and it’s easy to see why our top choice is The Boys. Immediately and immensely popular, this twisted superhero series is easily one of the best-produced on Amazon, filled with remarkable characters and a chilling plot that begs to be binged. But if that’s not quite your style, we’ve also picked out a number of other shows from all kinds of genres that you should really try out! If you want to make your TV easy to stream from, take a look at this list to find the best streaming device for your home.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: No Amazon show has quite taken off like The Boys. While there are plenty of gritty superhero shows and comics around, this particular adaptation is effortlessly above them all, telling the story of an underground group waging a war of revenge against a corrupt and evil Justice League-like team of superheroes. There’s humor, action, corporate politics, moral dilemmas, and lots more – plus amazing performances all around, from the debonair Billy Butcher to the chillingly psychopathic Homelander. It’s no surprise Amazon is all in on more seasons! If your only current subscription is Netflix, you may be interested in watching one of the 30 of the best action movies streaming on Netflix.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The premise of The Americans is simple: Two KGB agents pretend to be a happily married American family in DC while doing all sorts of spy stuff. It’s captivating, and the show consistently finds ways to make the story interesting and heartfelt. Plus, a spy adventure is always fun!
WHY WE LIKE IT: Amazon is one of the easiest places to find and binge this turn-of-the-century space story. Babylon 5 helped inspire a number of later shows, and you can easily see its DNA across a wide variety of sci-fi media – but the original still holds up as an excellent watch. This show follows a team of humans and aliens on a distant space station, trying to make peace in a galaxy filled with ancient, mystical forces. Perfect fodder for any sci-fi fan!
WHY WE LIKE IT: This Amazon original treads a careful line with a gritty fantasy tale of 19th-century London, dealing with an influx of fairy refugees and the dawn of the industrial age. The show has a lot of interesting ideas, some good old-fashioned mystery, and is ultimately more than the sum of its parts – in a good way. It’s an excellent example of what Amazon can really do with its own original content.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Originally a British sitcom, Catastrophe follows a couple trying to fit a new romance into their lives. It doesn’t always work, but that’s the point – the show does a remarkable job of exploring how much effort love and relationships can take. It also has an excellent multi-season arc that’s wrapped up in a satisfying ending, so you don’t have to be afraid to binge it all. If you’re looking for a title for your next Netflix binge, you should take a look at one of the 53 of the best movies streaming on Netflix for 2012.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Expanse was rescued by Amazon for new seasons so it could finish its story, further solidifying Amazon’s penchant for great sci-fi. The series jumps ahead in time to a complex age of humanity where the latest frontiers are mining colonies scattered throughout the solar system. Politics, crime, space battles, and romance combine in an epic tale of “haves” and “have-nots” that’s perfect bingeing material.
Read Full Review: The Expanse Review
WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the first true hits that Amazon created, Fleabag is a British dramedy that follows the comedic and crazy life of “Fleabag” a woman trying to have it all in modern London – and “all” is frequently just making it through the day in one piece. Written and acted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the show has won numerous accolades and even has a theatrical version (also available on Amazon).
WHY WE LIKE IT: Based on the famous satirical novel, Good Omens follows an angel and a demon who team up to try and prevent the apocalypse out of a soft spot for humanity – which means trying to change the destiny of the young boy who’s quickly growing up to become the antichrist in rural England. Heartfelt and funny, this show shows Michael Sheen and David Tenant at their best. It also encompasses the entire book in one season, so you can easily finish it up. If you’re looking for more Netflix titles for your next binge, take a look at 24 of the best movies streaming on Netflix for 2013.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Grand Tour is essentially just BBC’s Top Gear, except rebooted by Amazon under a different name. It’s still about middle-aged men having incredible amounts of fun with cars and all kinds of other vehicles, pushing limits, and explaining a few mechanics as they go. If that sounds like fun, you’ll have a blast from beginning to end.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Hard to watch and impossible to look away, Hannibal follows the early career of Hannibal Lecter as he helps the FBI hunt down serial killers. Of course, that help generally means encouraging and harvesting killers as he sees fit, while pulling the strings of everyone around him before they can discover his real motives. Mads Mikkelsen is mesmerizing, and those who appreciated the movies about Lecter will love the show all the way through.
WHY WE LIKE IT: What if you discovered escaped Nazi soldiers were living in 1970s America? In Hunters, the main characters team up for some vigilante justice. From the simple premise of “Nazis bad” Hunters quickly spins an engaging tale of conspiracies, assassinations, daring escapes, and all the action you could wish for.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Starring John Krasinkski, the show follows Tom Clany’s famous CIA agent on a quest to root out conspiracy around the globe. It’s great for people who love spy thrillers, but Jack Ryan is good at providing something for everyone and making you generally care about the characters as well as the military suspense.
WHY WE LIKE IT: What would have happened if WW2 ended with Germany and Japan conquering the United States? The Man in High Castle explores that idea thoroughly, and it’s captivating for every moment of its four-season run. It’s one of those shows that we can’t say too much about without giving away the plot, but we promise you’ve never seen anything like it.
WHY WE LIKE IT: A deceptively light-hearted comedy, Mrs. Maisel follows a young Jewish mother who upends her own life to become a ribald, underground comedian in the 1960s. It’s both a brilliant period piece and a fun romp that will have you rooting for (almost) every character. Plus, many roles are filled by actual comedians and famed comedic actors, each of whom is worth the watch.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Think of this show as a fictional “behind the scene” look at an orchestra, complete with egos, ambition, backstabbing, competition, and a whole lot of life events. It’s a bit like reality TV, but infinitely more engaging, with excellent acting and a plot that’s friendly enough for everyone to enjoy. It’s also ongoing, with a third season confirmed by Amazon.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Why does a hacker hack? Is it for personal gain? Anarchy? Boredom? Social justice? A little bit of everything? Mr. Robot explores that question in stunning detail, following the life of a young hacker who gets involved in an underground effort to destabilize those in power – which quickly spirals in more than he could have imagined. Brilliantly shot and written, it’s easily one of the best shows on Amazon from beginning to end.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Sneaky Pete is one of those dramas that has something for everyone, which is one reason why it’s one of the most-watched shows on Amazon. It follows a con artist who escapes threats by assuming the identity of his cellmate, ensuring his release – but now he has to keep up the lie by living a different life for an estranged family.
WHY WE LIKE IT: A sci-fi show with a unique premise, Orphan Black follows the story of a young woman who realizes she’s not alone – that there are literally other copies of her in the world, living other lives. She works to unravel what exactly is happening, jumping from one mystery to another. It’s no wonder fans find the show goes by so quickly – you’re always left wanting to know what happens next.
WHY WE LIKE IT: When the head of the family announces that she is a trans woman, the Pfeffermans have a chance to rethink their own lives – which leads to a chain of admissions, secrets, and new forms of honesty for everyone. The show has won numerous awards for its comedic yet heartfelt tone and is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for something different from their usual fare.
WHY WE LIKE IT: The afterlife is digital, thanks to technology in Upload that can preserve your consciousness in a computer dream life. But things are a bit more complicated than that, as the main character Nathan discovers that politics and bias are still at work within the Upload system – and that his death may have been more suspicious than it seemed. Fortunately, the tone is lighthearted enough to make these heavy concepts easy and enjoyable to watch.
To discover the best shows on Amazon, we started by watching a lot of TV! Of course, opinions can be relative, so we also did a lot of research on reviews, ratings, recommendations, and what data Amazon Prime has released about the shows that people like to watch. Good scores, lots of buzz, and star power certainly help! We also tried to pick a variety of shows to prevent getting stuck in one genre for too long.
We also paid particularly close attention to original content. The shows Amazon has from other networks can be watched in other ways, or caught live if you’re a particularly big fan. But Amazon Prime original content can’t be found anywhere else, so it gets extra points for being worth the watch.
We also awarded more points for shows that are ongoing, or have satisfactory resolutions. After all, it’s great to start a high-quality new show, but very disappointing to find that show was cancelled before it had time to end properly.