Heard of Amazon’s new on-demand video streaming service but not sure if it’s worth your time and money? Well, get ready to get stuck into your two-week free trial because we’ve got some great recommendations to get you started!
Though Amazon Prime Video launched in Ireland last December, we’ve heard little about it in the media up until the last month or two, where it now seems that advertising for the service plasters every available surface, highlighting its introductory two-week free trial to draw new customers in.
At just €2.99 per month for the first six months and only €5.99 a month thereafter; compared to Netflix (min. €9.99 per month) and NOW TV (min. €15 per month) Amazon Prime Video makes a compelling case for our attention. Its library is packed with quality Amazon Original shows such as The Grand Tour, Mr. Robot, American Gods and more, as well as tons of other great shows and movies and so it’s well worth a look.
Below you’ll find five of our favourite series available to stream now.
In this acerbic, sharply written family dramedy, a bachelor brother (Alex) welcomes his newly divorced sister (Valerie) under his roof. Together, they coach each other through the bizarre ups and downs of the world of modern dating whilst raising Valerie’s teenage daughter Laura.
World-weary, jaded and sardonic at the best of times, this dysfunctional family is united by its members’ “extremely comfortable attitude towards sex and equally extreme discomfort in their own skin” as one commenter put it.
Dotted with stunning and very human performances, the first two series of Casual (of which there are three) are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Give it a go: If you like edgy, indie-dramedy style storytelling.
Give it a miss: If you’d prefer a more wholesome family comedy.
This 1980s-set teen comedy takes place over the course of a summer in a country club. It follows a collection of recent high school-leavers who are all working various summer jobs at the club before they leave for college. Centering on David (played by Welsh actor Craig Roberts), a tennis instructor lacking direction in life, the series essentially plays out like a long coming-of-age movie.
Despite treading thematically well worn territory, Red Oaks never comes off as “done” and presents us with a very likeable ensemble cast featuring new and familiar faces alike - Dirty Dancing’s Baby (Jennifer Grey) for instance, appears here playing David’s mother.
Give it a go: If you’re dreading those long winter nights and want to stay somewhere summery for a while longer.
Give it a miss: If you’ve had enough of nostalgic coming-of-age numbers.
The Girlfriend Experience
Featuring a breakout performance from Riley Keough (incidentally, the granddaughter of Elvis Presley) The Girlfriend Experience takes a fascinating, coldly cynical look at one ambitious young woman’s career turnaround from determined law student to entrepreneurial high-class escort.
Though Keough’s motivations and actions remain largely inscrutable (however compelling) for the duration of the season, her utterly captivating performance makes for entirely bingeable viewing - you just can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next!
Give it a go: If you enjoy probing, slow burning, character studies.
Give it a miss: If you dislike explicit narratives or look for more action in your TV.
The Last Man on Earth
The Last Man on Earth is probably the most lighthearted take on the apocalypse that you’re likely to find. The eponymous protagonist of the show is one Phil Miller, an average Joe who finds himself all alone after a deadly virus seemingly wipes out the entire global population.
Phil spends his days driving around the US in the hopes of finding another living soul. Just when he’s all but given up hope and is about to end it all, he sees smoke rising from a campsite…
Taking a comedic and absurdist slant that leans on the melancholic, Last Man presents a uniquely stark post-apocalyptic landscape (I know all the people are dead but where are all the bodies?) and the narrative delivers consistent laughs if the premise wears a little thin at times.
Give it a go: If you aren’t particularly bothered about inconsistent plotting that doesn’t really go anywhere as long as the laughs keep coming.
Give it a miss: If you tend to veer away from silliness.
Another dysfunctional family drama, Transparent centres on the Pfeffermans; a family of five (with three grown-up children) as they come to terms with the family patriarch Mort’s decision to become Moira after battling in the closet with his gender identity for many years.
As seems to be the growing trend amongst many modern TV shows, the Pfeffermans are not what you would call likeable. In fact, for the most part, each character is in their own way, selfish, immature and self-absorbed. That isn’t to say that a lot of their grievances aren’t justified or relatable - you just want to slap them around the head sometimes is all I’m saying!
The writing here is sharp and insightful and accurately captures and portrays many topical aspects of contemporary culture, while giving us a front seat view into the intimate workings of familial bonds.
Give it a go: If you like a good multi-generational family drama with darkly comedic undertones.
Give it a miss: If you get enough of your own family at home and you don’t want to get caught up in the problem’s of another.
Looking for more?
That’s all for this week’s streaming recommendations, we hope you found something promising! Remember that Amazon Prime Video are offering a two-week free trial to new users. You can sign up here. If you’d like some more recommendations, check out our favourite anthology series.