The catalog of the platform may evolve, so some of the content offered in this article may no longer be available when you read it. Thanks for your understanding.
Sold in France as an original Amazon Prime series, McMafia, launched in 2018 in the United Kingdom on BBC One, follows the adventures of Alex Godman, the son of a Russian mafia leader based in London who sees the criminal past of his family reappear, after having spent all his life building himself in parallel with this murderous heritage. He will then find himself immersed in the world of organized crime and will see his deepest convictions challenged. This thriller in 8 episodes (a season 2 should arrive this year), of a striking modernism and realism, gives a boost to the genre by taking an interest in the financial universe of the British capital, its gangsters of a new genre, and the inexorable “transformation” of his hero, who goes from London’s high society to a world he has always rejected, embodied by a James Norton of insane coldness. A small nugget, which gains in power over the season, which we can only recommend.
Second original German series Amazon Prime, after You Are Wanted, Beat, which has only a short season of 7 episodes to its credit, transports us to the heart of the Berlin techno scene through the daily newspaper of Robert Schlag, known as “Beat “, the city’s best-informed young nightclub promoter, who is recruited by the European secret services to dismantle an organ trafficking network. If the vision of the world of the night proposed by the series questions somewhat, Beat remains nonetheless an effective thriller, frighteningly tied up, which will assure you a few hours of glaucous entertainment at will.
The Red Bracelets / Polseres vermelles (2011)
Before Les Bracelets rouges, broadcast on TF1 since 2018, there were Polseres vermelles (also titled Les Bracelets rouges en France), the original Spanish series that gave birth to all the international remakes that followed. Inspired by the true story of Albert Espinosa, who survived three cancers and spent a large part of his youth in hospital, it follows the daily life of Jordi, Leo, Roc, Cristina, Tony, and Yanis, a gang of teenagers who should quickly seduce you, between fighting against illness, stories of friendship and love, and initiation story. A great alternative, with its two seasons and 28 episodes available on Amazon Prime, once season 3 of the TF1 series ends on April 20.
The Baker and the Beauty (2013)
Somewhere between M6’s afternoon movies, Ugly Betty, and Jane The Virgin, the Israeli series The Baker and the Beauty, made up of two short seasons of 10 episiodes each, should delight all lovers of romantic comedies. Recently adapted in the United States on ABC with Nathalie Kelley (Dynasty) and Victor Rasuk (How to Make it in America) in the main roles, it follows the unexpected love story between an international star and a middle-class baker. With the key a good dose of good feelings, but also twists with the shovel and a sexy side which is good in this gloomy period.
Banking district (2017)
Available exclusively in France on Amazon Prime Video, the Quartier des Banques series, co-produced by Switzerland and Belgium, immerses us in the heart of the Swiss financial center in Geneva in 2012. While banking secrecy is under attack from everywhere, an insulin overdose plunges Paul, the director of the private bank Grangier & Cie, into a coma. Overwork, suicide? Only her sister Elisabeth suspects a crime. Thrown into the heart of a bank that fights for its survival and where it is not welcome, Elisabeth faces major adversaries, including her mother and her elder to discover the hidden side of her brother. Will the bank survive the heavy family secret of the Grangiers? Rich in an exciting universe and ultimately relatively unexplored in television, Quartier des Banques weaves a compelling story and owes a lot to its cast, which includes in particular Arnaud Binard, Féodor Atkine, Stéphane Metzger, and Brigitte Fossey.
In The Flesh (2013)
In a completely different genre, we recommend In The Flesh, a little British jewel in two seasons, which transports us to a world where Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry), a deceased adolescent, came back to life as a zombie, like thousands more, and found his home and loved ones. While we could expect a treatment in the tone of comedy, In The Flesh quickly turns out to be a sensitive dramatic drama, touching, and often very strong on the difference, on hatred of the other, and on the human being above all. It was obviously canceled too early, with no real satisfactory end, but this is not a reason to miss this series still too little known.
The Red Bracelets is not the only touching, even feel good, Spanish series available on Amazon Prime. The streaming platform also offers the first season of #Philo (Merli in OV), a drama in the vein of Rita and her French remake Sam who is interested in a sarcastic and ironic professor of philosophy in search of different methods for encourage students to always refuse the established order. Funny, sassy, and intelligent, this series, worn by Francesc Orella and a beautiful range of young actors, should please the whole family without difficulty and did not fail to catch the eye of French producers since a French adaptation is currently in preparation for France 2. And a spin-off has even emerged in Spain following the end of the series in 2018.
4 Blocks (2017)
The German series 4 Blocks, two of the three seasons of which are available on Prime Video, immerses us in the world of the Lebanese Mafia in Berlin through the daily life of Toni, head of the Hamady clan, who is secretly preparing his “exit” cases to leave behind drug trafficking, prostitution and money laundering, but sees his plans thwarted by the arrest of his brother-in-law during a raid. An unforeseen event that will make him understand that he cannot leave his family and escape his destiny. It is a matter of honor. Presented as the “German Gomorra”, this ultra-rhythmic series, both realistic and brutal, does not really revolutionize the genre but quickly proves to be captivating thanks to strong and identifiable characters and a story that alternates between dysfunctional family drama and mafia thriller tense and brutal.
The Smoke (2014)
Canceled at the end of its first season in 2014 for lack of audience, the British series The Smoke nevertheless deserves a look and may well please fans of Station 19, Chicago Fire, or New York 911. We follow the daily newspaper ‘a London fire station and the series can boast of being carried by a beautiful skewer of actors since we find in the cast Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who), and … Taron Egerton in the ‘one of his first roles, before Kingsman and the successes on the big screen which followed.
Do you like Homeland and the series’ upcoming stop at the end of its eighth season plunges you into deep depression? So Amazon Prime may well succeed in boosting you since the platform offers within its catalog the Israeli series Hatufim, created by Gideon Raff, which is none other than the thriller that inspired Homeland. It tells the story of two Israeli soldiers, captured in Lebanon and held captive in Syria, who are finally released after 17 years of detention and must learn to reintegrate and overcome their trauma. While at the same time we wonder what happened to the third kidnapped soldier along with them. It’s exciting, bitter, overwhelming, and it’s not for nothing that the New York Times named Hatufim “best foreign series of the decade 2010”. So you know what you have to do if you missed it when it was broadcast on Arte!
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All series to see in April on Amazon.
All Originals series to see on Amazon.