An Amazon Prime subscription comes with quite a few perks, including access to thousands of movies and TV shows available for streaming on Prime Video. That includes a number of Amazon Prime originals that are only available on the service.
While the overall selection of original series on Amazon Prime Video isn’t as extensive as you will find on Netflix, Amazon seems to be going for quality of programming rather than quantity. Indeed, the service already has a critical and Emmy award-winning series in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon continues to develop and produce upcoming original shows, so it’s only going to go up from here.
Here’s a look at the best original TV series that are currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Best Amazon Prime originals:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Amazon Prime originals regularly as new ones are announced.
1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
One of the most recent original Amazon series could be the best one yet for the Amazon Prime Video service. It centers on a woman in New York City in the late 1950s, who decides to become a stand-up comedian after her husband leaves her. The show won an Emmy Award in 2018 for Best Comedy Series and its star, Rachel Brosnahan, also won that year for Best Actress in a Comedy series. It has also won, or has been nominated for, many other major awards over the past couple of years.
Even though it’s labeled as a comedy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has a lot of drama as well, as you might expect from its creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also created Gilmore Girls. It’s also a great look back in time to the late 1950s, where women were just beginning to make themselves known in the workforce. The first two seasons of the show are available to stream now, and a third season is on its way, with a planned release in late 2019.
2. The Man in the High Castle
Based on the classic novel by the late Philip K. Dick, this Amazon Prime original series takes place in the 1960s, but in an alternate timeline where Nazi Germany and Japan won World War II and split control over the US coasts. This “what if” series tells the tale of several characters in this alternate Earth, who discover a series of movies that show the US winning World War II.
This series, obviously, expands from Dick’s original novel and shows the characters not only realizing that they are on an alternate Earth, but that it might be possible to actually travel to the timeline where the US. and its allies won World War II. Three 10-episode seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime now, and a fourth and final season is planned for release in 2020. The Man in the High Castle is not only one the best Amazon Prime originals, but perhaps the best original Amazon Prime TV drama series.
3. The Expanse
Yes, we are stretching our definition of “original Amazon Prime Video series” with this selection of The Expanse. Originally shown on the SyFy cable channel, the first three seasons of this excellent sci-fi epic are now available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. Based on The Expanse novels by “James S. A. Corey” (actually a pen name for two writers, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), the show takes place hundreds of years in the future, where humanity has colonized the entire solar system. However, there are now factions in various locations in the system: Earth, Mars, and the “Belters” who live in the outer system.
The show not only has a huge cast and an epic feel, but it may have some of the best visual effects ever made for a space-based sci-fi series. The good news is that Amazon head Jeff Bezos, an admitted big sci-fi fan himself, loved The Expanse so much that when SyFy decided not to renew the show for a fourth season, Bezos got Amazon Prime Video to pick up the rights and approve production of the fourth season. It will be shown sometime in 2019.
This hardboiled police show, based on novels from author Michael Connelly, stars Titus Welliver as Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch. Each season is based on at least one, and sometimes more, of the original Bosch books. If you love crime novels, this series is right up your alley. The show can get a little slow at times, but that’s mainly because it’s like reading a good book rather than an action-packed TV shows. There are five 10 episode seasons of Bosch to stream on Amazon Prime Video, and a sixth season will be released in 2020.
5. The Grand Tour
If you love car shows, then you likely already know and love The Grand Tour. Created and hosted by the original hosts of BBC’s long-running Top Gear series, this series shows Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May test driving lots of cool modern cars. It also has the three hosts traveling all over the world in all sorts of vehicles. Even if you are not a car nut, The Grand Tour has plenty to check out in these adventure segments.
Three seasons of The Grand Tour are available now on Amazon Prime Video. A fourth season is due in 2020, and thankfully, the show will ditch a lot of its Top Gear-like features like having a studio audience and track time segments and will concentrate on what it does best, road trips and adventures across the globe.
6. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
Amazon Prime Video made a huge splash in 2018 with the launch of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. This original series stars John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, who has been portrayed in several movies by other actors based on the techno-thriller novels by the late Tom Clancy. The first episode of this eight-episode first season sees Ryan as a young CIA analyst. He thinks he’s only going to be working at a desk, but his work has him leave his office and go out in the field to try and stop an Islamic terrorist.
While there’s just one season of this Amazon Prime Video original available to stream right now, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan has already been renewed for a second and third season, so you can rest assured that Jack Ryan will be back to fight more threats against the U.S. and the world in the near future.
7. Good Omens
Some TV shows on streaming platforms are designed to be “one-and-done” with their stories completed in just one season. That’s the case for Good Omens. Based on the acclaimed fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, the series centers on two supernatural beings on Earth. One is the angel Aziraphale, played by Michael Sheen, and the other is the demon Crowley, played by David Tennent. The two beings, despite being on opposite sides, not only grow to become friends but also love being on Earth. That’s a problem, however, as the series deals with these two friends trying to prevent the end of the world.
Gaiman served as the showrunner for this six-episode limited series, and it shows. Good Omens feels like both a great adaptation and an extension of the original novel. It’s also flat out funny. Look for a lot of interesting cameos and voices in this show as well.
If you get Julia Roberts to star in a TV series, you know it must be something special. Based on the acclaimed scripted podcast, Homecoming features Roberts as Heidi Bergman, a character who, as the series begins, is employed as a case worker for a mysterious group, the Homecoming Transitional Support Center. They are supposed to help military veterans move back into the civilian world. However, the show shifts to four years later, and Bergman is now working as a waitress, with little memory of her previous job.
The mystery of what happened to Bergman, and what the Homecoming Transitional Support Center is really all about, is the center of this first season of episodes. The show is already renewed for a second season, but Roberts will not be returning.
What if you were completely cut off from the outside world, almost since birth? That’s what Hanna has to deal with in this series. She is a young girl who has been raised in the deep forests somewhere in Europe by who she believes is her father but is actually a rogue CIA agent. However, Hanna finally has to deal with the rest of the world as their secret home is discovered. She then goes on the run to avoid the CIA.
Based on the 2011 movie of the same name, Hanna is a series that has some great action sequences, but also some tender coming-of-age scenes from its main actor Esma Creed-Miles. The first season is available to stream as an Amazon Prime original series, and a second season has been confirmed for release in 2020.
Here’s another Amazon Prime original series designed to have a beginning, middle, and end. Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars as “Fleabag”, a young woman who is trying to find love and companionship in London. She frequently talks directly to the camera in a fourth-wall breaking tactic that, for once, is not annoying but actually helps to make her funnier and more relatable at the same time. In fact it’s so funny that the Emmys awarded the show in 2019 as Best Comedy Series, and Waller-Bridge also won for best Comedy Series Writing and Female Acting.
Waller-Bridge adapted her one-woman play for this series, and it sometimes shows in some of the episodes of this two-season series. However, the scope of the show is expansive enough that it doesn’t feel like a stage play. You can catch both seasons of Fleabag on Amazon Prime Video right now.
11. The Boys
One of Amazon Prime Video’s best TV series is also an original. The Boys basically tries to answer the question, “What if superheroes existed in the real world?” In this series, superheroes would be used as products and marketing tools for a massive company. Also, most superheroes themselves in this series are pretty nasty folks. They feel they can do whatever they want and get away with it. The Boys centers on one particular superhero group, The Seven, and the efforts of a rouge group of (mostly) ordinary humans (The Boys). The Boys know the truth and want to bring these powerful beings down. It’s a highly adult TV show (definitely don’t let kids watch it), but if you want to see a more realistic and brutal look at superheroes, this show is a must on Amazon Prime Video.
If you love legal dramas, you should check out Goliath. This Amazon prime original stars Billy Bob Thornton as a lawyer who was once a part of a huge an rich law firm. However, he left after a murder suspect that he freed in court went on to kill a family. Now, Thornton’s character is recruited to fight for a client in a wrongful death case. The first season pitted him against his old partner, played by William Hurt. You can catch the first two seasons now, and the third season is about to drop on October 4. It’s definitely one of the best Amazon Prime Video series, especially if you love Thornton’s acting.
Here’s an Amazon Prime original series that’s very different. Undone is an adult animated series that uses a technique called rotoscoping. It traces the movements of live actors and turns them into animated characters. The result is a show that has a very unique look compared to other animated series. The show itself stars Rosa Salazar as a woman who survives a car crash. She then sees a vision of her late father, played by Bob Odenkirk. He wants her to find how he died several years ago. The thing is, she has a chance to do just that by having her mind travel through time. It’s a trippy show to watch, but it’s also one that’s worth taking about.
14. Carnival Row
Carnival Row is yet another Amazon Prime original that deviates from the norm. It mixes a 19th century period setting with a murder mystery and fantasy elements. This mashup of genres actually works, thanks in part to some impressive looking visual effects and production design. Orlando Bloom ditches his Lord of the Rings elf role for a more human-looking inspector who is trying to stop a serial killer in his city. The thing is, the city is home to both humans and faeries. This show also has some interesting viewpoints on immigration, which is something that we are currently dealing with in our non-fantasy world.
The best Amazon Prime originals: Honorable mentions
There are a number of other great original on Amazon Prime Video series to watch, including some that, unfortunately, have been canceled and won’t be getting future seasons.
- The Tick — This superhero comedy, based on the indie comic book, was extremely funny. You can watch its two seasons on Amazon Prime Video now.
- Forever — Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star in this one-season series about a married couple who has something interesting happen to them.
- Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams — This one-season sci-fi anthology series has echoes of The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror, using short stories written by the author of The Man in the High Castle.
- Lore — This two-season anthology series, based on the podcast of the same name, deals with horror tales and legends from around the world.
That’s our look at the best Amazon Prime originals. We’ll be sure to update this post once new shows are released.