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Top Movies and Shows on Amazon Prime Video in 2021

Get to streamin'

Allison Picurro

The library of TV shows and movies available to watch on Amazon Prime Video can be overwhelming, but that's why TV Guide is here: We get overwhelmed so you don't have to. If you find yourself in need of a helpful guide to the best of Prime Video, you've come to the right place. Our latest recommendation is Amazon's biggest November release, the fantasy series The Wheel of Time, which you should watch if you miss obsessing over Game of Thrones and other shows of that nature. Other recent additions to the list are The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, a movie that stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a man who loves drawing cats, the ridiculous but fun I Know What You Did Last Summer series, and Season 4 of Goliath

An important note about how this list was made: In order to keep it as relevant as possible, we're stressing the best recent releases, Amazon Prime Video originals, and critics' favorites. But we're also putting our own personal spin on the list, with underrated gems we've been recommending to our friends, ageless classics, and important selections that highlight diverse voices.

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.

Last updated Nov. 19, 2021; the most recent additions are at the top

The Wheel of Time

For fans of: Expansive fantasy worlds, Game of Thrones

Number of seasons: 1

Rosamund Pike, The Wheel of Time

Rosamund Pike, The Wheel of Time

Amazon Studios

It's no billion-dollar Lord of the Rings TV series (that's coming soon courtesy of Prime Video), but Amazon's Wheel of Time is based on another popular high fantasy book series and has its own goals of becoming the next Game of Thrones. It's got the usual fantasy boxes to check off: a prophecy about a powerful young person who will save the world, vast world-building that requires its own atlas to keep track of, British accents (why is everyone always British?), and a roster of characters that will take you a few seasons to familiarize yourself with. But after you get past the initial premise — a magician (Rosamund Pike) takes five young people on an adventure to figure out which one of them is "the dragon reborn" — and the deeper you go beyond the initial episodes, the more this looks like it could actually be the next big thing, thanks to an engaging universe and characters you might actually care about. -Tim Surette [Trailer

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

For fans of: Benedict Cumberbatch, cats

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Amazon Prime Video

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the eccentric late 19th and early 20th century artist Louis Wain, known for his cat portraits, who falls for his sisters' governess (Claire Foy), in this fanciful biographical drama. Reviews for the film have been polite but rarely glowing — which is to be expected from a film created and directed by the dark and whimsical Will Sharpe (Flowers) — but it's got Benedict Cumberbatch and cats, so there are a lot of very online people who will certainly love it. Plus, Olivia Colman narrates. [Trailer]

I Know What You Did Last Summer

For fans of: Teen slasher movies, 13 Reasons Why
Number of seasons: 1

Madison Iseman, I Know What You Did Last Summer

Madison Iseman, I Know What You Did Last Summer

Michael Desmond

Everything's getting the reboot/remake/reimagining treatment these days, and the 1997 Jennifer Love Hewitt-Sarah Michelle Gellar slasher movie, also titled I Know What You Did Last Summer, is the latest on the conveyor belt. The show, much like the source material it pulls from, centers on a group of teenagers who kill a person with their car, hide the body, and vow to keep what they did a secret, only to be stalked one year later by a mysterious killer who knows the truth. While the show does provide an intriguing new twist on the material, it's not exactly treading new ground, and we mostly recommend it for the simple joy of getting a cheap scare. But sometimes that really is all you want, so go forth! [Trailer]


For fans of: Billy Bob Thornton, dad shows
Number of seasons: 4

Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Amazon Studios

Metascore: 65

Between Bosch and Jack Ryan, Amazon sure does love a dad show -- case in point, Goliath! This legal drama centers around Billy McBride (played by Billy Bob Thornton, total dad bait) a washed-up, hard-drinking lawyer who, at the beginning of the series, agrees to take on a wrongful death case, and exposes a vast criminal conspiracy in the process. This show follows the tried and true procedural format of addressing issues that relate directly to what's going on in the real world via the fictional cases that McBride takes on. Now in its fourth and final season, Goliath is addressing one of society's greatest villains of all time: Big Pharma. [Trailer]

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

For fans of: Musicals, sweet coming of age stories

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Amazon Studios

This stage-to-screen musical film is destined to set your heart aflame -- provided you aren't a hateful malcontent -- as it tells the story of a 16-year-old high schooler's journey against bullying and toward realizing his dream to become a drag queen. It's been reviewed positively with critics likening it to Billy Elliott, and is exactly the feel-good salve you're desiring. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Sobering looks at history, Steve McQueen



BBC/Rogan Productions

Following Small Axe, his impressive five-film suite of movies about West Indian immigrants in 1960s and 1980s England, director Steve McQueen turns his prolific lens to a trio of documentaries. Most noteworthy is the three-part docuseries Uprising, detailing the 1981 New Cross Fire, an act of arson on a birthday party that left thirteen young Black people dead. Speaking with survivors of the fire, McQueen paints an intimate picture of a country divided by racism and a community that was devastated by a heinous act. If you like that, you can check out the other two films that premiered alongside Uprising: Subnormal, about the educational scandal of the 1960s and '70s that sent Black children to schools for "subnormal education," and Black Power: A British Story of Resistance, which looks at the Black Power movement in England. As usual with McQueen's work, all are excellent. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Scams, leggings
Number of seasons: 1



Amazon Studios

If you're Facebook friends with a certain type of person, you may already be familiar with LuLaRoe, and if you aren't, this four-part docuseries is here to break down one of the internet's most pervasive pyramid schemes. The show explores how this multilevel-marketing company (which is known for selling, among other types of women's clothing, very colorful leggings) hooked its target demographic of stay-at-home moms into becoming sellers, and how it exploited those same people out of money as many of them worked around the clock to try to get rid of their inventory. The lure of MLMs will never stop being fascinating, and this one is no exception — plus, the filmmakers conducted interviews with the company's kooky founders, husband and wife scammer duo DeAnne and Mark Stidham. [Trailer]


For fans of: Pop songs, using the phrase "so bad it's good"

Nicholas Galitzine and Camila Cabello, Cinderella

Nicholas Galitzine and Camila Cabello, Cinderella

Amazon Studios

Did we need another Cinderella re-telling? Probably not, but here's this movie anyway. In this latest version, Camila Cabello plays the fairy tale heroine, now going by simply "Ella," as an aspiring fashion designer with big dreams the traditional society she lives in just isn't ready for. She gets help from her fairy godparent (Billy Porter), pushes back against her evil stepmother (Idina Menzel), and belts out a lot of classic pop tunes you already know, because this confounding movie is also a jukebox musical. If all of that doesn't turn you off, you're definitely ready for Cinderella, girlboss edition. It's not "good," per se, but the baffling choices will certainly make you laugh. This could be a new camp classic in the making. [Trailer]


For fans of: Adam Driver, creepy puppet babies, A Star Is Born

Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, Annette

Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, Annette

Amazon Studios

If you care at all about film festivals, you've probably already heard of Annette, but if you haven't, listen carefully: This is a musical movie where Adam Driver, speaking in an even lower register than usual, plays Henry, a stand-up comedian who falls in love with Marion Cotillard's Ann, an opera singer. Their relationship declines after the birth of their mysteriously prodigious daughter Annette (who is played, confoundingly, by a puppet), and from there it becomes A Star Is Born by way of Marriage Story, but with a touch of surrealism. It's a fast-paced, hallucinatory rollercoaster that is certainly not for everyone, but will definitely have you reeling. [Trailer]

The Pursuit of Love

For fans of: Period dramas with modern sensibilities, female friendship, Andrew Scott
Number of seasons: 1

Amazon's The Pursuit of Love, a British import that's already been met with great reviews in its native land, is perfect for anyone who loved the antics of Netflix's Bridgerton, but is looking for something a tad less sultry. The three-episode miniseries stars Lily James and Emily Beecham as cousins in the early half of the 20th century in England as they, ahem, pursue love and grow up, and how their friendship perseveres despite each wanting different things. Dominic West and Andrew Scott also star, and the modernization is complete with a great soundtrack that includes New Order and T. Rex. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Intimate portraits of '80s icons

Val Kilmer gets the autobiographical treatment in this intimate documentary about his life and career. Kilmer lends his own home movies he's taken over the years to the film -- which includes videos from the set of Batman Forever, and footage of younger versions of Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon just hanging out -- and provides a look at his struggle with throat cancer, from which he's still recovering and has left him using a prosthesis in order to speak. It seems more revealing than the standard celebrity doc, and that's enough to get me to watch. [TRAILER]


For fans of: Crank, Kate Beckinsale violently brutalizing goons

Kate Beckinsale, Jolt

Kate Beckinsale, Jolt

Amazon Studios

Kate Beckinsale could have coasted in her career and played a lonely single mom who gets wooed by a hunk in various rom-coms, but thank god she's decided to be a butt-kicking action hero instead. In Jolt, she plays a woman with a unique condition that you'll only find in movies: If she doesn't electroshock herself with a custom-made harness, she loses her temper and starts to beat the sh-- out of everyone. Let's just say she doesn't always get the jolt she needs in time... a lot. There's also a scene in which she throws babies, and there are many swift kicks to the groin. Dumb fun, good time. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Modern Love

For fans of: The New York Times, celebrities
Number of seasons: 2

This is a show based on a newspaper column -- specifically the New York Times's Modern Love -- and if that doesn't sound like the most interesting concept, I can almost guarantee that at least one episode stars a celebrity you like. It's an anthology, so every episode is adapted from a different story: There's the Dev Patel episode, in which he stars as the founder of a dating app who's still in love with his ex-girlfriend, and the Anne Hathaway episode, where she plays a woman trying to cope with bipolar disorder. There's also the episode where Tina Fey and John Slattery go to marriage counseling, and the one where Andrew Scott has troubles with his surrogate. Season 2 adds episodes starring Minnie Driver, Kit Harington, and Domnique Fishback. To be honest, this is really more for hardcore rom-com fans than a general audience, so go in expecting some sappiness. [Trailer]


For fans of: Cartoon violence, superhero origin stories, celebrity voices
Number of seasons: 1

No one would blame you for having superhero fatigue, but Invincible is a little different from your average Marvel movie. Based on the comics by The Walking Dead'Robert Kirkman, this animated series follows Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), a 17-year-old kid who just so happens to be the son of the world's greatest superhero. When his own powers begin to develop, he learns some shocking information about himself and his father's legacy, all while trying to balance carving out his own identity as a hero with the normal anxieties that come along with being a teen. Alongside Yeun is an incredibly stacked voice cast that includes J.K. SimmonsSandra OhMahershala AliGillian JacobsSeth RogenMark HamillMae Whitman, and many, many more. [Trailer]

A Very English Scandal

For fans of: Watching Hugh Grant play a terrible, shady person
Number of seasons: 1 (just three hourlong episodes)

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

Sophie Mutevelian/BBC/Blueprint Television Ltd

Hugh Grant loves playing jerks who don't respect their wives; this is an indisputable fact. But a few years before he played the bad husband on The Undoing, he was playing the bad husband on A Very English Scandal, a show about a very real sex scandal that went down in the '70s. Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a member of Parliament who has an affair with Norman Josiffe (Ben Whishaw), a younger stable hand, which is complicated by the fact that Thorpe is both a public figure and married with a child. When the scandal blows up in the British press, a vicious battle breaks out between Thorpe and Josiffe. The best part of it all is that this show is an incredibly short watch, clocking in at only three episodes long. [Trailer]


For fans of: Jennifer Garner, spies
Number of seasons: 5

There's nothing like the sheer go-for-broke joy of watching Alias when it's firing on all cylinders, which is why it's always so exciting when the ABC series returns to streaming (even if most of its original music had to be changed due to licensing issues). J.J. Abrams' high-octane early-2000s spy drama follows Jennifer Garner's Sydney Bristow, a grad student who moonlights as a globe-trotting double agent for the CIA, as she hacks into servers while wearing colorful wigs and tries to make it home in time for midterms. The early seasons, in particular, are thrilling, twisty, and powerfully emotional in a way that grounds the show's campier side. It's no surprise that Alias began with Abrams daydreaming about how fun it would be if Felicity from Felicity turned out to be a secret spy, a prophecy that would later be fulfilled by Keri Russell's turn in The AmericansThe Americans is also great and also on Amazon; watch them both for the perfect spy double feature. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

The Americans

For fans of: Secrets, liars, spies, Keri Russell
Number of seasons: 6

The AmericansJoe Weisberg's exquisite Cold War spy series, stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as a pair of Russian intelligence officers posing as an American couple, complete with a white picket fence and two kids who are none the wiser. The Americans finds violence behind the closed doors of a picture-perfect home, spinning every global conflict into a metaphor for domestic life. It's electric, thrilling, and the best show of the 2010s. -Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

The Big Sick

For fans of: Pre-Marvel Kumail Nanjiani, heartfelt rom-coms

This romantic comedy is based on the actual love story between Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani plays the fictionalized version of himself while Zoe Kazan plays the fictionalized version of Emily, whose sudden diagnosis with adult-onset Still's disease -- and the coma she falls into -- throws a major wrench into their burgeoning relationship. While Kumail and Emily's story is undoubtedly the thing that drives The Big Sick, Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who play Emily's parents, are the movie's grounding forces. You'll probably walk away from this mostly wishing they could adopt you. [Trailer]


For fans of: Capitalism, but make it camp; pissing contests
Number of seasons: 5 (renewed for Season 6, date TBD)

Showtime's financial soap is part prestige drama and part grown-up frat party, following the reckless assholes of a Wall Street hedge fund as they accumulate wealth and eat sushi off naked women. That grotesquery is off-putting at first, but it soon becomes the reason to watch as the toxic masculinity sirens become music to your ears. And if you enjoy acting, Damian Lewis playing the hedge fund CEO and Paul Giamatti as the government lawyer trying to take him down will please. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

For fans of: Sequels, the way Borat says "my wiiiiife"

Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Amazon Studios

It's hard not to be wary when a beloved character is resurrected for a second go-around years later, but Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (full title Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) is the rare sequel that works. Sacha Baron Cohen returns as Kazakh journalist Borat, and the international fame he's racked up since the first film has hurt more than helped his home country. In an attempt to redeem Kazakhstan, he returns to America with the hopes of delivering a gift to former President Donald Trump (this movie was released right before the 2020 election, which does admittedly give some of the jokes a 10-second expiration date), but more compelling than all of that is Borat's legitimately sweet relationship with his daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova, who absolutely earned the Oscar nomination she received for her performance), who accompanies him on his mission, much to his chagrin. Honestly, the Rudy Giuliani stuff is the least interesting thing about this movie. It's good! Wa wa wee wa indeed. [Trailer]


For fans of: Troubled cops, the parts of L.A. that aren't so nice, The Shield
Number of seasons: 6 (Season 7 coming June 25, 2021)

Author Michael Connelly's rough-around-the-edges cop Harry Bosch comes to the screen in one of Amazon's most popular original series, a prestige dad show about morality and cleaning up the scum of Los Angeles. Titus Welliver plays Bosch, a homicide detective who doesn't always play well with authorities, but that might have something to do with the fact that he's always caught up in investigations against him dealing with police procedure. The police work is much more authentic than what you're used to, which some might call slow, but it's worth the watch for some gripping turns and its gritty atmosphere. A final season is coming, as is a spin-off. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Boys

For fans of: Superheroes with a twist
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for a third season, date TBD)

The Boys is about superheroes, but not the Avengers kind. It would probably be more accurate to say that this show is about supervillains, or at least, villains who think they're heroes. Let me explain: The Boys is set in a world where superheroes are revered as celebrities and work for a giant corporation, but outside of saving the world, most are abusing their powers and are pretty bad people. (I'm talking actual Nazi-level bad, in the case of a few characters.) Enter... the titular Boys, a group of vigilantes who have tasked themselves with bringing down the corrupt "heroes." A lot of other things happen, but if you're looking for something that really strives to break the mold Marvel and DC have created, The Boys is the thing to start with. [Trailer]


For fans of: Unlikely romance, people being lovingly mean to each other
Number of seasons: 4

Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe

Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe

Amazon Studios

Co-creators and co-writers Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan star in this Amazon original comedy as the affable American Rob and the sardonic, disillusioned Irish Sharon, two single people who find themselves falling into a relationship after a short fling in London leaves Sharon pregnant. Catastrophe is the kind of show that celebrates the joys and frustrations of unexpected romance, telling us that love isn't easy, but it's worth having if you can find it. If all that wasn't enough, the late, great Carrie Fisher makes recurring appearances as Rob's eccentric, judgmental mother. [Trailer]


For fans of: Fringe, The Americans, if Fringe and The Americans had a baby
Number of seasons: 2

You want to watch one of the best science-fiction series of the last decade, but you also want to watch one of the best espionage thrillers of the last decade. The solution to both is Counterpart, an appallingly underwatched series that ran on Starz for two seasons from 2017 to 2019. J.K. Simmons stars as a low-level pencil pusher at a government agency in Berlin, where he learns that his job actually involves work with a top-secret parallel universe, and things only get more complicated when his counterpart, a hotshot spy from the other universe, arrives in his universe to stir up trouble. Or is he there to save the world(s)? It's a brilliant drama that allows its cast -- which includes Olivia Williams and Harry Lloyd -- to stretch itself out with the show's fun premise. -Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Serial killers with feelings, lumberjack beards
Number of seasons: 8

During television's heyday of prestige dramas, Dexter was Showtime's entry into that crowded space, following a blood spatter expert (Michael C. Hall) who also happened to be a serial killer. It was an instant hit, offering a macabre look at the mind of a murderer who painstakingly went through the process of killing other murderers and cleaning up the messes afterward. The show's appeal waned in later seasons, because Showtime has no issue letting series run out of creative juices as long as they're still fairly popular, but the early seasons are still great. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Expanse

For fans of: Spaaaaaace, complex political and social situations, Fedoras
Number of seasons: 5 (renewed for a sixth and final season, date TBD)

The Expanse

The Expanse


You may have heard people calling The Expanse "the best sci-fi series on TV right now," and gosh darnit, they're right. The series that Jeff Bazos reportedly personally saved from cancellation after Syfy axed it is a wonderfully complicated political thriller that just so happens to take place in space as Earth and Mars are on the brink of war and an alien somethingorother threatens all of humankind. Telling an intragalactic story from multiple planets and multiple points of view, The Expanse is Game of Thrones-level rich. Well, when Game of Thrones was good. Plus, Thomas Jane plays a detective with a dope hat. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Farewell

For fans of: Lovable grandmas, dysfunctional families

In 2020, Awkwafina became the first Asian American woman to win a Golden Globe for her performance in Lulu Wang's dramedy about a Chinese-American family who decide not to tell their terminally ill grandmother that she only has a short while left to live. While that stat obviously says something terrible about awards shows in general, Awkwafina deserved the trophy for the work she does in The Farewell, a movie that has a lot of wonderful parts that all add up to a heart-wrenching package: a reflection on the immigrant experience, an exploration of identity, and a celebration of the lovable messiness of family. [Trailer]


For fans of: People trying their best, rule-breaking priests, watching Olivia Colman be rude
Number of seasons: 2 (six episodes each)

Created by, written by, and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag takes us inside the everyday life of the titular Fleabag (Waller-Bridge), and the ways in which she fails upward romantically, professionally, and in her familial relationships. Its first season is a hilarious show that's also about the pain of hidden trauma, but it's in its second season where Fleabag confidently figures out exactly what it wants to say. As Fleabag begins to explore her strange, fleeting connection with Andrew Scott's (Hot) Priest, repairs her complicated relationship with her uptight sister Claire (Sian Clifford), and struggles to figure out the kind of person she wants to be, the show shines. By the time those two words heard 'round the world are uttered in the series finale -- "It'll pass"; if you know, you know -- it's abundantly clear that Fleabag has earned its cathartic, triumphant ending. [Trailer]

Get Duked!

For fans of: Trainspotting, psychedelics

This 2019 British black comedy film will easily remind you of Danny Boyle's bonkers classic Trainspotting, and it should: three Scottish teens with a knack for partying and doing drugs get into trouble. In Get Duked!, they're joined by a do-gooder and wander the Highlands to win the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a survival challenge that turns boys into men, but they get stuck in the middle of a hunt-or-be-hunted situation, with Eddie Izzard playing a psycho with a sniper rifle. Believe it or not, it gets weirder from there. Hilarious, ridiculous, and packed with social commentary, this would be regular viewing in weed smoke-filled dorm rooms of the late '90s. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Handmaiden

For fans of: Deception, but in a sexy way

Ha Jung-woo and Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden

Ha Jung-woo and Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden

Amazon Studios

The Handmaiden is one of those movies where every character is scamming another character, resulting in an exciting, dramatic thriller. It starts out as a film about a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) who devises a plan to seduce a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance. He enlists the help of a pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) to act as the heiress' maid and confidante, tasking her with encouraging marriage between the two. Things begin to get more dangerous as deeper relationships develop in the messy, intertwined trio, which is all I want to say without actually spoiling the plot's genius twists. What you should know going in is that this movie was directed by Park Chan-wook, who gave us the brutal, bloody Oldboy, so you prepare for some gruesome imagery. [Trailer]


For fans of: Little girls kicking butt, the movie Hanna
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for Season 3)

Joe Wright's Hanna was an electric action film about a young girl genetically modified to be a government assassin, and Amazon's television adaptation isn't much different. When you have a little girl kicking the butts of grown men, why change it? But with Hanna the TV show, creator David Farr, who wrote the film, decided there was enough room in the margins to flesh out the universe, adding much more complexity to the characters, particularly Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett in the film, Mireille Enos in the show), and exploring more stories from the UTRAX program, like Season 2's academy for young female assassins. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Jack Ryan

For fans of: America, bedside table books for your dad, buffed John Krasinski
Number of seasons: 2 (renewed for Season 3)

Amazon takes author Tom Clancy's most famous character and digs into Jack's origins with this political thriller starring John Krasinski as the titular CIA agent who regularly mops up international conflicts with both brain and brawn. It isn't trying to reinvent the genre so much as update it for today's era, with expensive location shoots and top-tier action to cover the so-so plot, but for easy Sunday night viewing, that's exactly what you (and your dad) want. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Knives Out

For fans of: Chris Evans' white sweater, twisty mysteries

Has there been a bigger crowd-pleaser from the past few years than Rian Johnson's mystery-comedy film Knives Out? It centers on the exorbitantly wealthy Thrombey family, who come together when their crime novelist father (Christopher Plummer) commits suicide. Or does he? When an eccentric private investigator (Daniel Craig, doing some serious accent work) shows up suspecting foul play, the motives of every member of the family are suddenly in question. This is just one of those movies where it seems like everyone in the stacked cast -- Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Toni Collette, and more -- had the time of their lives on set, which makes an already absorbing story even more fun to watch. Plus, yeah, the sweater[Trailer]

Making the Cut

For fans of: Project Runway, the business of fashion
Number of seasons: 2

Project Runway has gone through a makeover in the past few years, so if you happen to miss having the very stylish duo of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn on your TV, Making the Cut is the next best thing you can get. Making the Cut is a fashion competition show, pitting 12 up-and-coming designers against each other to see who has what it takes to start the "next big global fashion brand." Now, "big global fashion brand" is definitely extremely vague language, but there are some seriously talented contestants on this show, and people get very emotional in nearly every episode, which is alternately sweet and stressful to watch. Gunn in particular will always make such great TV as he delivers on his signature brand of inspirational tough love to push the designers to be their absolute best. Plus, it boasts some excellent guest judges, like Naomi Campbell and Nicole Richie. [Trailer]

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

For fans of: Pastiche, talking fast
Number of seasons: 3 (renewed for a fourth season, date TBD)

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amazon Studios

If you've seen even one episode Gilmore Girls, you're already familiar with the Amy Sherman-Palladino style: women who talk fast in a way that both annoys and charms everyone they meet. That same sensibility is also present in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sherman-Palladino's comedy series about Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a 1950s housewife who begins moonlighting as a standup comedian to let off steam from the trials and tribulations of her daily life. The show follows her successes and her blunders as she traverses the world of comedy alongside her gruff manager, Susie (Alex Borstein), the ways she tries to keep her secret life hidden from her eccentric parents (Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle), and her relationship with her ex-husband, Joel (Michael Zegen). It's won a ton of Emmys and will probably win a ton more as it goes on. [Trailer]

Mr. Robot

For fans of: Stanley Kubrick, paranoia, destroying the system
Number of seasons: 4

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot

Rami Malek, Mr. Robot

Elizabeth Fisher/USA Network

Sam Esmail's conspiracy thriller ranges from masterpiece to overcomplicated, but thankfully it's more of the former than the latter. Rami Malek made his name as Elliot, a misanthropic hacker whose hobby helped him try to understand people as much as it got him data, but his anxiety grew after stumbling across possible secrets from one of the fastest-growing predatory tech companies in the world. Things escalate to global proportions, with most of the action happening over keyboards and monitors while we sheep were none the wiser. Mr. Robot pushed plenty of boundaries, most notably by showing how a TV show could be shot like auteur cinema. Watch Season 3's continuous-shot "Runtime Error" to see it in action. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

One Child Nation

For fans of: Learning about history without opening a book

This award-winning documentary will teach you all about a painful chapter in China's history via the one-child policy, which lasted from 1979 to 2015. Real people who lived through such a devastating period speak on their experiences, and the film delves into the damaging effects of government propaganda. Interestingly, One Child Nation is given a personal touch by co-director Nanfu Wang, who weaves stories of her own experience as a new mother in with the documentary's overall narrative. [Trailer]

One Night in Miami...

For fans of: Historical figures, monologues

Directed by Regina King and based on a play by Kemp Powers, this film tells a dramatized account of a 1964 meeting between Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). They spend the night in a Miami hotel room together and end up arguing for a good portion of it, about X's belief that Cooke has sold out by pandering to white audience with his music, and Ali's, referred to in the film as Cassius Clay, decision to convert to Islam and change his name. It's an interesting movie that succeeds in peeling back the curtain on four pretty untouchable cultural icons, revealing more about their anxieties, inner lives, and ambitions than the average biopic would. [Trailer]

Orphan Black

For fans of: CLONES, Tatiana Maslany
Number of seasons: 5

Orphan Black burst onto the scene in 2013, coming out of nowhere to stun critics and viewers with its crafty premise: A con artist witnesses the suicide of another woman who looks just like her, leading her down a rabbit hole of clones and conspiracies. The BBC America series combines action, science-fiction, and humor extremely well, creating characters you'll adore (Alison Hendrix is a legend). It's a treat to watch them venture into each others' orbits. Chameleon Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy for her roles as the many clones, though she really should have won at least three. The first seasons are the strongest, but Maslany and the cast stay great throughout its run. -Lindsay MacDonald [Trailer]


For fans of: The Coen Brothers, cinematography, comedic violence
Number of seasons: 2

My best piece of advice: Stop everything and watch Patriot now. Steven Conrad's bizarre spy series stars For All Mankind's Michael Dorman as an aspiring folk singer dragged into espionage by his father, forcing him to go undercover as an employee at a pipe manufacturer in Milwaukee. Yeah, that sounds weird, and it is, charmingly. It's bolstered by artsy cinematography, colorful characters, and comedy so dark you might be ashamed to laugh. It's one of Amazon's hidden treasures. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Small Axe

For fans of: Social justice stories, period pieces
Number of seasons: 1

John Boyega, Small Axe

John Boyega, Small Axe

Amazon Studios

Small Axe is peak prestige television in that it's not actually television at all, but instead an anthology collection of five films directed by Steve McQueen. Every installment focuses on London's West Indian community in the years between 1969 and 1982, and each stars a great group of actors that includes John Boyega, Letitia Wright, Jack Lowden, and more. The stories don't overlap, but they all do an excellent job of building out the world, and they deal with issues and themes that impact the community, like police brutality, education, and what it means to be part of British society as a person of West Indian descent. On one hand, yes, five films is a lot to ask of viewers, but on the other, it just so happens that McQueen is an incredible director with a strong vision, and each one is worth your time. If you only want to try one, give "Lovers Rock," a romance centered around a reggae house party, a spin. [Trailer]

Sneaky Pete

For fans of: Cons, slippery situations
Number of seasons: 3

From the still-smoldering ashes of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston (along with House's David Shore) created this twisty crime drama about a con man (Giovanni Ribisi) fresh out of jail who assumes the identity of his still-imprisoned cellmate in order to avoid thugs who want to kill him. The con job involves embedding himself into a family as a long-lost relative, which is a ticking time bomb ready to explode with consequences. Check it out if you're into watching desperate crooks wiggle out of tight squeezes. Bonus: Cranston plays a mob boss and Margo Martindale plays a suspicious mom. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Sound of Metal

For fans of: Heavy metal band t-shirts, being emotional

I am of the opinion that Riz Ahmed gave the best performance of 2020 as a heavy metal drummer losing his hearing in Sound of Metal, and he very correctly earned an Oscar nomination for it. As Ruben, he explores the emotional trauma of sudden deafness -- literally, as it plays out in the film, one minute he can hear perfectly and the next everything is muffled, and eventually gone completely -- and the importance of finding community as he goes to live in a rural home for deaf recovering addicts, run by Joe (Paul Raci, also rightfully Oscar nominated for his work). Sound of Metal's sound design is nothing short of incredible, and most notably, director Darius Marder cast many actual Deaf actors who help bring the story to life. [Trailer]

Sylvie's Love

For fans of: Tessa Thompson, period romance

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, Sylvie's Love

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, Sylvie's Love

Amazon Studios

If sweeping romance is your thing, this film should be your next watch. Set in New York City in 1962, it stars Tessa Thompson as Sylvie, an aspiring TV producer who strikes up a summer romance with a saxophonist (Nnamdi Asomugha) who works at her father's record store. Life eventually drags them apart, and they both go on without each other for a while, only to reunite years later to find that their connection remains just as strong. [Trailer]

The Tomorrow War

For fans of: Independence Day, action broken up by passable humor

A muscly and brainy Chris Pratt stars as a scientist who, along with thousands of others, is zapped 30 years into the future to help future soldiers fight an alien invasion and save the human race. Yeah, if that insane logline doesn't turn you off then you should enjoy this popcorn flick that doesn't take itself too seriously -- as evidenced by the many one-liners from comedians Sam RichardsonMike Mitchell, and Mary Lynn Rajskub -- but doesn't skimp on hours of soldiers unloading clips into grotesque aliens. It'll remind you of Starship Troopers without that sharp commentary. [Trailer]

The Underground Railroad

For fans of: Alternative histories, Barry Jenkins' magical touch
Number of seasons: 1 

Barry Jenkins made his first big foray into TV with this miniseries based on the Colson Whitehead novel about an alternate reality that imagines the Underground Railroad as an actual railroad with trains, conductors, and engineers. Cora (Thuso Mbedu), an enslaved woman, boards the train in effort to secure her freedom, all while being pursued by a vicious slave owner (Joel Edgerton). William Jackson Harper and Lily Rabe co-star. [Trailer]


For fans of: Masterful animation, metaphysical musings
Number of seasons: 1 (renewed for a second season, date TBD)

In this gorgeous rotoscoped drama, Rosa Salazar stars as a woman who wakes up after a car accident and discovers she now possesses the ability to manipulate time — and communicate with her deceased father (Bob Odenkirk). He recruits her to use her newfound powers to try to prevent his death 10 years prior. But even as she races backward and forward through time to save her dad, she wonders whether any of it is real or whether she's experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, which her grandmother had. With eight addictive 22-minute episodes, Undone is a breathtaking visual feast that demands to be consumed in a single sitting. –Noelene Clark [Trailer]

The Vast of Night

For fans of: That classic sci-fi feel, first-time directors making a huge splash

This 2019 science-fiction film from director Andrew Patterson is one of the best directorial debuts of the last decade, with Patterson's keen eye able to bring to life a small town experiencing strange phenomena from the sky. Featuring some truly incredible continuous shots involving hundreds of extras and one of my favorite intimate cinematic scenes featuring just one person on screen, The Vast of Night is a film school student's dream. It follows a young switchboard operator and a disc jockey in 1950s New Mexico trying to find the source of unidentified sounds, and it's an entrancing thriller from the opening shot to the closing seconds. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Wilds

For fans of: Teens, getting stranded, Lost
Number of seasons: 1 (renewed for a second season)

Jenna Clause, Sarah Pidgeon, and Mia Healey, The Wilds

Jenna Clause, Sarah Pidgeon, and Mia Healey, The Wilds

Amazon Studios

A mix of Lost and Lord of the Flies, The Wilds stars a mostly unknown cast of young women as teenage girls with an assortment of issues who are en route to a spiritual retreat when their plane crashes on a deserted island, forcing them to work together to stay alive. It naturally leads to plenty of bickering and politicking, as the group have different skills and backgrounds, while flashbacks and flashforwards fill out the rest of the story on both ends of the timeline. And if you think they ended up there on accident, then you clearly haven't watched enough television shows. This is a gritty, twisty thriller with a huge season-ending cliffhanger that has us dying for Season 2. [Trailer]


For fans of: Crime dramas, virtual vacations
Number of seasons: 1

ZeroZeroZero is a sprawling crime drama in every sense, following the life cycle of cocaine from production in Mexico to transport by an American shipping company to sale by the mafia in Italy. Of course, problems with the shipment arise, leading to infighting among syndicates and, yep, murder. Come for the crime, stay for the gorgeous on-location shots. -Tim Surette [Trailer]