Amazon Prime Video may not have Netflix’s deep pockets, but it still has plenty of exciting original content to check out. And given that it’s included with Amazon Prime, it’s a steal.
This month a drama takes place in America’s oldest public hospital, two documentaries lamenting the state of the global economy and terminal capitalism, political science fiction and a documentary about Lorena Bobbitt . Check it out.
Available February 1
American artist, photographer and documentary maker Lauren Greenfield takes a long, hard look at 21st century America and discovers a materialistic, workaholic, image-obsessed culture. It promises to be part an autobiography, part a historical essay, with a focus on the booming global economy, the corrupt American dream, as well as the personal costs of terminal capitalism, with all of its narcissism and its greed associated. Happy stuff.
Available February 8
Seasons one through three of this political sci-fi series will be exclusive to Amazon starting February 8. And later this year, Series Four will land as the Prime Original Series. The show is based on the novels by James SA Corey and takes place hundreds of years in the future, when humans colonized the solar system with the United Nations controlling Earth and an independent military power occupying Mars. The series begins with Earth and Mars on the brink of war for 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 is equally heavy talent behind the scenes – it’s co-created and written by Oscar nominees Mark Fergus (Iron Man) and Hawk Otsby (Children of Men).
Available February 8
Based on the bestselling book Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital (written by Eric Manheimer, the hospital’s medical director for 15 years), New Amsterdam is set in America’s oldest public hospital. It follows the brilliant and charming Dr Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), the new medical director who seeks to tear down bureaucracy and deliver exceptional care. It’s a classic man versus institution story, although one institution – Bellevue boasts of being the only hospital in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, Rickers Island prison inmates and the president from the United States, all under one roof. All Series 1 episodes that have previously aired in the US will arrive on February 8, with subsequent episodes airing every Wednesday thereafter.
Available February 15
This four-part docusery focuses on Lorena Bobbitt, who made headlines around the world in 1993 when she castrated her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, while he was asleep. An original Amazon production, it is produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out) and directed by Joshua Rofe (Lost for Life). It aims to reveal the hidden truths in the notorious affair and challenge public opinion on the event (much like the excellent documentary Hot Coffee did). It wants to show how, caught in a whirlwind of tabloid covers and late-night talk show jokes, Bobbitt’s story was a missed opportunity for a national discussion of domestic and sexual assault in America. The case also laid the groundwork for the modern 24-hour news cycle and increasingly sensationalist media coverage.
The giant beast that is the global economy
Available February 22
Kal Penn, former associate director of public engagement at the White House, leads this eight-part documentary series, described as a global exploration of the most compelling, hilarious, confusing and bizarre subjects impacting the global economy. Think of The Big Short, but cut into a more in-depth series. Kal and his famous friends explore a different question in each episode, including How do I launder a bag of dirty money? And how afraid should I be of a rubber apocalypse? Informative and entertaining stuff.