Last Updated: May 24th
While Netflix features more and better original programming, Amazon Prime Video holds their own in that department, and they continue to beef up their offerings. As far as licensed content goes, however, Amazon Prime may hold a slight edge, thanks to owning exclusive rights to HBO’s back catalog.
If you’re trying to figure out what to watch next, a great place to start are the 30 best shows on Amazon Prime Video right now, and none of these titles are currently available on Netflix.
30. The Man in the High Castle
Series Length: 2 seasons, 20 episodes
Loosely based on Phillip K. Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name (it also bears some resemblance to Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America), The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternative, dystopian world where Germany won World War II. Basically, the East Coast is occupied by the Germans, and the West Coast is occupied by the Japanese, and there’s a no-man’s land in between. Exec-produced by Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), the series sees various characters working to form a resistance against their occupation by collecting “forbidden newsreels” that show the alternate history in which the Allies won the war in an effort to reveal a larger truth about how the world should be. A dark exploration of what it means to be American, The Man in the High Castle is a well-acted, tense, and often violent dystopian thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep viewers guessing.
29. Mozart in the Jungle
Series Length: 4 seasons, 40 episodes
Created by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Paul Weitz, Mozart in the Jungle stars Gael García Bernal as an orchestra conductor and Lola Kirke as an oboist/protégé. The cast is rounded out with beloved actors like Malcolm McDowell and Bernadette Peters, and familiar faces like Safron Burrows. Mozart is sweet and low-key. Viewers who like Canada’s exceptional Slings and Arrows will like Mozart in the Jungle because it’s essentially Slings and Arrows with classical music instead of Shakespeare. It is frothy and fun, and an absolute pleasure to watch, even if it is not exactly essential television.
28. Red Oaks
Series Length: 3 seasons, 26
Created by Joe Gangemi and longtime Soderbergh collaborator Gregory Jacobs, Red Oaks is set in the 1980s and stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) as a college-aged tennis instructor working at a country club. He has a girlfriend who also works at the country club with him. He’s an aimless kid, and he has no idea what to do with his life, although his father (Richard Kind) wants him to become an accountant. His mother (Jennifer Grey), meanwhile, may have a thing for women. The smartly written sitcom has an early David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls) sensibility (he exec produces, and directs three episodes), and may be best described as a cross between Summer School and The Wonder Years. The best reason to watch, however, is Kind, who brings an immense amount of humor and poignancy to the first season.
Series Length: 6 of 7 seasons, 92 episodes
A legal drama that almost never steps inside a courtroom, Suits stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick Adams as a brash, big-league attorney and his whiz-kid protégé, who is practicing illegally without a law degree. Suits, which has a tenuous understanding of the law, deals week-to-week mostly with settling disputes with cocky threats and yellow manilla folders. It’s rounded out by a fun, USA Network-perfect cast (Sarah Rafferty, Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, and Rick Hoffman) and later seasons of the series are more serialized in nature, dealing primarily with interoffice politics and relationship drama. Nothing about Suits is altering the television landscape (in fact, every episode is the same), and the show is certainly not any threat to television’s heavier dramas. However, over the course of the series, it’s become a rock-solid show, one that was willing to break out of the typical USA Network procedural format years before Mr. Robot came along.
26. Eastbound and Down
Series Length: 4 seasons, 29 episodes
Eastbound and Down tracks the brash, blowhard Kenny Powers, a once-superstar major-league baseball relief pitcher, whose catchphrase was “You’re f*cking out.” He was the “man who could throw his ball fast as f*ck,” but after his rocket arm began to fail him and he resorted to steroids, he quickly flamed out and was driven out of the sport. Trying to make his way back through the minor league system, Danny McBride’s character is broke and forced to live with his brother (Deadwood’s John Hawkes) and take employ as the small-town’s substitute coach. “Yeah. Your new teacher cusses. Let’s get used to it, okay.” Kenny also runs into a fellow teacher, April “Big Cannons” Buchanan, his old high-school sweetheart, and tries to reignite the flame with her, but is repeatedly shut down. Eastbound and Down is not for everyone, and the over-the-top antics of McBride’s character may wear thin for some, but few shows are as rowdy and in-your-face funny as the HBO series.