There are more and more streaming services popping up all the time. Every network has its own. Then there are biggies like Netflix, Amazon Prime shows, and Hulu, and in the last couple of months, major players like Apple and Disney have joined the fray. They’re not only repositories of existing content, in recent years, they’ve focused more on creating their own original programming.
Of these streaming outlets making their own content, Amazon Prime has gone at it hard. They have and continue to churn out tons of original movies and series. As so often happens in these situations, the sheer amount they produce feels overwhelming and it’s damn near impossible to keep up. It helps when you have nearly unlimited resources to throw at a project—a big reason they’ve been able to lure top-tier talent since day one. That Lord of the Rings series is going to be EPIC.
Keeping that in mind, we decided to run through the best series Amazon Prime has to offer. Because trying to figure this out on our own would lead to harsh disagreements and interpersonal strife within our ranks, we’re going to let the critics speak for us. This list is based on the percentage of critics who gave the show a positive review. And in the streaming wars, few have garnered as much praise as Amazon Originals.
To see how Netflix Originals stack up against Amazon, head over to our guide to the Best Netflix Original Series.
These are the best Amazon Original Shows on Amazon Prime Video.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—89% on Rotten Tomatoes
One of Amazon’s most celebrated shows, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has a trophy case full of awards—Emmys, Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, and many more. Set in the 1950s, Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) dreams of something bigger than her pre-ordained existence as a housewife. Her staid, planned-out life takes a turn when she, against all odds, discovers a talent and passion for standup comedy. Stylish and fast-paced, full of whip-smart dialogue, Mrs. Maisel offers a fun, energetic, career-making showcase for its star.
Inter-family drama is nothing new for a comedy series. Let’s be honest, dysfunctional families are the bread and butter of sitcoms. However, it’s never been done on such a mainstream outlet quite like Transparent.
When the head of the Pfefferman family comes out as transgender, it throws the clan’s whole dynamic and reality into upheaval. Authentic and confident, the show manages to be relatable and hilarious at the same time it traverses territory unfamiliar to many viewers.
For a show about an American agent going undercover to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities, Patriot is… not what you initially expect. First off, the hero (Michael Dorman) goes undercover as a mid-tier employee at a pipe manufacturer in Milwaukee. So there’s that. Nor is the protagonist your typical spy—he skews toward the slacker, stoner, ne’er do well school as he copes with PTSD. Also, the tone skews far more to the comedic side than the premise suggests—it’s a dark-as-night style of comedy for sure, but the laughs are still there.
One of our favorite Amazon Originals around the Giant Freakin’ Robot stronghold—it’s really one of our favorite science fiction shows on any platform—The Expanse originally began life on Syfy. Amazon stepped in to rescue the adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s epic novels when the series was canceled, and we’re pleased to report the show is as good, if not better, than ever.
The show combines sweeping space opera with noir tropes, and the saga of the conflict between Earth, Mars, and the Belt offers a tightly written, narratively complex sci-fi with mystery, body horror, and excitement. It’s simply one of the best shows currently available.
During the summer of 1985, David (Craig Roberts) takes a job at an exclusive Jewish country club in suburban New Jersey. He’s there to teach members how to play tennis, but along the way, he gets into all kinds of wacky adventures and learns a bit about life, love, and the real world. Red Oaks leans hard on the current wave of ‘80s nostalgia, but it also has a distinct throwback, madcap Caddyshack vibe, as well as nods to various sex romp comedies. Full of hijinks and heart, the first season is a mixed bag, though it finds itself in season two and delivers one of Amazon’s most purely enjoyable binges.
It only lasted for a single eight-episode season, but Amazon’s Forever left an impression. Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star as a couple who has fallen into a familiar rut. When they shake things up by replacing their usual lake house vacation with a ski trip, it throws everything they know into upheaval.
Spanning life and death, Forever offers up a darkly comic look at ennui, desperation, love, and relationships. Always fantastic, Rudolph does remarkable work and there’s some excellent, top-notch swearing to be found.
Mozart in the Jungle—94%
Despite the title, you may be surprised to find Mozart in the Jungle has absolutely nothing to do with, well, the jungle. Instead, this charming series, one of Amazon’s early offerings—back when they still let audiences vote on pilots to determine what projects received full series orders—focuses on the behind-the-scenes world of the New York Philharmonic. It tracks the ups and downs, the rivalries and shenanigans, and all the highs and lows we rarely get to see. Gabriel Garcia Bernal heads a fantastic cast and it’s their charisma and spark that carry the series.
Spoon! How can you not love The Tick? He’s big, blue, nigh-invulnerable, and maybe the biggest doofus in all superhero lore. He also may be entirely insane, though that’s a topic of some debate. After the animated series and the early-2000s live-action adaptation, Amazon, with comic creator Ben Edlund leading the charge, brought the dim-witted hero to life again.
Skewing much closer to the source material than the previous iteration, The Tick captures all the fun, hilarity, and earnest good nature as the protagonist and his mild-mannered sidekick, Arthur, battle the Terror and his minions in the City.
Co-created by Bryan Cranston, Sneaky Pete follows the life of a newly released convict (Giovanni Ribisi) who assumes the identity of his former cellmate in order to put his own life and troubles behind him. That sounds like it’s going to work out well for everyone, right?
While a crime drama on the surface, the show has no shortage of laughs. Mixing in caper elements, the series hooks viewers with edge-of-your-seat tension, placing the characters in taut, perilous situations, and injecting it with humanity and heart to boot.
Nothing illustrates the old saying about the fine line between comedy and tragedy like all the shows based on the lives of comedians that, while hilarious, are also brutally sad. Case in point, Amazon’s One Mississippi.
The semi-autobiographical series pulls from the life of comedian Tig Notaro playing a fictionalized version of herself who returns to her home town to deal with her dying mother, at the same time she herself contends with breast cancer and other health issues. Full of dark, gallows humor, the show is funny and compassionate and strikes a near-perfect balance between laughter and tears.
One of Amazon’s earliest and longest-running series, Bosch dives into the slow-burn, hard-boiled detective genre. Titus Welliver stars as a Los Angeles homicide cop, a lead protagonist in more than 20 Michael Connelly novels.
A sharp police procedural, the action tracks the title character through the sprawling city, dark mysteries, twisting narratives, and hot-button controversial topics. Though the first season was met with mixed reviews, the subsequent four reached new heights, and a sixth is on the way.
Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts in her small screen debut) was a caseworker at a support center helping soldiers returning from war readjust to civilian life. Never an easy transition. Years later, after she’s moved on, an investigator from the department of justice comes calling and Heidi realizes there was more going on at the facility than she thought. A taut mystery with a unique aesthetic, Homecoming offers much more than initially meets the eye as it digs into memory and the effects of trauma.
Catastrophe—99% on Rotten Tomatoes
An unplanned pregnancy can certainly throw a wrench into the gears, as it does in Amazon’s comedy Catastrophe. When an American man, Rob (Rob Delaney), and an Irish woman, Sharon (Sharon Horgan), hook up one night, such an unanticipated event throws their lives into upheaval. Catastrophe doesn’t break any molds or rewrite the formula. What it does is deliver a spot-on romantic comedy full of gut-busting jokes, well-written characters, earnest emotion, and a pair of leads with chemistry for days propelling the whole thing.
Undone—100% on Rotten Tomatoes
From the creators of Netflix favorite BoJack Horseman, Undone blurs genre lines and uses rotoscope animation to craft a sprawling, surreal mystery. When Alma (Rosa Salazar) suffers a near-fatal car accident, she has visions of her dead father (Bob Odenkirk). Tapping into newfound ability to time travel, she embarks on an existential quest to unravel the truth of his untimely demise. Gorgeous and unique, the series is by turns fantastic and outlandish at the same time that it remains grounded and relatable.
Fleabag—100% on Rotten Tomatoes
Few shows, on Amazon or anywhere else, have racked up as much praise and acclaim as Fleabag. The brainchild of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, she based the series on her one-woman stage show first performed in 2013. She also created, wrote, and stars in the series—it’s a work of a very singular type and perspective.
The story follows the title character, a young woman trying to navigate life in London and deal with tragedy and trauma, and has won accolades for its wit, heart, and inventive style, as well as its comedy.
Other Noteworthy Amazon Prime Original Shows
You may have noticed some of the biggest name Amazon shows didn’t make this list. Amazon Prime has a lot of original content, and some of their biggest name shows, while they do well with critics, just didn’t rank as high as these.
The new Jack Ryan series, for instance, only has positive reviews from 73% of critics. Much talked about series The Boys was just outside our list with 84%. Long running series The Man in the High Castle nearly made it in as well, with an 84% rating. The miniseries Good Omens was a near miss as well, with a solid 83% rating from reviewers.
Our Other Streaming Guides
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- The Best Shows On Netflix Right Now
- The Best Movies On Disney Plus Right Now