As television networks have become more risk-averse and given us duds like Friends with Better Lives and The Crazy Ones, the new frontier of TV entertainment has been on the internet with web series. Amazon has been particularly prolific in producing excellent web series, as well as helping fund shows from independent producers like Alpha House and Betas. Here are 10 must-watch web series from Amazon Prime Video that will make you laugh until you cry, get scared out of your mind, or both at the same time.
1. The Man in the High Castle
This web series is a hit among sci-fi fans. If you haven’t checked it out yet, The Man in The High Castle is based on a novel of the same name by legendary author Philip K. Dick and brings to life an alternative history set in 1962—in which Germany and Japan have won World War II. Although production was halted due to copyright issues, it was later picked up by Amazon Studios and renewed for a second season that will premiere in early 2017. It’s definitely worth your time!
2. Berlin Station
Berlin Station is a new spy series on Amazon Prime that looks like it’s going to be exciting, fast-paced, and fun. If you’re in need of a good thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you should definitely check out Berlin Station. It stars Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) as Daniel Miller, a CIA agent who gets mixed up in a complicated political situation and finds himself involved with lots of international intrigues and suspenseful action. Just don’t expect to find anything even close to The Americans or Homeland—this is much more reminiscent of George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck than anything else. No matter what type of entertainment you enjoy watching, there’s something for everyone on Amazon Prime Video!
3. Mozart in the Jungle
The series is loosely based on oboist Blair Tindall’s memoir, Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music. The protagonist of The series is loosely based on oboist Blair Tindall’s memoir. The protagonist of Mozart in the Jungle, Lola Kirke plays Hailey Rutledge, a new member of an orchestra run by a manager Rodrigo De Souza (Gael García Bernal). Hailey joins to work with visionary conductor Leopold Stokowski as well as for her father Gustavo (Bernal), who manages them both. In short, it tells a tale about sexual politics in the classical music industry. Season 1 has eight episodes while season 2 has 10 episodes which should keep you hooked till the end.
Bosch is a cop drama based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling novels, and it follows homicide detective Harry Bosch. It’s an intense show, but it’s easy to get swept up in Bosch’s fast pace and captivating crime scenes. The first season is free on Amazon Prime right now, so there’s no excuse not to give it a watch. This may be a Netflix original series, but you can watch Fuller House (and several other shows) through Amazon if you’ve got an Amazon Prime subscription.
5. Sneaky Pete
This is a show that starts off slow but picks up quickly and you’ll find yourself binge-watching it in no time. The whole concept behind Sneaky Pete revolves around a con man, Marius Josipovic (played by Giovanni Ribisi), who’s busted out of prison on good behavior after three years behind bars. So instead of serving out his sentence, he uses his cellmate’s identity to assume a new life for himself as Pete Murphy. And under the guise of Pete, he gets hired by an unsuspecting bail bondsman named Julia (played by Marin Ireland) to track down her father, Vince Larkin (played by Bryan Cranston). This one is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already—and if you have, check it out again!
6. One Mississippi
This series follows comedian Tig Notaro as she returns to her hometown after losing her mother. Dealing with bereavement, coming out, and life in general, it’s a raw and affecting look at life. Notaro has a distinctive observational style of humor, but here it is turned inward on herself rather than directed outwardly at others. The result is a heartbreaking look at dealing with loss while maintaining a sense of humor. It’s also a great debut by writer/director Diablo Cody who won an Oscar for Juno. Another bonus: Brad LeBow (One Life to Live) who plays Notaro’s love interest Joe kind of looks like Alan Thicke (so weird), so there’s that too…if you care about such things.
This is a great web series based on a retired professor in his 70s who comes out to his family as transgender. We get to follow along with Maura as she lives her new life. The show has a lot of heart and will make you laugh and cry throughout all seasons. You can also catch Season 3 sometime in early 2017. This series is definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet!
8. Good Girls Revolt
If you’re a fan of Mad Men, there’s a good chance you’ll love Good Girls Revolt. This period drama tracks life at News of The Week and focuses on gender issues and journalistic ethics in an industry that was once dominated by men. It also happens to be quite entertaining. Despite being canceled after just one season, Good Girls Revolt has garnered both critical praise and millions of devoted fans (who are pushing for a revival). If you want to learn more about gender issues in journalism, start with Good Girls Revolt. It’s filled with compelling characters, sharp writing, and what might just be our favorite soundtrack on Amazon Prime Video.
Billy Bob Thornton is back on top after winning an Emmy for his role in Fargo, and it’s a great time to check out his show Goliath. A few people on Twitter refer to it as the Billions of Billy Bob Thornton. If you’re into politics or courtroom dramas (or both), Goliath will be right up your alley. We also recommend getting a few seasons under your belt before you watch The Handmaid’s Tale, which premieres its second season on April 25th (just around Tax Day). The story takes place in a dystopian future where women are treated as the property of the state. Trust us, it’s eerie—especially considering recent political events—and worth watching now before everyone catches on.
10. Z: The Beginning of Everything
This biographical series—based on a bestselling novel about Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald—debuted in February 2016 and was a critical success. It follows socialite/art student Zelda Sayre as she falls in love with novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and struggles to overcome societal expectations for women of her era. This drama packs an emotional punch that will make you fall head over heels for its star, Christina Ricci.