While Netflix is busy pumping out more shows than any one person could watch (probably), Amazon Prime has remained the place to go for a few key pieces of original content. Trouble is, navigating the service’s labyrinthine menus can make finding the right series a pain. We’re here to help. Below are our favorite Amazon series—all included with your Prime subscription.
For more viewing picks, read WIRED’s guide to the best films on Amazon Prime, the best TV shows on Netflix, and the best films on Netflix.
Let’s be up front—supernatural thriller The Rig doesn’t even aspire to subtlety when it comes to its ecological metaphors. In fact, it’s often downright clumsy with them, such as one character remarking “if you keep punching holes in the earth, eventually the earth’s going to punch back.” Look past such clunkiness though, and this proves an engaging piece of television. With the crew of the isolated Kinloch Bravo oil rig cut off from civilization by a strange fog, the inexplicable deaths and equipment failures it brings with it make clear this is no mere weather pattern—and as the tension and fear mount, being trapped in a glorified tin can in the North Sea drives the survivors to paranoid extremes. It’s all brilliantly shot to make use of both the claustrophobic setting and the terrifying expanse of ocean around it, and the material is elevated by a phenomenal cast of Game of Thrones and Line of Duty veterans, making The Rig more than the guilty pleasure it might otherwise be.
Tales From the Loop
Despite being a couple of years old, Tales From the Loop remains one of the most mesmerizing shows on Prime Video. Loosely based on the work of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, the series blurs the line between ongoing narrative and anthology as it follows the residents of Mercer, Ohio, exploring how their intersecting lives are impacted by “the Loop,” an underground facility exploring experimental physics, making the impossible possible. Expect tales of frozen time, traded lives, and parallel worlds, all brought to life by a fantastic cast and directors including Andrew Stanton and Jodie Foster. It’s the visuals that really make this sing, though, capturing the sublime aesthetic of Stålenhag’s work and its juxtaposition of neofuturism and rural communities to create a show that looks and feels like almost nothing else. At only eight episodes, a visit to Mercer is brief but unforgettable.
The Devil’s Hour
When Peter Capaldi, here playing mysterious criminal Gideon Shepherd, says “my perception of time is better than anyone’s,” it’s clear that The Devil’s Hour creator Tom Moran is having a little fourth-wall-breaking fun with his former Time Lord leading man. That’s about as close as this gritty six-part drama gets to Doctor Who, though. This is, instead, a mix of murder mystery and thriller, tied off with a dash of the supernatural. The focus is on Lucy (Jessica Raine), an over-burdened social worker with an increasingly distant and troubled young son, who wakes at exactly 3:33 am every morning, plagued by horrific visions. As her nightmares draw her into the orbit of police detective Ravi Dhillon’s (Nikesh Patel) investigations of a bloody murder and a child’s abduction, Lucy comes face-to-face with Shepherd as she tries to uncover how the two are entangled. Raine is a phenomenally commanding lead throughout, while Capaldi’s sinister performance is one of the most chilling you’ll see on screen.
Created by Little Marvin and executive produced by Queen & Slim’s Lena Waithe, the first season of this horror anthology series is set in 1950s Los Angeles, following the Emory family as they move into an all-white neighborhood. It all goes about as well as you might expect, with Livia (Deborah Ayorinde) soon penned into their new home by the Stepford-like housewives of the area who, led by ringleader Betty (Alison Pill), make her life a living hell, while husband Henry (Ashley Thomas) faces both physical assaults and harassment at work. Ayorinde and Thomas are phenomenal throughout, brilliantly portraying the mental, physical, and emotional turmoil that living under relentless threat can cause. While the show would be tense and horrifying enough for its portrayal of the period, the layering of some truly unsettling supernatural threats on top make this a frequently terrifying watch.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Tapping into The Lord of the Rings creator J. R. R. Tolkien’s sprawling history of Middle-earth, The Rings of Power is set millennia before the events of the core books (or films, which is really where the visual language of this adaptation comes from), detailing the major events of Tolkien’s Second Age. Much of the focus is on Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) searching for Sauron, servant of Morgoth, but this ambitious fantasy series explores key events such as the fall of the island of Númenor, the fractious politics between man, elves, and dwarves, and the forging of those perilous eponymous rings. While there’s been no shortage of debate around Rings of Power, there’s also no denying that Amazon got what it paid for with the most expensive TV show ever made—this is one of the most beautiful series you’ll ever lay eyes on. Whether the ongoing story nails the landing remains to be seen, but for sheer high fantasy spectacle, there’s nothing better at the moment.
With its 1980s setting and focus on a quartet of outsider kids, it would be all too easy to write Paper Girls off as Amazon’s gender-flipped answer to Stranger Things. Yet beyond the genre trappings—here time travel rather than horrific alternate dimensions—the shows stand apart. Adapted from the Image comic by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson, the show explores themes of fate and determinism, with its young heroes accidentally catapulted from 1988 to 2019 and given a glimpse of their own futures—all while a time war rages across history. With a fantastic young cast—Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, Sofia Rosinsky, and Fina Strazza—holding their own against seasoned actors including Ali Wong and Adina Porter, Paper Girls is high-concept genre television at its best.
The Legend of Vox Machina
Bawdy, gory, and absolutely not for kids, The Legend of Vox Machina began life as the hit Critical Role, where a group of the biggest English-language voice actors in animation and gaming livestream their Dungeons & Dragons sessions, before evolving into its own beast. An exquisitely animated fantasy, the show follows the eponymous Vox Machina guild—a motley crew of usually-drunk adventurers consisting of gunslingers, druids, and the requisite horny bard—as they battle to reclaim the city of Whitestone from the monstrous Lord and Lady Briarwood. Fully accessible to long-time fans of the source material and newcomers alike, this balances being a love letter to D&D with poking plenty of fun at the classic RPG, transcending its origins to become one of the most original adult animated shows on Amazon.
Superheroes are meant to represent hope and optimism—the best of us, given form. In The Boys, adapted from the darkly satirical comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, they’re a reflection of humanity’s worst—greed and unrestrained power, marketed to a gullible public by vested corporate interests, operating without restraint and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Enter Billy Butcher and his “associates,” who gleefully dispatch “Supes” who’ve gone too far, often in extraordinarily violent ways. The newly dropped third season finds the team forced to go legit and work for the US government while struggling to find a way to topple the sadistic, psychotic Homelander, leader of The Seven—the world’s premier superheroes, brought to you by Vought International—all while Butcher wrestles with becoming the thing he hates most: a Supe. Possibly Amazon’s goriest show, The Boys stands as a pertinent examination of the abuses of power, all wrapped in superhero drag.
Irene and Franklin York are just like any retired couple, living out their twilight years in a home filled with decades of memories, and spending their evenings teleporting to a cabin on an alien world to look at the stars. Well, perhaps they’re not like any retired couple—and their lives get all the more complicated with the arrival of Jude, a strange man who appears in their secret bunker without explanation. A slow-burn sci-fi drama that explores themes of mortality and the rigors of aging as much as the central mystery of the cabin, Night Sky finds Sissy Spacek and J. K. Simmons in career best forms as the Yorks, struggling to solve the cosmic riddle they stumbled upon in their youth before their bodies and minds fail on them.
The Wheel of Time
Based on Robert Jordan’s sprawling novel series—one so vast it makes Game of Thrones look concise—this is one of Amazon’s most ambitious, and expensive, series to date. The eight-episode first season follows Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a powerful weaver of an ancient form of magic, as she gathers five unassuming young people, one of whom is destined to either save the world—or destroy it. The only problem is, no one knows which one it is, or which way their loyalties will sway should their powers awaken. A visually stunning series that blends sumptuous location shoots with cinematic effects work, this is sure to fill the epic fantasy void left by that other show.
When Mark Grayson inherits the incredible powers and abilities of his father, Omni-Man, he sets out to follow in his footsteps as the costumed superhero Invincible. Unfortunately, his coming-of-age is marred by a shocking twist that shakes his entire world—both personally and on the global political stage. A brilliantly animated adaptation of the hit Image comic book by writer Robert Kirkman and artists Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley, Invincible offers a more mature look at the impact superpowered beings would have on society. And while it starts as an homage to classic teen superhero tropes, it goes on to do something Marvel and DC characters rarely do: grow up.
One for the Doctor Who crowd, Truth Seekers is a gentle, silly season of paranormal hijinks. A Simon Pegg/Nick Frost project that’s heavier on Frost (as gruff broadband engineer and ghost hunter Gus) and lighter on Pegg (more of a fun cameo throughout as Gus’ boss). Stacked with genre references to chew on, it’s a family-friendly option with Samson Kayo, Susan Wokoma, and Malcolm McDowell rounding out the crew.
The Underground Railroad
Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Colson Whitehead, this limited series from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins sticks pretty closely to the premise of the book. It’s a work of historical fiction that takes the idea of the Underground Railroad—the network of smugglers who helped escaped slaves flee the South—and reimagines it as an actual subway system with trains and secretive station agents.
You’re not meant to like Fleabag. She’s maniacal, selfish, self-destructive, and morally bankrupt. Her family is loathsome, her lifestyle is ridiculous, and her job is a joke. Yet after watching this 12-episode series we defy you not to love her a little. This magnificent sitcom about a Londoner (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) grappling with the death of her best friend has no filter: You’ll hear her thoughts on feminism, familial tension, love, and sodomy. The first time Waller-Bridge interrupts her own dialog to shoot a disarming, conspiratorial glance to the screen, you’re hooked. Season 1 is a smutty yet wonderful crescendo of self-destruction driven by a cast of characters including Fleabag’s intensely awkward sister Claire (Sian Clifford), her selfish and pretentious stepmother (Olivia Colman), and clueless father (Bill Paterson). The second season cheerfully bounds into blasphemy as she grapples with inappropriate (and reciprocated) feelings for a Catholic priest (Andrew Scott). It’s shocking, and immensely watchable. One of the rare cases where a series truly is as good as people say.
The Man in the High Castle
This adaptation of sci-fi master Philip K. Dick’s novel about a world in which the Nazis won the Second World War was one of Amazon’s first forays into producing its own content. The world-building is stunningly done—a divided, alternate-reality 1960s America never seemed so plausible—but be warned: There might be just a touch too much present-day resonance for some viewers.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
What can a New York lady do when she finds out her husband is having an affair with his dim-witted secretary? If Mrs. Maisel is anything to go by, the answer is to head to a grotty watering hole in your nightgown, do a bit of standup comedy, and get hauled away by the police after flashing the entire audience. Set in the 1950s, this fast-talking fashionista hides her new life as a comedian from her family and ex while battling sexism, bad crowds, and big competition. Rachel Brosnahan stars as Midge Maisel in this subtle nod to Joan Rivers’ career. With four seasons and a host of awards and nominations to its name, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of Amazon’s sharpest comedies.
Humanity now lives among the stars—well, the rest of the solar system, at least. A group of antiheroes are linked by the disappearance of a wealthy political activist, and between them they must unravel what happened to her. Adding to the complexity are the political tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Belt, a group of loosely affiliated colonies between the two planets. That’s just season 1—there are six available on Prime, and each is packed with enough daring missions, space fights, and Martian politics to keep fans of hard science fiction hooked.
Feeling battered and emotionally bruised by bleak TV dystopias and even bleaker world news? Good Omens is your shelter in the storm, and inside, it’s warm, cozy, camp, and kind. Neil Gaiman has adapted his own 1990 book, cowritten with Terry Pratchett, which follows an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant) trying to stop Armageddon. The six-part event series gives fans exactly what they dreamed of from such a fusion of cast and crew. Silly stuff with Cold War overtones, extreme whimsy, and gruff British wit.
You’ll know within the first episode if you’re into this slow, stylized miniseries from Parks & Recreation and Master of None alums Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard. It’s part high-concept TV, part uncomfortable marriage drama with a side helping of shtick from the two outrageously talented leads, Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. It might make you impatient at times, but Forever will stick with you once you’ve watched the finale.
Just released from prison, Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) steals the identity of his former cellmate Pete Murphy in order to hide from the dangers of his old life. On the run from a vicious debtor played by Bryan Cranston (who also jointly created the show), Marius nestles into Pete’s motley crew of estranged family, who are delighted to be reunited with their long-lost relative–and enters waters just as shark-infested as those from which he’s come. Over the course of three seasons, Sneaky Pete proves itself one of the finest dramas Amazon has produced yet.
Mozart in the Jungle
A comedy-drama documenting the world of professional orchestra musicians in New York, Mozart in the Jungle is a strange beast. The series follows Hailey Rutledge (Lola Kirke), an aspiring oboist trying to build a career with the New York Symphony, and her conflicted relationship with eccentric conductor Rodrigo De Souza (Gael García Bernal). With a strong creative team and real-world source material in the form of professional oboist Blair Tindall’s memoir Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, the compelling and frequently hilarious show has picked up Golden Globes and Emmy Awards, and proven itself one of Amazon’s best exclusives.
In the mid ’80s, college student and struggling filmmaker David Myers (Craig Roberts) wants one last, great summer before adulthood beckons. Unfortunately, he’s stuck working at a pretentious country club and struggling to gain momentum in his life. Big dreams of making it in the film industry meet crushing reality as David navigates the club’s eccentric guests and their demands—from awkward wedding shoots to filming sex tapes for swingers clubs—while also struggling to maintain his relationship with girlfriend Skye. All three seasons of this delightful period comedy are available now.
Inspired by the real-life Viking hero and ruler Ragnar Lodbrok, Vikings is a family saga exploring the lives, epic adventures, and cultural politics of the raiders and explorers of the Dark Ages. Six seasons of the historically inspired action series are available on Amazon Prime Video, with WWE wrestler Adam “Edge” Copeland joining the cast in season five as the story expands to a civil war in Norway, battles in England against the Nordic invaders, and exploration of northern Africa.
Entertaining well past Halloween, this anthology series presents “the frightening and often disturbing tales based on real people and events that have led to our modern-day myths and legends.” Based on the award-winning podcast of the same name, there are two six-episode seasons exploring real-world horror stories available to chill your bones now.
One of the world’s strangest superheroes, Ben Edlund’s Tick debuted in indie comics form in 1986, before gaining wider popularity thanks to a 1994 animated series. Now due for his second live-action adaptation (the first aired for one season in 2001), this take sees Peter Serafinowicz as the big, blue lover of justice—who may just be an escaped psychiatric patient with unusual durability. A graduate of Amazon’s pilot season program, the full show is a delightful two-season tonic of superheroic whimsy.
In the concrete rubble on Kanokupolu beach, Tonga, leaves have begun forming a cover—green and glossy amid the dull grays of the detritus in the sand. A year after the eruption of Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai—a volcanic blast bigger than Krakatoa that caused a spike in global warming, reshaped the ocean floor, and wiped out two of the archipelago’s smaller islands—the devastation it wrought is still visible, along with the wreckage of vacation resorts that once stood here, a repair job that is yet to begin.
Last year’s catastrophe, which affected some 84 percent of the Tongan population, was the Pacific nation’s third natural disaster in five years (it was hit by category 5 cyclones Gita and Harold in 2018 and 2020)—a byproduct of global emissions warming the planet, which intensifies storms and droughts, increases wind speeds, and causes sea levels to rise, raising the risk to nearby populations. While coming in at 190th on the global carbon-emission rankings (the US is second), Tonga is now one of many countries being battered by those on distant, richer shores, and being left to pick up the pieces. Aware of this grim fate being meted out to poor nations globally, conversations on how to redress the injustice have begun, largely boiling down to one solution: climate reparations.
A “historic deal” was struck at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt earlier this year, with the promise to establish a fund that would compensate afflicted countries. Recommendations are due to be made at Cop28 (held in Dubai, ranked 28th for global CO2 emissions) at the end of this year. However, the details remain wooly on how or when they will come into effect. In their absence, it is hard to see the UN’s proposed fund as anything but a hastily applied band-aid designed to assuage the guilty consciences of rich countries without grasping how to truly help those in need, or halt the issues causing these disasters in the first place. As Tonga has found, being repeatedly lashed by the elements requires far more planning and input into prevention than just a hasty clean-up job.
The country needs help, certainly. But having rich nations write a check is not enough. What Tonga (and countries like it) requires is crisis managers who have faced similar disruptions and are skilled at rebuilding communities, and boots on the ground to ensure the money goes where it is truly needed. In the immediate aftermath of last year’s eruption, some nations were quick to send resources, but they rarely matched up with the country’s needs, locals told me when I visited last month. Mounds of food, for instance, when the shops were full of it, were stacked up in a line of ships at the wharf in Nuku’alofa, the capital, delaying other more urgent supplies that then took days to unload. Other gifted items—trucks, clothes—were never even handed out.
Managing these well-intentioned arrivals was nearly impossible with so many more urgent issues to get on top of—like building units for the former residents of Mango and Atata islands, all of whom were evacuated after their homes were destroyed. The first residents were only able to move in just before Christmas. This is a best-case scenario of what climate reparations would look like, in that the new builds solve a direct need, for which on-the ground knowledge and understanding was crucial in both planning and execution. But while these homes are an upgrade on the community halls they were living in for 11 months after the blast, there is no escaping the fact that many now live as 10 family members across two rooms, that they lost their jobs in resorts that were wiped out, and that had sufficient action on climate change been taken sooner, they would not now feel, as one mother told me, as though they had been left with nothing. Their only recourse now is to simply hope another disaster doesn’t strike.
The concern, of course, is that one will—and soon. The Pacific especially is at risk: Kiribati, an idyllic atoll nation between Hawaii and Australia, has in recent years found itself being swallowed by the sea at such a pace that it will likely no longer exist in a few decades. Half of all households have been affected by rising sea levels, with six villages already entirely relocated. The Maldives, Micronesia, and Tuvalu too are predicted to disappear within our lifetimes, with soaring emissions responsible for the coastal erosion, destruction of plantations (and livelihoods), and severe droughts and flooding they and other vulnerable nations routinely face. Larger, wealthier islands like Fiji can’t be immune to the threat either, when 65 percent of its population lives within 5 kilometers of the shore.
If you’re a frequent camper or hiker, or are otherwise away from cell service often, most of these products aren’t going to help you in an emergency. That’s where a satellite messenger comes in.
We have a guide with a few picks for different situations, but the Garmin inReach Mini is one of our favorites. It’s light and takes up little room in your bag, plus it utilizes the super-fast Iridium satellite network to get your SOS to help.
The Garmin inReach Mini costs $350from GarminandAmazon.
A Flashlight Works Too
Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight
I’ve talked to several self-defense teachers over the years who always recommend flashlights as personal safety devices—yes, more than mace or a pocket knife. A flashlight obviously lights your way while you walk in the dark, which might help you see someone otherwise cloaked by darkness, but there are two other reasons why these work. Putting a flashlight up to someone’s eyes will disorient them, hopefully long enough to let you get away. I’m nearly blinded by an iPhone’s camera flash, so imagine thousands of lumens directly to your eyeballs. If it was truly a kind stranger asking for directions and not a threat, you didn’t actually harm them, and you’ll be far away before you know any different. (Sorry, stranger.)
If that fails, you can use it to, frankly, hit them. A hunk of metal to the face will hurt worse than your fist, and won’t hurt you in the process. Get a good swing and run. Of course, though, like any weapon, it can be taken from you and used against you, so keep that in mind.
The Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight ($79) has 4,000 lumens (the brand has other options available too). When I turned it on in my apartment, it lit up the room brighter than my actual lights do. It comes with two cores, one that holds the batteries and one that’s rechargeable. There are cheaper flashlights, but I like that the rechargeable core can also charge your phone, so it’s not bad to keep on hand for emergencies anyway. It’s heavy and long, which is good if you need to swing it, but it won’t be easy to stow in your purse.
★ Cheaper options: Any flashlight with some heft will do, and there are a few others we really like. WIRED writer Matt Jancer recommends the 350-lumen Fenix E20 V2 ($45) in his Guide to Creating a Home Emergency Kit. It’s compact, so it shouldn’t be too annoying to throw in your bag, but it’s still constructed of tough metal. For even less, writer Louryn Strampe recommends the 900-lumen Anker Rechargeable Bolder ($30), which even has a strobe function. It’s a lot smaller, but it will still pack a harder punch than a lone fist.
The Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight costs $79 fromInfinity X1.
The past few years have shone a brighter light on women’s experiences at work: We’re exhausted, we’re underpaid, and we’re constantly battling for basic rights. In fact, we’re well in the depths of a “she-cession”: One in three women are looking to downshift their careers or leave the workforce entirely, joining the millions of women who have already exited these past few years.
With a global labor shortage and a caregiving crisis continuing to strain workforces, smart leaders will invest in reversing the she-cession by making structural changes in how we work that emphasize flexibility. Failure to do so will push more women to their breaking point, and out of the workplace. But it is not women who are broken, it’s the system. And 2023 will be the year to start fixing it.
There’s no question that flexibility matters. When it comes to determining job satisfaction, research by Slack’s Future Forum consortium shows that flexibility ranks second only behind compensation. This is particularly true for parents, especially working mothers. Today, 83 percent of working mums prefer a flexible location model.
But, too often, the conversation about flexibility is limited to just the “number of days in the office.” In 2023, the meaning of flexibility will move beyond where you work to when you work. Ninety-five percent of female desk workers want flexibility in their schedules—more choice in how they structure their days aside from the occasional appointment out of the office—and the majority are not getting that option today. With the demand for flexibility clear, and the rate of attrition high, leaders will give employees greater choice in how they work and break away from the traditional, outmoded 9-to-5 model of productivity.
This shift to flexibility has numerous benefits: We’re seeing major gains for professional women when it comes to sense of belonging, satisfaction with work, and work-life fluidity. But proximity bias—favoritism for people who work nearby in the office—is a looming risk that leaders must actively negate. Why? Our research shows that women, employees of color, and working mothers are most likely to want to continue to work flexibly, while men, white employees, and non-caregivers are more likely to go back into the office full-time. Left unchecked and without intentional action, disparities in the workplace could deepen, entrenching existing inequities.
To combat proximity bias, leaders will become increasingly cognizant of how employee performance is measured during promotion reviews and feedback cycles. Research shows that men are much more likely to receive feedback based on the outcomes they deliver, whereas women’s evaluations are more likely to be rooted in personality traits. In 2023, a growing number of managers will be reskilled to focus on the outcomes that employees are producing instead of outdated measures of work ethic and commitment, like being the “first in and last to leave.” When they get this right, companies will start to see the impact in their ability to attract and retain talent.
My hope is that we’re finally ready to build a more equitable, more representative workforce by truly fixing a system that’s always been broken. Growing up, I watched my immigrant mother continually make trade-offs between parenting and working—and because of the financial needs of our broader family, work often won. I remember how painful those choices were for her, and at the end of her 40-year career, her advice to me was: “Regardless of how hard you work, trying [to break the glass ceiling] is not worth it.”
The past two years have proven that change is possible, as millions of people fundamentally reimagined how they work. But to make systemic change, leaders must redesign how they hire, evaluate, and promote women. And the time to change the system is now.
it’s easy to overlook the Mac Mini: Apple’s small, squarish PC isn’t particularly exciting. It’s not ultra-powerful like the Mac Studio, modular like the Mac Pro, or colorful like the 24-inch iMac. You can’t quite tote it around and work anywhere like you can with a MacBook. But it’s Apple’s most utilitarian machine, and that’s more evident with the 2023 refresh.
The new Mac Mini is similar to its predecessor from 2020 except it now employs Apple’s next-gen M2 and M2 Pro processors. That alone breathes new life into this compact system, as it’s a low-cost plug-and-play solution that’s still powerful enough for the likes of content creators. The base price is more affordable than ever, starting at $599, and the Mac Mini is the cheapest way to access the M2 Pro processor at $1,299. The only other M2 Pro-powered Macs are the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which start at $1,999 and $2,499, respectively. The closest desktop alternative is the base Mac Studio with an M1 Max chip for $1,999. But most people don’t need that much power.
It doesn’t have to be showy. Whichever processor you get, the Mini is a smart and hassle-free way to get all the power most people need without emptying your wallet—and you actually have a say on what kind of peripherals to get.
Build Your Own Adventure
The Mac Mini still follows the BYODKM rule. The initialism, originally used by Steve Jobs when he announced the first Mac Mini in 2005, stands for “bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse,” because you get only the machine and a power cord in the box. You’ll definitely want to add a pair of speakers for when you’re not using headphones, because the built-in speakers aren’t pleasant.
This BYO design is great news if you already have those peripherals. Plug everything in and you’re good to go. Even if you’re starting from scratch and building your workspace, it doesn’t need to be too expensive. There are tons of cheap and excellent keyboards, mice, and monitors you can snag that won’t balloon the cost. The machine itself is tiny and unobtrusive, so it’s easy to plan accessories around its footprint. And at 2.6 pounds it’s lightweight and portable, which makes it great for hybrid workers splitting time between the home and the office.
If you prefer tons of screens around your workspace, then you may be disappointed to learn that the base Mac Mini still only supports two external displays, just like the M1-powered model. That’s enough for most people, but if you upgrade to the M2 Pro you can connect up to three displays to bask in all that blue light.
Blue Bottle is one of the older coffee subscriptions. It’s still great, though its selection is not as extensive as some of the newcomers. Where Blue Bottle stands out is freshness—the company promises to ship your coffee within 24 hours of roasting.
Blue Bottle has a 10-question survey it uses to pair you with coffee you’ll love. Its questions aren’t just about coffee; they ask about your favorite chocolate and even salad dressing. It might seem odd, but it works. WIRED senior reviewer Scott Gilbertson got excellent pairings that were among the best coffee he’s tried for this guide. Blue Bottle also has a decaf option.
Delivery options: One, two, three, or four weeks
For Animal Lovers (Yep)
Grounds and Hounds offers small-batch roasted blends and single-origin coffee, with 20 percent of its profits going to benefit animal shelters. The brand has some of my personal favorite coffees, especially the dark roasts. (Try the Snow Day Winter Roast when it’s available.)
There are two kinds of subscriptions at Grounds and Hounds—a traditional plan where you pick what you’d like to try, and a gift plan if you’re buying for someone else. We tested the former, opting for whole bean (ground and single-serve pods are also options), and its “Roaster’s Select” beans, which let us sample a few different varieties. As soon as we found what we liked, we switched the subscription to that bean.
When you sign up, Grounds and Hounds will let you know how your money is helping animal shelters. In the case of a single bag, a weekly subscription provides roughly 800 meals per year to shelters.
Delivery options: One, two, four, or eight weeks
Great Coffee for Reducing Heartburn
Trücup isn’t a traditional subscription service and shouldn’t really be on this list. But it has a really low acid content. That makes it a great option for coffee lovers with sensitive stomachs who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn. If you’ve been diagnosed with GERD, talk to your physician before you try Trücup, though.
Trücup is worth your time even if you’re fortunate enough to have a stomach that can handle normal coffee. It’s a top pick for drinking in the afternoon and evenings, as it’s mellow and easier on the stomach. You can subscribe at checkout after you choose a bag or make it a one-time purchase.
Delivery options: One through 12 weeks
Subscription Beans vs. Locally Roasted Beans
These subscription services all produce killer coffee beans, and they all taste great. But none of them taste better than coffee roasted locally. For the most flavorful coffee that has a direct impact on your community, you’re best served by looking up local coffee roasters–whether that’s a café in the same city, state, or geographical region.
Coffee is at its best shortly after roasting. The longer it stays on a shelf or on a delivery truck, the less flavorful it’ll be. Plus, ordering coffee locally minimizes the environmental impact of having stuff shipped from across the country (or across the continent). The best way to do that is by heading to your local coffee shop and having a look at what coffee they serve. (They might even roast and sell their own!)
How We Tested, and How You Should
To test these subscriptions, we brewed each bag in different ways to see which beans were best suited to which brewing method. It’s worth doing the same if you have access to different brewing methods, especially if you opt for a subscription that offers a lot of variety. A roast that makes a great shot of espresso does not necessarily make the best pour-over coffee.
In the same vein, take notes on what you like and dislike. Several of these services have very nice websites where you can record your notes and mark particular coffees you liked. Take advantage of these features, because you will probably forget. The coffee never stops coming with these subscriptions, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you’d like some more pointers, be sure to read our guide to brewing better coffee at home.
Let’s Destigmatize Decaf
Coffee aficionados are a fickle bunch, and they tend to like dunking on people who drink decaf. But here’s the thing: Decaf can be good. Yes, the decaffeination process changes the flavor, and yes, you often miss out on delicate floral notes. It’s unfair to exclude people from enjoying coffee, period, and talking smack about decaf coffee can also be ableist. Drinking caffeinated coffee all day can seriously impact your sleep, and some people can’t tolerate caffeine for medical reasons or just don’t like the way it makes them feel or the way it interacts with certain medications.
Coffee is for everyone! There is such a thing as good decaf, and three of our favorite services on this list offer a selection of decaffeinated coffee (Trade, Mistobox, and Cometeer). Even if you’re a caffeine fiend, it can be nice to unwind with a cup of decaf in the evening—it’s especially well suited for mixed espresso drinks, where typically bold chocolatey and smokey notes can really bring a mocha to life. Even in a French press or pour-over context, decaf (or a blend of decaf and caffeinated beans) is a good pick for afternoon coffee service. No need to worry about afternoon jitters or insomnia.