Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Amazon Prime Video launch: 5 television shows we hope come to the UAE

We look at some of the shows we hope may make it to the UAE following Amazon's expansion of its local offering

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the creator and star of the darkly funny 'Fleabag'. FilmMagic
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the creator and star of the darkly funny 'Fleabag'. FilmMagic

With the announcement that Amazon Prime has launched in the UAE, we could be looking at a host of new streaming content to watch via the Amazon Prime Video service.

Amazon Prime Video actually officially launched in the UAE back in 2016, but since there was no Amazon.ae site , the situation was a little confusing. Users could log into the service via their account from their home country, where a wealth of options would be displayed. However, when you actually clicked on many of the options, the service’s geoblocker would step in and display a message that the content is not available in this region.

Existing Amazon Prime Video subscribers should automatically be upgraded to the full Amazon Prime service, but if not, they should receive instructions from Amazon on how to upgrade themselves.

The expectation is that by extending to the full Amazon Prime service, the available streaming content should also expand, though it’s still possible that the rights to some of its shows could still be held by other regional broadcasters initially – remember when Netflix launched its Middle East service but was unable to screen its own shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black as OSN already had the rights?

Amazon hasn’t yet given specific details of what shows we’ll be able to enjoy following the launch of the new service, though their initial statement did suggest that shows such as The Grand Tour and All or Nothing: Manchester City as well as Indian shows such as Mirzapur and Breathe will be available at launch.

While we wait for official confirmation, here are some of the top shows that are available to Amazon Prime subscribers elsewhere in the world that we hope will be making their way to living rooms here.

Fleabag

Fleabag was co-produced by Amazon and the BBC, with the BBC premiering the show in the UK and Amazon picking up international rights – hopefully including the UAE, unless the BBC has plans to screen it on its own BBC First service regionally. Set in London, the show stars its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, as a young woman attempting to navigate modern life in London.

That description hardly does the series justice, however. It’s a hysterical, dirty, deviant and surprisingly thoughtful meditation on grief and loneliness that goes by in a flash - there are only six half-hour episodes in each season and Waller-Bridge opted to quit while she was ahead after season two. She’s now lending her talents to scripting the forthcoming Bond 25.

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

Amy Sherman-Palladino’s follow-up to Gilmore Girls and Bunheads is a quick-witted crowd-pleaser starring House of Cards’ Rachel Brosnahan. Brosnahan plays Miriam Maisel, the perfect, upper Westside New York wife who — after her husband leaves her — goes on a bender and finds herself on stage delivering a hilarious, profanity-fueled set in a rundown comedy club. Miriam finds herself trying to build a career as a stand-up comic in an era, the '50s, when females weren’t exactly welcome on that scene. The show mixes comedy, feminism, and a little bit of stand-up history.

Good Omens

David Tennant and Michael Sheen star in this adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved work of fantasy. Tennant plays Crowley, a demon who’s spent the past 6,000 years living life as a kind of rock star on Earth. Sheen plays his angelic counterpart, Aziraphale, a bumbling seraph who also calls Earth home and forms a reluctant friendship with his immortal enemy. The two must band together to prevent the Antichrist – a kid in Oxfordshire – from rising to power, destroying the world, and, crucially, Crowley’s Best of Queen mixtape.

The Man in the High Castle

Loosely based on Phillip K Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternative, dystopian world where Germany won World War II. The East Coast of the US is occupied by the Germans, and the West Coast is occupied by the Japanese, with no-man’s land in between. Exec-produced by Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), the series sees various characters working to form a resistance against their occupation by collecting forbidden newsreels that show the alternate history in which the Allies won the war. The Man in the High Castle is a well-acted, tense, and often violent dystopian thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep viewers guessing.

Catastrophe

Amazon has been particularly strong on comedy among its originals, and Catastrophe is no exception. Rob (Rob Delaney) is a typical brash American and Sharon (Sharon Horgan) a foul-mouthed, sarcastic British school teacher. The pair meet in a London bar and embark on a brief holiday fling while Rob is working in London. On his return stateside Sharon finds out she’s pregnant, and the utterly mismatched pair decide to marry and see how it goes. Spoiler alert: No that well. The pair’s constant bickering and disagreements are hilarious, as well as the cultural chasm between them, and its surely one of the most refreshing portrayals of the reality of relationships around.

Updated: June 11, 2019 02:37 PM

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