It’s Prime Time: 5 Shows to Get You Hooked on Amazon Prime Video
In a crowded streaming market, we’re here to showcase some of the elite shows available on Prime Video, a service that in our eyes is getting better and better.
From exclusive premieres of new movies (The Tender Bar), premium sport and documentaries (Fever Pitch! The Rise of the Premier League), to a deep catalogue of weird and wonderful classics, there’s enormous value in a subscription. But, just how many of the great shows have you had the chance to check out?
Here are a few we feel are guaranteed to get you hooked on Prime Video and keep you coming back for more. To subscribe via your Fetch box visit Menu > Apps > Prime Video and follow the instructions.
The Underground Railroad
Directed by Barry Jenkins (Oscar-winning Moonlight) and adapted from the Pulitzer Award-winning novel by Colson Whitehead this is a singular television experience that pushes the boundaries of the medium.
It is a historical drama that tells a fantastical tale of the quest for freedom during slavery in the 1800s. Where the ‘Underground Railroad’ in reality was a network of abolitionists and safe houses that helped enslaved African-Americans escape to freedom, the novel (and the series, which is a bold and necessary adaptation of the challenging source material) metaphorically transforms this element into an actual subterranean railroad equipped with engineers, conductors, tracks and tunnels.
A majestic fusion of the unique creative tendencies of both the writer and production team, supported by unflinching realism and a brilliant ensemble cast. This passion project for Jenkins is the sort of prestige TV that benefits from resisting the urge to binge, absorbing the complexities and grandiosity of each individual episode before persevering with more.
Phwoar. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s adaptation of her own one-woman show has become renowned as a pinnacle of the comedy genre. The unnamed ‘Fleabag’ is a free-spirited and sexually-active young woman navigating single life in London; revealing herself to be considerably angry and confused about her relationships with her family and aimless escapades.
I’ll admit, the first few minutes of Fleabag, as we’re introduced to the breaking of the fourth wall commentary and the sort of obnoxious inner monologues, weren’t particularly enjoyable. But, once I started to understand the rhythms of the show’s scathing comedy and undercurrents of tragedy, and simply gave Waller-Bridge’s character a chance to, well, explain herself, the wit and charm starts to shine through. It is also absolutely hilarious.
Andrew Scott, AKA the ‘hot priest’, joins the cast in the second season, but Sian Clifford (as Fleabag’s older sister Claire) and Oscar-winner Olivia Colman (as the sisters’ stepmother) are tremendous throughout. This show is a masterpiece, without doubt.
Amazon’s first original animated series utilizes rotoscoping – meticulous frame by frame tracing of live-action footage – and is a trippy drama about the elasticity of time and reality. Surreal and otherworldly, yet emotionally relatable, this is intelligent and genre-advancing adult animation.
After getting into a nearly fatal car accident, Alma (Rosa Salazar, Alita: Battle Angel) discovers she has a new relationship with time and uses this ability to find out the truth about her father’s death (Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul).
Alma’s relationships with her family and friends; deciphering the riddles left by her father, supporting her soon-to-be-married sister (Angelique Cabral) and convincing her boss (Daveed Diggs) that she’s not going crazy, are all beautifully performed and full of good humour. While the temporal mysteries have their sad moments, this show is a genuinely pleasant and moving experience.
The first season of The Terror – and the one that inspired this recommendation – is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition through the Arctic in 1845–1848. Seeking to find and confirm the navigability of the Northwest Past, polar explorer ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are soon frozen and trapped in the ice and the survivors must endure worsening conditions and a terrifying otherworldly menace.
Featuring a stellar British cast including Ciaran Hinds, Jared Harris, Paul Ready and Tobias Menzies, this enormous-scale production nimbly shifts identity, becoming a survival story unlike few others. The insignificance of man is initially established as the enormous ships feel dwarfed by their icy shackles, but equally destructive are the ways of men; the true nature of character revealed in the struggle for survival.
The second season could not be more different, set predominantly in an American-run Japanese internment camp during World War II. It centers on the Japanese folklore of the Bakemono, a preternatural shape-shifting creature. We’re looking forward to checking this out soon.
For a renowned movie star like Julia Roberts to be convinced to make the shift to television, it must be for something really special. Homecoming, a twisty conspiracy thriller with a dark sense of humour, certainly is. Each episode of the first season is directed by Sam Esmail (creator of Mr Robot), and he is having a lot of fun with the aesthetics. Most notable is the switching of aspect rations between 16:9 and 4:3 to signal not only a shift in timeline but also serve to communicate the emotional state of Roberts’ lead character, Heidi Bergman. But Esmail, utilising the services of music supervisor Maggie Phillips, was insistent on using actual musical scores from a number of classic thrillers including The Thing, The Conversation and Carrie to punctuate the tension.
Heidi works as a social worker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a facility that helps soldiers transition back to civilian life. The story is split across two timelines; Heidi’s employment at the facility and the unusual relationship that she develops with one soldier (Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk), and a period four years later when Heidi, now a waitress at a crab shack, is visited by a U.S. Department of Defense auditor (Shea Whigham, Boardwalk Empire). He makes some enquiries about why she left Homecoming – details that she mysteriously cannot remember.
This is not a show you really dare to delve too deeply into, because it really must be seen to be believed. But, these 10 meaty 30-minute episodes are absolutely riveting. The writing and the acting (the cast also includes Bobby Cannavale as Heidi’s intimidating offsite supervisor) is so strong. A second season, which brings in Janelle Monae, is still compelling but unfortunately can’t match the brilliance of the first one.