TV

18 Outstanding TV Series You Can Only Stream Through Amazon Prime

If you don’t have HBO Go or HBO Now, an Amazon Prime subscription ought to look very appealing to you because — other than HBO — Amazon is the only place you can stream some of the best series in HBO’s back catalog, like The Wire, Rome, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers, Oz, In Treatment, and Eastbound & Down. In fact, if you don’t have HBO and you order from Amazon more than once twice a month, Amazon Prime is probably the best deal going on the internet, being that you’ll get free shipping on Amazon orders, plus HBO’s back catalog, and the hundreds of movies and television series you can already watch on Netflix (that are also on Prime). There’s a lot of crossover between the two streaming series, although that’s becoming less so. Netflix is moving more toward original content, and Amazon Prime (and Hulu) are picking up the slack, winning exclusive rights to more and more television series.

Netflix is still the place to go for British television series, and original series, but if you don’t have cable, Amazon Prime is quickly becoming a very competitive alternative. Part of that reason is because of these 18 series you can’t watch on Netflix or HBO:

18. Downton Abbey (3 of 5 seasons): Only the first three seasons are on Amazon Prime so far, but you honestly need only see the excellent, addictive first season, and enough of the second season to know that the excellent addictive quality burns out quickly. For one season, however, Downton was superb television, even if — like me — you’re not into period or costume dramas. I do wish it could have maintained that quality, but as cast members were killed off and plotlines grew increasingly preposterous, Downton fizzled into an average soap opera with amazing costumes.

17. Bosch (1 of 1 season): Not an exceptional series by any stretch — save for the strong performance from its lead, Titus Welliver — Bosch is nevertheless very good television, if you’re into the pace and formula of police procedurals but more interested in a longer story arc. Essentially, Bosch does what The Killing attempted to do, which is to tell the story of one man’s pursuit of a serial killer (Jason Gedrick) while fighting police corruption in his own department, as well as a civil case hanging over his head for shooting an unarmed man. It’s a solid show, but don’t expect much depth or any exciting twists along the way. It’s basically the citified version of Longmire, and that’s not an insult.

16. Orphan Black (2 of 3 seasons): Orphan Black suffers some of what Downton suffers: A great first season that the rest of the series can’t quite live up to. Tatiana Maslany plays several clones variations of the same woman, and she breathes so much life and so many distinct personalities into each clone that you often forget that one woman is playing all the cloned characters (and you will pick a favorite). The supporting cast is mostly great, as well, and for a Canadian series, the production values are excellent. Unfortunately, the series gets so bogged down in its own confusing mythology that it begins to run out of steam, until only the hardest of hardcore Orphan Black fans will stick around for the currently airing third season in only the hopes that the series can find its way again.

15. Suits (4 of 4 seasons): We talk about Suits often enough on Uproxx that you should know it’s not just another legal procedural. In fact, there’s barely any courtroom scenes. It’s a show about bluster, and negotiation, and dick-swinging. There’s some procedural framework in the first half of Season 1, but the series lets go of its premise after that (a brilliant lawyer with no actual law degree fraudulently lands a job at a corporate law firm) and becomes more about the politics of the law firm. It’s not a brilliant show, but it’s witty, sharp, and hella fun to watch, even if every episode is virtually the same (as Danger so aptly describes here).

14. 24 (9 of 9 seasons, including last summer’s reboot): 24 was a groundbreaking series in its first few seasons that helped to shape the course network television over the next decade, although many shows have come along since and done it better. However, during the early run — and off and on throughout — 24 usually remained a wildly entertaining, if not completely absurd, police drama that nevertheless raised the stakes so high that we eventually grew numb to the casualties, the torture, the Jack Bauer yelling, and the explosions in every other season. Still, if you have 145 hours to kill, 24 is akin to a summer blockbuster… big, loud, stupid, and fun.

13. Veronica Mars (3 of 3 seasons): The movie based on the series was both fun and something of a letdown for the way it basically provided an hour and a half of fan service, but it did nothing to diminish the series (especially the first two seasons). In fact, you’ll appreciate the Veronica Mars movie so much more if you’re familiar with the series. Rob Thomas series mastered the art of mixing series long arcs and cases of the week (much like Thomas’ iZombie does now), blending it with a droll Whedon-esque sense of humor, a love triangle, and a Jason Katims-like family dynamic. It’s Buffy, Justified, and Parenthood all rolled into one. Basically, Veronica Mars is close to a perfect show (for two of the three seasons, anyway).

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