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The 25 best shows on Amazon Prime Video (July 2020)

Good Omens – one of the best shows on Amazon Prime
(Image credit: Amazon/BBC)

From cult classics to boundary-pushing contemporaries, there is something for everyone within our list of the best shows on Amazon Prime. What, you thought you’d already binged all the best shows? Think again!

During quarantine, many of us have had a bit more time on our hands, and are probably in need of an escape. Luckily for you, Amazon Prime has hundreds of wonderful dramas, thrillers, and comedies to choose from. GamesRadar+ and Total Film have gone and done the hard work for you by selecting 25 of the absolute best of what's available on the streaming service. Some have five or more seasons – which should keep you busy for a few days, at least – but if you’re looking for something you can simply dip into, then there are also anthologies and sit-coms waiting for you below. We weren't lying when we said there’s something for everyone! From award-winning Amazon originals to some of the best TV ever created, what are you waiting for? Get stuck in below with our list of best shows on Amazon Prime right now.

Good Omens

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1

The show: Michael Sheen and David Tennant play an antagonistic angel and a devilish demon who were present at the beginning of the Universe. However, despite their obvious differences – and opposing bosses – the two strike up a lasting friendship, and, when the time comes, to team up to prevent Armageddon. Neil Gaiman’s worked on this adaption of his own 1990 book written with Terry Pratchett.

Why it’s worth a watch: This BBC and Amazon co-production is a whimsical world full of that dry British wit that you’ve come to love from the two leads. The impressive cast is filled out also by Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Jack Whitehall and other familiar faces (including some delightful cameos from some huge A-listers). The series is overflowing with irreverent humour and fascinating mythology, making Good Omens' six episodes the perfect escape.

Tales from the Loop

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1

The show:  A local town of people in Ohio live above "The Loop", a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. The Loop makes the impossible possible, and each episode looks at the life of one of those it affects.

Why it’s worth a watch: Inspired by the famed paintings of Simon Stalenhag, this sci-fi anthology explores the lives of those who live above The Loop in compelling and thoughtful ways. Stalehnhag has built a cult following due to his depictions of imaginative alternate realities, and this unconventional narrative pairs beautifully with his work. The stories are interconnected and the cast – including Rebecca Hall, Jonathan Pryce, and Paul Schneider – are great.

House

House

(Image credit: Fox)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-8

The show: Hugh Laurie turns off the charm and into curmudgeonly doctor Gregory House, an MD who specializes in diagnostic medicine along with making light of everyone’s woes. Don’t mistake him for a practitioner with a good bedside manner; all he cares for is cracking the case and popping pills to alleviate his chronic pain. Across the seasons, House investigates a bundle of weighty topics as the Doc and his rotating students attempt to solve the mysteries of the human body. 

Why it's worth a watch: Laurie's performance is the epitome of a lovable antihero. He's brusque, selfish and inconsiderate. You still can't take your eyes off him. And, like all long-lasting shows, the format evolved from an 'illness of the week' procedural to a solid medical mystery serial, weaving in House's own trials and tribulations. It’s the perfect series to kickstart your fall bingefest.

Vikings

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-5

The show: A rough 'n' tumble period piece that's not a million miles away from Game of Thrones, Vikings serves up a similar amount of blood-drenched violence, but none of the rampant nookie. Travis Fimmel leads the series as noted Norse figure Ragnar Lothbrok, a lowly farmer who becomes a respected warrior. That's after years of sailing the seas of Europe, of course, along with his wives and chums, in search of vulnerable countries to ransack. 

Why it's worth a watch: The story itself is terrific, and along with its glorious production design, you’ll be drawn in and unable to stop yourself from one more episode. It's less concerned with the intricate political ties of the aforementioned HBO series, yet does err heavily on the side of fantasy. These are not the vikings you've read about at school; these are far more devious.

Orphan Black

Region: US

Season(s): 1-5

The show: Orphan Black mixes futuristic genetic technology with family drama and thrilling action - who knew those components would make for gripping TV? Well, they do. The show follows Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany), a young woman whose life is changed forever when she witnesses her doppelgänger commit suicide at a train station. That moment sets her on a complex journey to uncover the truth behind her identity, which is full of twists and turns that are, at times, dizzying.

Why it's worth a watch: Maslany's nuanced turns as a series of clones are nothing short of breathtaking. You may find yourself scanning the credits for the actresses who play Sarah's sisters and then slap yourself silly when you twig. Keep your eyes peeled for the moments when the clones impersonate one another. Thank goodness she finally won an Emmy for her flawless turn!

Mr. Robot

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-3 (US), 1-4 (UK: new episodes dropping each week)

The show: Mr. Robot came out of nowhere to become 2015's big watercooler hit. It's about hackers, yes, but the technology wunderkind at the heart of this story is unlike any other onscreen depictions. Rami Malek plays Elliott Anderson, a computer genius who joins the ranks of the mysterious Mr. Robot under the pretense that their band of digital vigilantes will free society from the grip of corporate America.

Why it's worth a watch: Paranoid and tense, Robot rolls out like a thriller cooked up in the mind of David Fincher then siphoned through the bizarre lens of David Lynch. Its creator Sam Esmail showcases his eye for detail here, that ropes in styles of all kinds to craft an entirely unique thriller.

Catastrophe

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-4

The show: Being a first-time parent isn’t a picnic. Especially when your partner is from another country. And you don’t really know them that well... or have indeed only met them once. Throw these factors into the pot and you get the beginnings of one of Amazon’s most seriously underseen comedies. Sharon Horgan stars as an Irish schoolteacher in London who embarks on a week-long affair with Rob Delaney’s Boston ad exec. Their efforts to stay together after they discover they’re pregnant are what drive the series into hilarity and, at times, heartache.

Why it’s worth a watch: Funny as hell, do it for ya? Horgan and Delaney, who also wrote the entire show together, make their experience relatable and humourous without resorting to silly gags. Plus, Carrie Fisher’s cameo as Delaney’s mom is divine. Her little dog Gary even cameos with her!

The Man in the High Castle

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-4

The show: Imagining what the world might be like had the allied forces lost the second world war is terrifying. It’s an idea so frightful that sci-fi mastermind Philip K. Dick scratched out his 1962 novel based on that concept, from which this Amazon Original series takes its inspiration. The world no longer looks the same. Under Nazi rule the sprawling North American continent has been divided into three territories, and it's inside those borders that this gripping story of a small Resistance group unravels. 

Why it's worth a watch: As an alternate history, not necessarily a distorted reality, the show is gripping. It makes for such compulsive viewing because it bears so many recognisable emblems from the real world. As well as a few choice slips into genre territory...

Downton Abbey

Region: US

Season(s): 1-6

The show: Who doesn’t like watching a bunch of incredibly wealthy people from 20th century Britain swan about on an estate? Downton Abbey captivated the TV landscape when it debuted in 2010, capturing the hearts and minds of, well, millions of viewers. The fictional Crawley family lead the story, as their lives are interwoven with real-life historical events. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 kicks things off with World War I coming to serve as a major plot point. All the while the drama and politics of the Crawleys - and their arsenal of servants - becomes all the more intriguing.

Why it’s worth a watch: A British corset drama. An exceptional aristocratic affair. Whatever you want to call it, Downton Abbey is a darn good soap opera. With more twists, turns, and plot revelations that you’d expect from a period piece about a well-to-do English family, this is a compelling binge-watch in disguise. Watch all six seasons now before the movie drops in September.

Sneaky Pete

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-3

The show: After his release from prison Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) decides to get creative with his new-found freedom. Instead of picking up where he left off, which is at the mercy of gangster Vince (Bryan Cranston) for the $100,000 he owes, Marius opts to take over the life of his cellmate Pete who remains behind bars. Pete’s estranged family welcome “Pete” back into the fold as if nothing’s happened, and Marius starts to discover that his new clan might be a source of further strife. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Its well-written scripts and fantastic performances are what have turned Sneaky Pete into one of those sneaky shows that wheedles its way into your mind and refuses to let go until you’ve watched just one more episode. This is top-notch viewing that’s a relentlessly bingeable mix of crime, comedy and drama.  

Parks and Recreation

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-7

The show: One of those series that’s slowly cemented itself as a comedic classic. Parks and Recreation is worthy of cult status, treading the line between mockumentary and sitcom perfectly. That’s in large part because of its razor-sharp writing. Amy Poehler leads the cast as Leslie Knope, deputy director of the fictional Pawnee parks and recreation department, who goes above and beyond to do what’s right, with the help of her colleagues.

Why it's worth a watch: Who doesn’t like to laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy, too? Reminiscent of Modern Family’s early seasons - back when it was consistently funny - it balances the gags with genuine affection and warmth. There’s no other show that maintains the same level of quality throughout seven whole seasons. Yes, it’s better than Friends. 

Friday Night Lights

(Image credit: NBC)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-5

The show: Small-town America under the floodlights on a Friday night. That’s the heart of the aptly named Friday Night Lights, which follows a group of troubled teens, their desperate parents, and the struggling teachers trying to teach them a few things in a Texan town, where the end of the work week finds everyone flung together for the big game. Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler take the lead as a married couple; he’s the high school football coach and she’s principal at the next school over. Of course, there’s more to it than football, yet the sport is the perfect analogy for living large in a small place, with the drama of everyday living and the dynamics of wanting to break free making for excellent television. 

Why it’s worth a watch: You might remember the 2004 movie of the same name, yet the show deepens the story. In fact, that’s why director Peter Berg chose to develop the series, mining the book on which it’s based for more knowledge of its real-life characters, creating a series that’s bingeable as hell. 

Dead Like Me

(Image credit: MGM TV)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-2

The show: From Bryan Fuller, one of the creative forces behind Hannibal and American Gods, comes Dead Like Me. This series tones down the violence and ups the comedy, considerably, with the silliness and seriousness we put on our lives providing the main source of amusement for a bunch of death’s lackeys. As its title implies, the show follows a dead girl named Georgia Lass (Ellen Muth). Her supposedly premature death was due to her destiny as a grim reaper, a role she grows to love thanks to her quippy colleagues.

Why it’s worth a watch: A criminally underseen show that’s hilarious and heart-warming. The mixed bag of characters, all struggling with their afterlife predicaments, remain utterly relatable despite their being dead. If you like your dramedies to err on the unusual, morbid side (Six Feet Under fans take note!) then this short-lived series is a must-see.

Futurama

(Image credit: Fox)

Region: UK

Season(s): 1-7

The show: A new series from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening? There was a lot riding on Futurama when it dropped in 1999, and luckily, his trademark humour made the leap to this irreverent and clever animated comedy about a misfit bunch of pals who work for an intergalactic FedEx. The show’s premise, ripe for fish-out-of-water gags, finds pizza delivery boy Fry fall into a time machine only to wind up living in the year 3000. Along with the delivery crew of Planet Express he explores the universe and the whole gang pass comment on the state of society and popular culture with deft wry humour.

Why it's worth a watch: It’s tough to pin the success of this gem on one component: the writing, the vocal cast, the constant snipes at modern living, it all unites to create one of the best animated series on Netflix. But, if we had to pick? Fry's robot best friend Bender is pure comedy gold. He is the perfect amalgam of American Dad's Roger and The Simpsons' Homer. Drunk, sharp-tongued with a raspy laugh, and constantly with a cigar on the go.

Modern Family

Modern Family

(Image credit: ABC)

Region: UK

Season(s): 1-7

The show: The concept of a modern family that flies in the face of convention is amusingly explored in this ABC comedy. It debuted back in 2009 and follows Jay Pritchett’s extended family as they navigate modern living in Los Angeles. There’s his son Mitch, who’s married to Cameron and their daughter Lily, his daughter Claire, her husband Phil and their three kids, and then Jay’s own immediate family, his new wife Gloria and her son, Manny. Kicking off in a mockumentary-style format, the series cuts away from the action to the main characters candidly chatting about what actually transpired. Over the years its impact has lessened a little, yet its earlier seasons still pack a lot of wallop. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Both funny and heartwarming in equal measure, Modern Family’s strongest elements land when it proves – as it often does – that all families, no matter how they look, are really, really similar. Saying that each family in the group has their own unique attributes, which lends plenty of the series’ standout episodes (the Halloween ones are frankly epic) great rivalry. It should come as no surprise that the cast has won numerous Emmys. 

Fleabag

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-2

The show: A BBC original that’s thankfully made its way onto Amazon Prime, Fleabag is the best show around that you’re not watching - yet. Phoebe Waller-Bridge pillaged her own one-woman theatre show to create the TV series, expanding the production into a small-screen format that luckily never shakes its theatrical origins (there’s a lot of brilliant fourth-wall breaking). The story revolves around the experiences of Fleabag, a woman living life on her own terms in London. Despite possessing a savage wit, her day to day isn’t quite the barrel of laughs you’d expect, which makes this a bittersweet watch from the get-go as Fleabag deals with the heart slam of grief. 

Why it’s worth a watch: On the surface it might sound like any other comedy series - but it’s in a world of its own. Dabbling with most modern day topics through Waller-Bridge’s immensely likeable persona, there’s laughs to be had in every moment, bringing a wholly new style of black comedy to television. 

The Good Fight

(Image credit: CBS)

Region: UK

Season(s): 1-2

The show: Arguably the best network TV show of recent years, The Good Wife’s sterling run came to a close after seven seasons. Picking up a year after *that* finale, The Good Fight hails from the same creative team – yet with a difference. Gone is Alicia Florrick, the anchor of the original show, and instead we’re given a team of lawyers including former faves Diane Lockhart (the superb Christine Baranski) and Lucca Quinn (ditto Cush Jumbo), who land at a new firm and set out to explore the Chicago criminal landscape from a somewhat different perspective. The first season kicks off with a financial scam out to ruin the family of Maia Rindell (Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie), an up-and-coming lawyer with ties to Diane.

Why it’s worth a watch: Taking the best elements of The Good Wife, its quirky, silly humour, its cracking supporting characters, and its penchant for tackling hot button topics, The Good Fight excels by ramping up those components. It’s ludicrously bingeable and packed with great storylines and support from Sarah Steele as the sublime Marissa Gold. 

Black Books

(Image credit: Big Talk)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-3

The show: Imagine if the cantankerous Edmund Blackadder owned and managed a 21st-century bookshop. That’s the gist of this classic British sitcom, which revolves around a similar character, Bernard Black (Dylan Moran). Black is a sarcastic bookstore owner whose concept of a good day at work involves no customers and a bottle of wine. Constantly sozzled, irritated, yet desperate to land himself a girlfriend, it’s only when he hires scatterbrained Manny (Bill Bailey) and befriends next-door-neighbour Fran (Tamsin Greig) does he discover the joys of having friends.

Why it’s worth a watch: Who doesn’t love a miserly grouch? Easily one of the funniest sitcoms to emerge in the early 2000s, it’s got its heart in the right place, and endless one-liners. The main trio delivers comedy gold in every single episode, which seems to get increasingly more absurd as the series ventures on. Think Green Wing crossed with Fawlty Towers and you’re in the right ballpark. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1-3

The show: Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino hits another home run with a show that’s, on the surface, cut from an entirely different cloth. The late 1950s are a tough time for women everywhere, including those like Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) on the Upper West Side, who remains under the thumb of her husband. A devoted wife who supports her husband’s desire to be a stand-up comic, it’s soon revealed that Midge herself has quite a gift for the gag on-stage. The show won five Emmys and two Golden Globes in its first year, with Brosnahan snagging the same Globe the following year.

Why it’s worth a watch: There is so much to love about Maisel. If you’re a fan of rich storytelling that’s not gloomy and doesn’t involve murder (c’mon, a LOT of prestige television is pretty downbeat) then you’ll get a kick out of this. Brosnahan is one of the best actors working today, bringing heart, warmth, humour and a fire in her belly to the role of Midge. The best scenes are the after-hours debriefs with her friend/manager Susie, played by Family Guy’s Alex Borstein. But make no mistake: this isn’t a fluffy series. It’s an R-rated show, with swears and nudity.

Homecoming

Region: Worldwide

Season(s): 1

The show: Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail takes a well-loved podcast and turns it into a TV series. Homecoming is technically created by its podcast authors, Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz, yet its got Esmail’s stamp all over it; no surprise as he does direct every episode. Julia Roberts stars as Heidi Bergman, a counselor at a facility called Homecoming who helps veterans transition back into civilian life. Or so she thinks. The show flits back and forth between Heidi’s first day on the job, to a point in the future, where she’s back home with her mom, working as a waitress with a foggy memory of her time at Homecoming.

Why it’s worth a watch: Nabbing an A-list star like Roberts might be what draws your attention to a series like Homecoming. While this is her first dip into “event” television, and she is excellent, she’s not the only element that deserves acclaim. Esmail and co. have delivered one of 2018’s best shows, that ropes in film scores from the 1970s and 1980s to add that era’s level of paranoia to Bergman’s suspenseful journey. It’s masterful. And you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Region: UK

Season(s): 1-7

The show: When his 1992 movie about a cheerleading vampire slayer flopped, writer Joss Whedon couldn’t let Buffy languish in pop culture history in its campy coffin. So he did what any genre-loving creator would do! He revived it, and spawned one of the most successful female-led fantasy shows of all time, with Sarah Michelle Gellar taking over as the vamp-stabbin’, monster-huntin’ badass. Not only is Buffy tasked with saving the world from the apocalypse (multiple times) and preventing several baddies from destroying her hometown of Sunnydale, she also grapples with typical teen angst. 

Why it’s worth a watch: While the “monster of the week” format stakes its claim in earlier seasons, Buffy’s complex life and those of her best friends, Xander and Willow, extend beyond that into rich, layered storytelling that is brilliant serial television. Without a doubt a genre staple, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a must-see for anyone with a love of good vs. tales that give the middle finger to convention.

Read more: 21 years of the slayer: how Buffy defined a generation of TV and movies

Hannibal 

Region: US

Season(s): 1-3

The show: Anthony Hopkins brought a terrifying Hannibal Lecter to the public's attention, only for subsequent sequels to make him a boring caricature. In the hands of creator Bryan Fuller, Mads Mikkelsen twists that perception back toward pure evil. This version of events goes back to the beginning, with Lecter working in cahoots with the FBI and in particular, forensic profiler Will Graham to crack cases.

Why it's worth a watch: With some breathtaking cinematography, and a hyper-stylised set design, Hannibal transcends the guff that came before. Interspersed with the more traditional police work is Lecter’s penchant for haute cuisine, which was telegraphed in the movie, yet here it becomes a key component of his lifestyle. His cooking skills are shown in such intricate detail that you’ll be utterly fascinated and absolutely horrified by their implications. Its central villain is someone to truly fear.

Read more: "The outfits represent outrageous self belief disguised as formality" - the clothes are The Best Bit of Hannibal

Undone

(Image credit: Amazon)

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1

The show: Undone hails from Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, but citing that series in comparison does a disservice to the originality of this genre-mashing comedy-drama. The story follows 28-year old Alma (Rosa Salazar) who can’t find her place in the world. Drifting along, feeling disconnected from the world as her younger sister is on the cusp of marriage, she finds herself thrown into an unexpected predicament following a car crash: she can jump through time. Her new gift allows her to commune with her deceased father, who requires her help in unraveling a mystery.

Why it’s worth a watch: Undone is unlike anything else on television right now. Lifting themes from Lynch such as trauma, identity, and loss, and spinning them into a more coherent tale, the show also boasts ambitious animation work called rotoscoping. This technique involves artists and animators “drawing over” live-action footage. Not only does it lend Undone a dreamy visual, but it also meshes the story with the style as Alma’s dips into different realities are beautifully rendered. 

The Expanse

Region: US, UK

Season(s): 1-3

The show: Sci-fi with a gritty edge. That’s what ALL good sci-fi is like, right? The Expanse is worlds apart from every other show in the genre. Set hundreds of years in the future, it tackles the reality of a future where mankind sprawls into the universe, taking command of everything it lays its hands on. Mars is now its own military power, and at odds with Earth. Their squabbles lay the foundation for an imminent war, which forms a tense backdrop for the show’s main story, of a ship’s captain (Steven Strait) and a detective (Thomas Jane), who unite to solve the case of a missing young woman.

Why it’s worth a watch: The world-building is as close to realistic as you can imagine. Forget the typical sci-fi signifiers; there’s no weird portals to other dimensions, mad extraterrestrials, or weaponry that defies physics. What you’re left with is a damn good story that’s set to receive a season 4, courtesy of Amazon who picked it up for a final season.

Read more: The Expanse is the smartest sci-fi series on TV, but its insightful human factor makes it unmissable

The Americans

Region: UK, US

Season(s): 1-6

The show: All good art is never appreciated in its own time. The Americans seemed to be headed that way, snubbed repeatedly at the Emmys, the Globes, until it finally nabbed two of the former for its show-stopping series finale. It’s not like the FX show needed awards: its devout fanbase continued to tune in week-after-week for this thrilling tale of a soviet family living undercover in the US as a regular American family. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star as the KGB officers posing as the married couple, whose suburban homestead happens to be next door to an FBI counterintelligence officer.

Why it’s worth a watch: When society looks back at some of its greatest ever TV shows, The Americans will be near the top of the list. A deep-rooted look at marriage, it’s also a damn good thriller that traces the couple throughout the 1980s, with career-best performances from Russell and Rhys. Seriously, if you haven’t watched this, drop everything and get going.