The 12 Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Now
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, 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 12 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. If you're hooked, season two pushes things even further, with Thornton reluctantly tackling a juvenile homicide case that quickly spirals out of control.
3. The Americans (2013-2018)
If Stranger Things stimulated your appetite for 1980s paranoia, FX’s The Americans—about two Soviet spies (Matthew Rhys and 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.
4. Bosch (2015-)
The laconic detective of the Michael Connelly novels gets a winning adaptation on Amazon, with Titus Welliver scouring the seedy side of Los Angeles as the titular homicide detective. Don't expect frills or explosions: Bosch is content to be a police procedural in the Dragnet mold, and it succeeds.
5. 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 (Richard Jenkins). Darkly humorous and emotionally charged, it’s also got one of the most talked-about (and gut-wrenching) finales in television history.
6. 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 Justified, 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.
7. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-)
“Social assassin” Larry David recently returned from a six-year sabbatical for a ninth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in October 2017, with more on the way. In the meantime, you can relive every awkward moment from the first decade of his loosely improvised show. From Los Angeles to New York City, the selfish, abrasive David rarely encounters a situation he can’t make worse.
8. 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. More than 20 years later, it might still be the most boundary-pushing series ever to air. (And you'll never look at J.K. Simmons the same way again.)
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-)
Critically-acclaimed and showered with praise by Amazon viewers, this dramedy stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a 1950s housewife who takes the bold (for that decade) step of getting into stand-up comedy. Brosnahan practically vibrates with energy, and so does the show, which captures period New York's burgeoning feminism. In Midge's orbit, Don Draper would have a heck of a time getting a word in.
12. Forever (2018)
The less you know going into this half-hour series, the better. Don't let anyone tell you anything beyond the fact that Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph portray a couple in a floundering marriage. Where it goes from there is best left to discover on your own.