Amazon announced today that it has picked up four original dramas and two children’s shows to add to its growing stable of original content.
Following the launch of its second pilot season last month, Amazon has announced which six series will be joining its first renewal, Alpha House. Four dramas officially received the greenlight today: The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. The first two are straight dramas with the subsequent two being more in the “dramady” vein. On the children’s programming side you can expect to see full seasons of Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street and Wishenpoof.
Amazon is also going to take a big gamble that there is increasing demand for 4K content despite the slow adoption rate of television sets that support the format. All four of the original adult series will be shot in the format. While the vast majority of consumers won’t be able to enjoy the shows in that resolution, at least Amazon is future proofing them for the future.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter in regards to the announcement, Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, was asked if the company will continue to release new episodes in its chosen frequency of one per week, or if it may adopt the Netflix model of unleashing full seasons all at once. In the past he has said he did not favor that method, but he may be more open to it. “We’re open minded to whatever customers would respond to,” Price said. :If you release them all at once, you have to postpone your launch a few months. There are circumstances where people might not mind that. But then there are some people who would rather have their show a little sooner. It might be worth experimenting and sort of trying a couple different approaches. That’s all part of what we’re doing now in terms of figuring out the exact release schedule. We want to dig into that. There’s no way to know until you try it both ways.” Considering the increase in the number of people who choose to binge watch seasons, we’re betting that Amazon may be better served to go with the full season releases.
No word as of yet as to when the new shows will be available on Amazon, but it seems safe to say it will be a few months from now.
You can refresh your memories on the concept for each show below, and the full press release follows.
Written and directed by Emmy-nominee Chris Carter (The X-Files) executive produced by Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and produced by Gabe Rotter, The After follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar, and Louise Monot star in the pilot.
Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch series and written by Eric Overmyer and Michael Connelly, drama pilot Bosch follows a relentless LAPD homicide detective as he pursues the killer of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood. Bosch is played by Titus Welliver (Argo, The Good Wife) and stars Annie Wersching, Amy Price-Francis and Jamie Hector. Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment (The Killing) produced and Jim McKay directed the pilot.
Mozart in the Jungle
Dramatic comedy, Mozart in the Jungle was written by Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited), actor and musician Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks, Moonrise Kingdom, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher). The project is based on the memoir Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall. Mozart in the Jungle is all about sex, drugs—and classical music—and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens on stage. Paul Weitz (About a Boy, Admission) directed the pilot and executive produced. Gael Garcia Bernal, Saffron Burrows, Lola Kirke, Malcom McDowell, Bernadette Peters and Peter Vack star.
Written and directed by Emmy-nominee and 2013 Sundance Best Director winner Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), Transparent is a darkly comedic story about an LA family with serious boundary issues. In this exploration of sex, memory, gender and legacy, the past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out. Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass star in the pilot.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is a live-action adventure show created by David Anaxagoras, a first-time writer, discovered through Amazon Studios’ open-door submission process. Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is a coming-of-age tale that centers around Gortimer, his two best friends Ranger and Mel, and their exploits on Normal Street—an ordinary suburb that has a hint of something magical just beneath the surface. The pilot was directed by Oscar winner Luke Matheny (God of Love, Maron) and guest stars Fionnula Flanagan.
Written by Angela Santomero, creator of Blue’s Clues, Creative Galaxy, and the Emmy-nominated literacy series, Super Why!, Wishenpoof! is an animated pilot that revolves around Bianca, who has “wish magic” which means if she wishes to play under the sea then — Wishenpoof! — she’s a mermaid, swimming around with the sea horses. Bianca uses her wish magic to help others and learns to solve life’s problems in her own creative way because with magic, or without, we all have the power to make good choices. This is Santomero’s second Amazon Studios pilot. Santomero’s first pilot, Creative Galaxy, is currently in production and scheduled to be available on Prime Instant Video in 2014.
Six More Amazon Original Pilots Receive Greenlight for Full Seasons: The After, Bosch, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent and Wishenpoof!
Award-winning casts include Jeffrey Tambor, Malcolm McDowell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Gaby Hoffmann and Titus Welliver
New series come from well-known creators including Chris Carter (The X-Files), Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch), Eric Overmyer (The Wire), Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under), Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom), Jason Schwartzman (Big Eyes) and Paul Weitz (About a Boy), and will be available exclusively on Prime Instant Video
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 31, 2014– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—The apocalypse, a behind-the-curtains look at classical music, a no-nonsense Los Angeles police detective standing trial, a family full of secrets, a girl with magic wishes and a boy named Gortimer—these are the intriguing plotlines of the six brand-new original series coming exclusively to Prime Instant Video. Amazon Studios today announced that The After, Bosch, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent and Wishenpoof! will become the next Amazon Original Series following rave customer reviews of the pilot episodes.
“We had a tremendous response to Amazon Studios’ latest pilots—in fact, double the number of customers watched these pilots compared to our first season and they posted thousands of heartfelt reviews with pleas for us to continue these shows,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “Now the fun really begins—Amazon will be working with some of the most talented casts and creators in the business to bring six new shows exclusively to tens of millions of Prime members worldwide. These series, along with our summer kids programming, will give customers a lot of viewing choices.”
Among the new Amazon Originals are two hour-long dramas. The After—from Chris Carter, the legendary creator of The X-Files—follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Louise Monot will be returning to star in their roles.
Michael Connelly’s best-selling book series about a relentless LAPD homicide detective will also come to life in the Amazon Original series Bosch. Connelly and Eric Overmyer will co-write the series which features Titus Welliver, Annie Wersching and Jamie Hector. Henrik Bastin and Fabrik Entertainment (The Killing) are producing.
Amazon will also add Mozart in the Jungle, a half hour comedic drama about sex, drugs and classical music, that shows what happens behind the curtains can be just as captivating as what happens on stage. Returning cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Saffron Burrows, Lola Kirke, Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters and Peter Vack. The series will be written by Oscar-nominee Roman Coppola, actor and musician Jason Schwartzman, Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers, and Oscar-nominee Paul Weitz.
Transparent, a dramedy about a Los Angeles family with serious boundary issues, rounds out Amazon’s upcoming prime time lineup. From Emmy nominee Jill Soloway and starring returning cast Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass, Transparent is an exploration of sex, gender and family that begins when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out. The pilot received wide critical acclaim, was hailed as “the best pilot I’ve seen in years,” and named to numerous must see lists.
In addition to its original prime time series, Amazon is developing children’s programming for preschoolers and for kids ages 6-11 that will not only entertain, but will also educate, inspire creativity and teach valuable lessons. Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is a live action series for ages 6-11 and will be joined by Wishenpoof!, for preschoolers.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street is a live-action adventure show created by David Anaxagoras, a pre-school teacher and first-time writer who was discovered through Amazon Studios’ open-door submission process. The series is a coming-of-age tale that centers around Gortimer, his two best friends Ranger and Mel, and their exploits on Normal Street—an ordinary suburban neighborhood that has a hint of something magical just beneath the surface.
Written by Angela Santomero, creator of Blue’s Clues, Creative Galaxy, and the Emmy-nominated literacy series, Super Why!, Wishenpoof! is an animated series that revolves around Bianca, who has “wish magic,” which means if she wishes to play under the sea then—Wishenpoof!—she’s a mermaid, swimming around with the sea horses. Bianca uses her wish magic to help others and learns to solve life’s problems in her own creative way because with magic, or without, we all have the power to make good choices. This is Santomero’s second Amazon Studios series.
This summer, Amazon will premiere its first three kids series Creative Galaxy, Tumble Leaf and Annedroids exclusively on Prime Instant Video. Each show will focus on important skills for children—science, arts and critical thinking—and will foster creativity by promoting learning through play.
Amazon Original preschool programming is developed with the aid of a board of advisors led by Dr. Alice Wilder, one of the world’s foremost experts in educational and child psychology. Dr. Wilder earned universal acclaim for her work as the producer and director of research and development for the hit series Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Room. During her nearly decade-long involvement with Blue’s Clues, Dr. Wilder helped pioneer a new level of interaction between a show and its young viewers. She brings her expertise to Amazon’s programming to give parents confidence these programs will provide valuable life lessons while being entertaining at the same time to maintain their child’s interest.
Here’s what customers had to say:
Prime Time Original Series:
The After: “Love the characters and the story. Thanks Amazon for getting Chris Carter and an excellent cast together. Will be waiting for the next episodes!”
Bosch: “One of the most flawless adaptations of a popular series I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing! Rate this series five stars so AMAZON gives it a full-season order!”
Mozart in the Jungle: “This one is a real winner! The characters are engaging and the plot was realistic. I can’t wait to see more!”
Transparent: “What a delightful blend of everything, writing, acting, storyline, and just plain family realness. I hope to see this show picked up because this family has multiple stories to tell and I want to hear and see them all. Great job!”
Kids Original Series:
Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street: “There was nothing in this show we did not like. It had a perfect script and perfect cast. Can’t wait for the next adventure!”
Wishenpoof!: “Watched this show tonight and cannot wait to share it with all our mom friends. The show was colorful, beautifully animated, and really taps into the imaginative spirit of kids everywhere.”
Here’s what the critics are saying:
On Mozart in the Jungle: “Classical music finally gets its own Kitchen Confidential in this comedy based on Blair Tindall’s memoir. It’s sort of like Smash, except simultaneously more authentic and much funnier. And Lola Kirke—sister of Girls star Jemima—makes an appealing heroine.”—Dalton Ross, Entertainment Weekly
“This year’s batch of brand new pilots from Amazon Studios just went live, and there are surprising numbers of stars in the mix. From a drug-laced drama about classical music with Gael Garcia-Bernal to a dysfunctional family comedy with Jeffrey Tambor (wait that sounds familiar), there’s something for everybody.”—Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo
“I watch a lot of TV pilots, and here’s the biggest question I had after watching The After, a new Amazon show from X-Files creator Chris Carter. Why didn’t a cable or broadcast network make this show? It’s certainly better than a lot of the one-hour programs the broadcast networks have debuted in the last year or two, and the first hour of Carter’s new project as good as or better than a fair number of cable pilots.”—Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post
On Transparent: “The show has authenticity and specificity. The family is immediately recognizable as a very true-to-life nominally Jewish, L.A.-bred, casually super-affluent clan. By the episode’s last act … I was already completely invested in the characters … Transparent already has me addicted.”—Willa Paskin, Slate
On Bosch: “As a longtime fan of the 18 novels about the hard-boiled Los Angeles homicide detective, I would say: Nailed it.”—Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
“Transparent is my favorite pilot in years, and by a lot.”—Margaret Lyons, Vulture
“Running the gamut from dark comedy to noir to the latest from X-Files mastermind Chris Carter, the emphasis is almost entirely on mature, dramatic subject matter — and after watching the full line-up, it’s clear that Netflix is no longer the only game in town.”—Bryan Bishop, The Verge
Creators of each series commented on today’s announcement:
The After: “The great news is we get the chance to continue working with such a talented group of people,” said Chris Carter. “Amazon has been incredibly supportive in their approach to telling original stories and making great television. This is an exciting time to be a storyteller.”
Bosch: “I’m excited beyond words. This has been such a long time coming. But by waiting I think the right people and partnerships came together at the right time: Amazon and its creative team; ditto Fabrik Entertainment, Henrik Bastin, Eric Overmyer and of course, Titus Welliver,” said Michael Connelly. “We’re now off to make something really good.”
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street: “I couldn’t be more proud of our show and our creative team,” said David Anaxagoras. “Gortimer has struck a deep chord with viewers who have told us how much they enjoy seeing imaginative, heartfelt, quality stories that the entire family can share together. Something as unique and magical as Gortimer could only have been realized at Amazon Studios, and their nurturing and support ensured that Gortimer reached audiences with uncompromising quality and integrity. I’m overjoyed at the prospect of returning to Normal Street and continuing our magical adventures with my Amazon family. A year and a half ago, I thought I was reaching the end of my attempted screenwriting career. I’m so pleased that it turned out to be just the beginning.”
Mozart in the Jungle: “We are delighted that Amazon chose to pick up Mozart in the Jungle,” said Roman Coppola. “They’ve been such a great partner in the creation of the pilot and we know that we’ll have their tremendous support to make a full season’s worth of episodes. We are especially pleased to have such a fantastic cast, knowing that the things that we write and will be brought to such vivid life by this cast of players. Can’t wait to dig in and do all we can to make a captivating, interesting, and fun show.”
Transparent: “It’s honestly a dream come true to make nine more episodes of Transparent,” said Jill Soloway. “I feel so lucky to be working in this moment when innovation in distribution allows for the most free flow of creativity I’ve ever experienced professionally. These characters are bursting in my mind waiting for the palette of the set and the flesh and blood and voices and comedy of the actors. More to come….”
Wishenpoof!: “I am thrilled to be working with Amazon, as I have been a huge ‘Amazon mom’ and Prime customer since the very beginning,” said Angela Santomero. “I always say Amazon is like ‘the perfect boyfriend’—loyal, delivering what and when they say they will (who can beat 2-day shipping?!), and I never have to look elsewhere, knowing with Amazon’s great taste, I’m guaranteed the best quality and prices. I am excited to contribute our brand of quality educational children’s media to other moms like me!”
Amazon will be shooting The After, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent in 4K Ultra HD. 4K is the latest and most advanced in high definition video, utilizing displays with an aspect ratio of at least 16:9 and capable of showcasing video at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels or 8.3 million pixels—that’s four times the number of pixels as standard full HD.