Amazon’s Prime streaming service is dropping three original series this week. Expats is a serious drama—big budget, prestige TV starring Nicole Kidman. The high-energy music, comedy, and out-there premise of animated series Hazbin Hotel is definitely for a younger audience. Where Zorro is … Zorro, a rip-roaring action adventure starring a character who has stood the test of time. But if three shows aren’t enough for you, I’m throwing in a couple of past Amazon original series that I think you’ll like, if you like things that are awesome and good.
Nicole Kidman is the driving force behind this drama about a group of rich American expatriates in Hong Kong. Expats is a heavy, only-for-adults drama about loss, grief, class, and alienation as architect-turned-housewife Margaret (played by Kidman) tries to cope with the disappearance of her son while her expat friend deals with her own failing marriage. In the background is the uncomfortable fact that the troubled rich people’s servants are expats of a different kind.
Series creator Vivienne “VivziePop” Medrano financed the pilot for Hazbin Hotel largely through her Patreon followers, earning enough buzz to get a series on Prime. The not-for-little-kids cartoon series tells the story of the Princess of Hell, Charlie Morningstar, who builds the Hazbin Hotel to rehabilitate demons so they can go to heaven. Bright, colorful, and packed with memorable songs, Hazbin Hotel crackles with youthful energy and will appeal to every theater kid, goth, weirdo, and creative—my people!
Zorro (the character) has been around since 1919, and the masked swordsman’s derring-do is still inspiring adaptations. This one finds Zorro in Los Angeles in the 1800s, dishing out justice to scoundrels of all types at the point of his shiny rapier. If classic cinematic heroics and good vs. evil storytelling turn your crank, check out Zorro.
The Tick (2016)
There have been three television adaptations of cult superhero-parody comic book The Tick. There was The Tick, a cartoon in the mid 1990s; The Tick, a Fox sitcom that aired for nine episodes in 2001; and The Tick, an Amazon original series from 2016. Created by and starring under-appreciated British comic genius Peter Serafinowicz, Amazon’s The Tick manages to do something the other TV versions couldn’t: It goes beyond weirdo superhero-satire and builds a plausible world that a big, blue, impossibly stupid superhero could live in. It’s outlandish comedy, but it takes the genre and characters seriously enough to tell a compelling story.
I’m a Virgo (2023)
Boots Riley has been creating vital, confrontational Art since his criminally under-appreciated hip-hop crew The Coup dropped its first EP in 1991. Riley earned universal critical acclaim for the pointed social commentary and surrealism of his feature film debut, 2018’s Sorry to Bother You, and followed it in 2023 with I’m a Virgo, a strange, thoughtful, and politically uncompromising coming-of-age story. Cootie is a black teenager who is 13 feet tall. Hidden away by his well-meaning parents since birth, Cootie has grown too big to stay safe and protected, and his adventurers in the world capture the beauty and heartbreak of first friendship, first love, and first realization that the world is much different than they told you it would be.