Updated: Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows: 25 essential shows on Amazon Prime


Best shows on Amazon Prime

Best Amazon TV Shows

UPDATE: Amazon has released a new trailer for its biggest show yet – The Grand Tour. The show sees the ex-Top Gear trio travelling the world to take part in a variety of car-focussed adventures, with additional segments filmed in front of live studio audiences. It will be on Amazon Prime weekly from November 18.

Welcomes to TechRadar’s guide to the best Amazon Prime TV shows around, a constantly updated list of the best shows on Amazon Prime that we have been watching and loving on what has become one of the most popular streaming services around. It wasn’t always this way, though.

In the UK, Amazon had a stuttering start when it came to taking on Netflix in the big streaming battle. This was partly due to a stubborn insistence on Amazon’s part to keep its streaming setup separate, hoping to make Lovefilm (a company it acquired when DVDs were all the rage) into an on-demand brand.

This didn’t work so along came Plan B. Lovefilm didn’t have global appeal, but it did have a backbone on which Amazon built the streaming service we know today – Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Since this move, Amazon Prime has grown into a media powerhouse. Taking, and in some ways surpassing, Netflix’s self-serving model to produce its own content Amazon now has a bevy of television shows that are begging to be watched on its own platform. The choice is expansive and that’s where we come in.

TechRadar has curated a list of the best Amazon Prime shows around. Chosen by the team, these are the shows streamed in the UK that are Instant classics primed to offer up hours of compulsive viewing.

It’s worth noting that these are the best Amazon Prime TV shows that can be watched instantly when you have Amazon Prime access. There are many more shows you can watch through Amazon but these have to be purchased to be viewed. We will keep this list constantly updated if any paid shows become free that we feel need to be included.

Not convinced Amazon is the way forward? Then check out our Best Netflix TV Shows article and see what Amazon’s biggest rival has on its service.

1. Alpha House

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

One of the first successes to come from the Amazon Originals program, Alpha House is the antithesis of Netflix’s House of Cards. Yes it has a political edge but the back stabbing is replaced with a little bit of rib tickling. John Goodman is superb as one of four US senators shacked up in the same house.

While the humour may get a little too dry for some, there’s warmth in the cynicism and a strange amount of believability in the characters. If you were to choose one comedy that lampoons US politics then go with Veep – but Alpha House is a decent second.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

2. The Americans

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

The Americans was cruelly mishandled when it originally came to UK TV, so we are glad it has finally found a decent place to reside. The show is a cracking crime period thriller that follows the exploits of a couple of KGB agents posing as US citizens around the time Ronald Reagan became US president.

It may occasionally flit between the ridiculous and the sublime but you would expect nothing more from a show that’s main conceit comprises characters dueling with duality. The ’80s setting is fantastic, too, though there aren’t enough shell suits for our liking.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

3. Black Sails

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Johnny Depp may have spent the latter half of his career convincing the world that pirates all look, smell and talk like a Rolling Stone but we prefer Black Sails’ interpretation. Exclusive to Amazon Prime, Black Sails treats the pirate legend with a touch more reality and this is pretty much all down to Shakespearean thesp Toby Stephens.

His interpretation of Captain Flint, one of the great characters of Treasure Island, is inspired, as is the cinematography in this high seas romp. Set 20 years before Treasure Island, Black Sails is one bit of piracy we fully condone.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 3

4. Bosch

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

With 20-something novels to mine for source material, Bosch is a character that was always destined for the small screen. Created by Michael Connelly but brilliantly brought to life by actor Titus Welliver, the series follows the exploits of LA Homicide detective Harry Bosch and features enough grit to pave the longest of driveways.

This is no surprise – the series has been created by Eric Overmyer, who was part of the alumni that created The Wire. Bosch is another show that has been put together by Amazon Studios – proving that streaming services are becoming just as powerful as the HBOs of the world when it comes to producing compelling drama.

Bosch Season 2 has also landed on Amazon Prime, continuing the saga of Harry Bosch and it comes with a nice uplift in quality too.

Number of seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

5. Catastrophe

Catastrophe

From the minds of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney comes one of the funniest, most well-written sitcom in years. The plot is slight: a one-night stand turns into a relationship once Sharon announces she is pregnant. But the series contains some of the most cut-to-the-bone humour seen on TV. Combine this with a nice slab of pathos – nestled among many a sex joke – and what you have is a modern classic.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

6. The Fall

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Before he was whipping up a storm as Mr Grey, Jamie Dornan played an effortlessly charming and equally chilling serial killer in The Fall, a fantastic Irish drama that deserves all the acclaim it gets.

Dornan is Paul Spector, a care worker who has a sideline in killing woman. To help track him down, hard-nosed detective Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) heads to Belfast to try and capture the murderer. The Fall is a perfect blend of intelligent scripting, nuanced acting and a fantastic premise. Knowing who the killer is from scene one amps up, rather than releases, the show’s tension.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

7. Fear The Walking Dead

Fear The Walking Dead

With Season Six of Walking Dead coming to an end with a thump, you can still get your undead helping with Fear The Walking Dead – a show that tries its hardest to be more than a spin-off. Set in Los Angeles, the show follows high school guidance counselor Madison Clark (a brilliant Kim Dickens fresh from Treme) and English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) as they adapt to a life after the ‘zombie’ outbreak. The show is slow paced, each episode is an hour and there’s a 90-minute pilot, but it manages to approach the Walking Dead world in a wholly different way.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

8. Hand of God

Hand of God

Last seen in Sons of Anarchy, Ron Perlman has moved from the mad world of biker gangs into the stranger world of law. Perlman plays a vice-riddled barrister who, after suffering a breakdown, starts to believe he is a messenger from god.

The full season for Hand of God arrived on Amazon Prime in September, after a successful pilot. Don’t expect a light-hearted ride – this is one drama that takes a dark turn and doesn’t plan on getting any lighter soon.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

9. Into The Badlands

Into The Badlands

Into The Badlands is a heady mix of brilliant martial arts and high drama as trained fighter Sunny (Daniel Wu) takes a group of people on a twisted road trip through the mystical badlands. This may only be a six-part mini series but there’s plenty of bite in each of those episodes. And it also contains some of the best fighting seen on television.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

10. Mad Dogs

Mad Dogs

The UK version of Mad Dogs was a breath of fresh air when it first aired. Well, the first season was then it all went a little too strange. This remake – green-lit from Amazon’s burgeoning Originals series – takes the best from the UK version and mixes it with a plot that’s a little easier to follow and humour that’s more laugh out loud than pitch black.

The premise is the same: a bunch of mates go and visit one friend at his luxury villa to celebrate his early retirement, only for murder, mayhem and mind-boggling plot developments to ensue. A touch of genius is the recasting of Ben Chaplin. While he played the rich, retiring Alvo in the UK version here he gets to try his luck in a bigger and better role.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

11. Man In The High Castle

Man in the high castle

There have been a number of successful Amazon pilots that have made it to a full series but none have the epic potential that Man In The High Castle has. This Philip K Dick adaptation is finally available to stream – with all episodes ready for your consumption. High Castle imagines what the world would be like if Germany had won World War II and the Nazis had taken global control. Turns out it’s a bit worse than us all driving around in VW Beetles and wearing Hugo Boss coats.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

12. Masters Of Sex

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Yes, Masters Of Sex could have ended up being a Mad Men rip-off when it first arrived in 2013 but thanks to the brilliance of Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan the show soon elevated above being a copycat.

Sheen is Dr William Masters, a fertility expert who turns his hand to researching the world of sex. Turns out researching sex means having a lot of it, which would all be rather gratuitous if it wasn’t wrapped in some of the most intelligent script work around.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

13. Mozart in the Jungle

Mozart in the Jungle

Now into its second series, Mozart in the Jungle was this surprise winner at the 2015 Golden Globes, where it won Best Comedy Series. The show is a comedy set in the strange world of classical music. Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal plays young conductor Rodrigo who replaces a retiring conductor played by Malcolm McDowell. Based loosely on a true story and created by the likes of Jason Schwartzman and Roman Coppola, it’s well worth a watch.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

14. Mr Robot

Mr Robot

It was an agonising wait for Mr Robot in the UK – the first season had all-but ended in the US before we even got a sniff of it. But its popularity meant that there was something of a bidding war to see who would show it in the UK. Amazon, Netflix and other more traditional broadcasters fought for it, proving that even bean counters can see the worth in counter culture.

Amazon won in the end and is the perfect place for a show that focuses on the exploits of hacker Elliot (a superb Rami Malek). Mr Robot is Fight Club for the Tor generation, lifting a lid on a world where what Linux kernel you use is not just a badge of honour but a way of life.

Season 2 has begun and Amazon is a lot quicker off the mark this time around. It is showing the show a mere 24 hours after it has been shown in the US. Darker and more destructive than the first season, Mr Robot Season 2 focuses on the aftermath of season 1, where Bitcoin has become the only currency you can count on. Sounds a bit like the UK post-Brexit, then.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2 (new episodes weekly)

15. Parks and Recreation

Best Amazon TV Shows

Parks and Rec is a joy of a show. Originally seen as a quasi spin-off of the Office – using the same documentary style camerawork, awkward pauses, asides to camera – it soon grew from an amusing first season, about the goings on in the parks department of Pawnee, to a comedy phenomenon that spanned a fantastic seven seasons. It’s not just the script that makes it great, it’s also the characters – headed up by the ever-brilliant Amy Poehler.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 7

16. Preacher

Best Amazon Prime shows

Amazon of a Preacher, man! Preacher is the next big comic-book adaptation and my god it’s good. It takes the deranged feel of the graphic novels and translates it well to the small screen. Dominic Cooper is great as small-town preacher Jesse Custer who, inhabited by a strange spirit, starts to do God’s work in a small America town with his ex girlfriend (A brilliant Ruth Negga) and an Irish vampire, played by Misfits’ Joe Gilgun as his cohorts.

The whole season of Preacher is now available on Amazon Prime.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

17. Red Oaks

Red Oaks

The ’80s is the en vogue decade when it comes to nostalgia. Not only are Seth Gordon and Adam Goldberg mining the era for their superb prime-time sitcom The Goldbergs, Red Oaks has appeared to prove that it is respectable to set shows in the ’80s. Amazon-exclusive Red Oaks – made by another Green, this time David Gordon – focuses on David, a tennis player at the Red Oaks country club and his summer shenanigans. Great casting – Jennifer Grey! – some brilliant nods to ’80s films, a short run time means this is a series you can eat up in one neon-fuelled sitting.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

18: Sons Of Anarchy

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Seemingly always vying for the top spot of Best Recently Finished Drama (we may have made up that award) with Breaking Bad, Sons Of Anarchy is a long brooding menace of a show that deserves your attention. Centred on a motorcycle gang that live by their own rules (you can probably guess what their name is from the title) the show is positively Shakespearean in its storytelling and will have you gripped from episode one.

While Ron Perlman steals the show as Clay, Charlie Hunnam’s Jax is one of the best tortured souls you will see on any television show. All seven seasons of the show are now streaming on the service.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 7

19: The New Yorker Presents

The New Yorker Presents

The New Yorker Presents is one of the most original Amazon Originals around. It’s a show that brings to life some of the articles The New Yorker is famed for, in a documentary format. Each episode is directed by a famed documentary filmmaker. The first episode is about the 9/11 attacks and is helmed by Alex Gibney of Going Clear fame. Jonathan Demme and Hoop Dreams’ Steve James also lend their directing talents. At only 30 minutes an episode, you’ll be binge watching this show in no time.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

20. UnREAL

Best Amazon shows

Two seasons of UnREAL have landed on Amazon Prime and you will be pleased to hear that a third season has been commissioned. UnREAL focuses on the fictional goings-on behind the scenes of a fictional reality show. It’s a show that holds a broken mirror up to the vacuous and plentiful reality shows that litter TV channels at the moment and actually goes into some rather dark territory. Yes, it’s melodramatic and will wave numerous moral flags at you while you are watching it, but it’s nonetheless engrossing television.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

21: Top Of The Lake

Top of the Lake

Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss is superb in Top Of The Lake, the latest drama to come from the marvelous mind of Jane Campion. Set in New Zealand and focusing on the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl, this mini series takes a Killing-style metered approach to its storytelling, unpicking the stitches that hold together a small but brittle town that has the titular lake at its centre. The series was the first ever piece of television to debut at the Sundance Film Festival and for good reason: it rivals anything in recent memory that has hit the big screen.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 1

22: Transparent

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

Anything Netflix can do, Amazon Prime can do better it seems, especially when it comes to winning a Golden Globe. Netflix may have made history by being the first streaming service to win a Golden Globe, courtesy of the acting talents of Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, but Amazon went and topped this by winning the Best TV Show prize in 2014 for Transparent.

It was much deserved. Transparent is everything you want in a TV show. It’s heartwarming, funny and packs a real punch about a subject that doesn’t get enough attention: transgenderism. Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura Pfefferman is a television character we hope will be around for a long time.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 2

23: Vikings

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

If you have any interest in Norse mythology then the name Ragnar Lothbrok will mean a whole lot to you. Basically he was a king and powerful ruler that was a right git to the English and the French.

Vikings is a series that traces his Norse-based goings on with enough charm and scope to take on Game of Thrones in the sword and sandals stakes. Yes it takes a number of liberties with its source material but the acting is top class, as is the cinematography in a historical romp that’s now deservedly in its third season.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 4

24: The Walking Dead

Best Amazon Prime Instant Video TV shows

The Walking Dead has been reanimated more times than the zombies that harruange the group of survivors we have all come to know and love. Initially created with Frank Darabont at the helm, he left after the first season then his replacement was eventually replaced and their replacement replaced.

With this in mind, it’s amazing that not only has the show consistently managed to improve season after season it has become one of the most successful series ever. Yes it sometimes slumps along slower than a zombie with its legs hacked off but give it time and it will reward you with more drama than you can shake a bloody stump at.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 5

25. The X-Files

X Files

The X-Files was one of the first shows that embraced event TV. Yes, it had many ‘monster of the week’ storylines but creator Chris Carter managed to produce a nine-season long mythology arc that kept viewers coming back for more. That and the brilliant casting of David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and the ever-excellent Gillian Anderson and Dana Scully. With a new 10th season on the horizon, Amazon has put all nine previous seasons on to Prime – all remastered in wide screen. Lovely stuff.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Instant Video: 9



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