Bish bash Bosch: 4 new Amazon Original shows commissioned from 2014 pilots
James R | On 13, Mar 2014
Amazon Studios has commissioned four series from its 2014 group of Amazon Original pilots.
A detective drama, a classical music comedy and a sci-fi mystery will all be developed for Prime Instant Video subscribers to stream, according to Variety.
Amazon has adopted a very different style of programme development from its rival, Netflix, providing a batch of pilot episodes for new TV shows every year and relying on audience feedback and ratings to decide which ones to produce as full seasons. In 2013, Amazon commissioned Betas, a Silicon Valley-set sitcom and Alpha House, a political comedy starring John Goodman – and, judging by our review of Alpha House, that didn’t turn out too well.
In 2014, Amazon has opted for a more dramatic range of shows – and, judging by the pilots on offer, has made a much better decision.
Variety reports that Amazon will give the greenlight to Bosch, a detective drama based on Michael Connelly’s novels. Titus Welliver stars as Harry Bosch, whose franchise was snapped up by Paramount in 1994, only for Connelly to buy the rights back in 2011 in the hope that his series’ existing fanbase would pave the way for strong feedback from Amazon.
Our verdict: “An occasionally heavy-handed mystery, but one with enough emotional impact to top many ITV and BBC dramas. It’s taken 20 years for Harry Bosch to get to the screen… the wait could well be worth it.”
The After will also be turned into a full series. The show, written and directed by Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, follows in Lost and FlashForward’s footsteps as a group of strangers try to understand the aftermath of a supernatural event.
Our verdict: “In a way, this has the easiest job of all the pilots: it just has to raise a lot of questions to get people itching for more episodes. As TV history has shown, though, there’s no guarantee that the answers will be satisfying.”
Amazon also gave the go-ahead to Transparent, a drama by Six Feet Under’s Jill Soloway starring Jeffrey Tambor as the dad of a highly dysfunctional Los Angeles family.
Our verdict: “Subtly engaging enough to cut through the odd note of melodrama – especially when, towards the end of the episode, the show reveals a clever pun.”
Mozart in the Jungle completes the line-up of approved programmes. The dramedy, based on Blair Tindall’s memoirs about a symphony orchestra, is written by Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola and Alex Timbers, directed by Paul Weitz and stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a sexy conductor and Malcolm McDowell as his bitter rival.
Our verdict? It had us at “Gael Garcia Bernal plays a sexy conductor”.
All of which, if correct, means that Amazon passed on The Rebels, a sports sitcom that was by far the worst of the bunch. Variety’s sources have not said which of the five kids shows included in Amazon’s 2014 pilots will be commissioned. Amazon Studios have so far declined to comment.
The pilot episodes for all of Amazon’s 2014 originals are still available to stream for free to everyone, including non-subscribers. Read our reviews of them here.