The 10 best Amazon Prime original series

Amazon’s slate of original shows has won acclaim and awards. These are our favorites.

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The show's design, pacing, humor and characters are all spot-on, and Brosnahan is superb, but she's given essential support by Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson, who, in her cap and frumpy clothes, is perpetually mistaken for a small man. Susie works at the Gaslight Cafe and becomes a manager/mentor for Midge. As the show goes on, the two actresses begin to lend an edge of sadness and uncertainty to the humor, and it goes in unexpected directions, both tender and hilarious. Eight episodes are currently yours for streaming, but the show has performed so well that it has been renewed for two additional seasons.

Runners-up

The Tick Amazon Studios

The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz) gives Arthur (Griffin Newman) a crushing hug in the reboot of The Tick.

It's difficult to watch The Tick without comparing it to the 2001 Patrick Warburton show (let alone the 1994 animated series), and certainly it's not quite as funny, but it goes deeper and develops the characters in a more satisfying way. Good Girls Revolt, about women who work at a news magazine in the chauvinistic world of 1969, didn't exactly catch fire, but it's a solid show, and just right for our times. Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams is an all-star anthology sci-fi show that was unfairly—and unflatteringly—compared to Black Mirror. Based on several original Dick stories, it's a smart, often captivating show.

New Yorker Presents, a collection of documentary shorts, sketches, cartoons, and other things, doesn't quite live up to the magazine, but some of the segments are downright fascinating, and the show attracted some talented filmmakers. Grateful Dead fans will no doubt love the six-hour documentary Long Strange Trip, though non-converts probably shouldn’t bother. Directed by Stephen Frears, the three-episode mini-series A Very English Scandal has some fine moments, but it might have made a better movie. Goliath soars whenever Billy Bob Thornton is onscreen as a shabby lawyer, doing yet another version of his crabby, drunk Bad Santa routine, but the rest isn't quite up to his level.

Finally, speaking of Bad Santa, though it did not get picked up for a series, Terry Zwigoff's extremely funny half-hour pilot Budding Prospects, based on the novel by T.C. Boyle, is still available to stream. It's very much in the vein of the director's other works (Ghost World, et al), and would have been a winner.

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