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Amazon Prime Video was the most underrated streaming service in 2023. Here’s why

Jury Duty - Official Trailer | Prime Video

When it comes to streaming services, the options are abundant. That’s why it’s not uncommon for many people to subscribe to multiple streamers that cater to their particular tastes. And while it would be easy to argue that Netflix retained its crown as king of the streamers or that Max was a worthy challenger, for our money, Prime Video was by far the most underrated streaming service in 2023. In fact, a strong argument could be made that Prime Video is the best streamer of 2023. For starters, Prime Video comes with a fringe benefit that none of the other sites can match: Amazon Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on almost everything that Amazon has to offer.

However, for the sake of this list, our primary points will stick strictly to Prime Video’s content, which offers more than enough reasons to justify a subscription in 2024. It also helps that Prime Video avoided messy PR mistakes like cutting its programs for tax breaks, and it even picked up Merry Little Batman and other projects after Warner Bros. Discovery exiled them from Max. This means that the next mature DC animated series, Batman: Caped Crusader, is coming to Prime Video in 2024. If that’s not enough to get excited about, then keep reading for our reasons why Prime Video was the most underrated streaming service of 2023.

Prime Video has the most movies and TV shows

Rachel Brosnahan opens her arms onstage in The Marvelous Mrs. Maise.
Prime Video

If Prime Video ever comes out and says that it has the largest selection of movie and TV shows, then you should know that this is not an idle boast. The Hollywood Reporter (THR) has confirmed that Prime Video streamed 14,206 movie and TV titles in 2023, which was down from its peak of 16,831 titles in 2021. Regardless, that puts Prime Video far ahead of its nearest rival, Netflix, which only had 6,472 titles in 2023.

Prime Video scored key deals with rival studios

Maverick and Penny looking at each other as if about to kiss in Top Gun: Maverick.
Paramount Pictures

Although Amazon owns MGM, its legacy movie studio only had a small selection of hit films in 2023, including Creed III. One of the key factors of Prime Video’s success this year is that it struck deals with Warner Bros. Pictures, Paramount, and Universal Pictures to bring some of their more recent box office hits to the service.

That’s why Elvis, The Batman, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Top Gun: Maverick, and more were streaming on Prime Video in 2023. Some of those films were only streaming for a short time on Prime Video, but no one can say that Amazon didn’t offer some top titles to its subscribers.

Prime Video’s original series and films were of higher quality

Ben Affleck in Air.
Prime Video

Prime Video didn’t offer as many original TV shows or movies as its rivals did. And it wasn’t immune from a few lemons. For example, Awareness was a shameless knockoff of both The Matrix and Jumper.

Regardless, Prime Video’s highs more than made up for that with acclaimed films like Air, The Burial, Totally Killer, Cassandro, and A Million Miles Away. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel wrapped up its fifth and final season with flair, cementing its status as one of the best shows of the last decade. And in a year filled with mediocre superhero stories on the big screen and on streaming services, the animated series Invincible returned with a surprise special in the summer before premiering the first four episodes of season 2. Even with only half a season under its belt, Invincible season 2 was the best superhero show of 2023, and it left fans on a very enticing cliffhanger for the season’s remaining episodes in 2024.

Prime Video has NFL coverage

L'Jarius Sneed of the Kansas City Chiefs repositions himself for the next drive.
NFL

Never underestimate the appeal of sports. Many of the streaming services offer live coverage of sporting events, and Peacock has gone overboard with sports coverage of events that the majority of people may not have even realized are actual sports! Other streaming services offer simultaneous coverage of the NFL’s Sunday and Monday night football games. But only Prime Video has Thursday Night Football.

Monday Night Football may be the more prestigious of the NFL’s prime-time options, but just having Thursday Night Football on the roster has made Prime Video a player in a way that few outlets can match. Prime Video has now proven that it can handle America’s favorite sport. So when the time comes, don’t be too shocked if Prime Video makes a play for Major League Baseball and the NBA as well. Those are the logical next steps if Prime Video wants to assert its dominance among sports fans as well.

The Freevee factor

People sit in a jury box in Jury Duty.
Freevee

THR didn’t specify whether it calculated Prime Video’s offerings on Freevee when it came up with the 14,206 figure for the films and TV shows that were streamed in 2023. Either way, having Freevee integrated with Prime Video has greatly expanded the viewing options for both movies and series. This year, that included films like F9: The Fast Saga and otherlegitimate blockbuster hits, as well as some terrific films from yesteryear ,including Escape From New York. Freevee also produced Jury Duty, one of the few reality hoax series that was truly hilarious. It’s also a real contender at this year’s Emmy Awards.

The only catch with Freevee is that the shows and movies are ad-supported. That means viewers have to sit through commercials in order to see their chosen programs. If that’s a deal-breaker, then we’ve got bad news for Amazon subscribers. Prime Video is going to switch to the same ad-supported model in 2024 for subscribers to its base tier. Fans can still opt for an ad-free Prime Video experience if they pay extra. But Freevee will remain free, at least so far. And if we have to watch a few commercials in return for more movies and shows, then it seems like a fair trade.

X-Ray

A screenshot of Totally Killer with the X-Ray experience.
Prime Video

X-Ray is not a new feature for Prime Video, but Amazon refined the experience this year. X-Ray is such a simple idea that it’s amazing that Prime Video’s rivals haven’t copied it yet.

With the click of the X-Ray button, Prime Video subscribers can learn who is appearing in each scene, which characters they’re playing, the name of the songs in the background, and more. There are even occasional bits of trivia that pop up and add additional context to the shows and films. Sometimes, that makes watching Prime Video more fun than your average streamer.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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