Got a free Prime Video trial for Prime Day? These are the 4 shows you need to watch

Best Amazon Prime Video UAE
(Image credit: Amazon)

Happy Amazon Prime Day 2022 everyone! 

If you're on the hunt for the best deals across this year's Prime Day, then TechRadar's liveblog has them covered here. 

As you'll probably know, you need a Prime membership to take part in Prime Day 2022. However, if you don't want to commit to a monthly subscription for the service, you can still get access to the deals with a free 30-day trial, if you haven't used the trial in the last 12 months. 

If you've taken up that option and signed up for a free trial, as well as gaining access to all the deals on Amazon, you also get a free month of Prime Video, Amazon's streaming service. 

For its first few years on the scene, Prime Video felt very much in the shadow of Netflix with a shallow offering of movies and hardly any originals of its own, but that has all changed now. The list of Prime Originals is stacked and backed by Amazon's mountain of cash, they're spending big, especially on new Lord of the Rings TV show The Rings Of Power, which comes in the autumn. 

But, if you're new to Prime Video and you've not seen anything on the platform before, you may feel overwhelmed by the array of shows and movies. Worry not, we're here to help and, to make sure you use your time wisely, we've narrowed it down to four shows to get you started. 

Based on our calculations (at the time of writing, at least), you've got a month and two and a half hours a night to watch television, five nights a week. That's 30 days in all, minus eight days for weekends, giving us 22 days to play with. Multiply 22 by two and a half and you get 55 hours, and we've allocated all of that. 

So let's dive in, our picks of the best of Prime Video...

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel


(Image credit: Amazon)

This is a big call, but our first recommendation is something that will take up over half your free month. However, we're confident that you will not regret it. 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the creation of Amy Sherman-Palladino, best known for long-running and much-loved drama Gilmore Girls, and it follows the travails of Miriam 'Midge' Maisel. At the start of the show, Maisel is a homemaker in New York in the 1950s. 

After her husband reveals that he's been having an affair, she drunkenly gets on stage at a comedy club and brings the house down. From then on, she pursues her new calling, despite the protestations of her ex-husband, parents and friends. 

Led by Rachel Brosnahan, who has been showered with awards for her starring role in the show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is whipsmart, very funny, incredible moving, and completely compelling. As well as Brosnahan, there are great supporting turns from Alex Borstein as her no-nonsense manager Susie Myerson, Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub as her eccentric and long-suffering parents and Luke Kirby as firebrand comedian Lenny Bruce, who makes regular appearances. 

All four seasons will take you just over 28 hours. That's just over half the time you'll have with this free trial, but it's definitely worth it. 

Modern Love

Anne Hathaway and Gary Carr in Modern Love season 1

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Anthology series are generally reserved for horror and science fiction, shows like Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone, but Modern Love has reinvented the formula beautifully. 

Based on the New York Times column of the same name, the show adapts different love stories across all ages and of all types. The first season was set entirely in New York, while the second got out and about all over the place. 

The list of stars to have filmed an episode is huge, among them are Anne Hathaway, Andrew Scott, Olivia Cooke, Tina Fey, Julia Garner, Kit Harrington, Ed Sheeran and Sofia Boutella.

Not every episode is  a winner, but the highs are real highs and every episode is interesting and very thought-provoking. No episode goes longer than 35 minutes, which occasionally is frustrating because some of these stories are so delightful they deserve their own movie. But, with 16 episodes in all averaging out at 30 minutes each, that's only eight hours, which still leaves with 19 hours still to play with. 


Alan Ritchson stars as the titular character in Prime Video's Reacher TV series

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

From 16 little vignettes covering the full spectrum of love to something a bit more muscular. Well, a lot more muscular. 

After two modestly successful but critically-panned movies with Tom Cruise in the title role, author Lee Child's bestselling series Jack Reacher has finally found its groove on TV with Reacher

Jack Reacher is a former US Army major and military policeman who, after leaving the army, decides to roam the United States taking odd jobs and somehow always finding himself investigating suspicious and frequently dangerous situations. 

Long-time fans of the books were unhappy with Cruise's casting largely on account of the actor's height. Cruise is five foot-seven and, on the page, Reacher is six foot-five. Quizzed about this at the time, Child said there was no actor with that stature who could play Reacher effectively. Clearly, at that point, he'd not been introduced to Alan Ritchson. Ritchson isn't quite Reacher's height (he's six-foot two), but the man is built like an armoured tank and as wide as a cruise ship. He dominates, literally, every scene he is in. 

The series adapts Child's first book Killing Floor, and finds Reacher arriving in the town of Margrave, Georgia at the exact moment that the small US town is reeling from its first major crime in 20 years. Wrongly framed for the crime, Reacher clears his name and reluctantly agrees to help local police, which is just as well, because bodies keep turning up. 

Action-packed, tightly-written and with a nice bit of tongue-in-cheek humour thrown in, Reacher is a good time watch. Critics and audiences have liked it, too, because a second season is in production. The show is all done in eight episodes, all of which are pretty much an hour each, so that still leaves us with 11 to play with.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

(Image credit: Amazon Prime)

Our final recommendation is The Underground Railroad, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins' adaptation of Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. 

Set across 10 episodes, the show is named after the network of secret routes and safe houses during the 19th century across the United States, which helped enslaved African Americans to escape. 

In Whitehead and Jenkins' take, the railroad is real, an actual railway system constructed by slaves, complete with steam locomotives and multiple underground stations, all designed to assist runaways. 

We largely follow Cora, who is enslaved on Randall plantation. A fellow slave named Caesar keeps trying to coax her to run away with him, but she refuses, stating that the plantation is where she belongs. After one of their fellow slaves, who did try and escape, is recaptured and violently killed as a spectacle for the plantation owner and his guests, though, Cora finally agrees to run away. In pursuit of the pair are fearsome slave catcher Arnold Ridgeway and his assistant Homer, so it's a race against time for our would-be heroes.

Newcomer Thuso Mbedu delivers a stirring turn as Cora, while Joel Edgerton is on terrifying form as Ridgeway. Jenkins directs every episode of the show, which is ambitious, beautifully designed, and gripping, all the while not shying away from the horrors of the period. 

There are plenty more Prime Video shows and movies we could've included – The Boys and Invincible come to mind – but the above quartet meet the criteria of flying under the radar and/or being award-winning series. Regardless, with the four shows above watched (and likely enjoyed) on your part, you'll be done with an hour still to spare. Happy Prime Day, enjoy your free trial!

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…