Amazon has ordered full series from its latest three pilots, I Love Dick, Jean-Claude Van Johnson and The Tick.
I Love Dick is based on the renowned feminist novel about a couple’s marital struggles in the artistic and academic community of Marfa, Texas.
“Full of promising nuance, likeable characters and gorgeous visual compositions, this pilot is an intriguing study of human relationships and artistic inspiration – and an excellent piece of television that demands for more episodes to be made,” our verdict on the first episode read. “At this point, Amazon could commission an adaptation of the telephone book by Soloway and we’d be watching.”
Jean-Claude Van Johnson sees martial arts film star Jean-Claude Van Damme operate under the alias of “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” to serve as the most dangerous undercover private contractor in the world.
“Jokes about Nic Cage and Bruce Willis are all present and correct, not to mention a predictable romantic subplot involving Kat Foster’s rival agent (his agent, played by Phylicia Rashad is the real female star of the show),” we said of the pilot. “While the digs at hipsters can sometimes be a bit forced, it’s the action that gives Jean-Claude Van Johnson a unique personality.”
The Tick is an offbeat and dark superhero tale based on the comic, starring Peter Serafinowicz.
“When a TV show begins with the words “your reindeer are on fire”, you know you’re in for a good time,” we wrote in our review. “At a time when superheroes are increasingly gloomy and adult, it’s a joy to have a series that stands out from the pack just by being weird. Crucially, while it’s smartly meta, The Tick isn’t a spoof of other superhero shows, but rather its own thing: a comedy in which the characters just happen to be comic book characters.”
Together, the trio of pilots mark an impressively diverse range of commissions from Amazon’s original content arm, as it both steps up its ambition and attracts high-profile talent. Indeed, it’s already given the straight-to-series green light for both a Jack Ryan TV series and legal drama Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton, which premieres on Amazon Prime Video next month.
It also marks the second pilot season in a row where Amazon has ordered full series for the majority – or, in this case, all – of its pilots.
“These pilots were vast in scope, disruptive in tone, challenging in story and sometimes even funny,” comments Joe Lewis, Head of Half-Hour Series, Amazon Studios. “It’s rewarding to see customers embrace them in such a huge way. We can’t wait to premiere these series next year on Prime Video.”
The Tick, I Love Dick and Jean-Claude Van Johnson will all premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in 2017 in the UK, US, Germany, Austria, and Japan.
Tick, Dick and JCVD: Amazon announces line-up for 2016 comedy pilots
22nd July 2016
Amazon has announced the line-up for its new season of comedy TV pilots.
The half-hour episodes will give audiences a taste of three possible new Amazon original comedy series: The Tick, I Love Dick and a new Jean-Claude Van Damme series. The shows see the streaming service team up with a host of talent, including familiar faces Jill Soloway (Transparent) and Ridley SCott (The Man in the High Castle) and actors such as Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Hahn, and Jackie Earle Haley.
It’s a typically diverse bunch, from a show based on a feminist novel about a couple’s marital struggles in the academic community of Texas and an offbeat superhero tale to a martial arts hit-man action thriller.
“Nowhere else will voices as influential as Jill Soloway and Jean-Claude Van Damme share a stage,” says Joe Lewis, Head of Half-Hour Series, Amazon Studios.
The half-hour pilots will all be released on Friday 19th August, with each one available to stream for free to Amazon and non-Amazon customers alike. Based on audience review and feedback, Amazon will then decide which ones to commission for a full series.
Here’s the line-up in detail:
I Love Dick
Adapted from “the most important book about men and women written in the last century” (Emily Gould, The Guardian), I Love Dick is set in a colourful intellectual community in Marfa, Texas. Chris (Kathryn Hahn) and Sylvere (Griffin Dunne), arrive in Marfa when Sylvere is offered a fellowship to finish a book he’s been writing on the Holocaust. When they meet Dick (Kevin Bacon), he taunts their imaginations and upends their preconceptions about love and monogamy. An exploration of the female gaze and how we tell stories about love and desire, I Love Dick charts the evolution of a marriage, the awakening of an artist and the deification of a writer named Dick.
I Love Dick is executive produced by Jill Soloway (Transparent), Andrea Sperling (Transparent), and Sarah Gubbins (Ten Aker Wood). The pilot is directed by Soloway and written by Gubbins.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson
If you need to eliminate a political rival, debilitate a multinational corporation, or overthrow an entire government, there’s only one person to turn to: one of the most internationally recognisable movie stars in the history of film. Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD) plays “Jean-Claude Van Johnso”, a global martial arts and film sensation – and, operating under the simple alias of “Johnson”, the most dangerous undercover private contractor in the world. Lucky for the world’s bad guys, he’s been retired for years. Unlucky for them, a chance encounter with a lost love is about to bring him back to the game…and this time, he’ll be deadlier than ever. Probably.
Jean-Claude Van Johnson stars Van Damme along with Kat Foster (Your Family or Mine), Moises Arias (The Middle), and Phylicia Rashad (Creed). The show is executive produced by Peter Atencio (Key and Peele), Ridley Scott (The Good Wife), David W. Zucker (The Man in the High Castle) and Van Damme. From Scott Free Productions, the pilot is directed by Atencio and written by Dave Callaham (Mortal Kombat).
In a world where superheroes have been real for decades, an underdog accountant with zero powers comes to realise his city is owned by a global super villain long-thought dead. As he struggles to uncover this conspiracy, he falls in league with a strange blue superhero. The Tick stars Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy), Griffin Newman (Vinyl), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Valorie Curry (House of Lies), Yara Martinez (Jane the Virgin) and Brendan Hines (Scorpion).
The Tick is exec produced by Ben Edlund (Supernatural), Barry Josephson (Bones) and Barry Sonnenfeld (A Series of Unfortunate Events), directed by Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight), and written by Edlund. The Tick is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television.