Amazon Video has plenty of classic movies and TV shows on offer, but it has also tremendously expanded its original offerings since the service began. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, a streaming device and a hankering for prestige TV, you might be surprised to learn just how much variety Amazon has. From police procedurals, to alternate history sci-fi, to children's shows, there's probably something that you — or someone else in your family — will enjoy. Read on to learn about the best Amazon Prime original shows.
The audience never lies, and the audience really likes Bosch. Back in 2014, Amazon let its users watch a number of pilots and pick which one merited a full season. Viewers picked Bosch: a police procedural about Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver), an LAPD cop who — you guessed it — plays by the rules when he can but is willing to break them for the greater good. It's not exactly innovative, but it's a solid crime drama.
A smart sitcom is a rare thing, but a smart sitcom that doesn't overstay its welcome is a treasure. Catastrophe tells the story of Irish schoolteacher Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan) and American businessman Rob Delaney (Rob Norris), who accidentally conceive a child together while Rob is in Europe. The show is about Sharon's pregnancy, their relationship and all the fallout that ensues. The show is funny and well-written, but it's also notable for featuring Carrie Fisher as Rob's mother, in what turned out to be her last TV role.
The Grand Tour
The offbeat British auto show Top Gear may be no more, but The Grand Tour is here to fill the Jeremy Clarkson-shaped hole in your heart. Clarkson reunites with Top Gear troublemakers Richard Hammond and James May, and the three proceed to push fancy cars to their limits, all around the world. You don't have to be a fan of Aston Martins, Audis and Alfa Romeos to fully appreciate the sheer joy these three get out of cars.
The Man in the High Castle
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle imagines what the United States might look like had the Axis won World War II. Split between German and Japanese hegemony, the U.S. plays host to a number of characters whose stories intersect in unexpected ways: like Frank Frink (Rupert Evans), who is trying to hide his Jewish heritage; and Nobusuke Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), who begins to question the Japanese occupation.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, channels her own sort-of-Jewish heritage in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This hourlong comedy-drama tells the story of Midge Maisel: a midcentury New York City housewife who finds that she has a knack for standup comedy. Of course, female comics weren't all that common in 1958. That means that Midge has to work twice as hard to balance her tumultuous personal life and carve out a niche in the cutthroat comedy scene. The show's been going for two seasons so far, and a third one will debut later this year.
Mozart in the Jungle
Part comedy, part drama and completely in love with classical music, Mozart in the Jungle is must-see TV for fans of the New York Philharmonic. Based on Blair Tindall's memoir of the same name, it tells the story of a metropolitan symphony orchestra under the control of an idiosyncratic young conductor — not unlike the real-life Gustavo Dudamel. Lola Kirke stars as oboist Hailey Rutledge, while Gael Garcia Bernal plays new conductor Rodrigo De Souza.
Amazon doesn't just create new shows, it also gives niche favorites a second lease on life. Ripper Street was an underappreciated BBC series about the aftermath of the infamous Jack the Ripper killings. Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfayden) is a detective who teams up with both British and American allies to solve the mystery. The show ran for only three seasons on the BBC, but Amazon picked it up for a satisfying conclusion in Seasons 4 and 5.
David Shore and Bryan Cranston created Sneaky Pete: a crime drama that's not nearly as dark and dour as a lot of its hourlong serial-drama brethren. Giovanni Ribisi plays Marius Josipovic, a criminal recently released from jail, who adopts his former cellmate's identity to thrive in a post-prison world. The first two seasons were smash hits among both viewers and critics, and a third one is on the way.
Jeffrey Tambor's portrayal of Maura Pfefferman on Transparent isn't just entertaining; it's important, too. The show depicts Maura's transition from the patriarch of a dysfunctional family into its matriarch. Although Transparent has something to say on the topic of LGBT issues, it's also just a funny and heartfelt family drama that's about much more than a single woman's transition. The show also goes out of its way to include trans crew behind the scenes. However, Tambor will not be returning for the show's final season, leaving fans to wonder how exactly the show will wrap things up without his character.
Making a show that entertains preschoolers without driving their parents into paroxysms of insanity is a delicate balance, but Tumble Leaf pulls it off. The stop-motion animated show stars Fig (Christopher Downs), a bipedal blue fox who is insatiably curious about the world around him. With the help of the other residents of Tumble Leaf, Fig learns rudimentary lessons about big ideas like motion, flight and machines. It's sweet, but not cloying.