The nighttime soap, with its amped-up rivalries and luxurious trappings, may be somewhat out of fashion on broadcast TV right now. In the years since “Empire,” there hasn’t been a new show with commensurate vivid ambition, or such a shameless desire to thrill.

Which has created an opening for streamers. Earlier this year, the Kerry Washington-produced “Reasonable Doubt,” on Hulu, made a case for itself as a would-be “Scandal” successor, with its careening defense attorney protagonist taking viewers on a rollickingly dramatic ride. And now, on Amazon Prime Video, comes the series “Riches,” created by Abby Ajayi, previously a writer for “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Inventing Anna.” Ajayi’s new series merges a sharply observed family dynamic with a high-stepping verve reminiscent of the best of the genre.

Here, the aptly named Richards family — those first four letters suggestive of their wealth — is cast into disarray by the loss of patriarch Stephen (Hugh Quarshie). As on “Empire,” or for that matter, “Succession,” the family’s fortune, in the form of a booming cosmetics business floridly named Flair and Glory, is the engine both of money and of sibling rivalry. When the American-raised children whom Stephen neglected their whole lives show up in the United Kingdom to see what might have been left to them, enmity and rage bloom even before the will is read.

That will-reading will give viewers the sense of whether “Riches” is for them or not; this is the sort of show in which a bereaved widow screams “You bitch!” at an unexpected inheritor before berating her late husband’s attorney. That widow, Claudia, is played by Sarah Niles, an Emmy nominee for her role on the most recent season of “Ted Lasso”; here, she delivers a performance of sustained intensity. She perennially crops up to deliver lines of perfectly controlled menace to Nina (Deborah Ayorinde), the interloping daughter who threatens Claudia’s vision of her own children’s ascendance. Together, Nina and Simon (Emmanuel Imani), the American duo, have sufficient vim and quick-thinking wit to make clear why their British half-siblings fear them. And their gradual winning over of their distant family’s sympathy provides interest beyond the sparkly, nasty energy of the swapped insults.

“Riches” can feel somewhat unbalanced: Both Stephen’s American children and his British ones (Adeyinka Akinrinade, Nneka Okoye and Ola Orebiyi) have claims, of a sort, on Flair and Glory, but only Nina and Simon demonstrate glorious flair. (Alesha, Wanda and Gus Richards, the Brits, did not learn from their mother the tools of being good soap characters.) As such, the show is at its best when the groups are interweaving, trying to figure out a way forward for a company that is suddenly buffeted by outside threats.

Which they do eventually, demonstrating not just how Americans and Brits are separated by culture but how Stephen’s two families came up differently. Nina and Simon are scrappier; they have had to be. Uniting all five children, though, is the unique place Flair and Glory occupies in the landscape. Though supported by various white employees, including “Downton Abbey’s” Brendan Coyle as the family attorney, the Richards family is Black and making products for Black consumers. (In this, “Riches” joins “Reasonable Doubt” as a streaming soap foregrounding Black characters.) The Richardses fret about retaining customer loyalty and pleasing Black Twitter; they unite with the sense that, even in their rivalries, they are all they have in a hostile business climate. It’s this sense — that the family’s internal battles are ultimately secondary to their joined path forward — that grants the boundless fun of “Riches” a sense of gravity too.

“Riches” launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, December 2.

‘Riches’ Is a Juicily Fun Family-Empire Soap: TV Review

Amazon Prime Video. Six episodes (all screened for review).

  • Production: Executive producers: Nadine Marsh-Edwards, Amanda Jenks, Abby Ajayi, Alison Owen, Alison Carpenter.
  • Cast: Deborah Ayorinde, Hugh Quarshie, Sarah Niles , Adeyinka Akinrinade, Ola Orebiyi, Nneka Okoye, Emmanuel Imani.