Binge to your heart's content with the best shows on Amazon Prime Video. As autumn sets in, and social distancing continues, streaming entertainment is here to comfort you. With a subscription to Amazon Prime, you get access to a gigantic library of movies and TV shows — though its interface leaves a lot to be desired. So we've hand-picked the best of the best.
So, not only does an annual Prime subscription come with free two-day shipping but also one of the best streaming services in the market. You get unlimited access to both licensed and original TV shows and movies. Amazon TV show originals include the award-winning comedy Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as acclaimed dramas like The Boys, The Expanse, Jack Ryan and Man in the High Castle.
Amazon Prime Video's collection is so large, it can be daunting, which is why we've highlighted some recommendations ranging from witty comedies to action-packed superhero dramas to British period pieces.
We've also got tips for mastering Amazon's most popular streaming device, so check out our guide for how to use the Fire Stick. And, if you're heading abroad, you'll need an Amazon Prime VPN to access everything you pay for.
Best shows on Amazon Prime Video:
The world of big finance might not seem the most obvious candidate for a riveting drama in the vein of The Sopranos and Mad Men, but Billions is good enough to stand in that kind of company. Much of that is down to the superb cast, with Damian Lewis outstanding as the filthy-rich and entirely unscrupulous hedge-fund boss Bobby Axelrod, and Paul Giamatti equally brilliant as the supposedly principled but actually just as terrible U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades. But really the star of the show is Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades, the woman they both depend heavily upon. Of course a cast is only as good as the script it’s working with, and Billions shines here too, taking a dizzyingly complex subject and somehow making it a thrilling viewing experience. — Marc McLaren Watch now
The “superheroes are problematic” genre has really exploded in recent years, though The Boys may be the most cynical of them all. It may also be the goriest — so many exploding heads this season! Season 2 picks up where the story left off, after the titular vigilante group discovered that superheroes are made, not born. The Seven and their corporate overlords, Vought International, want to keep that a secret and will stop at nothing to prevent the Boys from revealing it. — Kelly Woo Watch now
Art imitates life, and in the case of Utopia, that imitation is eerily prescient. The show, from writer/executive producer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), is based on the 2013 British original. Part dark comedy, part conspiracy theory thriller, Utopia follows a group of comic book fans who uncover an upcoming graphic novel that predicts virus pandemics. When the fans get their hands on it, they're hunted by shadowy figures tied to the government and health companies. The cast includes Rainn Wilson, John Cusack and Sasha Lane, and the show might just be the perfect pandemic viewing. — Kelly Woo Watch now
The Office (U.K.)
Before Michael Scott, there was David Brent; before Jim and Pam there were Tim and Dawn, and before Dwight came Gareth — because no, the U.S. version of The Office was not the first. The debate over which is best will likely rage for years to come, but really there’s no need for a winner; they’re both superb, but in very different ways. The U.K. original is a lot, lot darker, for starters — sure, Ricky Gervais’ David is just as terrible a boss as Steve Carell’s Michael, but he has few of the redeeming qualities that make the man behind Scott’s Tots an ultimately likeable character. It’s far ruder, too, and definitely not one to watch with younger kids. Plus, it’s a lot shorter — there are just 12 main episodes plus a couple of specials, so there’s not much room for character development outside of the key personnel. All that said, it is every bit as funny as the U.S. remake, and hugely influential too. — Marc McLaren Watch now
Greg Daniels, the producer behind The Office and Parks and Recreation, brings a new dramedy to Amazon. The show, based on an idea Daniels had in the late 1980s as a writer for Saturday Night Live, is set in a future where "humans are able to 'upload' themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife. Robbie Amell stars as Nathan, who dies and is greeted by Nora (Andy Allo). She's a customer rep at Horizen, the company that manages the virtual heaven. Horizen offers different data plans, so the afterlife experience depends on how much you spend. Can you hear the satire now? — Kelly Woo Watch now
The first season of the sci-fi thriller, based on the hit podcast, was one of the best Amazon shows ever. It starred Julia Roberts as a therapist who uncovers a conspiracy involving a secret government compound that tested experimental PTSD treatments on American soldiers, including one played by Stephan James. Season 2 moves in a new direction, though the mystery is still tied to shadowy organization The Geist Group. Roberts is gone, replaced by new lead Janelle Monáe. She plays a woman who wakes up in a rowboat, with no memory of her identity or how she got there. — Kelly Woo Watch now
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is kind of a comedy, kind of a drama, kind of a period piece and kind of delightful — which makes sense, as it's from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. In it, Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) tries her hand at stand-up comedy. That's all well and good, except that she's a young Jewish housewife in 1958 New York City, making her presence in the club scene relatively unprecedented. With a little help from her loving family, her stoic manager and the great Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby), Mrs. Maisel carves out her own niche, all while dealing with her own domestic dramas. — Kelly Woo Watch now
Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel gets a sweeping adaptation by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. The story reimagines the famous Underground Railroad of the 1800s; instead of a network of hidden houses and safe passages that slaves, it’s an actual railroad with trains, tunnels and tracks. Enslaved people like Cora (Thuso Mbedu) and Caesar (Aaron Pierre) hope to ride it and escape their life of brutal bondage. The absorbing premise is matched by striking cinematography and sterling performances — no wonder Underground Railroad received seven Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series. — Kelly Woo Watch now
The thriller about a young woman with special skills is back, with Hanna (Esmé Creed-Miles) now knowing she isn't the only one who received elite training. The Utrax program has produced a whole contingent of highly skilled trainees, whose development is about to reach the lethal “second phase.” They are relocated to The Meadows, where they glimpse the possibility of a new identity in the outside world. But this freedom will come at a very heavy price. — Kelly Woo Watch now
Idris Elba returns to smolder and smirk and sleuth in the fifth and perhaps final season of the British detective drama. This time, Luther investigates a series of gory murders with the help of new recruit DS Catherine Halliday. But life gets complicated (and dangerous!) when Alice returns, seeking vengeance on Luther's old adversary George Cornelius. Luther has to figure out what to do with Alice, all while the serial killer builds to his murder masterpiece. — Kelly Woo Watch now
Fans of space-travel sci-fi were devastated when the Syfy channel canceled the show after three groundbreaking seasons. But Amazon swooped in to save the day and is currently working on a fourth season of the show. Based on a series of novels by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, The Expanse tells the story of an intergalactic conspiracy and a futuristic lawman who just might be able to piece the whole thing together. Thomas Jane stars as Detective Josephus Miller, who finds himself stuck between powerful forces on Earth, Mars and settlements in the solar system's asteroid belt. Fans of Star Trek-style ensemble casts will find a lot to like here. — Kelly Woo Watch now
Part period piece, part melodrama, Downton Abbey is a sort of "greatest hits" compilation of early 20th-century history, as seen through the eyes of an upper-class British family and its staff of domestic servants. The titular Downton Abbey is a British manor where the aristocratic Crawley family lives, led by Earl Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) and Countess Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern). As the cultural, social and economic landscape of Great Britain changes drastically, the family experiences (second-hand) everything from the sinking of the Titanic to the Irish War of Independence and the Beer Hall Putsch. If you like costume dramas, this one is an easy sell, but it moves at a brisk enough clip to entertain just about anyone. — Kelly Woo Watch now