Amazon Prime Video might not have the deep pockets of Netflix, but it still has plenty of exciting original content to get your teeth into. And considering it comes included with Amazon Prime, it’s something of a bargain.
This month sees a drama set in America’s oldest public hospital, two documentaries lamenting the state of the global economy and late-stage capitalism, political sci-fi and a documentary about Lorena Bobbitt. Check it out.
Available 1st February
American artist, photographer and documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield takes a long, hard look at 21st century America, and finds a materialistic, workaholic, image-obsessed culture. It promises to be part autobiography, part historical essay, with a focus on the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, as well as the personal costs of late-stage capitalism, with all its associated narcissism and greed. Cheery stuff.
Available 8th February
Seasons one to three of this political sci-fi series will be exclusive to Amazon from 8th February. And later this year, series four will land as a Prime Original series. The show is based on the novels by James S. A. Corey, and is set hundreds of years in the future, when humans have colonised the solar system with the United Nations controlling Earth and an independent military power occupying Mars. The series starts with Earth and Mars on the verge of war over a fight for air and water. It stars Golden Globe nominee Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea), Oscar nominee Shohreh Asgdashloo (Star Trek: Beyond), Steve Strait (The Covenant), Dominique Tipper (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Wes Chatam (The Hunger Games). There’s some equally heavyweight talent behind the scenes, too – it’s co-created and written by Oscar nominees Mark Fergus (Iron Man) and Hawk Otsby (Children of Men).
Available 8th February
Based on the bestselling book Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital (written by Eric Manheimer, the medical director at the hospital for 15 years), New Amsterdam is set in the oldest public hospital in America. It follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), the new medical director who sees about ripping up the bureaucracy and providing exceptional care. It’s a classic tale of man versus institution, albeit quite an institution – Bellevue boasts that it’s the only hospital in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rickers Island prison and the President of the United States, all under one roof. All series one episodes that have already aired in the US will land on 8th February, with subsequent episodes dropping every Wednesday after that.
Available 15th February
This four-part docuseries focuses on Lorena Bobbitt, who made headlines around the world in 1993 when she castrated her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, while he slept. An original Amazon production, it’s produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out), and directed by Joshua Rofe (Lost for Life). It aims to reveal the hidden truths in the notorious case, and challenge the public view of the event (much like the excellent documentary Hot Coffee did). It wants to show how, caught up in a whirlwind of tabloid coverage and late-night talk show jokes, the Bobbitt story was a missed opportunity for a national discussion on domestic and sexual assault in America. The case also laid the groundwork for the modern 24-hour news cycle and increasingly sensationalist media coverage.
Available 22nd February
Kal Penn, former White House associate director of public engagement, heads this eight-part docu-series, described as a globe-spanning exploration of the most compelling, hilarious, confounding and bizarre topics impacting the global economy. Think The Big Short, but cut up into a more in-depth series. Kal and celebrity pals explore a different question in each episode, including How can I launder a bag of dirty cash? And How scared should I be of a rubber apocalypse? Enlightening and entertaining stuff.