Amazon Prime TV shows: The 20 best originals to watch in the UK

Adam White
Amazon Prime's best TV shows include 'The Boys', 'Too Old to Die Young', 'Jack Ryan' and 'Homecoming': Amazon Studios

Amazon has become a hub for niche, singular storytelling, whether you’re in the mood for unbalanced superheroes, gruff detectives or refined Manhattan comedy. The platform’s original series often arrive under the radar, only a few of them truly transitioning into the zeitgeist. But they consistently become adored when finally watched.

From The Boys to Good Omens and Mozart in the Jungle to Red Oaks, here are the 20 must-see series currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.

You can also view this list as a gallery below.

Bosch

Despite being largely unknown outside of its devoted fanbase, Bosch is in many respects Amazon’s flagship drama – one of its longest-running and most interesting series, built around a rare and much deserved starring role for character actor Titus Welliver. Inspired by Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels, it is a grizzled and grimy contemporary noir, with Bosch a gruff LA detective caught up in child murder, sex rings and police brutality.

The Boys

Grim, nihilistic and incredibly funny, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s adults-only superhero thriller was adapted from a cult comic book by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and has proven to be one of Amazon’s biggest successes. Set within a world dominated by superhero corporations and two rival factions of super-powered beings, it has tackled sex, violence, masculinity and feelings of emotional disillusionment so far.

The Expanse

Worth catching up with before it arrives on Amazon for its fourth season this December, The Expanse, formerly broadcast on SyFy, has found a significant following due to its intergalactic space intrigue and real-world relevance. Set within a fragile intergalactic union between Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt, it features an ensemble cast of compelling character actors that has included Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Forever

A surreal, polarising dark comedy from Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, Forever divided audiences throughout its first and only season. But it is unapologetically daring and oddball television regardless of where you stand on it. Armisen and Rudolph are a dull couple who have lived in a form of marital stasis for more than a decade, before both dying tragically. What follows is a series about second chances, renewed feelings of purpose, and the upside of the afterlife.

Homecoming

Julia Roberts in 'Homecoming' (Amazon)

Homecoming is a compelling mystery thriller filled with Hitchcockian visual flourishes and a central performance from Julia Roberts that practically defines star power. From the wild brain of Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail, it stars Roberts as an employee of a mysterious government facility, and is awash with conspiracies, repressed memories and paranoia. A second season, which sees Roberts succeeded in the leading role by none other than funk visionary Janelle Monáe, is due in 2020.

Good Girls Revolt

Despite being cancelled before it was able to truly flourish, Good Girls Revolt is still a treat. A less refined Mad Men entirely fronted by women, it was inspired by the female rebellion within the corridors of Newsweek Magazine in 1970, with a trio of young researchers deciding the revolution occurring in the streets should be replicated in the workplace, too.

Good Omens

Everything was thrown into the pot for this Neil Gaiman adaptation, and with good reason. A gleefully messy battle of wits between good and evil, Good Omens cast Michael Sheen and David Tennant respectively as their eccentric physical embodiments – long-time friends despite their duelling purposes, who must prevent the coming apocalypse. Surrounding them is a cast of cult favourites, from Frances McDormand as God to Jon Hamm as the Archangel Gabriel.

I Love Dick

This adaptation of Chris Kraus’s seminal and polarising 1997 novel was never going to be widely embraced, particularly when it was long argued to be unfilmable anyway. But the resulting series, a short-lived intellectual adventure featuring startling, brilliant work from Kathryn Hahn and Kevin Bacon, is still worth seeking out. Hahn is Chris, an artist and filmmaker shackled to her academic husband and underwhelmed by life; Bacon is Dick, an artist and philosopher who unravels Chris’s sexual repression and artistic boundaries.

The Man in the High Castle

This alternate-history thriller takes a while to find its feet, despite brilliant source material in Philip K Dick’s terrifying 1962 novel of the same name. Don’t let that put you off, though. The Man in the High Castle is still propulsive entertainment, driven by narrative conundrums, scenery-stealing villains and a sprawling cast of characters.

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Currently the jewel in Amazon’s crown, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel has proven to be a bigger hit with awards ceremonies than it has with actual audiences. But it was also never going to be a serious zeitgeist breakout, either, with creator Amy Sherman-Palladino retaining the lightning-fast dialogue of her series Gilmore Girls, and the show driven by the niche specifics of Fifties stand-up comedy. It is very good, though, and in the starring role of an aspiring comedian slowly climbing the ranks, Rachel Brosnahan is a revelation.

Modern Love

Anne Hathaway and Gary Carr in ‘Modern Love’ (Amazon Studios)

Modern Love is a gentle, funny throwback to classic Nineties romantic comedies about wealthy New Yorkers plagued with problems of the heart. Inspired by the much-adored New York Times column, it is glossy, tender and endlessly charming, as well as stacked with a A-listers including Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel and Andy Garcia.

Mozart in the Jungle

The epitome of a smart, unassuming comedy, Mozart in the Jungle quietly chugged away in the background before being cancelled after four seasons. It has an intriguingly unique premise (the soapy romantic entanglements of musicians in the New York Symphony) and a dreamy cast that includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, Lola Kirke and Bernadette Peters. It's talky and low-key and very New York – think Woody Allen without any real-world baggage – and stays charming for the entirety of its run.

One Mississippi

An autobiographical vehicle for comedian Tig Notaro, One Mississippi is today something of a relic, embodying Amazon’s early interest in downbeat, female-driven comedies designed for niche audiences. It’s quietly brilliant, with Notaro a radio host returning to her hometown and dealing with her mother’s death and her own health traumas and feelings of grief.

Red Oaks

Red Oaks is wonderful as both a silly pastiche of John Hughes movies, and as a heartwarming tale of young adulthood and discovering your passions. Starring Submarine’s Craig Roberts as a New Jersey college student working for a country club during the summer, it feels like a deliberate throwback to the coming-of-age tales crafted by Richard Linklater and Cameron Crowe.

The Romanoffs

Matthew Weiner’s expensive follow-up to Mad Men was a polarising affair, an anthology series that swung haphazardly between enormous highs and middling lows. But it was always captivating, with a consistent sense of urgency and confidence and a cast direct from the gods. Isabelle Huppert, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Diane Lane, Aaron Eckhart and Kathryn Hahn were among the names tasked with being tart, neurotic and moneyed.

Sneaky Pete

A twisty family drama underpinned by cons and betrayals, Sneaky Pete is in many ways a throwback to the glossy US dramas of the late Nineties and early Noughties – with small, self-contained stories serenaded by larger story arcs. At its centre is Giovanni Ribisi’s​ fresh-from-jail con man, whose impersonation of his cellmate and subsequent immersion into the man’s estranged family gives the show its pulse. Margo Martindale, that most ubiquitous of great supporting actors, is his “grandmother”, and unsurprisingly steals the show on a regular basis.

The Tick

Cruelly cancelled in 2001, and then cruelly cancelled again just as it was hitting its stride on Amazon, Ben Edlund’s The Tick is a delicious, hyper-real satire adapted from his own cult comic book. The latest version stars British comic Peter Serafinowicz as a superhero sporting an enormous blue muscle-suit and determined to fight crime. Broadcast in easily digestible half-hour chunks, this is a smart, inventive comedy very much worth your time.


Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Doing exactly what it promised on the tin, Amazon’s Jack Ryan adaptation delivers action, spectacle and all-American patriotism, with John Krasinski upending all pre-existing expectations in his role as the heroic CIA analyst of the title.

Too Old to Die Young

Despite coming and going with surprisingly little fanfare considering the cult filmmaker responsible for it, Too Old to Die Young was one of the coolest shows of last summer, with Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn presenting another murky slice of surreal, neon-soaked LA noir. Part crime drama and part horror movie, the limited series sees Miles Teller play a grieving cop embroiled in an underworld odyssey. Jena Malone, John Hawkes and William Baldwin are among the freaks and monsters he encountered along the way.

Transparent

Transparent has been mired in disappointing controversy since the misconduct allegations levelled at star Jeffrey Tambor, and his subsequent firing from the series. But it still remains one of the most important TV shows of the past decade – a moving, heartfelt depiction of trans identity that grew stronger and more politically astute as it went on.