Unbeknownst to some, Amazon boasts a whole lot more than just ridiculously fast shipping. In fact, when it comes to streaming, Amazon Prime Video delivers one of the best libraries of critically acclaimed scripted television shows out there, including hundreds of award-sweeping series. If you’ve exhausted all there is to offer (for now) on big dogs Netflix, Stan and Disney+, maybe it’s time to dip your toes in another pond?
It wasn’t easy, but we’ve taken the liberty to narrow down 10 of the best shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Take a look for yourself, and get back to us when you’ve binged them all.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Sneaky Pete
- Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
- Modern Love
- 30 Rock
- Mr. Robot
- The Americans
- A Very English Scandal
- The Wire
This was the show of 2019, and don’t even try to deny it. Much like Andrew Scott in season two, writer-actress Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag came in hot, and out of nowhere. The hilariously devastating show is a based on a 12-minute one woman show PWB created and performed in the same day at a small comedy festival in London back in 2011. Nine years later, the show and its stellar cast (Olivia Coleman’s portrayal of the awful Godmother and her ‘Sexhibition’ is permanently burnt into our memory) has picked up over 33 wins and 63 nominations for just about anything and everything you could think of, and its creator has signed a $20 million deal with Amazon.
Fleabag itself follows the life of, yep, Fleabag (played by PWB), a self-sabotaging woman in her late twenties living in London. She’s juggling a failing business, repressed pain from her mother’s death, her father’s horrendous new girlfriend and a recent personal tragedy. One of the most unique aspects of the show is the way PWB breaks the fourth wall – offering viewers insight to her mind by adding her own analysis to the scenes she was in directly to the audience as they occur. Basically, Fleabag is a masterpiece and Hot Priest was the best thing to happen to 2019.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Is there anything better than watching women succeed in the man’s world of the 1950s? (The answer is no). The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is the brainchild of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), follows the life of Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a 1950s Jewish housewife who thinks she has it all – until her aspiring stand-up comic husband leaves her for his secretary. Angry and frustrated, Midge goes out in her nightie, gets drunk, tells some cracking jokes and then gets arrested (that’s actually just called Saturday night). Her night out, however, leads her to discover a hidden talent for standup comedy and decides to pursue a career in it. The show has become a universal hit, sweeping the awards as audiences fall in love with Midge’s fight and determination to be taken seriously as comic and a single woman in the 50s.
Believe it or not, but the Bryan Cranston-produced Sneaky Pete stemmed from an Emmy speech that Cranston himself once made. He dedicated his award to “all the Sneaky Pete’s in the world” and explained that was his nickname growing up because he used to scheme and look for the easy way out of everything. After that speech, he was approached to write a show about the life of a ‘Sneaky Pete’ – and that man became Marius, played by Giovanni Ribisi (who you may recognise as Phoebe’s brother from Friends), a convict who is released from prison and attempts to assume the identity of his chatty, over sharer cellmate Pete in order to escape his old life and his $200k debt to a gangster. The gangster, may we add, is played by none other than Cranston, purely because they couldn’t find anyone better than him – understandably.
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Disney+ is the new talk of the streaming world, so how can you get a subscription? There are two plan options to choose from – a monthly subscription at $8.99 per month, or prepay for a year at $89.99 and save on the monthly cost. Both plans include the same features, with unlimited downloads and the ability to stream on up to four screens at the same time. This table includes links to a referral partner.
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Back to Amazon Prime Video shows
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
Jim from The Office has swapped paperwork for jumping out of planes, and we are here for it. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan stars John Krasinski as Jack Ryan – Marine veteran and low-level CIA financial analyst. The casting of Krasinski raised some eyebrows (he’s no Henry Cavill) but his ‘everyday hero’ take on Jack Ryan has been refreshing and won over fans of Clancy’s fictional “Ryanverse”. The show follows Ryan in the earliest stages of his career, and we first see him working a desk job at the CIA. However, after discovering a series of dubious looking bank transfers, he is thrust into a dangerous field assignment and is forced to adapt to the deadly James Bond-esque world he knew little about. Very much the relatable ‘superhero’, Krasinski’s Jack Ryan is as wholesome as it is action-packed.
If you’re looking for a sign to watch Modern Love, this is it: Dev Patel’s hair. Alright, there’s a little more to the anthology series based on the weekly column from The New York Times by the same name. The successfully long-running column in the Times features supposedly true stories of love, near-misses and redemption through unique and personal essays from people across the world.
Modern Love runs for eight episodes – and each one focuses on a different true story from the column. The show also boasts an all-star cast – each episode is a 30-minute performance from some of the best. Catherine Keener and Dev play a journalist and creator of Hinge respectively as they talk in an interview about lost loves, Anne Hathaway battles with bi-polar and the impact it has on her relationships, and Andrew Scott (Hot Priest) and his partner are matched with a homeless pregnant women by an open adoption agency – and that’s only three of the stories!
30 Rock is a masterclass in comedy sitcom writing – and it’s easy to see why. The show was created and written by Tina Fey, who served as Saturday Night Live’s first ever female head writer for close to ten years, and is loosely based on behind-the-scenes antics that took place throughout her time at the famous sketch and variety comedy show. Fey also takes on the main role of Liz Lemon, the head writer of the sketch comedy show “The Girlie Bits”, which stars her close friend Jenna (Jane Krakowski).
The network hires a new executive vice president for the NBC named Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) who decides to take Liz under his wing and improve ratings for TGS. In doing so, he hires the unpredictable and unhinged star Tracey Jordan (Tracey Morgan) who proves to be a hit despite his behavior. Liz has her hands full keeping Tracey on a short leash, controlling her writing staff, succeeding on TGS and her own personal life, which at this point is basically a disaster. Long live Tina Fey.
If you a Rami Malek fan and haven’t seen him in his breakout role in Mr. Robot, are you even a Rami fan? The drama thriller stars Malek as Elliot Alderson, a young man struggling with anxiety and depression who works as a cybersecurity engineer by day and a solo vigilante hacker by night. He finds himself at a moral crossroad when he is recruited by a mysterious leader (named Mr. Robot) of a group of underground hacktivists named ‘fsociety’. The group’s primary aim is to eliminate all consumer debt, done so through encrypting the financial data of E Corp, the biggest conglomerate in the world – and Elliot’s workplace. Torn between taking down corporate America and doing the Right Thing, Elliot discovers that a global conspiracy does exist, but not quite in the way he expected.
Ronald Reagan has just been elected president, it’s the height of the Cold War, and the Jennings have been married for twenty years with two children. Which one is the lie? Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) Jennings live together in suburbia Washington D.C, running a travel agency and playing happy family. Unbeknown to their children, neighbours, friends and co-workers, the two are in fact Soviet KGB officers – planted in America into an arranged marriage over twenty years ago to spy on the US Government. The Jennings’ ‘marriage’ and life in America becomes more genuine every day, yet is constantly interrupted as the Cold War escalates and they are forced to remember why they are there. To make matters even more complicated, the Jennings’ have a new neighbour – one of FBI’s brightest agents Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) who has been tasked with fighting foreign agents on home soil.
A Very English Scandal
Paddington 3 looks… different. Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw star in the much-loved Paddington franchise together, however in A Very English Scandal instead of a villain and a bear, the pair play ex-lovers. The show was released and made available for streaming on Amazon Prime back in 2018 and
is classified as a miniseries – with unfortunately only three, hour-long episodes in the singular season. But none of that matters as A Very English Scandal triumphs as a dramatization of the true-story of the 1976-79 Jeremy Thorpe scandal and the 15 years of events leading up to it. The show follows British Liberal Party leader Thorpe (played by Grant, who very much still has ‘it’) who is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover Norman Scott (Whishaw) in fear of their relationship being exposed and potentially ruining his reputation. Politics is tough.
It’s the show that won no Emmy’s, had basically zero recognition and was completely overshadowed by The Sopranos – but 12 years after its fifth and final season premiered, The Wire is cited by critics and the public alike as one of the best television shows ever made. Set in Baltimore, the show follows the drug scene in the city through the lenses of the drug dealers, users and the Baltimore law enforcement. As the seasons progress, The Wire explore other subjects and their relationship with the law, such as the seaport system, government, education and print media.
The show’s success can largely be contributed to its creator and head writer David Simon, who worked as a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun for twelve years, and his writing partner Ed Burns, a former homicide detective and public school teacher.
With a lineup that good, you can’t complain about having ‘nothing to watch’ quite frankly ever again. And if by some miracle you’ve seen them all, check out the rest of Amazon Prime’s impressive library (including its movie collection) for yourself – it might just become your new favourite platform.
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