In February 2011, Amazon announced that Amazon Prime members could access thousands of streaming movies and TV shows for free as part of the Amazon Prime Video subscription service. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 160 million people worldwide who have access to Amazon Prime features, including its streaming video library. That’s a huge audience for any TV show, current or classic, spanning all devices from smartphones to big-screen TVs.
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Let’s take a look at the best Amazon Prime shows in the US, including original shows exclusively for the service and older shows previously shown by other outlets. Keep in mind that Amazon Prime Video uses geo-restrictions, so not all of these shows are available in every market.
best amazon prime shows
- night manager
- The Man in the High Castle
- lucky Cue
- Downton Abbey
- modern love
- Mr Robot
- Wonderful Mrs Maisel
- Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
editor’s Note: We’ll keep updating this list as more great TV shows are added to Amazon Prime Video and others are removed.
One of the best shows on Amazon, The Night Manager is a limited British television series based on the book of the same name by John Le Carré. The show stars Tom Hiddleston as the night manager of a luxury hotel in Cairo, Egypt. It just so happens that Hiddleston’s character is also that of a former British soldier. When he reluctantly comes into possession of a confidential inventory of weapons and war chemicals, he reports it to the International Enforcement Agency in London. He is then recruited by an intelligence agent (Olivia Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). However, there is a mole in the British intelligence community that makes things more complicated.
Night Manager has won several awards to date, including two Emmy Awards and several Golden Globe Awards. The show has just six one-hour episodes, so it’s a quick watch. It is definitely addictive and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Man in the High Castle
Late Philip K. Dick’s classic novel, this Amazon Prime original show takes place in the 1960s, but in an alternate timeline where Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and occupied the shores of what is now America. This “what if” series tells the story of several characters in this alternate Earth, who discover a series of films that show America winning World War II.
The series extends from Dick’s original novel and gives the characters the feeling not only that they are on an alternate Earth, but also that it may be possible to actually travel to the time where America and its allies lived in the Second World. The war was won. The Man in the High Castle is not only the best Amazon Prime show, but probably also the best original Amazon Prime TV drama series.
Originally shown on the SyFy cable channel, this classic sci-fi epic is now available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Based on The Expanse novels by “James SA Corey” (actually a pen name for two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank), the show takes place hundreds of years in the future, where humanity has colonized the entire solar system. However, now there are factions in different places in the system: Earth, Mars and the “Belters” who live in the outer system.
Not only does the show have a huge cast and an epic feel, but it may have some of the best visual effects ever created for a space-based sci-fi series. The good news is that Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, an admittedly big sci-fi fan, loved The Expanse so much that when SyFy decided not to renew the show for a fourth season, Bezos was forced to take the rights. And got Amazon Prime Video to approve. production of that season.
American might be the best TV show most of you would have ever seen. Keri Russell and Matthew Rice play Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, a typical married couple who live in the Washington DC area with their two children in the early 1980s. It sounds like a standard family drama, doesn’t it? wrong! Elizabeth and Philip Jennings are actually two deeply undercover KGB spies who are actively trying to gain intel for the Soviet Union.
The show has a lot of twists and turns, especially as Philip begins to enjoy his time in America, while Elizabeth lives with her KGB training and her ideology. Oh, and their two kids have no idea their mom and dad are spies. All six seasons of The Americans are available to stream now, and it’s a no-brainer for our best Amazon Prime shows list.
Centering a TV show around a serial killer is a risk. However, the producers of the show, along with its lead actor Michael C. Hall, managed to make Dexter Morgan a sympathetic character. It’s not like he kills another serial killer. Dexter sincerely believes that he is trying to be the good guy, even if he does something terrible in the end.
While the final season of Dexter doesn’t quite work as well as the first few seasons, it’s still an entertaining and yes, creepy show. You can watch the series on Showtime ahead of the upcoming Dexter revival which is due out later this fall.
Some TV shows on streaming platforms are designed to be “one-and-done”, with their stories completed in just one season. The same is true of good omens. Based on the acclaimed fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, the series focuses on two extraterrestrial beings on Earth. One is the angel Aziraphale, played by Michael Sheen, and the other is the demon Crowley, played by David Tennant. The two beings not only become friends despite being in opposite directions, but also like to live on earth. It’s a problem, however, as the series deals with these two friends trying to stop the end of the world.
Gaiman served as showrunner for this six-episode limited series, and it shows. Good Omens feels like both a great adaptation and an extension of the original novel. It’s flat-out funny too. Also check out many interesting cameos and voices in this show.
Homecoming is an Amazon Prime Video original starring Julia Roberts. The show is produced and directed by Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail. It is a fast-paced thriller whose plot revolves around a sketchy transitional support facility for American soldiers. Roberts plays Heidi Bergman, a social worker who is hired by the facility to help war-torn soldiers transition smoothly into civilian life. But something sinister is happening at the Homecoming Center and after four years working there, Bergman doesn’t remember what he did until a defense auditor inquires about his past.
Season two of Homecoming is now available on Amazon Prime Video. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, Homecoming is a show you really shouldn’t miss.
We’ve seen a lot of movies and TV shows about the British class system, but none of them have been as entertaining as this show. Originally shown on ITV in the UK and PBS in the US, Downton Abbey focuses on a fictional estate in the British countryside and all the people who lived and worked there in the early part of the 20th century. Real-world events from that time affect both the Crowley family and their domestic servants.
The show highlights the many changes in the class system in Britain during that time, as the aristocracy begins to lose its widespread influence on society. The show has some great writing and great performances by the cast, which will make you care about what happens to them over the years. All six seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
One of Amazon Prime Video’s best TV series is also an original. The Boys basically try to answer the question, “What if superheroes existed in the real world?” In this series, superheroes will be used as products and marketing tools for a larger company. Plus, most of the superheroes in this series are pretty bad guys themselves, who feel like they can do whatever they want and get away with it.
The Boys centers on the efforts of a special superhero group, The Seven, and a rogue group of (mostly) normal humans (The Boys) who know the truth and want to bring down these mighty creatures. This is an overly adult TV show (definitely don’t let the kids watch it), but if you want to see a more realistic and brutal look at superheroes, this show is a must-have on Amazon Prime Video.
Modern Love is a collection of short love stories – a romantic anthology – based on a weekly column published in The New York Times. The series presents eight half-hour episodes, each exploring a different aspect of love. Each episode features a different cast, some of which include Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, Dev Patel and Julia Garner, among other celebrity names. This is one of those shows that will leave you excited in one episode and sad in the next. However, its romantic appeal and short episode length make it a highly binge-worthy title.
The 2019 show has been renewed for a second installment, so you might want to catch up on the first season while we wait for the second.
Here’s another Amazon Prime Video original series designed to have a beginning, middle, and end. Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes as “Fleabag” and is a young woman trying to find love and companionship in London. She often talks directly to the camera in a strategy of breaking the fourth wall, which isn’t annoying for once, but really helps make her funnier and more relatable at the same time.
Waller-Bridge adapted her one-woman drama for the series, and it occasionally appears in some episodes of…