16 Best Amazon Prime Original Shows Ever Made

January 18, 2020

Amazon Prime is making excellent TV these days, while Netflix is hit and miss – with many more misses than hits. Long gone are the days of House of Cards and OITNB, when a Netflix Original tag actually meant something.

But if you do have a Prime subscription, there is a lot out there that your coworkers don’t necessarily bring up during lunch break. These 16 Amazon Prime originals will put most recent Netflix shows to shame.

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Hanna
16.

Hanna the movie was the perfect mix between a coming-of-age story and a Bourne-Trilogy-type thriller. It was suspenseful, edgy, and so original.

How to make these attributes stick when the movie is stretched to a TV show? As it turns out, more of the same does the trick.

The majority of events have been imagined especially for the show, and it doesn’t stop there. The series is packed with great new talent who bring their uniqueness to the story. Hanna herself is played masterfully by British actress Esme Creed-Miles. Her father – much more present in the show than the movie – is also amazingly played by Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman (you may recognize him from House of Cards or The Killing).

High production value and incredible suspense make Hanna an enjoyable and prolonged thrill ride. It’s even more fun if you’ve never watched the movie, as all plot developments will be new to you.

Go to Amazon Prime
Fleabag

At 20 minutes per episode and boosting a funny and witty script, this show is such a pleasure to binge-watch.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who you may know from Broadchurch, writes and stars in the series. She plays a freethinking young woman trying to deal with grief in big-city London.

Her relationship with the city is complicated to say the least, but her relationship with her business might be even worse. The hipster-plagued café she runs is always on the verge of bankruptcy, her support system is almost nonexistent, consisting of a high-achieving sister and a nonchalant father, she has a lot to navigate on her own.

Her show is guaranteed to stay with you for a long time.

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Long Strange Trip

Long Strange Trip was originally a four-hour movie before Amazon cut it to a six-part TV show. Produced by Martin Scorcese, it tells the full story of the band The Grateful Dead. It’s an account so detailed that it will satisfy the biggest Deadheads, but it also can be appreciated by anyone. The focus is the band, but it’s also the band’s significant impact on Rock history, and by extension, on American culture. I didn’t know much about the band and I couldn’t stop watching.

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Enlightened

This is an HBO dark comedy that was intensely loved by anyone who knew about it before it was inexplicably canceled. Laura Dern plays a corporate executive who has a full-blown meltdown. I’m talking mascara streaming down her cheeks and screaming “I’m going to destroy you” to a coworker. When she comes back from a retreat in Hawaii she is forced to take, Den’s character is no longer filled with corporate rage but with inexplicable and almost obnoxious positivity. She tries to spread her new outlook around by giving people books like “Flow Through Your Rage” and telling them about sea turtles. Things get more real when she decides to take on her old company’s abuses. I think the reason this show has such hard-core fans is that they fell in love with Laura Dern’s character. Watching this show is like letting in a flawed, dependent, but extremely determined and well-meaning person into your life. Enlightened is funny, engaging, and all-around near-perfect TV.

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Bosch
12.

Bosch returned recently for a fifth season, with a sixth one confirmed. It’s a sleeper hit that you may not have heard of, but with time should get the coverage it deserves.

Titus Welliver (Lost, Sons of Anarchy, Argo) plays an L.A.P.D. homicide detective who is on trial for using questionable methods during a fatal shootout. At the same time, he is trying to solve an open murder case.

Bosch is carried by almost entirely by Welliver, who delivers such a good multi-layered performance that it’s hard to think anyone else could have played this character.

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The Night Manager

Olivia Colman and Hugh Laurie (House) star in this espionage drama based on a John le Carré novel.

A quick mini-series that spans six episodes, it’s about a former soldier (Tom Hiddleston) who, while working as a night manager for a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, ends up getting hold of very sensitive information. He is then recruited by an intelligence officer (Olivia Colman) to bring down a corrupt businessman (Hugh Laurie.)

A highly-acclaimed TV show not to be missed by lovers of spy stories, John Le Carré films (A Most Wanted Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), or just anyone who appreciates excellent acting.

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Goliath

A TV show by David E. Kelley, the mogul that was also behind Boston Legal, Picket Fences, and recently the amazing HBO show Big Little Lies.

You’d think a name that big is enough to carry Goliath. But in comes Billy Bob Thornton in one of the best performances of his career.

He plays a big-time lawyer who fell down on his luck for unknown circumstances. A big case randomly comes his way that allows him to go against his former big law firm. With an escort as his legal aid, he embarks on a David and Goliath journey to find justice for the victims and redemption for himself.

A great supporting cast. Great writing. Old-school premise brought back to life. Goliath is the perfect binge.

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The Boys

The Boys is the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) take on the superhero genre. As creators of the show, they add their signature humor to a solid comic book story of the same name.

The show takes place in a world where superheroes, or Supes, start abusing their powers for commercial gain. Their organization, Vought, is profit-driven and run with a mindset of increasing Instagram likes and selling Supe paraphernalia.

This comes at an expense, as Supes start abusing their powers and focus more on their image than their duties. When their abuse results in a violent incident involving the show’s main character, he joins an anti-Supe unit called The Boys.

The Boys are lead by Butcher (pictured above), by far the best and funniest character in the show; and includes Frenchie, a hilarious and romantic French bomb expert. Expect excellent character development and a witty script.

Go to Amazon Prime
Sneaky Pete

Created by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Sneaky Pete is a perfect thriller TV Show.

A con man learns that a violent gang awaits his release from prison, so he decides to take his cell-mate’s identity and hide with his family. He immediately faces an array of threats that make the first season of Sneaky Pete so cut-throat gripping: the gang getting to him, his new identity being exposed, the police, and it doesn’t help that the only member left of his family, his brother, is also in all sorts of trouble.

Sneaky Pete is probably the Amazon Prime Original that suffers the most from the platform’s awkward branding. Had it been on Netflix, your coworkers wouldn’t be able to stop talking about it for years.

Giovanni Ribisi who plays the main character is out-of-this-world amazing.

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Modern Love

This is one of those reviews where it’s probably enough to say: watch the pilot. There is no better proof of how good Modern Love is than its first episode.

The show is based on true stories that were shared in The New York Times column by the same name. That first episode is about the relationship between a doorman and a New Yorker. But, plot twist, Modern Love isn’t just about romantic relationships. It’s also about friendships, family links, and all displays of love and affection.

The second episode is with Dev Patel and Catherine Keener, which I found to be also excellent. There are other ones with Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, and many other big names, but the first two episodes are still my favorites.

The power of Modern Love is in the riveting true stories it tells. It might as well have been called “you can’t make this stuff up.”

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Forever

Something happens in Forever episode three that I can’t tell you about. If I did it, I would spoil the show up for you. I don’t want to do this. So I will try very hard to sell you on the first two episodes, just remember, the show gets very different afterward. Both in premise, general vibe, and humor.

Here’s my best pitch: Fred Armisen. That face, that tone, that voice. How can you resist a TV show that doesn’t have many characters and yet he’s the main one.

Pitch No. 2: Maya Rudolph. She is funny, expressive, and whenever she looks at something, that thing instantly gains a lot of interest. This is the best performance of her career so far, I would wager.

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Homecoming

This is the perfect dark TV show. It’s no surprise that Julia Roberts’ performance is amazing here. She is the former director of a mysterious program for rehabilitating war veterans. She perfectly blends into her first ever TV show and the world created by the show’s director Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot). That is a world of dark colors and seemingly twisted motivations. Her supporting cast is nothing short of amazing. Shea Whigham is BRILLIANT as the sad but honest detective trying to get to the bottom of things. Bobby Cannavale is also great as Julia Roberts’s old boss, a busy and eager man. This show’s surprise star is newcomer Stephan James, who plays one of the war veterans. At around 30 minutes per episode, time goes by quickly and your hunger to figure out what’s happening increases with every episode.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Refreshing, classy, and absolutely hilarious — The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a real triumph.

Set in the 1950s, this is the story of a housewife and mother who, to everyone but herself, seems to fit very well into the patriarchal ideas of a woman of that era. In reality, she is a witty, funny, and strong woman — and someone who is willing to act on those attributes. After a series of events involving her mediocre cheating husband, she decides to become a stand-up comedian.

The costumes and the mastery with which 50s New York is portrayed are what really did it for me. Everything is so beautiful, so much fun, yet so gim. It’s the most satisfying to watch Ms. Maisel navigate all of it, with a few serious laughs here and there, and riveting dialogue.

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Patriot

Patriot is about a secret agent who is assigned meddling with the Iranian elections to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Sounds serious? It is and it is not. What Patriot is really about are the bureaucratic pitfalls that involve such work. The secret agent’s team parks on the wrong street and he ends up killing the wrong guy. The bag of money he wants to use to meddle with the elections gets stolen by an airport worker in Luxembourg. Etc, etc. For all of this, Patriot is a funny and clever show. the best part is that the secret agent in question is also a folk singer – and sometimes sings awfully honest and descriptive songs of his missions in open mics. Patriot is a mix between real-life thrills and real-life laughs, and it’s a near-perfect TV show.

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Trapped

The Guardian’s lead critic said of Trapped: Seductive, involving, gripping…I am already, thoroughly, trapped. I’m quoting a publication to give some grounding to my overly excited claim: Trapped (or Ófærð) is one of the best TV shows ever made. I am obsessed with it. The plot is simple: a cop tries to solve a murder before a storm arrives, but the way it gets stretched is exceptional, and can only be compared to Scandinavian classics like The Hunt, The Guilty or Headhunters. And the fact that Trapped is from Iceland (not Norway or Denmark) adds a more chilling twist to the Scandinavian thriller genre. I don’t want to say more and ruin the show for you, but this is an amazing binge.

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Catastrophe

This is hands down my all-time favorite sitcom.

Rob, a New York executive, has a brief affair with Sharon, a teacher, while he’s on a business trip to London. The resulting pregnancy upends their lives.

Sharon struggles to adapt to living with this unwanted, and mostly useless American, who suddenly moves in with her. Hilarity ensues as Rob tries to navigate the unintended relationship and his new life in Britain.

The thing about Catastrophe is that you’re getting the full, unfiltered and untouched package of creative expression by two very creative people: It’s a show created by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, written by Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, and starring Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney (as, you guessed it, Sharon and Rob).

The show is Sharon and Rob’s product of love, and it’s just great.

Go to Amazon Prime
That's all from us for the 16 Best Amazon Prime Original Shows Ever Made!

A quick recap

Split by genre of this selection on agoodmovietowatch.com
Comedy
9
Drama
8
Documentary
3
Romance
1
Average score
84.6%
from our staff
Average score
92.9%
from our users
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5
more suggestions in this category.
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