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Best Amazon Prime shows: 20 fantastic series you need to watch

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Amazon Prime Video is really coming into its own among the streaming services out there. Starting with forgotten fare like Mozart in the Jungle and Alpha House, its original shows have really soared in the past few years with the watercooler likes of The Boys and the widely (and rightly) celebrated sadcom, Fleabag. 

The streaming service's future is looking good, too, with a big-budget Lord of the Rings TV show in the offing and a second season of The Boys on the way. As rivals like Netflix and Disney Plus debut increasingly flashy, expensive shows, Amazon is showing that it's perfectly happy to compete.

If you're in the US, there are plenty of good Amazon Prime shows to check out in 2020. We've shortlisted our 20 favorites, across dramas, comedies and documentaries – and our latest addition is Hunters, which just landed on the streaming service. We'll update this list regularly as we find new shows that you need to watch. 

Best Amazon Prime Video shows: our top 20

  • Hunters
  • The Expanse
  • The Boys
  • The Americans
  • Mr Robot
  • True Blood
  • Vikings
  • Good Omens
  • Star Trek
  • Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
  • Catastrophe
  • Comrade Detective
  • Bosch
  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Fleabag
  • The Grand Tour
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • All or Nothing
  • Grand Prix Driver

Hunters

(Image credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Nazis are plotting their return to power while living undercover in '70s America, and one group seeks to hunt them down and put a stop to it. This new show, starring Al Pacino, will remind you a little of Inglourious Basterds, but it's a very somber and serious work at the same time. That tonal variation is actually part of why the show works – with Jordan Peele among its executive producers, Hunters is unlike anything else around right now. 

Even just for the novelty of seeing Pacino star in a TV show, it's well worth checking out, but there's a lot more going on in this big-budget action show. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 1

The Expanse

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

If you're a fan of full-fat sci-fi, Amazon rescued this ambitious space drama from the scrapheap, giving it a well-earned fourth season of dense, political and twist-y storytelling. This adaptation of the books by James SA Corey should be the next thing you watch if you enjoyed the Battlestar Galactica reboot, and wished studios would make more sci-fi shows that explore lofty themes. 

Season 5 is on the way, and the show now lives exclusively on Prime Video.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 4

The Boys

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Boys is based on a simple premise: What if superheroes sucked? Like, really, really sucked? What if they were egotistical, selfish, corrupt and downright, well, unheroic? That's the crux of The Boys. Now sure, many of those questions have been explored in other media, but Amazon's over-the-top series does it with a visual panache and a bit of humor. The first season isn't likely to be the best we'll ever get, but it's a very good start to Amazon's new breakout series.

The Boys season 2 is on the way in 2020. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 1

The Americans

(Image credit: FX/Amazon Prime Video)

It took time for The Americans to get the respect it deserved on the awards circuit, but critics were constantly calling it one of the best dramas on the air. The show is a fantastic crime period thriller that follows the exploits of a couple of KGB agents posing as US citizens around the time that Ronald Reagan became the president.

It may occasionally flit between the ridiculous and the sublime, but you would expect nothing more from a show that has both of its leads living a double life. The '80s setting is fantastic, too, though there aren't enough shell suits for our liking.

The final, sixth season of The Americans is now free with Amazon Prime Video.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 6

Mr Robot

(Image credit: USA Network)

Mr Robot is Fight Club for the Tor generation, lifting a lid on a world where what Linux kernel you use is not just a badge of honor but a way of life. Rami Malek plays Elliot, who in his day job is a network engineer, while outside of that he's attempting to bring down one of the biggest companies in the world as part of a hacker collective. 

It's a stylish and ambitious show, with twists so big that they reshape the show's premise over and over again. While its fourth and final season has aired on the USA Network, you can catch the first three on Amazon Prime now in the US. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 3

True Blood

One of the biggest advantages Amazon Prime Video has over Netflix is its massive library of HBO programming (fingers crossed that doesn't change with the launch of HBO Max). While each show could have its own entry on this list, we've opted for just a couple. But you'll want to check out The Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood too if you haven't already. 

True Blood is a show about the preternatural, social issues and sex. It's a campy but extremely fun fantasy show that follows Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a waitress who gets caught up in a world of vampires and other mystical creatures. All seven seasons are on Prime Video now. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 7

Vikings

If you have any interest in Norse mythology, then the name Ragnar Lothbrok will mean a whole lot to you. Basically, he was a king and powerful ruler that terrorized the English and the French.

Vikings is a series that traces his Norse-based goings on with enough charm and scope to take on Game of Thrones in the sword and sandals stakes. Yes, it takes a number of liberties with its source material but the acting is classy, as is the cinematography in this historical romp that's deservedly in its sixth season. The first five are currently on Amazon Prime.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 5

Good Omens

A promo image for Good Omens

(Image credit: Amazon)

Good Omens came out of nowhere and has swept us off our feet. Based on the book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens is an addictive, bonkers yet heart-warming tale about good and evil, friendship, demons, angels and a future-gazing witch. It also doesn't hurt that it's pretty British (in a good way) and has an all-star cast. 

The series can be binged in one weekend, or one sitting if you can't face waiting a whole night for the final few episodes. For the bibliophiles out there, the TV series brings a few fresh characters and twists to the story, but is also faithful enough to the book to give those who have been fans for nearly thirty years a real treat. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 1

Star Trek

(Image credit: CBS)

There's a lot of Star Trek on Amazon Prime, if you're in the mood to watch hundreds of episodes set in that universe. The original series is available, as are later entries The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. If you're wondering how to watch Star Trek: Picard, though, you'll need CBS All Access for that (which you can enjoy as a channel within Amazon Prime Video). 

Seasons on Netflix: 3 of TOS (and many spin-offs)

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

While the hype didn't quit justify the final product, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is still worth a watch. It stars John Krasinski (you know, Jim from The Office) as the titular character who is "just a mere analyst" (pro tip: he's not just an analyst). Ryan's adventures are thrilling and entertaining, pure Tom Clancy incarnate. If action is your scene, check out the first two seasons and see what you think. A third is on the way.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 2

Catastrophe

From the minds of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney comes one of the funniest, most well-written sitcom in years. The plot is slight: a one-night stand turns into a relationship once Sharon announces she is pregnant. But the series contains some of the most cut-to-the-bone humor seen on TV. Combine this with a nice slab of pathos - nestled among many a sex joke - and what you have is a modern classic.

Check out the fourth and final season of the show on Amazon Prime now.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 4

Comrade Detective

Comrade Detective is a weird gem on Amazon. Starring Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the show is a parody of gritty American buddy cop shows and Communist Propaganda from the Cold War.

It's an unusual combination, but it works. Each episode is presented as though it's a remastered real episode of a lost Romanian Communist Propaganda series from the '80s which was used to entertain and promote Communist ideals. The entire show was filmed in Romania with Romanian actors and then dubbed over by Tatum and Gordon-Levitt.

Seasons on Amazon Prime: 1

Bosch

With 20-something novels to mine for source material, Bosch is a character that was always destined for the small screen. Created by Michael Connelly but brilliantly brought to life by actor Titus Welliver, the series follows the exploits of LA Homicide detective Harry Bosch and features enough grit to pave the longest of driveways.

This is no surprise - the series has been created by Eric Overmyer, who was part of the alumni that created The Wire. Bosch Season 5 was released on Prime in 2019, and a sixth season is apparently on the way. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 5

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

The latest series from Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel tells the story of '50s housewife Miriam Maisel. After her husband confesses he's been having an affair, Midge drunkenly gets on stage at a comedy club and discovers that she's utterly hilarious. In a time when women aren't encouraged to be publicly funny, Midge pursues her new-found comedic talent in the male-dominated stand up comedy world. 

Check out season three of this acclaimed show on Amazon Prime now.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 3

Fleabag

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has created two of the best TV shows of the modern age in Killing Eve and Fleabag. The latter is her self-starring comedy drama, adapted from a stage show, and it's a hilarious but sometimes painful portrait of a damaged person trying to keep it together. The supporting cast, which includes Andrew Scott's 'hot priest' in season 2, helps make this one of the best shows around full stop. With six half-hour episodes per season, you could binge it in just a few days. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 2

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec is a joy of a show. Originally seen as a quasi spin-off of the Office - using the same documentary style camerawork, awkward pauses, asides to camera - it soon grew from an amusing first season, about the goings on in the parks department of Pawnee, to a comedy phenomenon that spanned a fantastic seven seasons. It's not just the script that makes it great, it's also the characters - headed up by the ever-brilliant Amy Poehler.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 7

The Grand Tour

We'll likely be seeing quite a few seasons of The Grand Tour, which is unsurprisingly a lot like Top Gear, given its trifecta of hosts. Amazon made a big deal about signing Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. 

If you enjoy watching middle aged men burn rubber in the middle of the desert, like a scene out of Mad Max: Fury Road, then this is for you. A fourth season of feature-length specials began in December 2019, beginning with The Grand Tour Presents...Seamen. Classy stuff. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 4

Curb Your Enthusiasm

(Image credit: HBO)

Seinfeld co-creator Larry David stars in this HBO sitcom, which has now been running for 20 years, on and off. In every episode, Larry swerves into awkward social situations that ring true no matter who you are, even though you're essentially watching a very rich man live a good life. 

This is one of the best sitcoms around, even if the later seasons aren't quite as fresh. All but seasons 9 and 10 are on Prime now, and with ten episodes per season available, that's plenty to watch. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 8

All or Nothing

Anyone who wants something to fill their Friday Nights Lights hole need to look no further. This documentary is a superb look at how gruelling a season of American football is. It gives the viewer unprecedented access to the coaches, the staff and, most importantly, the players and it's a fantastic watch. Tying the whole thing together is also some superb narration from Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

Not keen on the American version of the sport? You can watch whole seasons of Manchester City play in the Premier League or watch the infamous New Zealand All Blacks tear it up on the rugby pitch. Whatever your sport, All or Nothing has you covered.

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 5

Grand Prix Driver

This Amazon Original documentary takes viewers underneath the glitz and glamor that is the surface of Formula 1, to explore the inner-workings of the 2017 McLaren team. Narrated by Michael Douglas, this documentary follows  rookie driver Stoffel Vandoorne over four episodes, as he and his team prepare for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship. 

Seasons on Amazon Prime Video: 1