nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Amazon Chases Netflix and HBO With Five New Pilots

Amazon Chases Netflix and HBO With Five New Pilots

Amazon has just released another slate of show pilots, and the whole Internet now has a chance to help decide which shows will make it to the company's video streaming service. The most recent crop, with three comedies and two dramas, marks the third time Amazon's reached out to its viewers for input about their next season of shows. All five pilots are now available for free on Amazon's Instant Video apps - along with a survey for users to leave feedback about each show. It's a tactic Amazon used to good effect in the past.

The somewhat-successful political comedy "Alpha House" was greenlit during the first round of public pilots. The second wave of shows selected by voters hasn't been released yet, but there's already a lot of buzz around "Transparent," a comedy starring Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender parent. This latest batch of pilots has been thoroughly picked over by several outlets . And while the critics are all over the place on some shows, no one seems to have an unkind word for the 80's-saturated comedy "Red Oaks" or much enthusiasm for the medical thriller "Hysteria." But what's potentially more interesting than the strengths and weaknesses of each individual pilot is what the collective slate can tell us about Amazon's digital TV strategy.

First, there's the star power: from renowned directors and producers like Steven Soderburgh and Whit Stillman to proven TV actors like Ron Perlman and Sarah Chalke, it's clear Amazon's ramped up the number of big names attached to these projects. Second, there's the speed at which Amazon's churning out pilots. HitFix notes this third batch has been released before the second set of shows have even started their run - and there's already casting talk for a fourth wave. "At this rate, they may be ordering some shows before a word's even been written, and traveling back in time to cancel others before the creator has even thought of the idea."

Lastly, NPR says all of these pilots seem more like passion projects than traditional safe bets. "It's tough to imagine any of these pilots earning a spot on HBO, Showtime, [or] Netflix. ... These feel more like well-crafted shots in the dark - interesting ideas that a platform looking to make a name might bankroll, in hopes one of them becomes a surprise, attention-getting hit." All told, a writer for Slate says this latest round of pilots is part of Amazon's attempt to become a serious contender in the video streaming field, by chasing giants like Netflix and HBO with its own spin on original content. "What started as a kind of cutesy gambit - Watch all the shows and vote on which you like best! Pilot season in the hands of the people! ... has morphed into a more polished bid for seriousness." In addition to the grown-up stuff, Amazon has also ordered a handful of pilots for children's shows. Those pilots are expected to debut in early 2015. This video includes images from Getty Images.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
exitscreaming September 01 2014 at 12:04 PM

Hey Now !

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Jive Turkey exitscreaming September 01 2014 at 4:09 PM

you're a all star! get your game on! go plaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!! : )

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Jive Turkey September 01 2014 at 4:14 PM

Should I have watched the video? The headlines mention 5 new pilots, but article only has links for 4 of them. I'm thinking maybe one was mentioned in the video that was not mentioned in the article perhaps? Did I miss something?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Claire September 01 2014 at 4:49 PM

nothing can make me watch more cable-tv was better when it wAS FREE AND HAD LIMITED CHANNELS

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
Jive Turkey Claire September 01 2014 at 5:20 PM

I don't like to watch it since, they switched everyone to digital and HGTV. I think there is prolly too much sublimals in there.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
pdbocc Claire September 01 2014 at 11:59 PM

cable TV was never free. The major networks at the time NBC, CBS and ABC were and are still free. Cable TV always had a subscription fee

Flag Reply 0 rate up
king of aruba September 01 2014 at 5:35 PM

someone please pickup"Longmire"

Flag Reply 0 rate up
hharris602 September 01 2014 at 6:07 PM

longmire should be renewed. a great series. i have watched both seasons

Flag Reply 0 rate up
drusus5845 September 01 2014 at 7:37 PM

I no longer buy anything from Amazon after I found out how they treat their employees at the Allentown,Pa Warehouse. I can get the same prices on books or anything else elsewear. For books I go to Hamilton books or Powell's.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
IN MY OPINION ONLY September 02 2014 at 2:54 AM

Hiring an old fart actor doesn't count.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
m.manuel3 September 02 2014 at 3:41 AM

Amazon needed to add Dracula season 2 in there.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
drsensai September 02 2014 at 3:50 AM

LMAO.....Big stars? Who? More like hasbeens! Amazon is a rip off....charging 25% interest rates for suckers. But...in all fairness this TV show ploy does play around with Amazon's Policy on selling other peoples junk....think about it folks....if you can buy it so cheap from Amazon,,,and if you're foolish enough to charge it on an Amazon acct.....paying them 25% interest....Imagine their profit margin and just how they truly treat their business partners for their products. Wake up America...Speaking of TV series and shows.....Ever watch..."American Greed" thats truly what this is about....Making the CEO's of Amazon rich....nothing else...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners