The 10 Best Miniseries on Amazon Prime

From docuseries to historical dramas and investigative shows, miniseries are a wonderful, diverse format. In this list, we count down the best miniseries on Amazon Prime. 

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10.

Patrick Melrose

A five-part mini-series where the camera rarely leaves Benedict Cumberbatch, enabling him to deliver possibly the best performance of his career. He plays Patrick Melrose, an autobiographical character from renown British writer Edward St Aubyn. A wealthy man who in the first scene of the show hears about his father's death, Patrick tries to get his act together to go retrieve his father's ashes. However, a nasty drug habit and a dark past stand in the way of sobriety. This is a fast-paced and impeccably-acted show with a solid supporting cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Amazon
9.

Informer

This visually stunning thriller is about a young man called Raza who is hired by a counter-terrorism officer as his informer. If you liked Netflix’s Bodyguard, you will love this, which in my opinion is has much more substance.

Originally a photographer with no link to the world of crime or terrorism, the color of Raza’s skin and his accent make the authorities believe he would be a valuable asset. And quickly, he falls into a web of crime, giving this show the appeal of the fantastic HBO series The Night Of.

Genre: Mystery
Actor: Bel Powley, Nabhaan Rizwan, Paddy Considine
Rating: Not Rated

Free Watching Options:

Watch Informer on Amazon Prime for free
8.

Wayne

This violent action-comedy miniseries is about a Massachusetts teenager who tries to retrieve a stolen 1979 Trans Am.

And the show is not nice to Wayne who, from the very first scene, takes a beating. Think of it as The End of the F***ing World but more violent and with Boston accents.

Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Actor: Ciara Bravo, Dean Winters, Mike O'Malley

Free Watching Options:

Watch Wayne on Amazon Prime for free
7.

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.

Genre: Documentary, Music
Actor: Al Franken
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Rating: R

Free Watching Options:

Watch Long Strange Trip on Amazon Prime for free
6.

The Night Manager

Olivia Colman and Hugh Laurie (House) star in this espionage mini-series 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.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, David Harewood, Douglas Hodge, Elizabeth Debicki, Hugh Laurie, Michael Nardone, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hollander
Rating: TV-14
Go to Amazon
5.

River

This six-chapter British miniseries stars the ever-reliable Stellan Skarsgård as an erratic London police detective. He starts seeing visions or “manifests” of his recently murdered colleague and tries to solve her case even though he was excluded from it. River blends reality and illusion in a thoughtful and original police thriller.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Adeel Akhtar, Eddie Marsan, Georgina Rich, Lesley Manville, Nicola Walker, Owen Teale, Sorcha Cusack, Stellan Skarsgård, Steve Nicolson, Turlough Convery
Rating: TV-MA

Free Watching Options:

Watch River on Amazon Prime for free
4.

Small Axe

This impressive body of work defies any classification: it’s a collection of five films that have been put together into a miniseries. Director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) collected a timeless set of stories set from the ‘60s to ‘80s about London’s West Indian community and their struggle with rampant racism.

The first film, Mangrove, bears the name of the restaurant at the center of the story. As a sanctuary for the community, the restaurant quickly becomes the target of a racist police division that employs various tactics to disrupt  its popularity. The local chapter of the Black Panthers and its charismatic leader (played by Letitia Wright) get involved.

Mangrove and Lovers Rock, the next episode, were in the selection of the Cannes Film Festival that got canceled because of the pandemic.

Genre: Drama

Free Watching Options:

Watch Small Axe on Amazon Prime for free
3.

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.”

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Andy Garcia, Anne Hathaway, Cristin Milioti, Dev Patel, Laurentiu Possa, Tina Fey
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Amazon
2.

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.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Catherine Keener, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph
Rating: TV-MA
Go to Amazon

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