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Tag: Amazon (1-10 of 27)

'Red Oaks' needs to sharpen its '80s story

Red Oaks, one of the new Amazon Studios pilots now available to watch, is executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, but it’s certainly nothing like his current airing television project, the dark early-20th-century medical drama The Knick. Though Red Oaks could sound like a similarly bloody affair, Soderbergh’s never been one to stick to a genre, and the show is a small scale comedy named for a country club in New Jersey where the hero, David, gets a gig as a tennis pro one summer in the ’80s. There’s potential within Red Oaks if Amazon does decide to pick it up—nothing about it is really bad—but it needs to hone in on its most compelling elements.

David, played by Craig Roberts, gets his job at the club as a way of avoiding working for his father Sam (Richard Kind). The pilot opens on David hitting balls with Sam, who berates him for not applying himself. “A C is a Jewish F,” Sam tells him. Sam wants his son to be an accountant, but of course David does better in his class about cinema of the French New Wave. It’s a familiar parent-child conflict, and David’s disillusionment with his parents will grow mere seconds later when his father appears to be suffering a heart attack and confesses that he never loved David’s mother, who he thinks is a lesbian “or at least technically bisexual.” (David’s mother is played by Jennifer Grey, whose mere presence in a country club-set project conjures images of Dirty Dancing. There are no Johnny Castle’s here though.) Sam lives, but thus begins David’s summer of questioning what he wants out of life.

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Amazon's new test pilots take flight

Not so long ago, reality TV promised us that anyone could be a famous singer,
or chef, or alligator wrestler, or Amish craftsman. Now it’s not enough to be onscreen talent: We want to be development execs, too.

We have that chance with Amazon presenting its third round of pilots, which can be found on Amazon Instant Video. Viewers can watch, rate, and review the five new shows, and their feedback will help the streaming site decide which pilots to pick up as original series. (Last time around it ordered six series, including Chris Carter’s The After and Jill Soloway’s Transparent.) Here’s our guide to what to watch and what to skip—because, as a busy exec, you need a lowly assistant to do the dirty work. READ FULL STORY

Exclusive: Jeffrey Tambor transitions in emotional 'Transparent' trailer

All parents have their secrets. Some smoke cigarettes behind their childrens’ backs; others lie about their past recreational drug use. In Amazon’s Transparent though, Jeffrey Tambor’s Mort has a much bigger secret: As one of his children, played by Gaby Hoffmann says, “Dad is a woman.”

Mort’s three grown children are finding out their father’s identity for the first time while their mom is more aware of her spouse’s feminine taste—although she’s under the impression it’s a simple game of dress-up. “It’s his thing; it’s his little private kink,” Mort’s wife, played by Judith Light, says. But Mort’s affinity for dressing in women’s clothing is more than simply a “kink.” “My whole life I’ve been dressing up like a man,” she says in tender moment with her daughter. “This is me.”

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Amazon's third pilot season will feature five new shows

Amazon is gearing up for its third pilot season, in which it will present five new shows for users to watch, rate, and review. Starting on August 28, three half-hour comedies and two hour-long dramas will be made available on Amazon Instant Video in both the U.S. and the UK. Users will be able to watch the pilots, rate them, and even comment on them. By the end of the pilot season, that feedback helps choose which shows become an Amazon Original series.

Here’s a quick rundown of this year’s pilots: READ FULL STORY

Steven Soderbergh, David Gordon Green collaborate on Amazon's final 2014 pilot

Clearly, “retirement” means something else in Soderberghland.

Though the Academy Award-winning director has stuck to his promise to stop directing feature films since 2012 (when he shot Behind the Candelabra), Soderbergh has hardly stopped making art in the intervening years. Recent projects include directing Cinemax’s 10-episode period drama The Knick (premiering this summer), helming an Off-Broadway play starring Chloe Grace Moretz, editing together a mashup of Hitchcock’s Psycho and Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, executive producing a TV series based on his 2009 indie film The Girlfriend Experience for Starz—and, now, overseeing another TV show, this time for Amazon.

The retail giant announced today that it has added a fifth and final series to its third pilot season: the ’80s-set coming-of-age comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Soderbergh and directed by David Gordon Green (of Eastbound & Down and Pineapple Express fame).

Red Oaks follows a college student (Craig Roberts, Submarine) who meets a cast of colorful characters during his summer job at the eponymous country club. Those characters include a “corporate raider” played by Mad About You‘s Paul Reiser and his daughter, an “alluring” art student (Alexandra Socha, Royal Pains). Richard Kind (A Serious Man), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), and Oliver Cooper (Californication) also star in the pilot.

Like the rest of Amazon’s productions, Red Oaks will debut on Prime Instant Video later this year; customer feedback will determine which pilots are picked up and developed into full series.

Amazon announces another pilot: 'Hysteria,' starring Mena Suvari

An American Beauty is coming to the small screen.

Weeks after revealing its plans to debut the Sarah Chalke comedy Really during its upcoming third pilot season, Amazon has announced another pilot: Hysteria, an hourlong dramatic thriller from singer-turned-TV-multihyphenate Shaun Cassidy starring Mena Suvari.

According to Amazon’s official description, “Hysteria takes viewers to Austin where members of a girls’ competitive dance team are stricken with a strange, psycho-physiological illness that manifests in violent fits and spasms. Neurologist Logan Harlen (Suvari) is called back 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.”

Though it’s not mentioned in the release, the story seems inspired by a twitching epidemic that affected a group of teenage girls in Le Roy, New York, in 2012—an incident that also served as the basis for Megan Abbott’s recent novel The Fever.

The pilot will be directed by BAFTA winner Otto Bathurst, late of the U.K. series Peaky Blinders. It will also star James McDaniel (NYPD Blue), Josh Stewart (Criminal Minds), Adan Canto (Mixology), Laura San Giacomo (Saving Grace), and T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy). Just like the rest of Amazon’s productions, Hysteria will debut on Prime Instant Video later this year; customer feedback will determine which pilots are picked up and developed into full series.

Melora Hardin joins cast of Amazon's 'Transparent'

Melora Hardin, who many may recognize as Michael’s quirky on-again off-again girlfriend Jan from The Office, is set to join the cast of Amazon’s Transparenta representative confirmed to EW.

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HBO makes huge Amazon Prime deal: See which shows are going online

Big news for HBO fans: You can now watch many shows from the pay cable service without actually paying for cable, or buying the DVDs (or pirating the shows).

HBO has made a major deal with Amazon that gives Amazon Prime members unlimited streaming access to past seasons of shows like The Sopranos and Deadwood, as well as select seasons of current series such as True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. (See the full list below.) This is HBO’s first deal licensing its content to a streaming service. On average, the deal covers content that is at least three years old. For newer seasons, sorry — HBO still requires you get a subscription with a cable or satellite provider.

The network has previously licensed some content to basic cable networks, a move that’s actually keeping a few shows off Amazon Prime for the time being since they’re tied up in other deals (namely, Sex and the City, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm). READ FULL STORY

Amazon greenlights new pilot 'The Cosmopolitans,' starring Adam Brody and Chloe Sevigny

Amazon Studios continues to curate original programming featuring big-name stars with the announcement that it has greenlit two new pilots: the half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans and the hour-long drama Hand of God. READ FULL STORY

Amazon unveils Fire TV, a streaming device to rival Apple TV and Chromecast

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Amazon wants its consumers to keep their media streaming all in the family.

The online behemoth unveiled Fire TV on Wednesday, the company’s own device set to rival Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku in the online streaming game. That’s right — you can now watch an Amazon original series, exclusive to Amazon Prime Instant Video, via Amazon hardware.

Fire TV retails for $99, the same cost as Apple TV (Chromecast, meanwhile, is $35, while Roku starts at $49.99). For the price tag, you get access to Amazon’s catalog of more than 200,000 movies and TV shows, with even more titles available to Prime members (who pay a soon-to-be $99 annual subscription fee). Fire TV owners can also access other subscription streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, on the device. READ FULL STORY

Amazon picks up six pilots, second season of 'Alpha House'

The Amazon original Alpha House garnered over 6,000 five-star reviews during its first season, and it’s not stopping now: Amazon announced today that the political comedy is getting a second season.

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Dana Delany cast in Amazon's drama pilot 'Hand of God'

Two-time Emmy winner and former Body of Proof star Dana Delany has been cast in a leading role as Crystal Harris in Amazon Studio’s drama pilot Hand of God.

The studio’s description of the pilot: Hand of God centers on the powerful Judge Pernell (Ron Perlman, Sons of Anarchy) a hard-living, law-bending married man (to protective wife Crystal Harris) with a high-end call girl on the side, who has a religious awakening. He begins having visions and hearing voices through his ventilator-bound son that could be God speaking to him.

The script is by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice) and will be directed by Marc Forster (World War Z) — both will also serve as executive producers, alongside Perlman and Brian Wilkins.

Lawsuits claim Amazon Prime gouged customers on items with free shipping

That “free shipping” perk of your Amazon Prime membership might not be such a great deal after all. Two separate lawsuits recently filed against Amazon claim the “world’s largest online retailer” encourages sellers to inflate prices on some products in order to cover shipping costs.

A $79 Amazon Prime membership (soon to cost $99)  is advertised as providing customers with free two-day shipping on “millions” of items. Alabama resident Marcia Burke accused Amazon of encouraging third-party vendors to “conceal the shipping charges in the price of the product,” according to her lawsuit filed last Friday in federal court in Seattle.

The suit gives this example: If an item regularly sells for $10 with $3.99 shipping, Amazon suggests a vendor selling that product to a Prime member — someone who is getting “free shipping” — should charge $13.99 or higher. Prime-eligible products are highlighted on the website, and the suit claims, “[Amazon] provides these vendors priority by showing their items first in the Prime member’s product search results,” essentially duping those customers.

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