Amazon Invites Viewers to Pick Which Pilots Go to Series

Published 2 years ago by

Amazon Studios Original Series Pilots Voting Amazon Invites Viewers to Pick Which Pilots Go to Series

In 2010, online retailer Amazon launched its own production company, Amazon Studios, and began making plans to produce original shows and movies, inviting creatives from all over the world to submit ideas for consideration.

Amazon’s business model invites visitors to the website to vote on which pitches and premises they’d like to see made – the basic idea being that people state their interest in the shows or movies in advance, not only giving the company an idea of how successful each new idea will be, but also piquing interest in the projects before they even begin production.

It’s too early to say whether this business model will be a success or a disaster, but according to Variety there have been more than 700 test movies, 14,000 movie scripts and 2,700 series pilot scripts submitted since the launch of the company. 14 pilots have already been produced and there are 20 other projects currently in development.

If you’re a resident of the UK or the USA, you can now watch all 14 pilots for free and vote for show you’d most like to see get commissioned for a full series. Simon Morris, who is the chief marketing officer for Lovefilm, the UK distributor of the shows, explained the idea behind the votes.

“It was the logical next step in a consumer-focused company. Amazon’s DNA is data and using data to drive the service. Amazon’s goal is to be the world’s most consumer-centric company.”


The Shows

The voting is broken down into two categories – kids pilots and comedy pilots – with six options in the first and eight in the second to choose from in each. In the ‘Kids’ category are sci-fi shows Annebots and Creative Galaxy, Oz-set fantasy Positively Ozitively, mystery-solving with Sara Solves it, and talking animal shows Teeny Tiny Dogs and Tumbleaf. For now we’ll leave the 5-10s to vote on that category, and take a closer look at the comedy pilots available.

zombieland tv pilot Amazon Invites Viewers to Pick Which Pilots Go to Series

The cast of ‘Zombieland’

Zombieland - A spin-off of the popular 2009 horror-comedy of the same name that has writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick back onboard to write the script, engendered a lot of hype that it doesn’t quite live up to. The writing sways between genuinely funny moments and conspicuously clunky exposition, and though the cast is quite strong, there’s a definite sense that this show needed new characters instead of rehashed versions of Columbus, Wichita, Tallahassee and Little Rock. Tyler Ross and Kirk Ward in particular come across like they’re trying and failing to impersonate Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. Perhaps with a few more episodes they’d be able to find their own interpretations of the characters, but the pilot alone isn’t enough to recommend this show.

Supanatural – A 2D animated show in the vein of Archer, about two “outspoken divas” (played by Lily Sparks and Jameeliah Garrett) who work in a security mall when they’re not hunting down ancient artefacts and trying to save the world from dark supernatural forces. The pilot has its moments, but the comedy is pretty one-note and soon becomes a little repetitive – try keeping count of how many times you hear “girl” or “mm-hmm” within the first five minutes alone.

Dark Minions – Stop-motion/2D animation sci-fi featuring the voices of John Ross Bowie and Kevin Sussman. Onboard a spaceship belonging to the evil Galactic Conglomerate that has enslaved humanity, two slackers try to keep their heads down and make a living, until they are unwillingly recruited by a band of rebels. The stop-motion components of this pilot are very smoothly animated, making the weird staggered nature of the 2D sections look distractingly unpolished and amateur by comparison.

Onion News Empire – Created by satirical news site The Onion‘s Will Graham and Dan Mirk, this comedy series set behind the scenes of the news network’s operations stars William Sadler as an over-worked director tasked with handling an egomaniacal anchor, played by Jeffrey Tambor. Christopher Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle) plays the wide-eyed new recruit to the network, and the whole thing feels like a somewhat surreal analog of British political comedy The Thick of It. The comedy is sharp, quick-witted and hilarious - Onion News Empire is almost certainly going to be one of the favorites in the polls.

adam cayton holland those who cant Amazon Invites Viewers to Pick Which Pilots Go to Series

Adam Cayton Holland in ‘Those Who Can’t’

Those Who Can’t – A school-based sitcom about a group of teachers, the central joke being that they’re actually far less mature than the students they’re supposed to be in charge of. The humor is largely shock-based and as juvenile as the setting, but lead actors Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland and Ben Roy manage to sell it and the premise definitely has potential for a full series.

Betas – For those who aren’t already getting enough a geek comedy fix through The Big Bang Theory, Betas is a sitcom produced and helmed by Heathers director Michael Lehmann. A group of Silicon Valley programmers, presumably inspired by the success of Mark Zuckerberg, invent an app and pursue an investor who they hope will help elevate them from bottom-rung lackeys to kings of the industry. Somewhat predictably, the show’s characters are largely based on stereotype (a mix of the socially awkward, sex-obsessed and fashion-disadvantaged), but the writers seem to be fully embedded in the world of technology that they’re writing about, meaning that the story and pilot come across as nicely fleshed0out. Features a cameo by Moby.

john goodman alpha house Amazon Invites Viewers to Pick Which Pilots Go to Series

Alpha House - Beyond Onion News Empire, there’s even more political humor to be found among the candidates. The pilot for Alpha House features Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert alongside its central cast of John Goodman, Matt Malloy, Clark Johnson and Mark Consuelos, who play four Republican senators all sharing a townhouse in Washington, hence the frat-themed title. Topical enough that it’s likely to tread on a lot of toes (Matt Malloy’s character is seen receiving a “Say No to Sodomy” award from a group called The Council for Normal Marriage), Alpha House is another of the very high-caliber pilots on the list.

Browsers – This musical comedy about four new interns starting work at a news website is heavily hampered by the fact that none of the lead actors is a particularly strong singer. As with Glee, the show is split between spoken dialogue and music, but unlike Glee the songs are original rather than karaoke numbers. It’s an interesting experiment, but unlikely to earn enough votes for a series commission.

Vote For Yourself

Of the pilots up for the vote, Zombieland and Onion News Empire have an undeniable advantage due to their existing fanbase, while Alpha House has the benefit of a star cast – but will it be enough to push these series to pilot? Take a look at the newest comedy on offer, and let us know which show you’d like to see more of.

[poll id="582"]


Source: Amazon

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Zombieland
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  1. can i vote for none of these to ever see the light of day

  2. None of those shows sound interesting to me.

  3. I could only vote for Alpha House and Onion News Network because the rest sounded crap.

    I think what drew me to ONN is the fact that I loved The Thick Of It (especially the creative cursing they use and the fact that they created ridiculous phrases like “omnishambles” that have become staples of British politics now).

  4. I loved Zombieland (the movie). I gave the Zombieland pilot a chance, but it’s just terrible. It had moments of comedy which almost captured the spirit of the original. But overall, it was absolutely diabolical. If someone like me – that loves the Zombieland movie and has seen it multiple times – can watch this and cringe, I dare not think what others think of it.

  5. Wow, this has to be COOLEST thing ever. I LOVE inclusion. I always feel that Hollywood (or whatever amazon is) is very exclusionary. And they just go and create shows that they expect me to like, that I end up hating. Now whether these shows are good or bad, I like having a say. I also LOVE that I get to watch pilots. We never get to see pilots until a show is greenlit. so this is just AWESOME.

    I’m just in love with the idea. I can’t wait to spend the next week and 1/2 watching all of these pilots :)

    • Wow, you’re REALLY funny and SUPER clever.

      • Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.

  6. Zombieland needs to be cancelled immediately so they can make a sequel movie with the original cast!

  7. Im guessing this is in reaction to zombielands failure.

  8. A lot of these were disappointing, or just downright terrible. I would like, though, for anyone who is up to it to check out “Those Who Can’t.” I actually laughed quite a bit, and now I’m wondering if it’s just these brownies….

  9. Am I the only one who loved the Zombieland pilot???

    • Possibly, yeah. ;)

    • @Jimmy – actually, I’m shocked to say that I liked it too. It really caught me off guard because the trailer looked so horrible.

  10. also, how do I vote??? I Can’t find any buttons that say vote on amazon!

      • thanks!

  11. betas seems interesting i think

  12. Wow political drama mocking conservative’s, so original. How about a show with four democrats sharing a house, they could have antics on them running the Klu Klux clan, trying to evade taxes, and cheating on their wives. Hilarity ensues!

    • The klu klux clan is just a more extreme version of the Tea party, so it is mostly conservative scum. Republicans are the ones who evade taxes the most, and there are plenty of repubs who cheat on their wives. Conservatives are just more easier to mock, since their views are so ridiculous, and retard#d.

  13. All the silicon valley, douch hipsters in Betas made me want to punch my monitor.

  14. Zombieland has promise, but they need to recast Tallahassee. The other actors I think work pretty good as subs for the original cost, but that one guy can’t remotely capture the magic that Woody had.

    • I agree. And they need to hire new & better writers. And immediately fire whoever thought saying vagina 20 times was remotely funny.

  15. Very good and has many improvements and exciting new.

  16. Zombieland – 2/5 (that’s being generous)
    Alpha House – 3/5 (would continue to watch solely because of John Goodman)
    Those Who Can’t – 4/5 (entertaining, has potential)
    Betas – 4/5 (surprisingly enjoyable, has potential)
    Onion News Empire – 5/5 (satire at its best, couldn’t stop laughing)

  17. You refuse to let me use profanity yet the clip I just watched of Alpha House used the “f” word about eight times within 5 minutes. I despair to think that is how our senators talk. Here you had the opportunity to do something wonderful and all we get is a load of utter rubbish. Shame on you, Amazon!

    • Denise, go f*** yourself. See, that’s how you use “profanity” (wink wink) on SR.

  18. I want to know what is happening to the series “the After”. loved the pilot, wheres the rest

  19. I just watched DOWN DOG and it was great. The lead is so sexy and a wonderful actor.

    I especially loved Alysia Reiner. She is better than she was on Orange Is The New Black.

    The best part of the show is that it is about real people and real situations.

    I can’t wait to see the series.