The 10 Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Now
If you’re a subscriber to Amazon Prime, you’re entitled to free expedited shipping, free Kindle downloads, and lots of other perks. But some customers are perfectly content to relegate their use of the service to the company’s considerable streaming video options.
If you’ve already explored their extensive library of HBO classics like The Sopranos and The Wire, don’t worry—there’s plenty of binge-watching left. Check out our picks for 10 of the best TV shows on Amazon Prime right now.
1. HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
At first glance, Bryan Fuller’s (Pushing Daisies) take on the Thomas Harris novels featuring the gastronomic perversions of Hannibal Lecter seems like a can’t-win: How does anyone improve on The Silence of the Lambs and Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal of the diabolical psychiatrist? By not trying. Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter is a study in composure; FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is the one who seems to be coming unhinged. While Fuller has time to explore the finer details of Harris’s novels, he also has the temerity to diverge from them. Hannibal’s brief three-season run is a tragedy, but what’s here is appetizing.
2. GOLIATH (2016-)
David E. Kelley (The Practice) wrote this eight-episode limited series about a downtrodden lawyer (Billy Bob Thornton) who brushes up against his former law firm when he tackles an accidental death case that turns into a sprawling conspiracy. Thornton won a Golden Globe for his performance; William Hurt should've won something for his portrayal as the diabolical firm co-founder who keeps pulling Thornton's strings from afar. A second season is set to premiere in 2018.
3. THE AMERICANS (2013-)
If Stranger Things stimulated your appetite for ‘80s paranoia, FX’s The Americans—about two Soviet spies (Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell) embedding themselves in suburban America—is bound to satisfy. As Russell and Rhys navigate a complex marriage that may be as phony as their birth certificates, their allegiance to Russia is constantly tested. Prime has the first four seasons, with the recently-aired fifth season due soon; the show's sixth and final season will air in 2018.
4. SIX FEET UNDER (2001-2005)
A celebration of life under the watch of death: Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under chronicles the Fishers, proprietors of a Los Angeles funeral home who struggle to carry on following the abrupt death of their patriarch. Darkly humorous and emotionally charged, it’s also got one of the most talked-about (and gut-wrenching) finales in television history.
5. JUSTIFIED (2010-2015)
Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) makes his intentions clear in the opening moments of episode one: If he draws his weapon, he’s shooting to kill. That’s more or less what transpires in six seasons of this FX series, which ambles along like a modern-day Western but is transformed by the lyrical dialogue inspired by novelist Elmore Leonard. And like any good white hat, Givens needs his foil. He gets it in the form of Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who stole the show on another FX series, The Shield, and does the same here. When the two finally face off after years of circling, it’s nothing you’ll have seen coming.
6. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2000-)
“Social assassin” Larry David is returning from a six-year sabbatical for a ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in October. In the meantime, you can relive every awkward moment from the first decade of his loosely-improvised show. Ambling through Los Angeles, the selfish, abrasive David rarely encounters a situation he can’t make worse.
7. OZ (1997-2003)
Oz, HBO’s first hour-long drama, set the stage for a Golden Age of television, pulling no punches in its depiction of the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility and its cast of scheming, volatile prisoners trying to survive in an experimental ward. Twenty years later, it might still be the most boundary-pushing series ever to air.
8. MAD DOGS (2015-2016)
An Amazon original limited series that flew under the radar, Mad Dogs plays like a travelogue for a trip you never want to take. Friends gather in Belize at the behest of a friend (Billy Zane), whose connections with the country’s criminal element wind up being problematic for everyone involved.
9. MR. SHOW WITH BOB AND DAVID (1995-1998)
Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’s HBO series mixes surrealism with intricate plotting to produce some of the most inventive sketch comedy on television. If you don't believe us, check out "Pre-Taped Call-in Show" from the 10th episode of season three.
10. THE JOY OF PAINTING (1986-1994)
Happy trees and clouds await viewers of legendary painting instructor Bob Ross, whose canvases beam into your living rooms like digital Prozac.