New Shows on Amazon Prime

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New Shows on Amazon Prime

While Amazon might not have the quantity of new TV series of its competitor Netflix, the online retail giant has invested heavily in its narrower band of original programming. That’s nowhere more apparent than with this month’s launch of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but it can also be seen in its whole slate of recent releases. Here we’ll keep track of every new series available for Prime members to stream for free, including through partners like Freevee. In the last few months, that’s meant action-adventure, animation, comedy, fantasy and drama. Here are 10 of the biggest new TV shows on Amazon Prime.

1. The Rings of Power

rings-power.jpg Release Date: September 2, 2022
Creators: J. D. Payne, Patrick McKay
Stars: Morfydd Clark, Markella Kavenagh, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Lenny Henry, Maxim Baldry, Ismael Cruz Córdova
Genre: Action thriller
Paste Review Rating: 8.6

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Prime Video’s lavishly expensive Lord of the Rings prequel series has been something of an industry cautionary tale for months, from its hefty price tag to the inevitable comparisons to Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy of films. After all, if you’re going to come at the king—or, in this case, The Return of the King—you best not miss. Thankfully, The Rings of Power doesn’t miss. A gorgeous and welcome return to Middle-earth, the series not only looks amazing with epic and impressive visuals, more importantly feels right emotionally. Grand in scale but intimate in its story, this is a series that’s as grounded in relationships as it is prophecy, as concerned with what the threat of Sauron means to the everyday lives of the races of Middle-earth as it is the larger battle of good and evil written across ages. Set during the Second Age, The Rings of Power takes place thousands of years before the events of Jackson’s movies, the series weaves together at least half a dozen major plots and twice that many main characters with a confidence that makes its slow, deliberate pace feel as though it’s organically building toward the potentially world-ending stakes that are in all their futures. I’m looking forward to finding out whether that confidence is truly warranted, but thus far, this series certainly makes me want to believe in magic, enough that I’ll be very happy to see this road go (ever on and) on for several more seasons to come. —Lacy Baugher-Milas


2. Sprung

sprung.jpg Release Date: August 19, 2022
Creator: Greg Garcia
Stars: Garret Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton, Phillip Garcia, James Earl, Clare Gillies, Shakire Barrera
Genre: Crime Comedy
Paste Review Rating: 7.9

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After finding themselves released early from their sentences in the first few weeks of pandemic for “health and safety” reasons—an official action which amounts to more or less shoving half of the (conveniently co-ed) prison’s population through the front gates with nothing more than a “good luck!” and the clothes they came in with—a trio of non-violent offenders (Garret Dillahunt, Shakira Barrera, and Phillip Garcia) in rural Western Maryland end up banding together. First it’s to find a safe spot to “shelter in place” during lockdown, then it’s to take advantage of COVID chaos by doing enough crime that they can support themselves in a job market hostile to anyone with a criminal record. If this sounds like a tough nut to crack jokes from, well, you’re not wrong! But with Greg Garcia—the mind behind My Name is Earl, Raising Hope and The Guest Book—leading Sprung’s creative vision as creator, director, and primary writer, the fact that the limited Freevee comedy series ends up threading the absurdly dark/warmly funny needle isn’t surprising. —Alexis Gunderson


3. A League of Their Own

league-own.jpg Release Date: August 12, 2022
Creators: Will Graham, Abbi Jacobson
Stars: Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Roberta Colindrez, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Kelly McCormack, Molly Ephraim, Melanie Field, Priscilla Delgado
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Paste Review Rating: 9.0

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While there are numerous excellent films centered around America’s pastime, there aren’t many TV shows set in the world of baseball. Luckily, with the debut of Prime Video’s A League of Their Own, we’ve got a new one to add to the list. But Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham’s take on the classic Penny Marshall film of the same name is more than just a show about women playing baseball in the 1940s while men are at war. Told through parallel storylines following Carson Shaw (Jacobson), an indecisive white catcher-turned-manager for the Rockford Peaches, and Max Chapman (Chanté Adams), a talented Black pitcher barred from even trying out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the show tackles head-on the prejudices of the day, from racism and sexism to homophobia (many of the women in the league are queer), as women attempt to make their baseball dreams come true. With a major focus on the Black experience and the ways in which Max must work around and outside the paths open to white women (and even Black men, to an extent), the show is able to tell a story that was only hinted at in the film. So while the actual baseball itself could be better, and the games could probably be more central to the show, A League of Their Own swings for the fences in its attempt to tell a powerful, timely story. While not every at-bat results in a home run, every step into the batter’s box allows the characters (and the viewers) to learn something new about themselves… and about the game of life. —Kaitlin Thomas


4. Paper Girls

paper-girls.jpg Release Date: July 29, 2022
Creator: Stephany Folsom
Stars: Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, Sofia Rosinsky, Fina Strazza, Adina Porter
Genre: Science-fiction
Paste Review Rating: 6.0

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Prime Video’s eight-episode Paper Girls is based on the comic of the same name by Brian K. Vaughn, with art by Cliff Chiang. It was published by Image Comics from 2015 to 2019, and while it isn’t a sprawling epic like Vaughn’s best known work, Saga, it has two Eisner Awards for a reason. The story follows four 12-year-old girls—Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), Tiffany (Camryn Jones), and KJ (Fina Strazza)—as they are sucked into a Time War between two factions that want different things for the future of humanity. The comic is fun and weird and emotionally driven, but unfortunately the show is missing most of the things that made the comic so wonderful. The Paper Girls Prime Video gives us is almost unrecognizable from the comic apart from the names of the characters and the basic premise of “four paper delivery girls time travel.” Instead of taking the space available to expand upon the themes and worldbuilding that Vaughn created, Paper Girls instead strips everything down to the bones and does a sloppy paper-mache job in covering things back up. It’s not completely without merit—Sekai Abenì’s performance as the adult version of Tiffany is one of the best in the show, and her and Camryn Jones build up a really great dynamic when they’re together. But the fun of the comic is lost, the pacing goes from a thousand miles an hour to a slow crawl and back again in inconsistent waves, and there are times where the show seems like it’s meant for an audience around the age of its main characters. More than anything, it’s clear that almost everyone working on this show—from the actors to the production crew—deserved better. —Kathryn Porter


5. The Terminal List

terminal-list.jpg Release Date: July 1, 2022
Creators: David DiGilio
Stars: Chris Pratt, Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Riley Keough, Arlo Mertz, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Genre: Action thriller
Paste Review Rating: 7.0

Watch on Amazon Prime

The ambitious and exciting, yet at times head scratching, series is executive produced by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) and based on a novel by former Navy SEAL Jack Carr. Not surprisingly, the lead of this new military drama is an actor many men have come to associate with this quickly growing genre—Chris Pratt. An easy-to-root-for, determined hero is exactly what viewers can expect from Pratt as Lt. Commander James Reece in The Terminal List. The gung-ho drama flowing with military jargon focuses on a Navy SEAL unraveling the mystery of how a subversive tech company murdered his family and killed off his platoon to cover up a complex conspiracy. It’s a bona fide buffet of dad programming. Action forward and loaded with intrigue yet with significant flaws, the series remains enjoyable due to its star. While primarily made for the couch-surfing dad, if you accept this TV series for what it is, The Terminal List is an entertaining, adrenalin-fueled adventure. —Terry Terrones


6. Chloe

chloe.jpg Release Date: June 24, 2022
Creator: Alice Seabright
Stars: Erin Doherty, Poppy Gilbert, Billy Howle, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Jack Farthing, and Brandon Micheal Hall
Genre: Thriller

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This six-episode BBC drama premiered in England in February and now makes its way stateside. Becky (Erin Doherty) is obsessed with her childhood friend Chloe’s (Poppy Gilbert) seemingly perfect life—or at least a life that looks perfect according to Chloe’s social media accounts. But when Chloe dies, Becky soon realizes that perhaps things weren’t as perfect as Instagram made them seem. Becky takes on the persona of Sasha to try to discover what really was going on in Chloe’s life and how she ended up dead. What could possibly go wrong with that plan? —Amy Amatangelo


7. The Summer I Turned Pretty

summer-pretty.jpg Release Date: June 17, 2022
Creator: Jenny Han
Stars: Lola Tung, Jackie Chung, Rachel Blanchard, Christopher Briney, Gavin Casalegno
Genre: Romance, Drama
Paste Review Rating: 5.8

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Watching The Summer I Turned Pretty gave me a bit of an identity crisis. Have I, the woman who loves Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, and The O.C. outgrown the genre? The seven-episode series about 15-year-old Belly (Lola Tung) and her love for two brothers should have been perfect for me. I positively adore a good TV love triangle. And TV bad boys with a heart of gold (your Dylan McKays, Ryan Atwoods, and Tim Riggins) are my TV kryptonite. I’m usually powerless against them. But dear lord watching the seven episode Prime Video series was tedious. Based on the 2009 book of the same name by Jenny Han, who also serves as showrunner, the series follows Belly, who every summer comes to Cousin’s Beach with her mom Laurel (Jackie Chung) and her older brother Steven (Sean Kaufman). They stay at the gorgeous beach house of her mom’s best friend, Susannah (Rachel Blanchard). Belly has grown up with Susannah’s two sons: the easygoing Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) and the brooding Conrad (Christopher Briney). And she has pined for Conrad ever since she can remember. This summer, as the title of the series suggests, the brothers are starting to see Belly as more than just a little kid. Suffice to say that The Summer I Turned Pretty fails the Bechdel test spectacularly. Belly spends all seven episodes only discussing Jeremiah and Conrad. The crux of the problem is that in the best TV love triangles, viewers ricochet back and forth on who to root for. The Summer I Turned Pretty is a trilogy of books and the series has already been picked up for a second season. How much longer can Belly bounce between the two brothers? Should Belly instead download a dating app? Maybe she’ll meet someone new at the summer job I’m going to find for her. —Amy Amatangelo


8. Night Sky

Amazon Prime Release Date: May 20, 2022
Creators: Holden Miller, Daniel C. Connolly
Stars: Sissy Spacek, J. K. Simmons, Chai Hansen, Adam Bartley, Julieta Zylberberg, Sonya Walger
Genre: Drama, Sci-fi

Watch on Amazon Prime

Franklin (J.K. Simmons) and Irene (Sissy Spacek) York are your classic good-hearted old folks from the heartland, or at least close to the heartland (whatever small-town Illinois counts for these days). He was a carpenter, she was a school teacher, and now they’re retired on the rustic old homestead; they treat each other tenderly and with folksy humor. The central tragedy of their lives is the death of their son 20 years earlier, and the emotional scars are still evident. But as with many seemingly plain-at-first-sight families in dramas such as these, there’s something profound and scary and awe-inspiring beneath the surface, and that something is a portal in the basement of their shed that leads to outer space. More specifically, a glassed-in room in outer space where you can take in the panorama. They’re as mystified as we are, taking in the sights for years, more than 800 times total. But all they’ve ever seen is the gorgeous landscape. No aliens, no buildings, no sign of intelligent life at all. Until one day a stranger appears. Night Sky is a show that draws you in with narrative and performative subtleties. It’s tempting to sigh when confronted with another in a long line of “deliberate” dramas, but this is one that works. It’s a tribute to the synchronicity between the depth of the unsolved mystery and the similar depth of the two principal actors. They embody multitudes, and happily, those multitudes are a match—or near enough—for the indescribable universe they’ve been blessed to glimpse, but never fully understand. —Shane Ryan


9. The Kids in the Hall

kids-hall.jpg

Amazon Prime Release Date: May 13, 2022
Creators: Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson
Stars: Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson
Genre: Sketch Comedy

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The list of sketch revivals isn’t deep, but the track record is more successful than with sitcoms or dramas, and the latest example just launched on Amazon Prime. The Kids in the Hall are back with a direct continuation of their beloved sketch show, which ran on the CBC and HBO from 1988 to 1995, and aired in repeats for years on Comedy Central; based on the five episodes we’ve seen, it lives up to the legacy of the original. Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson, and Dave Foley have often worked together on live tours and other projects over the years, and in 2010 created the narrative-driven miniseries The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town, but this is their first time they’ve made new episodes of their original sketch show since 1995. And they aren’t shy about explicitly tying the revival to that original series; the credits are an updated version of those from the ’90s, with the same theme song from surf rock band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, only with the band and the Kids themselves all clearly a few decades older. Familiar characters from the past pop up throughout the run, although not as nostalgia; when the boss and secretaries from AT & Love appear, it’s to comment on how corporate culture has changed since the mid ‘90s, and not just for the cheap pop of recognition from the viewer. The Kids in the Hall have produced a model of how to revive a cult favorite, and the comedy world is better for it. —Garrett Martin


10. Outer Range

outer-range.jpg

Amazon Prime Release Date: April 15, 2022
Creator: Brian Watkins
Stars: Josh Brolin, Lili Taylor, Tamara Podemski, Tom Pelphrey, Imogen Poots, Lewis Pullman, Noah Reid, Shaun Sipos
Genre: Mystery, Western

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Created and executive produced by Ben Watkins and starring Josh Brolin, Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tamara Podemski, Lewis Pullman, Tom Pelphrey, Noah Reid, Shaun Sipos, Will Patton, and The Haunting of Hill House’s Olive Abercrombie, Prime Video’s eerie, Wyoming-set speculative mystery series is so damn unhurried it’s easy, half the time, to forget you’re watching a mystery at all. Hell, it’s easy, half the time, to forget you’re watching anything. Just stretched-wide vistas, a vast, open sky, and a giant, supernatural hole whose secrets no one—or at least, no one with any meaningful narrative power—has the slightest interest in plumbing. In short: If an entire landscape could be laconic, that’s how I’d describe the fictional Amelia County of Watkins’ Outer Range. This isn’t a failing. An economy of dialogue and a protraction of plot serve Outer Range well, as the mystery of the big spooky hole in the Abbotts’ west pasture isn’t the point of the series so much as its psychological fulcrum. That is to say, what the hole is is far less important than what it represents—to Royal (Brolin), who seems to see it as proof God has abandoned humanity to a great void; to Autumn (Poots), who seems to see it as a portal to a world whose bones she might better fit; to Wayne Tillerson (Patton), who seems to see it as the next frontier that’s rightfully his to conquer; to whoever else might stumble across it, they might see in it their darkest inner truth. It’s the ultimate blank space against which any broken person can project their deepest fears; the ultimate well into which they can cast their most shameful secrets. It is both a precursor to and object of a kind of frontier-born religious ecstasy, a divine madness, a theia mania that overtakes every major player by season’s end. —Alexis Gunderson