Them, The Wilds, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more great titles you’ll want to queue up on the Amazon streaming service in April.
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What dramatic thriller do you get when you throw Euphoria and Lost in a blender? The Wilds! Here’s the gist: Eight troubled teenage girls are flying private to Kona, Hawaii, to take part in an empowerment retreat called Dawn of Eve when their plane crashes and leaves them stranded on a deserted island. The girls have to rely on each other for survival and through this process, character backstories begin to reveal themselves to viewers through flashbacks. Just about every episode ends with a plot twist that’ll keep you glued til the end. Could it be that these girls may not have wound up on this island by accident? The cast includes Oscar-nominated actor Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters), rising talents Sophia Taylor Ali (Truth or Dare, Grey’s Anatomy) and Reign Edwards (Snowfall, MacGyver), and breakout performances by newcomers like Sarah Pidgeon. This series is Amazon’s first YA series and has already been renewed for a Season 2.
Speaking of wild: How about meeting your life partner for the first time at your own wedding? If you’ve been watching Marriage or Mortgage, 90 Day Fiancé, or were completely enraptured by Love Is Blind last year, then Married At First Sight should be right up your alley. The marriages on this show are 100% real and, shockingly, many of the couples are still together to this day. But that’s not to say there isn’t drama along the way — this is a Lifetime reality TV show we’re talking about after all. Once the couples agree to tie the knot, they’re shipped off on their honeymoon and then plunked back into the real world where they must decide if it’s *really* death do them part.
Watch it on Amazon Prime (the first three seasons are available to stream for free with a Prime membership, while seasons 4-12 can each be purchased for $2.99).
This Amazon Original series based on the Garth Ennis–Darick Robertson comic books offers a gritty subversion to black-and-white renderings of superhero morality. Granted, in the age of Jessica Jones and Watchmen — which all examine a similar question of whether superheroes can also have flaws, or even go so far as to commit evil — it’s hard to say if we can really call this a “subversion.” Where we can say the show paves its own exciting path is in its framing of capitalism as the greatest villain of all. The main group of superheroes in The Boys are known as The Seven — complete narcissists, only interested in helping people if it furthers their celebrity, influence, and their pockets. Sometimes, as we see, that means committing crimes themselves. After Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) experiences a tragedy at the hands of a super, he links up with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), a vigilante who provides Hughie with a chance to get payback. Enter The Boys, a group of non-powered Anti-Supes hunting The Seven and looking to expose them and the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that’s been covering their crimes.
There’s nothing particularly new about a comedian mining their personal life for fodder — but how many can say they were able to spin the worst year of their life into a successful memoir (“I’m Just a Person”), Netflix documentary (Tig), and a semi-autobiographical Amazon Original (One Mississippi)? This is the magic and singularity of the hilarious, straight-shooting comedian Tig Notaro. Co-created and written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult, Tully) and featuring directing by Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said), One Mississippi (the most recent iteration of Notaro’s story) finds Tig “Bavaro” returning to her hometown of Bay St. Lucille, Mississippi to take her dying mother off life support. While battling her own health issues, Tig is forced to deal with uncomfortable truths about herself and her family. This tale of grief feels real and relatable thanks to input from people who know Notaro best, including her partner, Stephanie Allynne, and friend, Rebecca Walker. If you’ve ever lost someone, you’ll be able to cry and laugh with Tig as she strives to move forward and reconnect with her family.
A police drama inspired by Grimms’ fairy tales? Yes, please! Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective for Portland PD. After a visit from his aunt, Nick’s world turns upside down when he finds out he’s a descendant from a long line of monster hunters known as Grimms. As a Grimm, Nick can see things that others can’t, including the half-human half-mythological creature known as Wesen. Now, Nick has to figure out how to balance his role as a detective and his role as a Grimm, which doesn’t always leave him on the right side of the law. Each episode starts with an excerpt from a fairy tale that gives a hint at what the theme of the episode will be. If you’re into crime shows and the supernatural, this show offers a healthy serving of both. FWIW, Grimm was labeled TV’s “most engaging,” show by Nielsen back in 2011.
Watch it on Amazon Prime (all six seasons are available to stream for free with a Prime membership)
If you were shocked to learn how the royals treated Meghan Markle, then you’d probably benefit from a deep dive into Britain’s racist history — and this anthology series is a great place to start. Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen paints a brutal, necessary portrait of discrimination in London toward West Indian communities. The series title is a bold declaration derived from the African proverb, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” McQueen, who is both Grenadian and Trinidadian, crafted stories rich with Afro Caribbean culture. The episodes don’t necessarily connect in story, but you’ll find thematic through-lines that trace police brutality, code-switching, and anti-Blackness. With powerful performances from Black Panther’s Leticia Wright and Star Wars’ John Boyega, by its end you’ll have no problem seeing why it won the Golden Globe for best miniseries.
So you’re super into Vampire Diaries, huh? Well, some would say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer walked so Vampire Diaries could run. In every generation there is a chosen one. In this case, that “one” is Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a vampire slayer who, with the help of her friends, defends her hometown Sunnydale from vamps, demons, and other supernatural dark forces. The quotables alone will have you coming back to rewatch the action drama over and over again (I’ve seen it from start to finish at least five times). At the end of the day, Buffy just wants to be a regular high school student. But, unable to outrun her destiny, she struggles to find the balance between slaying midterms and slaying vampires.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays a maladjusted woman processing grief and guilt following the death of her friend in this bitingly funny series adapted from a one-woman play of the same name. While Fleabag’s first season was a quiet, critical darling, its second (and last) had the whole Internet clamoring for the “Hot Priest” and awards bodies lavishing it with every statuette under the sun. (This series is the first British-made show to win an Emmy for Best Comedy Series.) There’s no doubt that the Amazon show served as a tremendous launchpad for Waller-Bridge, who has since acted in the film Solo: A Star Wars Story and, more recently, cough, a Harry Styles music video for his “Fine Line” track “Treat People With Kindness.”
Ah, some quintessential ‘90s viewing that’ll make you wish you could relive your college years. A Different World started as a lukewarm spin-off of The Cosby Show following Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) at Hillman University, an HBCU and her father’s alma mater, but with Debbie Allen (Grey’s Anatomy) steering the ship in its second season as director and producer, it got a complete makeover and some legs of its own to stand on. A Different World will forever be one of the best documents we have of the Black college experience — addressing controversial topics with humor and compassion while being utterly ahead of its time.
This dystopian sci-fi comedy from creator Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) is set in the year 2033 where we have hologram cell phones, 3-D food printers, and automated grocery stores. Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) is an app developer who ends up in the hospital after a self-driving car accident. Forced to make a quick decision, he agrees to have himself uploaded to his girlfriend’s luxurious virtual afterlife, Lakeview. Which is kind of awkward because they aren’t exactly on the level to be spending eternity together. Once uploaded, his customer service “Angel” Nora Anthony (Andy Allo) helps him navigate the digital afterlife. Eventually, they become friends as they work together to sift through a few inconsistencies with his death. The best way to approach this show, it has been suggested, is to expect Black Mirror with some humorous flourishes, rather than another knee-slapping Greg Daniels project.
When Kelly and her two besties, Darbie and Hannah, find her grandmother’s cookbook in the attic they’re alarmed to learn that it’s actually packed with potion recipes — from “shut ’em up” shortcakes (which work wonders on Kelly’s younger brother) to healing hazelnut tarts (that heal Darbie’s ankle). With great power comes great responsibility and the girls now have to learn how to use the cookbook for good, while keeping it out of the wrong hands. Think: Charmed, but for tweens. If you have kids or younger siblings and you need a safe-for-kids show to watch that’s also interesting enough to keep your attention, too, go ahead and add this one to the queue.
Workaholics is the perfect show for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to work with their childhood best friends. This single-camera comedy stars Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Isn’t It Romantic, Modern Family), Blake Anderson (Game Over, Man!), and Anders Holm (The Mindy Project). The trio show us how to live our best lives as professional telemarketers who have slacker days and even lazier nights. Still holding on to the party life of their college years, these three college graduates take us through the journey of the transition from relaxed college student with no real-world responsibilities to adulthood where they are expected to wear ties, act professionally, and answer to upper management. Workaholics is the perfect show for anyone in need of escape from stiff shoes, straight-edge coworkers, and “adulting” in general. Although the series is over, there’s a Workaholics movie coming soon to Paramount+, which makes this the perfect time to jump in.
This Canadian sci-fi thriller follows petty criminal Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany), as she assumes the identity of a dead woman she shares an uncanny resemblance with in the hopes of making some quick cash. Little does she know, she is about to make the earth-shattering discovery that she’s actually a clone. Unable to just walk away, Sarah searches for answers, meeting several of her sisters along the way. The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her journey becomes. You’ll be blown away by Maslany’s portrayal of each clone, performances that earned her three Emmy nominations and a long-overdue win. While the show’s ratings during its five-season run were nothing to write home about, it attracted a loud and dedicated fanbase online, known as #CloneClub.
In this supernatural teen drama, Tyler Posey (Jane the Virgin, Smallville) stars as Scott McCall, a high school student that gets bit by a creature while searching the woods for a dead body with his best friend Stiles (Dylan O’Brien). Later, Scott turns into a werewolf and has to get a crash course in the supernatural including how to control his animalistic anger around his high school crush, Allison. Now a werewolf, Scott is sucked into drama within a world he just recently became a part of. Unsure of who to trust, Scott has to trust his instincts and his best friend Stiles, to figure out what’s going on in Beacon Hills and how he fits into it. Teen Wolf is MTV’s longest-running scripted show — longer than Daria, even. The series wrapped in its sixth season around the same time as The Vampire Diaries, which left a nice space for CW’s Legacies to make a home amongst teen supernatural dramas. But, Posey remains hopeful that they’ll be able to revive the series one day.
Now in its 12th season, Hoarders dives into the lives of adults who suffer from hoarding — a mental health disorder characterized by a persistent unwillingness to discard one’s belongings, regardless of its condition or value. The people in this show collect things like newspapers, plastic bags, and other items that most people would deem worthless or trash. It’s certainly not an easy watch, but like Intervention and My 600lb Life, it often rewards viewers with an upbeat ending. Teams of experts, including psychologists and professional cleaners, come to the aid of these adults in an effort to help them reclaim their homes and their lives. You’ll be glued to the television as you wonder with each episode if the homes and property can be salvaged.
Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s (Bojack Horseman) deeply human genre-bending animated series is easily one of Amazon’s most underrated shows of all time. At its center is Alma, a woman who walks through life with a cloud of existential malaise. It isn’t until she gets in a car accident, that she’s able to see the world clearly. Maybe a little too clearly, even: Visions of her dead father begin to follow her everywhere until she discovers that her consciousness can actually time travel. What’s particularly unique about this series is the use of rotoscope animation which draws over live-action footage, frame by frame, giving it a more realistic image (think: Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly). The actors were shot in a black box studio, then computer animators created sketches of the set in which the actors would move through. Afterwards, artists created actual oil paintings to use as the scene backgrounds, some of which were chopped with 3-D animation. The result? A trippy, yet beautiful image that blurs dreamscape with reality.
I’ve always wondered how far PR agents would go to protect the image of their clients. While I suspect this show is an exaggerated version (it is), something tells me it’s not far from the truth. Anna Paquin (True Blood) stars as Robyn, an American publicist working in London. Robyn is a great public relations flack, excellent at covering her client’s bad behavior and protecting their public image. But, when it comes to her own life, let’s just say she could use a crisis manager of her own. Originally the show aired on Viacom CBS’ POP TV, but the network pulled the plug on the series days before its Season 2 premiere. Their loss is our gain — now we get Paquin in all of her anti-hero glory, stooping to some rather despicable (albeit entertaining) lows to protect her clients. Here, she joins the ranks of Walter White in Breaking Bad, Nancy Botwin in Weeds, and Jason Bateman in Ozark.
If you like The Crown then you’ll be equally fond of this British historical costume drama. Both tell the story of young heroines navigating the spaces of their royale while soaring above their peers’ expectations (and getting saddled with the responsibility of managing their husbands’ bruised egos in the process). In Victoria, the titular character — credited with maintaining England’s longest-reigning monarch — is played by Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) and follows her ascension to British throne and her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Sticklers will find comfort in the fact that biographer A.N. Wilson served as a historical adviser on the series, lending to the factually sound — albeit dramatically embellished — rendering of real-life events.
This hidden gem from creator Shawn Simmons and Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, centers around Wayne, a 16-year-old on a mission to get back the ‘79 Trans-Am that was stolen from his dad before he died. Wayne isn’t afraid to take a punch, and often does while he’s trying to right the wrongs he finds in life. Along with his new friend Del, he embarks on a violent and hilarious journey that’s a real pleasure to watch unfold. Some will say that the show follows a similar formula as Freaks and Geeks while others will find it belongs more in the spiritual universe of Deadly Class, The Boys, and Teenage Bounty Hunters.
College dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) dazzles his way through an interview to become an associate for a high-powered New York City attorney in this guilty-pleasure USA network series. Will his sponge-like memory and natural brilliance be enough to carry him through the big leagues? Only time will tell! The series features a supporting performance from Meghan Markle — a marquee name that has no doubt contributed to its success as one of cable’s highest-rated programs — playing Mike’s fiancée and co-worker, Rachel Zane. After a seven-year run on the series, Markle left the show to become a full-time royal which changed the dynamic but gave room for new characters to be brought in.
Two-time Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie shines in this medical drama as Dr. Gregory House. Set in New Jersey in a fictional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, House and his team of young diagnosticians take on the most mysterious cases and work diligently to save their patients’ lives while simultaneously stressing out the Dean of Medicine. Although incredibly brilliant, House is also antisocial, arrogant, rude, and addicted to painkillers. With interesting cases, great character development, and a slew of celebrity guest stars (Michael B. Jordan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Seyfried, and Evan Peters — just to name a few), this Emmy award-winning show will not let you down. So, settle in with some popcorn and get ready to find out why it’s never lupus.
It would be wrong not to pass on the tradition of this beloved, LeVar Burton-helmed show to your littles. In it, Burton brings books to life and (rather discreetly) helps kids improve their reading comprehension skills in the process. Sure, you’ll find plenty of content to keep young ones engaged, but a steady stream of celebrity guests (everyone from Patrick Stewart to Run D-M-C to Jeff Bridges), popular music of the time, and a swell of nostalgia will keep adults invested, too. Love for the show is still very much in the air — in 2014, Kickstarter history was made when a campaign to produce new Reading Rainbow interactive books and video field trips hit its initial goal of $1 million in just 24 hours. ($5.41 million had been pledged by its close.)
If you’re a sci-fi fan that loves to dip into a good classic on a weekend, this series is a good contender. Farscape is an Australian-American science fiction epic series about an astronaut on an experimental space mission who gets lost after traveling through a wormhole right in the middle of an intergalactic conflict. With no time to figure out how to get back to earth, he quickly has to figure out how to survive unchartered territories, navigating new allies and new enemies. The series ran in the late ‘90s early ‘00s so it’s filled with deliciously corny effects (you simply love to see). The series was cancelled after its fourth season and fans rioted, leaving SciFi Channel with no choice but to offer a bit of fan service and create the mini-series, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. If you’re a fan of the genre and you haven’t seen this series, you’re in for a special treat.
I can always tell how good a series is going to be by how much story is packed into the first episode — and let me tell you, J.J. Abrams’ Alias pilot could basically be a stand-alone film. Before she was kicking ass in Peppermint, Jennifer Garner starred as Sydney Bristow, a college student turned double agent working for the CIA to infiltrate and bring down an international organization. Garner’s performance is magnetic (as is her assortment of wigs) as she navigates her responsibilities as a super spy and her relationships with her coworker, Michael (Michael Vartan), and her father, Jack (Victor Garber). Earning 36 Emmy nominations throughout its five-season run (three of those were Victor’s, by the way), I’ll be surprised if you don’t make it though at least three episodes in the first sitting.
Ah, nothing like having your half-baked fantasies of living amongst robots totally spoiled. In this series, humanoids — known as Synths — have been integrated into human society and, as it goes with most shows in this vein, things take a bit of a turn for the worst. Humans, which stars (a pre-Marvel and Crazy Rich Asians) Gemma Chan, will make you rethink how much you rely on technology and, ultimately, arrive at a definition of what it means to be human. While this AMC series drew obvious thematic comparisons to HBO’s (mammoth in comparison) Westworld, some critics argued at the time that Humans was, in fact, the superior robot TV show. Not only does the series offer up a fresh perspective on “the rise of the machines” but it may just have you questioning Alexa’s motives the next time she tells you the weather.
This four-part docu-series from Executive Producer Jordan Peele revisits the notorious trial of the ’90s involving a woman (Lorena Bobbitt) who was quick to be painted by the masses as hysteric after cutting off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis and tossing it in a Virginia field. Not unlike the recent doc Framing Britney Spears or the second season of the “Slow Burn” podcast highlighting Monica Lewinsky and the Clinton impeachment, Lorena is laser-focused on the media’s failures in the ’90s/’00s — specifically in its mistreatment of women. In dialogue with the #MeToo movement, the doc allows viewers to re-examine the incident with clear eyes decades later and understand how far we’ve come (and how much further we have to go) in our treatment of domestic violence survivors.
One of Amazon’s most watched original series stars actor John Krasinski (The Office) as Jack Ryan, a former marine turned CIA analyst. Thinking he’s there to work a desk, Ryan uncovers a series of suspicious transactions that catapult him into a dangerous assignment that takes him from behind the desk and into the field. Although Krasinksi is not the first to portray Tom Clancy’s hero, this adaptation for television still feels fresh. There is no lack of action or special effects in this big-budget series. With Season 3 set to release this year, this one should be at the top of your watchlist.
Who doesn’t love a good twist on a classic? Dorothy finds her mother’s magical journal beneath the floorboards of her house. The book triggers a tornado and begins to uproot the house with Dorothy inside, and transports Dorothy and her dog Toto to the city of Oz. Sound familiar? Well, in this version of the story, Oz is a modern-day metropolis. In order to get back home, Dorothy has to follow the yellow brick-line train system to secure magic elements. But, resources are scarce as Oz is in a magic crisis. So, Dorothy sets out to find Glinda the Good, in hopes that she can give Dorothy the magic she needs to get back home to Kansas. Though the show clearly has a younger demographic on its mind, this animated series has just enough of a nostalgia factor to keep parents and older siblings engaged (and possibly feeling rather ancient).
Allison (Ruth Wilson), a diner waitress, is struggling in her marriage to Cole (Joshua Jackson). Noah (Dominic West) is a teacher vacationing at his in-laws’ in the Hamptons with his wife (Maura Tierney) and kids. Noah meets Allison at the diner where she works, and the namesake affair of this critically acclaimed drama begins. Eventually, the indiscretion causes things to unravel in both of their lives. The series uses the memory biases and perceptions of each character to tell the story, flipping back and forth between perspectives. It is an unusual form of storytelling, but works very well in taking the audience on an emotional journey as each character is broken down to grow anew.
Phew, after that series you’re going to need a pick-me-up. Enter: Psych, which pushes the expression “fake it ‘til you make it” to its absolute comedic limit. Shawn Spencer (James Roday) cons his way into working as a detective for the Santa Barbara Police Department by making everyone think he has psychic powers that can help them solve crimes. He reels in his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), to help with the cases, and it’s here the show really throws away the tired procedural script and goes to some truly colorful places in the name of “buddy comedy.” Take for example: “Dual Spires,” a favorite Season 5 episode that pays homage to Twin Peaks and brings in supporting cast members like Catherine E. Coulson, Sheryl Lee, and Ray Wise, or Season 2’s “American Duos,” which satirizes a particular reality television singing format that persists today.
News – 30 Of The Best TV Shows To Stream On Amazon Prime In April