In the mood for a new TV series or a decent film to settle down with? I find it can be a good distraction for stress or chronic pain, whether you’ve got 15 minutes or two hours to spare. Here’s a rundown of 10 picks that are available to watch now on Prime Video, included in the standard Amazon Prime subscription.
Knives Out [ Movie ]
A contemporary twist to the classic whodunnit murder mystery, Knives Out brings us a stellar lineup of famous faces. This is a 2019 release rated Pg-13 falling within the crime and comedy genres. There’s a murder, a party in a mini mansion, a mysterious private Detective, an eccentric family, and a potentially lucrative will belonging to the now deceased patriarch up for grabs. It’s full of contradictory tales from the colourful characters as the puzzle pieces get put together, twists and turns you might not have seen coming, and comical quips to keep things light.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans and Daniel Craig make this a watchable drama to keep you entertained on a rainy afternoon.
Animal Kingdom [ TV Series ]
A dark crime drama crammed with suspense and violence, Animal Kingdom packs a punch in each 50-ish minute long episode. We’re introduced to J Cody, a teenager who ends up living with extended family after his mother overdoses, except this is a family unlike any other. Criminal shenanigans are all in a day’s ‘work’ for this band of boys and the female head of the table, in between surfing the California beaches and holding wild parties. It’s an exciting tide to ride, with danger simmering beneath the surface.
Workaholics [ TV Series ]
Three best friends who work together in a sales office keep us company for an impressive 7 seasons of outlandish comedy and drama. It’s ridiculous yet oddly watchable, well suited to lazy afternoons or to have on in the background to lighten the mood. The show features the house they had all actually lived in prior to shooting the show, and you can sense the real world friendship that runs beneath each scene. Without taking life too seriously, these best buds can help you forget your problems, albeit briefly for the 20-minute or so episodes.
Broad City [ TV Series ]
Even if it doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, Broad City is worth checking out and appreciating in its own right. Following two best friends, this series looks at all sorts of topics as the two young woman traverse the broad city in the US. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson star, making the down to earth elements of life endearing and colourful. Nothing is off the table, and all manner of embarrassing issues are comically attended to across the five seasons. It’s refreshing, bold, powerful and addictive viewing.
Bombshell [ Movie ]
Bombshell gives us the inside scoop on Fox News, based on a real story that made headlines when three women took on the media empire’s creator, Roger Ailes. Starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron (who looks almost unrecognisable in this role) and Margot Robbie.
Little Fires Everywhere [ TV Series ]
Based on the book “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, this series explored the interconnected lives of two families and the secrets that lurk beneath the highly lacquered surface. It’s a drama that digs deeper into issues of history, race, identity, family, love, motherhood and family, with Reese Witherspoon, Joshua Jackson and Kerry Washington topping the line-up. It’s dark, artistic and mysterious, keeping us thirsty for the next episode. With a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, it’s one not to miss.
Damages [ TV Series ]
Taking a step back to 2007 when it was first released, all five seasons of Damages are currently included for Prime users. This series gets an impressive 8.1 rating on IMDB and 4.5 stars on Amazon. It follows a ruthless litigator, played by the marvellous Glenn Close, and a protégée that joins her high-stakes firm, Rose Byrne. There’s drama, murder and a lot of twists to keep it gripping. Trust no-one.
Parasite [ Movie ]
Winner of the Best Director & Best Picture awards at the Oscars in 2020, Parasite is a 4.5 star rated movie from the director Bong Joon Hon. We’re introduced to the Kim family, all out of work and struggling financially in Seoul, South Korea. One by one, they worm themselves into the lives of the well-off Park family, working different jobs by pretending to be unfamiliar with one another. How long can this family keep up the ruse before things get dangerous?
It’s an intriguing concept and elegantly directed, making it memorable and unnerving in equal measure. Subtitled with a 15 rating.
Carnival Row [ TV Series ]
This Amazon Original gets a 4.5 star rating on Amazon and stars Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom. There’s a serial killer at large on Carnival Row, but the government isn’t interested in protecting these lowly citizens. Rycroft Philostrate is an investigator who might just be the only person that can bring hope to Carnival Row and stop this killer, but when refugee Vignette Stonemoss enters the picture, he’s forced to confront his past at the same time.
This Victorian style fantasy captures our imaginations with mystery, darkness and drama, so it’s ideal if you want to step away from the present for a while.
Bates Motel [ TV Series ]
Bates Model is a prequel to the infamous 1960 psychological thriller Psycho. Starring the wonderful Vera Farmiga and the very talented Freddie Highmore, this series has five seasons to suck you in, get under your skin and keep you obsessively watching every single episode. It’ll put you off staying away from home anytime soon.
Homecoming [ TV Series ]
With season two recently released, Homecoming has proven popular with viewers even though this second instalment doesn’t feature Julia Roberts. It’s essentially an anthology style series that centres around a somewhat shady wellness company, the Geist Group, and their even more unconventional ‘Homecoming Initiative’.
Whiplash [ Movie ]
Once you’ve watched it, it’s easy to see how this won 3 Academy Awards. We’re introduced to a talented student drummer, Andrew, who enrols at the hardcore Shaffer Conservatory, New York. His teacher, Fletcher, is both abusive and incredible in his punishing perfectionism, crossing any and all boundaries to push his student to the limits of his (very sweaty) potential.
This is an explosive and emotive film that shouldn’t be underestimated based on the seemingly modest premise. Its energy keeps up a nail biting tempo throughout and the passion for music is palpable.
Bonus > Sarah Millican : Control Enthusiast Live [ Stand-up Comedy ]
I wanted to include this as a bonus because stand-up can be a lighthearted alternative to a series or film when you don’t want to challenge your brain cells. I watched this recently with my mum and it had the both of us chocking on our tea and testing the strength of our bladder control.
Millican has a down to earth lovability about her; she’s easy to watch, very skilled at what she does and has a natural way of challenging the embarrassing, taboo subjects with aplomb. Topics spanned a wide range, from daily annoyances and road rage, to IBS and sex. Only the odd joke fell flat for me, which was probably 1% of the whole show. Hilarious, thoughtful and well worth a watch.
There’s also an older stand-up from Sarah Millican, Outsider Live, free to view on Prime if your bladder can manage it.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime is a service available in many countries, paid for an an annual or monthly subscription. For value for money, it typically exceeds other streaming services for the range of content included. It includes free next day delivery on millions of items, access to Prime Reading with eBooks & magazines, access to Amazon Music, unlimited photo storage, and of course a selection of free to view Prime Video shows and movies, including exclusive Amazon Originals.
If you’re new to Prime and haven’t used it in a while then it’s always worth checking whether you’re eligible for a free trial or discounted week, even if you’ve had a free month with them in the past. You can check out Amazon Prime UK here and Amazon Prime US here.
What have you been watching recently? Is there anything you’d recommend?