[Updated by Ryan Waniata, 1/16/2015]
Thanks to a few Golden Globe scores for Transparency, and an exciting new deal with legendary writer/director Woody Allen, Amazon’s Instant video catalog is riding high just in time for the company’s new pilot season, which begins today. Below is a quick look at the company’s 6 new kids pilots, as well as a rundown of the company’s 7 ambitious new adult series, all of which are vying for your attention and ready to watch right now.
For its targeted children’s lineup, Amazon will audition several animated series including Sarah Solves It, a math-focused series following a child detective from the creators of Curious George; The Stinky & Dirty Show, a book-based series that follows a garbage truck and backhoe loader on a round of misadventures; Buddy: Tech Detective, which follows a pre-school aged Sherlock Holmes; and Niko and the Sword of Light, centered around a 10-year-old boy who is the last of his kind in a strange world with a (you guessed it) magical sword.
The two live action kids series on the docket include Just Add Magic, adapted from Ciny Callagahan’s series of young adult books which feature three best friends, Kelly, Darbie and Hannah who find a dusty cookbook in the attic that serves up magical foods. And perhaps the kid’s show that’s getting the most buzz, Table 58, which centers around a group of outcasts who rally together around the same table at the lunch table.
Amazon’s brand new lineup of prime series pilots for 2015 include both hour and half-hour long series, as well as a half-hour docu-series.The prime series lineup of entries is pretty impressive, covering a wide range of genres, and with the involvement of acclaimed creators like Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), Randall Wallace (Braveheart), and Carlton Cuse (Lost); and a diverse roster of talented actors like Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Jason Lee (My Name is Earl), and Sam Trammell (True Blood).
The hour-long shows include Cocked, about a brother who returns to his small city family-run gun business (what did you think it was about?) from Sam Baum (Lie to Me) and Sam Shaw (Manhattan – TV series); Mad Dogs from Cris Cole (The Bill) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield); The Man in the High Castle from Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files); and Point of Honor from Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Randall Wallace (Braveheart).
For those who prefer shorter fare, there will be two 30-minute pilots: Down Dog from Robin Schiff (Are You There, Chelsea?) and Salem Rogers from newcomer Lindsey Stoddart, both comedies.
The docu-series is called The New Yorker Presents, and includes scripted narrative and documentary segments based on the magazine, produced in cooperation with the publication, and by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Condé Nast Entertainment.
The one from the lot that seems to have the most “fun” potential is Salem Rogers, a half-hour comedy about a has-been former supermodel who has spent the last decade in rehab and now needs to re-enter the cut-throat modeling world. It has a pretty stellar cast, including Rachel Dratch of Saturday Night Live fame, Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle), Harry Hamlin (Mad Men), and Leslie Bibb (About a Boy) as the title character, which gives it strong promise.
But there’s also some pretty dramatic fare if your tastes swing more to that genre, like Point of Honor. Shot on location in Virginia, the period series tells the story of a family that decides to defend the South and free its slaves, and the repercussions of making those choices among family, friends, work, and in life.
And with both X-Files producer Frank Spotniz and legendary director Ridley Scott teaming up for The Man in High Castle, an ambitious and buzz-worthy drama that imagines what might happen had the allies lost World War II, it’s clear that Amazon is throwing some real weight behind its latest round of pilots to compete with the king of original Web TV shows, Netflix.
In true interactive style, subscribers will have the chance to watch the shows, and provide feedback to help determine which programs make it to full series airing. The shows can be accessed on Fire TV, Fire tablets, and the Fire phone, as well as through the Instant Video app on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, compatible smart TVs, and online via computer.
You can check out all of Amazon’s new shows on the site today, and the mega-corp is hoping for your feedback to decide which ones will make the cut. So what are you waiting for? Dig in!