Binge is the new black: Amazon Studios is taking a cue from streaming rival Netflix in its release of an upcoming series. The TV studio division of the online retailer plans to make available all 10 episodes of its new dark comedy Transparent at the same time this fall. Transparent creator Jill Soloway announced the move to reporters at the show’s Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour panel in Beverly Hills on Saturday.
When Amazon released its first round of major shows — comedies Alpha House and Betas, which debuted last year — the company rolled out new episodes on a staggered basis, like traditional TV networks. But Amazon Studios chief Roy Price hinted in March that model might change. The executive told Vulture that there’s “a certain degree of enthusiasm” for the Netflix binge model and that “sometimes the only way to understand something is to try different approaches.” Yet he also noted that when you release a whole season of episodes all at once, “the social media conversation related to the show tends to decline more rapidly than with a normal show.”
In other words: Throwing up all the episodes at once creates a lot of positive buzz among viewers and the media, yet the binge model tends to miss the sustained level of attention that regular network shows receive when they are rolled out over 8 to 22 weeks. Yet in one nod to conventionality, Amazon Studios will debut Transparent in late September, when broadcast networks unveil the bulk of their shows. Once again, this is a double-edged sword move — the titles will likely get included in the surge of fall TV media stories, yet might also get drowned out by all the competition.
Transparent stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Jay Duplass (The Mindy Project) and Gaby Hoffmann (Girls) and is billed as a “darkly comedic story about an LA family with serious boundary issues … in this exploration of sex, memory, gender and legacy, the past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out.” No decision has yet been announced on the release strategy of the company’s other new titles.
Amazon’s other upcoming original series include:
– Mozart in the Jungle, a “comedic drama about sex, drugs and classical music,” written by actor-musician Jason Schwartzman and starring Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Saffron Burrows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
– Bosch, a crime drama about an “LAPD homicide detective as he pursues the killer of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood.” It’s based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch series and stars Titus Welliver (Sons of Anarchy) and Jamie Hector (The Strain).
– The After, which follows “eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation.” This one is from The X-Files mastermind Chris Carter and stars Aldis Hodge (Leverage) and Andrew Howard (NCIS: Los Angeles).