Almost every household has at least one streaming service subscription under their belt. Whether you’re a Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+ subscriber, it’s undeniable that the cost of living has affected the way we spend our money and many of us are considering pressing the ‘cancel’ button on our beloved streaming platforms.
Cutting back on streaming services can help you save lots of money each month, especially if you have more than one subscription. As a Deals Writer and Shopping Expert, I’ve already looked into how to save money on streaming services (opens in new tab) and one of my biggest tips is to rotate your services (opens in new tab). However, if you’ve decided to just prioritise one, it can be difficult to decide which one to keep.
Originals are one of the biggest attractions for streaming services. Originals are original content made by the platform and their popularity is undeniable, not to mention the fact that you can’t watch them anywhere else.
So, which streaming service has the best Original films and TV series and which one should you choose over the rest? I’ve looked into all Original content from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ (plus an extra guest) to help you decide.
Arguably the most popular streaming service, Netflix (opens in new tab) has had a bit of a rough start to 2022. It lost thousands of subscribers, cancelled some of its best series and had a lawsuit filed against them. While Netflix isn’t without its problems, Netflix Originals (opens in new tab) is what sets it apart from the rest. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Starting with Netflix Original TV series. The following series all have loyal followings and are the reason why many sign up to Netflix: Bridgerton, Stranger Things, The Last Kingdom, Heartstopper, Squid Game, The Witcher, Ozark, The Crown, Cobra Kai, Selling Sunset, After Life, Sex Education, Narcos, Top Boy and Emily In Paris.
Netflix Original films are also popular, including titles like The Kissing Booth, The Adam Project, Don’t Look Up, Bird Box, The Dig, Tall Girl, tick, tick… BOOM!, Marriage Story and The Prom. Finally, the Netflix documentaries have truly taken over with a strong focus on true crime. You can find the following docuseries and docudramas: Making a Murderer, The Staircase, Formula 1: Drive To Survive, My Octopus Teacher, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, Tiger King, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Night Stalker, Don’t F**k With Cats and Wild Wild Country.
I have to say that Netflix is one of the best when it comes to Originals. The TV series and documentaries are incredible, however, the films do let them down. My final negative is that some Netflix Originals have moved from Netflix to other platforms which almost defeats the purpose of it being made and shown exclusively on Netflix. For example, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have all moved to Disney+ despite being originally produced by Netflix. Overall, I give Netflix Originals a 9/10.
Amazon Prime Video
Moving on to Amazon Prime Video (opens in new tab) which is included in your Amazon Prime subscription. Amazon Prime Video is not best known for its Original programming but it does have some amazing contenders that rival Netflix and other platforms.
It seems to be a trend that Original TV series are the strongest in comparison to its films and documentaries. The same can be said with Amazon Prime Video. The Prime Original TV shows that you can find are: The Man In The High Castle, The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Hunters, The Wilds, Outer Range, The Wheel of Time, Reacher and Homecoming.
Similar to Netflix, the films are lacking in comparison to its TV series but you can still find some good ones like Deep Water, The Hating Game, The Tomorrow War and Cinderella. The documentaries on offer do set them apart, especially if you’re a sports fan or you love Top Gear. The Grand Tour, Clarkson’s Farm, Rooney, All Or Nothing, James May: Oh Cook!, World’s Toughest Race, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story and Lorena have all been extremely popular on Prime Video.
Overall, Amazon Prime Video hasn’t got the same reputation or popularity as Netflix but it’s still got some enjoyable and entertaining Originals. My one bugbear is that it could be clearer with its labelling. Under the Prime Originals category, you’ll see films and series labelled as Amazon Exclusive, Amazon Original or Prime Original. This is extremely confusing and a little misleading but Amazon Prime Video still scores a respectable 7/10 from me.
Next, we have Disney+ (opens in new tab). Before I get into what you can find, it’s important to note that Disney+ Original Series (opens in new tab) are mainly extensions of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars films so they will appeal more to people who are existing fans. Disney+ also has access to Star and therefore Star Originals, which are more catered to the adults.
Disney+ Originals are mostly TV series and their most popular shows are Marvel and Star Wars based. For example, you can watch Moon Knight, Loki, Hawkeye, Ms Marvel, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Wandavision, What If?, The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The films could be better but as Disney is a film production company rather than a streaming service company like Netflix, ‘Disney+ Original Films’ will just be standard Disney films! However, you can find a few including Black Beauty, Clouds, Godmothered, Star Girl, TOGO and The One and Only Ivan. Disney+ Original documentaries mostly look into the behind the scenes of Disney, including its filmmaking and parks, including: Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, Inside Pixar, Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse. You can also find docuseries on celebrities and singers like The World According to Jeff Goldblum, Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u and folklore: the long pond studio sessions.
As mentioned above, Disney+ comes with Star Originals and you can watch the following TV shows: American Horror Stories, The Dropout, Pam & Tommy, Dopesick, Godfather of Harlem, Dollface, Only Murders in the Building, The Wonder Years and How I Met Your Father. I give Disney+ a solid 8/10 for its Originals.
BONUS: Apple TV+
I couldn’t resist throwing in a bonus and my extra choice is Apple TV+ (opens in new tab). Apple TV+ is extremely overlooked in favour of the top three but it has some of the best Original programming. I think the main reason people ignore Apple TV+ is because they think they need an Apple device to use it. This is not the case (although you can get 3 months of Apple TV+ for free when you buy an Apple product) and an Apple TV+ subscription is just £4.99 / $4.99 a month.
The Apple TV+ Original TV series you can find are: Suspicion, Slow Horses, Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, The Essex Serpent, The Shining Girls, wecrashed, Severance, Dickinson and Schmigadoon! While the films could be stronger, Apple TV+ produced CODA – the first film produced by a streaming service to win an Oscar. I anticipate many more Apple TV+ films to come from this but you can find current films like Greyhound, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Banker and Swan Song. Its documentaries are also promising like Prehistoric Planet, Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry and 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room. Apple TV+ also has many upcoming documentaries including series on Oprah Winfrey, Lewis Hamilton, Michael J. Fox and Sidney Poiter. Apple TV+ is definitely a streaming service to consider and gets an 8/10.
Which streaming service makes the best Originals?
In my opinion, Netflix creates the best Originals compared to other streaming services. Although it has a bad habit of cancelling top series, Netflix has created the best TV series and films, plus there are so many to choose from. I do think in a few years time that Apple TV+ will give it a run for its money especially in the film category but overall, Netflix reigns supreme.
An honourable mention is for Disney+. If you’re a Disney, Marvel or Star Wars fan, Disney+ Originals have great TV series that adapt to the pre-existing universes and story lines. While I gave Amazon Prime Video the lowest score, Hunters is one of the best TV shows I’ve watched in a while and I’m waiting eagerly for the new season to arrive.
For more streaming service advice, check out my guide on Netflix, Amazon Prime & Disney+: Which streaming service offers the most value? (opens in new tab).