While Amazon Prime Video has largely played second fiddle to Netflix, it has been spending big in recent years to make itself known, with the likes of The Lord of the Rings. Its Indian outfit is pushing hard as well on the original series front, but it has yet to produce an all-out great effort, though we've included one below with a caveat, as you'll see. For what it's worth, a dozen of its international offerings are stronger and hence do factor in. In India, Amazon has done a better job on the acquisitions side, picking up some long-running US cable offerings, which include some high-ranking all-time ones. It's not as diverse as what Netflix has to offer, but it's still a solid collection.
To prepare this list, we used aggregate ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes to draw up a shortlist, with a focus on the former since the latter tends to have a severe paucity of critics' reviews for non-English programming. Additionally, we used our editorial judgement to add / remove a few. This list will be updated once every few months if there are any worthy additions or if some TV series are removed from the service, so bookmark this page and keep checking in. Here are the best TV series on Amazon Prime Video in India, sorted alphabetically.
30 Rock (2006 – 2013)
Tina Fey turns her experiences as head writer of Saturday Night Live into a manic behind-the-scenes look at a fictional sketch comedy show where she's also head writer and must deal with an arrogant boss (Alec Baldwin), crazy stars and co-workers. Had a slight dip in quality in seasons 4-5 but recovered to a strong finish.
4 Blocks (2017 – Present)
Set in the Berlin borough of Neukölln, this German-language crime drama follows the leader of a Lebanese drug cartel who wants to leave behind the violent way of life for a peaceful existence with his wife and their daughter, but is reluctantly pulled in after a police operation threatens everything. Set for a third and final season in 2019.
The Adventures of Tintin (1991 – 1992)
A co-production between three countries – Belgium, Canada, and France – this animated adaptation of cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi's most famous work ran for 39 half-hour episodes across three seasons, delivering nearly two dozen adventures that were praised for their faithfulness, sometimes lifting comic panels to the screen exactly as they appeared.
The Affair (2014 – Present)
A schoolteacher and budding novelist (Dominic West) begins an extramarital affair with a young waitress (Ruth Wilson) trying to piece together her life in this sombre drama, which delivered two strong seasons of deep and psychological observation before a slight dip brought by plot struggles in the third season.
American Gods (2017 – Present)
Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel about an ex-con (Ricky Whittle) who gets pulled into a large-scale conflict brewing between the Old Gods and the New Gods made for a visually-striking first season that had narrative impact, thanks to Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Logan) at the helm.
Battlestar Galactica (2004 – 2009)
In what remains one of the most revered sci-fi series of all-time, a surviving band of humans aboard a military ship search for a fabled colony – Earth – while being pursued by a sentient android race of their own creation, that has the ability to take human form.
Casual (2015 – 2018)
A newly-divorced woman and successful therapist — and her teenage daughter — moves back in with her younger brother and dating site co-founder in this sweet li'l comedy-drama. The two coach each other through the trials and tribulations of the dating world, while collectively raising the girl.
Coupling (2000 – 2004)
Steven Moffat's early 2000s sitcom about six friends – three men and three women – discussing dating, sexual adventures, and all kinds of mishaps went beyond gender stereotypes and kept the laughs coming thanks to eccentric characteristics and plots.
Deutschland 86 (2018)
This sequel to the hit original — Deutschland 83, which is unfortunately not on Amazon — is set in the titular year either side of the Iron Curtain, as it explores life in both West and East Germany through the viewpoint of an undercover spy, who navigates love, family, and secrets. Renewed for a third season, titled Deutschland 89.
Dexter's Laboratory (1996 – 2003)
Cartoon Network's highly popular animated series from Genndy Tartakovsky follows a boy-genius who works in a secret lab in the house's basement, has to constantly battle his elder sister Dee Dee from messing around, and shares a bitter rivalry with neighbour genius Mandark.
Doctor Who (2005 – Present)
David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, and — the first-ever woman Doctor — Jodie Whittaker offer their take on the time-travelling, galaxy-hopping alien in the modern-day revival of the iconic British sci-fi show. Seasons two, three, four, and five are generally considered the best of the lot, with the last of them usually highlighted.
Born without any body parts because of his power-hungry father, a young man — blind, deaf, and more — made up of prosthetics sets out to reclaim what is his from 12 demons in this anime. Along the way, he befriends the titular orphan boy.
Downton Abbey (2010 – 2015)
A post-Edwardian era period drama set in the English countryside, dealing with the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants, and how the great events of the 1910s and 1920s had an effect on their lives and the British social hierarchy. Went through a dip in quality in the middle to late years but recovered for the final season.
The Expanse (2015 – Present)
Hundreds of years in the future, a mankind that has colonised the Solar System is at the brink of a war and it's up to a crew of different origins — Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt — to expose the greatest conspiracy of all.
Fleabag (2016 – Present)
Phoebe-Waller Bridge created and starred in this comedy-drama out of her one-woman play, about a young, sexually-liberated, dry-witted irritable woman who navigates modern life in London while coming to terms with a recent tragedy.
Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen star in and executive produced this comedy-drama about a married couple who've lived the same life — the same conversations, the same meals, and the same lake-house holiday — for 12 years. But after the wife proposes to shake things up, the two find themselves in a whole new world.
Friday Night Lights (2006 – 2011)
The 1990 best-selling book and the 2004 film of the same name are the basis for this drama centred on the players and coach (Kyle Chandler) of a high school American football team in a fictional Texas town, which was great in its depictions of everyday issues and tackled some strong themes during its five-season 76-episode run.
Fringe (2008 – 2013)
This sci-fi series counts J.J. Abrams as a co-creator, and follows an FBI agent (Anna Torv) who is forced to work with an institutionalised scientist considered this generation's Einstein and his estranged son to make sense of unexplained phenomena, which ties into parallel universes and alternate timelines.
The Girlfriend Experience (2016 – Present)
Steven Soderbergh's 2009 film of the same name gets turned into an anthology concept, focusing on the relationships between female escorts with varied backgrounds and their distinguished clients, who are looking for a lot more than just sex. The second season was not as successful as the first.
The Good Fight (2017 – Present)
A spin-off sequel to the critically-acclaimed The Good Wife follows Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) after she's forced out of the law firm where she was a partner, and has to join a high-profile law firm in Chicago. The legal/political drama has more than held its own unlike most spin-offs, and has been praised for its examination of topical social issues.
Good Girls Revolt (2015 – 2016)
Based on real-life events and inspired by Lynn Povich's 2013 book of the same name, this late-sixties drama offers a look at a group of young female researchers at an American magazine, who fight against sexual discrimination and demand equal treatment during a period of cultural upheveal.
Good Omens (2019)
Michael Sheen and David Tennant star as an angel and demon with an unlikely century-spanning friendship in this Neil Gaiman-led adaptation that is guilty of sticking too close to the book he co-wrote (amongst a few other faults). Having grown content with life on Earth, the two try to prevent an approaching Armageddon.
The Good Wife (2009 – 2016)
After a humiliating sex and corruption scandal puts her husband behind bars, his wife – a former state's attorney – must return to work to provide for her family, while battling the unwanted spotlight. Known for its unique legal cases, terrific performances, and delivering consistently on all fronts throughout its long seven-season cable run.
The Grand Tour (2016 – Present)
The former Top Gear trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May continued to do what they did at BBC — review supercars, tour the world, but mostly make fun of each other — for three seasons, before deciding to switch to specials-only for future seasons, now in the making.
In her first series regular role, Julia Roberts plays a caseworker who helps US veterans transition back to civilian life, and a waitress back in her hometown who has trouble remembering her earlier life across two time periods. As an auditor digs into her past, she realises she was being misled. A psychological thriller directed by Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail.
House (2004 – 2012)
For eight long years, Hugh Laurie played the misanthropic and unconventional titular doctor who despite reliance on pain medication and a cane – it actually added to his acerbic personality – led a team at a fictional New Jersey hospital, and made great use of his out-of-the-box thinking and instincts to diagnose patients.
Laakhon Mein Ek (2017)
Biswa Kalyan Rath's anthology series offers a look at unfortunate souls — a teenager stuck at an engineering coaching institute, or a young doctor posted to a rural cataract camp — fighting against prejudices, the system, and more. And generally failing. Not a Prime original per se, but an 'exclusive'.
The Looming Tower (2018)
Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name is adapted into a ten-part miniseries, exploring how the clash and rivalry between the FBI and CIA in the early 2000s may have inadvertently led to America's biggest tragedy, 9/11. Powerfully written and bolstered by great acting, including Jeff Daniels, with a directing tone set by Alex Gibney.
Lost (2004 – 2010)
The survivors of a plane crash must work together to survive on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean, battling supernatural and sci-fi elements. Faltered midway through, recovered, but ended in a disappointing fashion.
Luther (2010 – Present)
Idris Elba stars as a dedicated and brilliant British detective who tries to keep a grip on his personal life while dealing with the psychological fallouts of the crimes he's tasked to solve.
Mad Men (2007 – 2015)
Set in 1960s New York, a slow-burn drama that offers a peek inside a fictional ad agency, focusing on one of its extremely talented executives (Jon Hamm) who's bored by his simple personal life. It offered brilliantly crafted characters and a subversive, intelligent look at the American workplace, while never dropping in quality across seven seasons.
Made in Heaven (2019 – Present)
From the minds of Gully Boy duo Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, a drama about the excesses, hypocrisies, and darkness hiding in the corners of big, fat Indian weddings, told through the eyes of two wedding planners trying to balance their personal and professional lives. Has many faults, not as good as others on this list, but it's the best of what Amazon has produced in India.
Malgudi Days (1987 – 1988)
R.K. Narayanan's collection of short stories about different faces of life in a fictional South India town are selectively adapted for the screen, thanks to his cartoonist brother R.K. Laxman, actor-director Shankar Nag, and producer T.S. Narasimhan.
The Man in the High Castle (2015 – 2019)
Philip K. Dick's popular alternate history novel of the same name, in which the Axis powers won World War II and divided the US to be ruled by Germany and Japan, opened in engrossing fashion and expanded itself in powerful ways in its second year, but was ultimately let down by its unwieldy plot.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017 – Present)
Arguably Amazon's best original to date, the seemingly perfect life of a Jewish housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) in late 1950s New York City crumbles after her husband confesses he's having an affair, which leads her to an unexpected discovery: she has a knack for stand-up comedy.
The Mindy Project (2012 – 2017)
Fresh off her success with The Office, Mindy Kaling created and starred in her own show, a rom-com about an OB/GYN (Kaling) trying to balance her professional and personal life. After three appreciated seasons with a few faults, it moved to streaming where it further refined itself and ended with the 117th episode and six seasons.
Mozart in the Jungle (2014 – 2018)
Inspired by oboist Blair Tindall's 2005 memoir, this four-season long comedy-drama centred on an ambitious oboist (Lola Kirke) who develops a strong bond with the new conductor (Gael García Bernal) of a fictional New York symphony orchestra, with escapades in Mexico and Italy across seasons.
Mr. Bean (1990 – 1995)
Rowan Atkinson's famous character, whom he described as a child in a grown man's body, has appeared everywhere from the London Olympics opening ceremony to an interview on Japanese television, always saying little. He got his start with this iconic series that produced a paltry 14 episodes over five years but gave us enough laughs to last a lifetime.
Mr. Robot (2015 – Present)
Creator, writer and director Sam Esmail taps into modern-day cybersecurity fears and its entanglement with global affairs, told through the distorted viewpoint of an unstable vigilante hacker (Rami Malek) who gets involved in an increasingly complex game to erase consumer debt by wiping out the data of a large multinational corporation.
The Night Manager (2016)
Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman lead the way with strong performances in this six-episode miniseries adaptation of the 1993 John le Carré novel, about a former British soldier and luxury hotel manager (Hiddleston) who becomes an undercover operative to infiltrate the inner circle of an international arms dealer (Laurie).
The Office (2005 – 2013)
This American remake of Ricky Gervais' BBC sitcom mockumentary lasted far longer – 201 episodes over nine seasons – as it followed the quite-often inappropriate and awkwardly-hilarious lives of the employees of a suburban Pennsylvania paper company. Suffered in later seasons but returned to form in the final season after the return of creator Greg Daniels.
One Mississippi (2016)
In this moving two-season comedy, a woman (Tig Notaro) returns home after the sudden death of her mother and struggles to adjust to life as she battles her own health issues, and her dysfunctional family, and discovers more about her mother's past. Notaro is also a co-creator.
Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Amy Poehler starred as an always-optimistic public official in an Indiana town's parks department for seven seasons, surrounded by an ensemble cast as eccentric as the next one. Co-created by Daniels (The Office) and Michael Schur, the show made adjustments after a poorly-received debut season and never looked back, as it blossomed into one of the best sitcoms of this century.
Penny Dreadful (2014 – 2016)
An explorer, a gunslinger, a scientist, an immigrant, and a mysterious and powerful woman (Eva Green) team up to fight supernatural threats that draw upon 19th-century Gothic fiction – think Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll – in Victorian London. Praised for Green's character and her performance.
Person of Interest (2011 – 2016)
Before Westworld, Jonathan Nolan explored AI as a supercomputer that gains sentience, which helps its reclusive billionaire programmer and a presumed-dead ex-CIA agent save lives by giving them the identities of those involved in impending crimes. A procedural that grew into an engrossing serial narrative and mediation on the ethics of controlling an artificial intelligence.
Preacher (2016 – 2019)
After a supernatural event imbues him with a gift, a preacher teams up with his trigger-happy ex-girlfriend and a hard-drinking Irish vampire in search of answers and God. Based on the comic series of the same name, the show has gore and offensive fun aplenty, but can lack in narrative focus.
Psych (2006 – 2014)
After conning the cops into believing he has psychic abilities, a hyper-observant man with eidetic memory becomes a freelance consultant for the local police department, launching a fake psychic agency with his childhood best friend. Improved after a not-so-good first year and has led to TV movies since its eight-season run ended.
Queen Sugar (2016 – Present)
Ava DuVernay and Oprah came together to create this drama based on Natalie Baszile's 2014 novel, about the lives of the estranged Bordelon siblings who move back to Louisiana after their father's death to run the family's struggling sugarcane farm.
Scandal (2012 – 2018)
Kerry Washington became a star for her seven-season run as a former White House communications director who opens her own crisis management firm in Washington D.C. and caters to political clientele with some dark secrets in this soap-y thriller from Shonda Rhimes.
Scrubs (2001 – 2010)
This long-running medical drama kicked off with medical interns at a California hospital, told through the viewpoint of one John “J.D.” Dorian (Zach Braff), using a blend of fast-paced slapstick humour, social commentary, and surreal vignettes — courtesy of J.D.'s daydreams, mostly.
Seinfeld (1989 – 1998)
A ratings and critical success during its run, this sitcom about a stand-up comedian (Jerry Seinfeld) and his neurotic New York friends (Julia Louis-Dreyfus among them) butting heads over trivial questions continues to be a hallmark in television history, albeit a few episodes and characters haven't aged well at all. Co-created by Seinfeld and Larry David.
Shameless (2011 – Present)
Based on the long-running hit UK series also from creator Paul Abbott, the American remake – now in its ninth season itself – is set in the south side of Chicago and centres on a perpetually-drunk single father of six with the children learning to take care of themselves.
Shaun the Sheep (2007)
Before it spawned a feature film that earned Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations and where the titular clever, confident and mischievous sheep talked, this stop-motion animated kids series was known for its bite-sized episodes, with Shaun leading the gang on adventures and running rings around the sheepdog.
Sneaky Pete (2015 – 2019)
Bryan Cranston co-created this crime drama in which a con man (Giovanni Ribisi) assumes the identity of his cellmate to avoid a dangerous gangster whom he once robbed. But living with the faux-family — which has no reason to suspect who he is, because he was long lost — presents challenges of its own.
Supernatural (2005 – Present)
Over two and a half decades after they lost their mother to a demonic supernatural force, two brothers — brought up by their father as soldiers with knowledge of the paranormal — roam across the back-alleys of the USA and hunt down every evil they encounter. Eric Kripke ran the show for five seasons, and the dark fantasy series is set to conclude with its upcoming fifteenth.
The Terror (2018 – Present)
The crew of two Royal Navy polar explorer ships trying to find the Northwest Passage in 1848 are stuck and isolated after their ships are frozen in ice. Facing starvation, cannibalism and a demonic polar bear, they're also stalked by an elusive supernatural menace to make matters worse.
This Is Us (2016 – Present)
This heartstrings-tugging family drama jumps through time to depict the lives of three siblings (Sterling K. Brown among them) and their parents, who seem to be mysteriously linked to each other in ways beyond their shared birthday.
Transparent (2014 – 2019)
A dysfunctional Los Angeles family finds their past and future unravelling following an admission from the elderly father (Jeffrey Tambor) that he identifies as a woman. Winner of several awards including the Golden Globe for best series for its poignancy and empathy, the show will conclude with an upcoming fifth season without Tambor, who was fired for sexual harassment allegations.
Vinland Saga (2019)
Set largely in Danish-controlled 11th-century England, this anime follows Throfinn, a young man brought up by Vikings who murdered his family and perpetually wishes vengeance. They are soon caught in a battle of succession between two Danish princes, while Throfinn dreams of a peaceful land that his father talked about. Adapted by Hiroshi Seko (Ajin, Attack on Titan).
The West Wing (1999 – 2006)
Aaron Sorkin perfected his trademark walk-and-talk in this award-winning political drama that's regarded as one of the most influential works of TV, centring on the lives of staffers who worked in the White House. The show never recovered in quality after Sorkin departed at the end of the fourth season.
Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984)
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro director Kundan Shah and satirist Sharad Joshi came together to deliver this sitcom that deftly poked fun at the Indian middle class, focusing on a poker-faced husband, his vivacious office-going wife, and her unmarried brother. It benefited from the chemistry of its three leads (Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, and Rakesh Bedi) and the sheer versatility of Satish Shah.
Yes Minister (1980 – 1984)
Together with its 1986-88 sequel — Yes, Prime Minister — the two short-lived British series are reigning kings of the political satire, following a newly-appointed department minister struggling to carry out reforms and later, his unexpected elevation to the highest office in the land.