Fresh off the streaming network’s five Emmy wins for “Transparent” last Sunday, Amazon has announced its latest batch of pilots for subscribers’ consideration.
“Our latest pilot season brings together a diverse group of shows that we think customers will really enjoy,” Roy Price, Vice President of Amazon Studios said in a statement. “We have something for everyone in this season and I am excited to see which shows spark conversation amongst our customers and what they want to be made into series.”
The six new episodes are set to premiere at a date to be determined in 2015, but we do know a good deal about the shows themselves.
Shane Black’s heavy involvement in this 1868 Western based on George G. Gilman’s novel is what piqued our interest right out of the gate. A co-developer on the show (along with “Star Trek: Enterprise” producer Fred Dekker), Black also co-wrote the teleplay, serves as executive producer and directed the pilot. Starring Max Martini (“Pacific Rim”) as Josiah “Edge” Hedges, the pilot follows the former Union soldier on a personal quest of vengeance and “savage” justice.
“Good Girls Revolt”
Another period offering inspired by a book, “Good Girls Revolt” puts its own spin on the events chronicled in Lynn Povich’s “The Good Girls Revolt”; namely, the sexual discrimination cases brought on to fight for women’s rights in the workplace. Set in 1969, the pilot follows a group of young researchers working in a newsroom who demand to be treated fairly. Given the setting, you can imagine how well this goes over. Starring Genevieve Angelson (“Backstrom”), Anna Camp (“Pitch Perfect”), Jim Belushi and Joy Bryant (“Parenthood”), the pilot was directed by Liza Johnson and created by Dana Calvo.
The mix of talent and creativity involved in “Highston” has it on boom or bust watch, but damn if it’s not hard to get excited about something so simple and sweet. Directed by “Little Miss Sunshine” helmers Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, executive produced by Sascha Baron Cohen and written by “Nebraska” writer Bob Nelson, “Highston” is about a young man who has too many imaginary friends. But not just any imaginary friends, mind you: Celebrity imaginary friends. The pilot co-stars Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Shaquille O’Neal from “Kazaam” (and some sports stuff) as said friends, but prepare yourself for a coming-of-age story focused on what’s it’s like to be “normal” in a world where a show like this can exist.
This much-anticipated pilot stems from the mind and life experiences of Tig Notaro, a stand-up comic whose honesty, courage and damn funny material has elevated her to new heights. “One Mississippi” — her second foray into scripted TV after penning 10 scripts for “Inside Amy Schumer” — follows Tig’s return to her hometown in Mississippi following the death of her mother. Tig has her own health issues to worry about, and she’s in search of a guide post without the presence of her mother, the only person who understood her. Written and executive produced by Diablo Cody (“Juno”) and Notaro, with the aid of Louis C.K. as executive producer, “One Mississippi” looks to be the quality dramedy follow-up to “Transparent” Amazon has been searching for.
A political thriller with some very topical content behind it, “Patriot” follows a CIA officer’s undercover mission to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons. Written and directed by Steven Conrad — who’s behind the screenplays for “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “The Weather Man,” “The Secret Life of Walter MItty” and Vince Vaughn’s latest arrested development comedy, “Unfinished Business” — and executive produced by two men responsible for “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Patriot” has our interest piqued for bucking the genres these men so snuggly fit. Oh, and Terry O’Quinn plays the main character’s dad, so that’s just fine, too.
“Z” is a bio-series focusing on one of America’s first celebrity couples, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Sticking closer to Zelda, “Z” tracks the turbulent and passionate romance from their first meeting through their marriage, but also attempts to tell the story of a woman who was ahead of her time, struggling to establish her own identity as an artist while living in the shadow of world-famous husband. Christina Ricci stars as Zelda and Gavin Stenhouse (“Allegiance”) plays her husband. “Z” was written by Dawn Prestich and Nicole Yorkin (both from “The Killing”) and directed by Tim Blake Neslon.