Amazon Prime is full of classic and recent TV series available free for subscribers. If you’re looking to pick up a new show or revisit an old favorite, here are some great shows you can stream for free with Amazon Prime Video.
Update, 9/6/22: Amazon Prime Video removed some of the shows we recommended, so we’ve replaced those with fresh and up-to-date picks.
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Deconstructing the structure of horror movies is old news by now, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer pioneered the clever subversion of horror clichés while also creating a rich mythology of its own. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the titular character, a seemingly superficial teenager who is designated as the chosen one to fight vampires and other evil forces. Buffy and her friends mature and change over the course of seven seasons while taking on a series of complex and captivating villains.
Much more than a sitcom about community college students, Community uses that basic framework for a self-aware deconstruction of multiple TV genres and traditions. Creator Dan Harmon comes up with brilliant, hilarious parodies of typical TV episode structures while also building strong emotional connections among the core characters.
Community features the kind of intricate weirdness that attracts a devoted cult following, along with the kind of romantic tension that inspires deep fan investment in potential relationship pairings.
Creator Julian Fellowes brings gentle human drama to the British class system in Downton Abbey, which focuses equally on the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants living at the titular estate. It’s an engrossing domestic drama that’s more concerned with relationships than social change, although the six seasons take place over the course of 15 years and chronicle shifting attitudes in British society.
The show is full of charming characters, from the eccentric, outspoken Crawley matriarch Violet (Maggie Smith) to the stalwart, stuffy butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter).
The future depicted in sci-fi series The Expanse is vast and awe-inspiring, but it’s also full of inequality, class struggle, and corruption, just like any system set up by humans would be. Based on the popular novels, The Expanse focuses on the battles between humans living on Earth and in colonies on Mars, with people who work as miners in the asteroid belt caught in the middle.
There’s also a strange alien threat, but the smart, complex series is more interested in the political conflicts between rival human factions.
U.K. import Fleabag is a perfect example of the benefits of the concentrated, self-contained model of British TV series. Creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge tells a bitingly funny and heartbreakingly sad story within the first season’s six episodes. The unnamed main character navigates her disastrous personal life while making frequent snarky asides to the audience. She even matures a bit in the belated second season, which tells an equally hilarious and poignant story of its own.
High school football encapsulates the entirety of life in the small-town Texas drama Friday Night Lights. Wise, empathetic coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) understands that his responsibility extends far beyond just teaching teenagers the fundamentals of football. He guides these young souls as best he can, providing a guidepost for people who are just starting to figure out their lives.
Over the course of five seasons, Friday Night Lights features plenty of amazing comebacks, astonishing displays of skill, and stunning defeats—both on the field and off.
The Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall may never have become breakout stars like other sketch performers, but their series has been influential on generations of comedians. The surreal yet silly sketches feature the five performers taking on a variety of roles, including almost all of the female parts, with notable recurring characters including the Chicken Lady and Buddy Cole.
The Kids’ influence has been so long-lasting that Amazon revived the show for a new season nearly 30 years after it initially ended, with the Kids returning as funny and weird as ever.
One of the best Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an exuberant love letter to the pop culture of the 1950s and ’60s. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino tells the story of the title character (played by Rachel Brosnahan), a privileged New York City housewife who gives up her life of comfort to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.
The show is full of rapid-fire witticisms delivered by fascinating characters in colorful costumes. It’s a celebration of the time period with insight from the present.
While it was overshadowed by other major 1990s sitcoms, NewsRadio easily stands alongside the popular hits of the era. It has a quirkier sensibility while delivering the same kind of camaraderie and character development as other contemporary shows.
The ensemble cast includes Dave Foley, Maura Tierney, Phil Hartman, Khandi Alexander, and more, playing the employees of an AM news station owned by the eccentric Jimmy James (Stephen Root). The show mixes absurdity and warmth, with funny bits of wordplay and characters worth caring about.
The title character of The Night Manager does actually work as an overnight supervisor at an upscale hotel, but this isn’t a show about the challenges of high-end hospitality. Before he was a night manager, Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) was in the British military, and that’s why he’s recruited by an intelligence officer (Olivia Colman) to go undercover in the operation of an international arms dealer (Hugh Laurie).
Based on a novel by espionage master John le Carré, The Night Manager is a slick, thrilling miniseries with a stellar cast that finds suspense and intrigue even in the smallest interactions.