Amazon today launched its third pilot season, calling on customers in the US and UK to watch a brand new slate of original comedy and drama pilots, and provide feedback to help determine which shows should be made into Amazon Original Series. The line-up includes everything from a visit to modern day Paris, a psycho-physiological illness spread through social media, the humor and complexities of marriage, a New Jersey 1980’s flashback, and a mysterious thriller. The pilots can be viewed with the Amazon Instant Video app available on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, as well as hundreds of other connected devices such as smart TVs—or customers can visit amazonoriginals.com to watch online.
The five new pilots include half hour comedies The Cosmopolitans, Really and Red Oaks, and hour-long dramatic thrillers Hand of God and Hysteria. The pilots come from renowned creators including Shaun Cassidy, Jay Chandrasekhar, Marc Forster, David Gordon Green, Steven Soderbergh and Whit Stillman, and star Selma Blair, Adam Brody, Sarah Chalke, Dana Delany, Ron Perlman, Paul Reiser, Chloë Sevigny and Mena Suvari.
“We’re delighted to bring Amazon customers the work of these passionate and talented creators and are excited to get customer feedback,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “It’s an exciting time at Prime Instant Video, with new, original shows coming to the service every month for the rest of the year.”
As part of its unique development process, Amazon gives customers an opportunity to provide feedback on which pilots they want turned into series on Prime Instant Video. During pilot season, any Amazon customer in the US and UK can watch, rate and comment on the pilots. At the end of pilot season, that feedback helps determine the shows that become an Amazon Original Series. This past February, Amazon customers posted comments during the second pilot season, which helped Amazon decide to green light six series—Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, The After, and kids series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and Wishenpoof!
Written, directed and produced by Academy Award nominee Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), The Cosmopolitans follows a group of young American expatriates in contemporary Paris searching for love and friendship in a foreign city. The romantic comedy pilot stars Adam Brody as Jimmy, Chloë Sevigny as Vicky, Carrie MacLemore as Aubrey, Dree Hemingway as Camille, Freddy Åsblom as Fritz, Jordan Rountree as Hal, and Adriano Giannini as Sandro. The pilot was filmed on location in Paris.
Hand of God
Marking the television debut of renowned filmmaker Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, World War Z) and written by Ben Watkins, Hand of God stars Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman in his first lead television role since Sons of Anarchy as Judge Pernell Harris. Hand of God also stars Dana Delany as the Judge’s protective wife Crystal Harris, Garret Dillahunt as KD, the born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell, Andre Royo as the slick, smart, gregarious, and greedy mayor Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston, Alona Tal as Pernell’s grieving daughter-in-law Jocelyn Harris, Julian Morris as the questionable preacher Paul Curtis, Elizabeth McLaughlin as the preacher’s sultry girlfriend Alicia, and Emayatzy Corinealdi as Pernell’s call girl and confidante Tessie. The show centers on the powerful Judge Harris, a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. With no real evidence to go on, Pernell begins to rely on “visions” and “messages” he believes are being sent by God through Pernell’s ventilator-bound son. Forster, Watkins, Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King are Executive Producers, and Jillian Kugler is co-Executive Producer.
Hysteria takes viewers to Austin, Texas where social connection has become contagious. In the pilot, members of a girls’ competitive dance team are stricken with a strange, psycho-physiological illness that manifests itself in violent fits and spasms and then begins spreading in the community through technology. Neurologist Logan Harlen (played by Mena Suvari) returns to her hometown to investigate the cause. Fighting her own demons and the growing manipulation of a brother on death row, Logan develops an uneasy suspicion that the hysteria surrounding the girls might actually be linked to social media and her own tragic past. Hysteria is written by Shaun Cassidy, who is known for genre thrillers such as Invasion and American Gothic, and directed by Otto Bathurst, who won the BAFTA Award for his work on the critically-acclaimed U.K. mini-series Peaky Blinders. The show also stars James McDaniel (Orange Is The New Black) as Carl Sapsi, Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises) as Ray Ratajeck, Adan Canto (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as Matt Sanchez, Laura San Giacomo (Saving Grace) as Grace Pelayo and T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) as Carter Harlen. The show is written by Cassidy, who is also Executive Producer alongside Adam Schroeder, Sharon Hall, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bryan Zuriff, and Bathurst. In addition to Suvari, McDaniel, Stewart, Canto, San Giacomo and Knight, Hysteria also stars Ella Rae Peck and Jenessa Grant. Pilot guest stars include Jason Douglas, Heather Kafka, Asjha Cooper, and Evie Thompson. Amazon Studios is collaborating with Universal Television and Alcon Television Group on the production of Hysteria.
Written, directed and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Really is a funny, extremely, honest behind-the-curtain look at the complexities of marriage and the charged dynamics of a tight-knit group of friends. The show is about four hard-charging suburban Chicago couples trying to grasp on-to their dwindling youth. At the center are the happily but messily married couple Jed, played by Chandrasekhar, and Lori, played by Sarah Chalke. When Jed is faced with the choice of keeping his pal’s secret or destroying his friend group, he winds up digging himself into a very deep hole. Really explores marriage, friendship and the stifling peculiarities of suburban Chicago life. The pilot also stars Selma Blair, Travis Schuldt, Hayes MacArthur, Collette Wolfe, Luka Jones, Lindsay Sloane and Rob Delaney. Really comes from Main Street Films’ Craig Chang and Harrison Kordestani, and Executive Producer Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings).
Directed by Sundance award-winner David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down) and executive produced by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven), Red Oaks stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) as David Myers, an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey in 1985, who is both reeling from his father’s heart attack and conflicted about what major to declare in the fall. While there, he meets a colorful cast of misfit co-workers and wealthy club members including an alluring art student named Skye (played by guest star Alexandra Socha) and her corporate raider father Getty played by Paul Reiser (Mad About You). A coming-of-age comedy set in the “go-go” 80s that is equal parts hijinks and heartfelt, Red Oaks is about enjoying a last hurrah before summer comes to an end—and the future begins. Red Oaks also stars Jennifer Grey (It’s Like, You Know) as Judy Myers, Richard Kind (Luck) as Sam Myers, Oliver Cooper (Californication) as Wheeler, Gage Golightly as Karen, and Ennis Esmer as Nash. Red Oaks is written by Gregory Jacobs (The Knick) and Joe Gangemi (Eliza Graves). Soderbergh, Green, Jacobs, and Gangemi are Executive Producers.