30 Best Shows Of 2023 On Amazon Prime

Updated June 24, 2024 • Staff
As Netflix's biggest competitor, Amazon Prime has been steadily ramping up its productions. The streaming service has new TV shows released almost every week not just in the States but all around the world as well. There are different languages, genres, and formats, some as big-budgeted as Daisy Jones and the Six and Dead Ringers, others serving as hidden gems in the platform, like Class of '07 and Deadloch. Below you will find our recommendations for the best shows of 2023 on Amazon Prime. These recommendations are all highly rated by viewers and acclaimed by critics. They were also watched and vouched for by one of our writers.
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20.

Harlem

Harlem follows four 30-something friends trying to live their best lives in their New York neighborhood. It sounds cliché—another group of women navigating work, love, and personal growth in NYC?—but thanks to the deft direction of Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) and the dynamic performances of the show’s leads, Harlem is a blast to watch. The women are at once prickly and sparkly as they dive headfirst into romantic escapades, sexual explorations, and career ambitions. Their chemistry with each other is a scene-stealer, and you almost wish you can just sit with them all episode as they spill the beans over cocktails and brunch. Raunchy, ridiculous, and relatable, Harlem is delightful through and through.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Grace Byers, Jerrie Johnson, Meagan Good, Shoniqua Shandai, Tyler Lepley
Rating: TV-MA

Free Watching Options:

Watch Harlem on Amazon Prime for free
19.

Soap Opera

The less you try to think about the absurd fantasy premise of this satire on Brazilian telenovelas, the better. Based on the first three episodes watched for this review, Soap Opera (or Novela in Portuguese) doesn't provide an airtight idea of how things work when screenwriter Isabel is sucked into a TV—meaning any sense of urgency or narrative stakes don't feel terribly high. But still, countless possibilities open up the longer that Isabel remains in her own creation. Here she can take full creative control (literally) of how she wants herself and others to be perceived, but Lauro, the producer who's placed his own name on the marquee, also gets to scheme on how best to continue exploiting the success Isabel is inadvertently bringing him. The result is something uniquely funny, creatively designed, and compulsively watchable.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy
Actor: Herson Capri, Marcello Antony, Miguel Falabella, Monica Iozzi, Suzy Rêgo
Director: Gigi Soares, Renata Pinheiro

Free Watching Options:

Watch Soap Opera on Amazon Prime for free
18.

Rainbow Rishta

It’s refreshing to watch stories about queer people in the Global South unfold with this much joy and love and excitement. Many films and TV shows will have you believe that it’s all tragedy, and while the queer experience is certainly without its struggles, it seems unfair to hyperfocus on that aspect alone when there’s a lot of tenderness to go around. Rainbow Rishta finds the perfect balance between realism and romance, between strife and pride, in delivering the stories of its subjects. In doing so, it deepens our understanding of the global LGBTQ community. 

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Drama, Reality
Actor: Ayushmaan AIshwarya, Daniella Mendonca, Sadam Hanjabam, Soham Sengupta, Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
Director: Hridaye Nagpal, Jaydeep Sarkar, Shubhra Chaterjee

Free Watching Options:

Watch Rainbow Rishta on Amazon Prime for free
17.

Los Billis

As a teen series, Los Billis follows a familiar structure. David, like most teen heroes, is shy, awkward, and hopelessly in love with the most popular girl in his high school. With the help of his friends, however, he learns to stand up not just against bullies but the harsh looming reality of adulthood. It sounds typical on paper, but Los Billis benefits from a rich production value and a clear theme, that of social class. There’s not a gelled hair out of place here, but more than nailing the ‘80s look, Los Billis masterfully (and never forcefully) connects nearly every problem the kids face to money. They’re constantly yearning for, losing, and fighting over it, which is the reality many teens outside the US face. Often, Los Billis will also touch on colonialism, like when David admits they all judge each other based on how closely their outfits resemble American teens. For the most part, Los Billis is textbook coming-of-age, but it's enriched by the unique Colombian teen experience. 

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Francisca Estevez, Julian Zuluaga M, Mayppel, Nicolás Santa, Santiago Rodríguez

Free Watching Options:

Watch Los Billis on Amazon Prime for free
16.

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six is riddled with rock and roll clichés—sex, drugs, and alcohol abound—but the series has enough strengths to save it from sheer banality, the most prominent of which is the music. The original songs, performed by the actors themselves, are genuinely good. They're true to the times and recall the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Buffalo Springfield, but they also sound fresh, modern, and invigorating. The showrunners seem to know this since each performance, whether onstage or in-studio, is given ample focus in each episode, and the show is all the better for it.

Aside from the stellar music, the show also has chemistry and production quality going for it. Riley Keough and Sam Claflin as the Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of the fictional band are fiery and magnetic, while the authentic setting feels like an old polaroid come to life. 

Daisy Jones & The Six might not be for everyone, but if you enjoy musical dramas and nostalgia trips, then the show is a sure banger. 

Our staff rating: 7.4/10
Genre: Drama, Music
Actor: Camila Morrone, Josh Whitehouse, Nabiyah Be, Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Sebastian Chacon, Suki Waterhouse, Timothy Olyphant, Tom Wright, Will Harrison
Rating: TV-MA

Free Watching Options:

Watch Daisy Jones & The Six on Amazon Prime for free
15.

Party Down

Despite featuring a sharp script and solid performances, Party Down struggled to rake in views when it premiered in 2009, and sadly had to quit after just two seasons in. But since then, its small cast had gone on to become TV luminaries and its sardonic humor garnered newfound appreciation among the younger crowd. Even the show’s hustle culture premise, which was quite novel then, can be found in almost every show now. 

So it’s not a stretch to call Party Down a pioneering comedy. It’s simple and efficient, with each episode taking place at a different event, but it’s also deeply funny and keenly aware of the ironies and hypocrisies of the industry it’s a part of. People, myself included, were afraid that it might lose some of its underdog edge when it was rebooted in 2023, but rest assured, it remains as knife-sharp and hilarious as ever.  

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Zoë Chao
Rating: TV-14
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14.

The Kidnapping Day

Genuinely exciting but with more than enough heart to keep its genre trappings from overwhelming the story, The Kidnapping Day wastes no time setting the stakes and its plot into motion. Several crimes occur seemingly at the same time, which not only keeps the show's various mysteries equally interesting, but emphasizes how our protagonist (the kidnapper Myeong-joon) is ultimately just a naive person caught in the crosshairs of something larger. But because of his poverty and desperation, he becomes a natural target of suspicion by the  people who don't know his full story.

And accompanying Myeong-joon from the beginning of the series is 11-year-old Ro-hee, who wakes from a dazed state with no recollection of who she is, but with knowledge beyond her years. The somewhat antagonistic but tender bond she gradually forms with her reluctant kidnapper is the furthest thing from Stockholm syndrome. Instead, their relationship becomes a window into a particular class dynamic that runs throughout The Kidnapping Day (as well as a host of other South Korean films and shows). In these first two episodes watched for this review, the series already presents a world characterized by a deep yet normalized divide between the rich and the poor.

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery
Actor: Jeon Yu-na, Kim Sang-ho, Kim Shin-rock, Park Sung-hoon, Yoon Kye-sang
Director: Park Yoo-young

Free Watching Options:

Watch The Kidnapping Day on Amazon Prime for free
13.

The Fake Sheikh

Mazher Mahmood’s true story is so rich, improbable, and dramatic, that it almost seems like a movie. It’s certainly edited like one. The Fake Sheikh is filled with quotable one-liners and thrilling reenactments, and at the center of it all is the compelling anti-hero, Mahmood. Director Ceri Isfryn does a commendable job of balancing the facts about her controversial subject, interviewing both Mahmood’s champions and critics, colleagues and victims, while also interweaving narratives of race and class into his story. After all, this is a man who was initially denied the chance to cover anything other than race and immigration, and so he carved his own (warped) path as a celebrity journalist. There are times when it seems like Isfryn tips the scales a bit to favor Mahmood, but it all falls in line with her movie narrative. The Fake Sheikh is just as enthralling as any good fictional thriller out there.

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Documentary
Director: Ceri Isfryn

Free Watching Options:

Watch The Fake Sheikh on Amazon Prime for free
12.

Kumari Srimathi

Sometimes the ability to create good drama (and comedy!) just depends on one's attentiveness to how the world works and how people would reasonably react to it. And this new Telugu-language series illustrates this perceptiveness and empathy to great effect. Kumari Srimathi tells a story free of unnecessary gimmicks and stylization, but still manages to make clashing cultural values and the struggle to make money compelling just through an attention to detail.

Right off the bat, there's so much that drives Siri, our title character: her love for her late grandfather, her frustration with her conservative but well-meaning family, and her outrage at all the assumptions people make about her as a single woman. All of this is channeled into her impulsive gamble to save their old ancestral home. But Siri, played by a tough and incredibly sympathetic Nithya Menen, isn't the only star of the show. Many times these family dramas are content with assigning stereotypes to secondary characters. And this show also admittedly does this, but there are significantly more of them who feel just as real as the protagonist—all attempting to negotiate for the things that matter most to them, all coming from an earnest place.

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Babu Mohan, Gautami Tadimalla, Madhavi Latha, Mahesh Achanta, Murali Mohan, Naresh, Nithya Menen, Praneeta Patnaik, Rameshwari Talluri, Thiruveer Reddy
Director: Gomtesh Upadhye

Free Watching Options:

Watch Kumari Srimathi on Amazon Prime for free
11.

Jury Duty

Between HBO's The Rehearsal and Peacock's Paul T. Goldman, it would seem that genre-bending reality-based shows are having a moment. Among the more lighthearted and enjoyable ones out there is Jury Duty, which follows a trial involving improvisational actors, save for one: Ronald Gladden, a friendly everyman who has yet to realize that everything around him, from the inane case to his oddball co-jurors, is fake. Every now and then though, thanks to the sheer ridiculousness of it all, Ronald looks like he's at the cusp of figuring it out, but the guy (bless his soul) is just too damn nice to get there. 

And that's what makes Jury Duty so watchable. It finds a heart in the ever-hopeful Ronald who, as the appointed foreman, goes out of his way to help his fellow jurors. Whether that means reading a script with James Marsden (who plays a hilariously narcissistic version of himself here), building up nerdy genius Todd's confidence, or even just encouraging ol' Barbara to stay awake, he's there every step of the way. More than just laugh at Ronald's ignorance, we're also asked to look at his capacity for caring for people, which makes Jury Duty not just funny and experimental, but unexpectedly endearing as well. If you're looking for a show that's both easy and eccentric, familiar and new, then you should put this on.

Our staff rating: 7.6/10
Genre: Comedy, Mockumentary, Reality
Actor: Ben Seaward, Cassandra Blair, James Marsden, Kirk Fox, Maria Russell, Mekki Leeper, Pramod Kumar, Ross Kimball, Susan James Berger, Trisha LaFache, Whitney Rice
Director: Jake Szymanski
Rating: TV-14

Free Watching Options:

Watch Jury Duty on Amazon Prime for free

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