Best Shows on Amazon in 2020 (August Reviews)

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.

Top 20 Best Shows on Amazon

 #1  The Boys

The Boys

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.

 #2  The Americans

The Americans

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!

 #3  Babylon 5

Babylon 5

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!

 #4  Carnival Row

Carnival Row

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.

 #5  Catastrophe

Catastrophe

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.

 #6  The Expanse

The Expanse

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

 #7  Fleabag

Fleabag

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).

 #8  Good Omens

Good Omens

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.

 #9  The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour

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.

 #10  Hannibal

Hannibal

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.

 #11  Hunters

Hunters

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.

 #12  Jack Ryan

Jack Ryan

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.

 #13  The Man in High Castle

The Man in High Castle

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.

 #14  The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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.

 #15  Mozart in the Jungle

Mozart in the Jungle

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.

 #16  Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot

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.

 #17  Sneaky Pete

Sneaky Pete

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.

 #18  Orphan Black

Orphan Black

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.

 #19  Transparent

Transparent

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.

 #20  Upload

Upload

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.

How We Decided

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.

Best Shows on Amazon FAQs

How Do I Get Amazon Prime Video?

This process is a bit different from other streaming services. In addition to signing up for a specific Amazon Prime Video app, you can also choose to sign up for the general Amazon Prime service. General Prime gets you free two-day shipping and other various Amazon benefits, making it an excellent choice for those who use other Amazon services (Kindle, Fire TV, etc.) or just buying things online. The standalone Amazon Prime Video service, on the other hand, saves you a few dollars a year but doesn’t come with any additional benefits. As usual, there’s a 30-day free trial to check out what’s available.

What is Amazon’s Most Popular Show?

We really only know what the most popular shows are when streamers decide to tell people what their internal data reveals...which isn’t very often (other methods exist, but they are far from reliable). So it’s hard to say what exactly people watch the most on Amazon, although we have a few clues. The last time Amazon mentioned direct data was for 2017, when it said that The Grand Tour was its most popular show globally, and Sneaky Pete was its most popular show in the United States. Then, in 2019, Amazon announced that The Boys had become one of their most watched series ever just a couple weeks after release.

Are Amazon Prime Shows In 4k?

Where available, yes, you can access Amazon content in 4k, as long as you have enough bandwidth to support it. You don’t have to pay extra for HDR or higher resolutions, they are available to all subscribers.

Which is Best, Amazon Prime, or Netflix?

That depends on what you are looking for. Netflix has a far larger roster of shows and movies, by far the better selection of kid and young adult content, and a lot more original shows. There’s not really a comparison on that level. But there are certain things you can only get on Amazon Prime, including all their original content (which does have a number of standouts and Emmy-award winners) and shows Amazon has famous “rescued” like The Expanse. So take a look and see what you think of their content before making a decision. Also, keep in mind that you can add channels like Starz to Amazon Prime very easily for an extra fee, or rent movies, while Netflix doesn’t allow any of this customization.

Latest Amazon Originals Reviews & Buyer Guides

Counterpart Review
Counterpart Review
Counterpart is about a low-level bureaucrat named Howard Silk who one day, after 29 years serving as a security official, is brought face to face with his doppelganger from another world. The series stars JK Simmons and Olivia Williams, was created by Justin Marks, best known as the screenwriter for…
The Expanse Review
The Expanse Review
The Expanse is not only one of the best sci-fi tv shows out there, it’s also one of the best shows on Amazon. Set 200 years in the future where an intergalactic civil war between Earth and a colonized Mars is about to unravel, the series was created by Mark…
Tales from the Loop Review
Tales from the Loop Review
The series, on Amazon Prime Video, is a collection of eight stand-alone short stories where day by day rural life is imbued with the supernatural. The series stars Jonathan Pryce and Rebecca Hall, among many others, and each episode contains a different director. The series debuted at the beginning of…
CBS All Access Review: What’s This Streaming Service Worth?
CBS All Access Review: What’s This Streaming Service Worth?
CBS All Access is primarily famous for being the streaming service where you can find Star Trek Discovery (available nowhere else). But does the CBS app really deliver outside of this? Is it worth paying $6 or more per month? We take a look at the content All Access offers,…
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime vs. Hulu Plus
Netflix vs. Amazon Prime vs. Hulu Plus
Do you watch the best shows on Amazon or Netflix? The age of cord cutting is here. If you’re sick of your current tv cable company raising their rates and nickel and diming you to death, then you’re going to want to start looking at other options like Netflix, Amazon…
8 Reasons Why Amazon Prime is Worth $99 (review)
8 Reasons Why Amazon Prime is Worth $99 (review)
Are the best shows on Amazon worth it? Amazon recently announced that they will be increasing the price of their Prime service to $99 a year. That’s a $20 increase from $79 a year so let us help you make your decision with our Amazon Prime review. While this may…
Amazon Prime VS. Amazon Instant Video (comparison)
Amazon Prime VS. Amazon Instant Video (comparison)
The best shows on Amazon are just getting started. You might think these two services are the same since they’re both offered by Amazon, but they are actually two different services customers can opt for. At first Prime sounds great since it offers more than streaming movies, BUT you can’t…
Amazon Prime Streaming vs Netflix (comparison)
Amazon Prime Streaming vs Netflix (comparison)
Are you curious about the best shows on Amazon? Blockbuster killed the mom and pop video shops of the late-80s and early-90s, but Netflix came along in 1999, when it started its subscription-based digital distribution service and quickly shut down Blockbuster and its video reign. Now, Netflix has become the…

Back to top button
Close