20 Best Shows on Amazon Prime – January 2017
Amazon Prime is taking the fight to Netflix in a big way by investing massively in its on-demand TV and movie portfolio. That means viewers get an amazing selection of top quality watching for not a lot of cash. If you’re a Prime member, read on to find out about the 20 best shows on Amazon Prime this winter!
In no particular order:
1. Alpha House
Political satire is a bit hit and miss, but Alpha House is definitely a hit. Starring John Goodman as a senator and a good supporting cast as his housemates, this is a comedic look at how people behave if left alone too long.
2. The Americans
The Americans features two KGB agents trying to pass as Americans during the Reagan era. It is silly at times but still compelling watching, showing some of humanity’s highlights and lowlights quite unflinchingly.
Does anyone make old-fashioned legal thrillers anymore? Now Amazon does. This is a straight-ahead drama about a world-weary lawyer (Billy Bob Thornton) doing whatever it takes to bring the bad guy (William Hurt) to justice. If you’re tired of “bringing the bad guy to justice” referring to tights and lasers instead of suits and briefcases, Goliath is a top-notch throwback to scratch your itch.
4. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Seinfeld co-creator Larry David starred in his own brilliant “show about nothing” for eight seasons. Like comedian Jerry Seinfeld playing a comedian named Jerry Seinfeld in his show, David plays a TV writer named Larry David in this one–it’s real life, but with the absurdity turned all the way up.
5. The Man In The High Castle
The Man In The High Castle is another Amazon Prime original, and hopefully one that will go far. Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, it asks what the world would be like had the Nazis and Japan had won World War 2. A grim reality check showing just how lucky we are right now.
Bosch is a detective out of Michael Connelly’s novels, played by Titus Welliver. It’s not quite the usual procedural nonsense we have to contend with in cop shows. This is thoughtful and well put together, by one of the brains behind The Wire. Enough said.
While the era of the sitcom may be over, a good one still occasionally comes along. Right now Catastrophe is that one. Cutting humor, deep characters, and some brilliant writing and acting make this a show with real promise.
8. Hand of God
Hand of God isn’t one of the many shows that try to make lawyers look good. This is a gritty show that tackles some hard issues. Fortunately, Ron Perlman is more than up to carrying the story as a biker turned judge turned vigilante.
9. Mad Dogs
Mad Dogs is funny, poignant, well cast, and quite amusing, despite arguably being a dumbed-down version of the original UK show.
10. Mr. Robot
If you haven’t seen Mr. Robot yet, you really should. It’s a counter-cultural series that follows hacker Rami Malek as he takes on the appropriately named Evil Corporation. It’s current, topical, and tackles exactly the kinds of things this culture face all the time.
Transparent is strong. Its great writing and great acting won it a prize for Best TV Show. It tackles transgenderism, but in a way that manages not to alienate viewers. It is bittersweet, amusing, sensitive, and clever.
12. Sons of Anarchy
Crime dramas come in every flavor, and for seven seasons ending in 2014, the hot flavor was motorcycle gangs. This show stands out because it’s smart, brutal, and packed with excellent actors. The show’s close parallels to the works of Shakespeare, especially Hamlet, add another layer of depth for viewers to watch out for.
13. Sneaky Pete
This Amazon original is a deft blend of comedy, drama, and crime. The story follows a con man impersonating the titular “Pete,” who ends up running Pete’s bail bond business, living with Pete’s grandparents, and dealing with all sorts of twists.
Pop culture continues its morbid fascination with Hannibal Lecter, the charming cannibal who Anthony Hopkins brought to life in The Silence of the Lambs. In Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen gets his chance at the role. By all accounts, this is a beautiful, macabre slow-burn of a series–a must-see, if you have the, er, stomach for it.
15. The Sopranos
This is the show that revolutionized prestige TV and re-invented the “anti-hero” way back in 1999. Yet a lot of people never got to see it because, until very recently, HBO wouldn’t license any of its shows to streaming services. The result? A decade of TV watchers who only knew Tony Soprano and company by reputation. If you missed The Sopranos before, now is your chance to remedy that!
If you need more costume dramas in your life, Poldark could supply your next fix for sweeping English vistas and brooding men in frock coats. The ongoing series stars Aiden Turner (previously known for playing “the hot one” in the Hobbit movie trilogy) as Ross Poldark, a soldier who returns from the American Revolution and now has to fight to rebuild his family’s fortunes.
17. Orphan Black
This series takes a crazy sci-fi premise, combines it with a ridiculously talented lead actress (Tatiana Maslany), and creates one of the greatest cult hits on TV right now.
It’s been said that all American politicians imagine themselves as the stars on either House of Cards or The West Wing–but they’re mostly more like extras on Veep. This wacky, biting satire of Washington D.C. stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus–making her the first Seinfeld alum to break the “Seinfeld curse” and star in a successful comedy of her own.
19. The Expanse
It’s a classic hardboiled detective setup–the hero sets out to track down a missing heiress and ends up uncovering a massive conspiracy. The twist? It’s the 23rd Century, and unraveling this mystery will take our sleuth across the solar system.
20. Avatar: The Last Airbender
It’s a cartoon, but don’t let that turn you off. If you’re into epic fantasy, martial arts, or surprisingly deep stories, give this show a try and find out how it ended up with such a fierce following.