Amazon is entering pilot season strong with seven pilots for shows with big names attached.
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Amazon announced the premiere for their new live-action kids series, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and released an exclusive trailer.
After creating some of TV’s most memorable supporting characters (including Arrested Development‘s double-trouble twins George and Oscar Bluth), 70-year-old Jeffrey Tambor digs his heels (literally) into the role of his career: a transgender head of household who transitions from Mort to Maura on Amazon’s groundbreaking, critically lauded series Transparent. Tambor chatted with EW about the makings of “Moppa.”
EW: Congrats on the show. I burned through it in a single afternoon.
Jeffrey Tambor: You’re all done? Wow. Someone tweeted that they were on their second time around. When I was a kid, we got up, we walked a number of paces to a television, turned it on, and changed channels. So this is a brave new world. There was one television in the living room, and we all sat around on Sundays and watched Ed Sullivan. READ FULL STORY
Big names and big competition are brewing when Alpha House returns for its second season.
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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