Every year it feels like Amazon Video tests more ideas of its potential as an original content farm, and gets closer to self-definition and quality. This season, the spread is growing even bigger, seeing the company both focusing on things that have worked for them, and cautiously branching out to fresh arenas.
Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle — the company’s most viewed pilot — was a disappointing but serviceable beginning for its 2015-2016 roster of shows. Given the fact that they promoted the hell out of it (to controversial extents, at that), we can presume that it was reasonably heavily viewed, though there has not yet been a confirmation of renewal. Even if High Castle was nothing revolutionary, it was at least an accessible binge-watch show with potent suspense and an excellent premise.
This Month: Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle
Meanwhile, we have one of Amazon’s most beloved, snowballing successes, the Jeffrey Tambor vehicle Transparent returning for its second season tomorrow, along with the freewheeling classical music-centric comedy Mozart in the Jungle returning on the 30th of this month. Here, Amazon is seeking to prove its staying power by furthering these relatively low-maintenance shows in the hope of continuing to build up viewership. Both series’ first seasons were also just nominated for Golden Globes honors, boding well for their future.
In terms of new series, Mad Dogs is first up: a madcappy, cabin-fevery bro murder mystery put to series after last Amazon pilot season. You can watch episode 1 here, but basically, it’s looking like Entourage meets Very Bad Things or … The Loft. Coupled with the intriguing cast — including Chris Moltisanti aka Michael Imperioli, Steve Zahn, Romany Malco, and Billy Zane looking like Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau — this one is definitely worth perusing, even if only for novelty’s sake.
All ten episodes of Mad Dogs will premiere on January 22nd for Amazon Prime members.
The New Yorker Presents
This is a weirdly stylized documentary/interview series produced by Conde Nast and renowned documentarian Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Silence in the House of God). Again, it’s an import from the last pilot season, and should be predictably low-stakes. Check out the pilot now, which packs pretty good interviews with Silence of the Lambs and Stop Making Sense director Jonathan Demme, performance artist Marina Abramović, and actor Alan Cumming, among others.
No premiere date has yet been set, but we can expect an early 2016 release date.
Are you ready for this Giovanni Ribisi-starring (and Bryan Cranston-guest-starring) madcap action-comedy? It looks like a more self-serious Catch Me If You Can from the director of Horrible Bosses — a con-artist saga which could be fun if Ribisi can successfully command the screen for a full 10 episodes. Watch the pilot here.
No premiere date has yet been set, but it is confirmed for 2016 release.
“What went wrong out there?” “Everything.”
A second season of Amazon’s primary hardboiled crime procedural, Bosch, was ordered in March of this year, about a month after the first season aired. We can assume that this is one of Amazon’s more successful, if least risk-tasking, shows, and Titus Welliver (one of the highlights of HBO’s Deadwood) is a pleasure to watch.
No premiere date for Season 2 has been set, but according to author of the Bosch books, Michael Connelly, the episodes should be avaiable early next year.
After airing on Channel 4 in the UK, the second season of Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan’s offbeat romantic comedy Catastrophe will hit Amazon streaming.
No premiere date set.
This Billy Bob Thornton vehicle was ordered straight to series: in other words, there’s no leaked pilot online to take the public’s temperature. No, it’s not a Kafka adaptation, but instead the tale of a disgruntled alcoholic lawyer, who attempts to rectify past missteps by going head-to-head against his former partner. If you liked the high Billy Bob quotient in Fargo’s first season, it’s likely we can expect similar Thornton intensity from this series, which comes from Practice creator David E. Kelley. William Hurt has also been confirmed as a co-star from the legal drama, which definitely helps its chances.
No premiere date set.
Down the Road: Weird Movies-Turned-Series
Other things on the docket — without set release dates — include a series adaptation of the Jane Fonda-starred cult sci-fi hit Barbarella, a Michael Bay-produced series based on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character, and (get this) a Galaxy Quest show — made by the team behind the actual Tim-Allen-and-Sigourney-Weaver-starring 1999 meta-space film. Unclear when we’ll see the fruits of these odd labors.
Also, I imagine we’ll see the Tig Notaro and Diablo Cody pilot from this year’s Amazon pilot season get to series, but no confirmation on that yet. Definitely nothing about Inverse’s favorite prospective pilot, Shane Black’s Edge, either.