Amazon pilot season is here again. If you’ve been struggling through a summer of TV reruns and YouTuber vacation vlogs, then this is some very good news. Amazon Prime will premiere five new pilots on August 28 in the US and the UK. Amazon’s pilot program is one of the e-commerce giant’s most innovative experiments in online video. Rather than produce a handful of pilots and leave it up to a roomful of network executives to decide which shows go to series and which go into limbo, Amazon lets its viewers decide with their clicks. Each of the five series that premiere at the end of the month will vie for viewer support, and the most popular series will get a full season produced on Amazon Prime.
Amazon has been pouring resources into its original content efforts, but has yet to come up with a hit to match those of buzzy competitor Netflix. This season, the internet’s everything store has pulled out all the stops, commissioning pilots from acclaimed directors like Steven Soderbergh, Marc Foster and Whit Stillman. This round of pilots also brings in a crop of big name stars including Chloë Sevigny, Adam Brody, Ron Perlman, Mena Suvari, Selma Blair, T.R. Knight, Sarah Chalke and Paul Reiser.
Netflix is desperately looking for niches, and so the new pilots will run the gamut from half-hour romantic comedies to hour-long thrillers. You don’t need to be an Amazon Prime member to watch the pilots or to vote. A full summary of each show can be found below.
The Cosmopolitans – A romantic comedy about a group of expats living in Paris. The show is the first television project by writer/director Whit Stillman (“Metropolitan,” “Last Days of Disco”) and stars Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny, Dree Hemingway, Freddy Asblom and Adriano Giannini.
Hand of God – A dark thriller about a judge (Ron Perlman) who seeks to deal out vigilante justice guided by what he believes are visions from God. Also stars Dana Delany and Emayatzy Corinealdi. The show is directed by Marc Foster, whose credits include recent Bond film “Quantum of Solace” and Zombie adventure “World War Z.”
Hysteria – A very modern thriller about a doctor racing to investigate a neurological illness that spreads through social media. The pilot also stars Mena Suvari, James McDaniel, Josh Stewart , Adan Canto, Laura San Giacomo and T.R. Knight. The show is written by Shaun Cassidy, who is best known for “Invasion” and “American Gothic.”
Really – Super Troopers’ Jay Chandrasekhar directs and stars in this sitcom about a group of married couples. The pilot will also star “Scrubs” veteran Sarah Chalke, Selma Blair, Travis Schuldt, Hayes MacArthur, Collette Wolfe, Luka Jones, Lindsay Sloane and Rob Delaney.
Red Oaks – Another half-hour sitcom, but this time set in suburban New Jersey in 1985. The show is something of a change for director Steven Soderbergh, who is best known for action blockbusters like “Ocean’s 11” and “Traffic.” The show stars Craig Roberts as a tennis pro at a suburban country club beset with zany characters. The show also stars Alexandra Socha and Paul Reiser.
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