News Column

Amazon pilots (Part 3): The comedies

April 28, 2013

YellowBrix

April 28--In two previous posts, I discussed the Amazon pilots, a slate of proposed series by the cyberspace bookseller turned virtual moving-picture studio, now streaming online for viewer comment and ratings. (Thousands have already chimed in.) The first post was for background and context; the second looked at six projected children's shows.

And now come the comedies, which number eight. One is a cartoon, one is puppet-animated. One is a musical. Basic- to premium-cable in tone, all come with warnings as to adult content. (The musical comes with the additional warning that it is a musical.) None, at least as seen here, is destined for a broadcast network, though a couple would take only minor tweaks to conform to FCC rules and regulations and industry standards and practices. (Amazon will stream whatever series it decides to produce but may also shop its wares to the Old Media.) Most swing for a younger demographic (some, to be sure, being made by that younger demographic). None attempt to remake the form.

On a technical level, they're polished enough to go anywhere; Amazon's "open-door" submission policy notwithstanding, they are not homemade works of guerrilla television but the refined handiwork of industry pros. And in terms of content, the least of them are not as bad as things you can see right now on actual TV. I realize that that is a low bar, and Amazon does not bat eight for eight, but all in all, it's an impressive first outing. Your average TV network or production company, offering as many pilots, might do no better.

Amazon TV Pilots: Part 1 -- Part 2

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