Sunday, April 21, 2013

Amazon's New Comedy Series

The pilots for the Amazon original television pilots became available for viewing on Friday. They've been streaming like crazy (all the links are here), which is great because viewer response will determine which pilots will get a series order! US residents can see all of the pilots, though the full series are designed to be for Amazon Prime members. UK residents can view them through LOVEFILM as well. If you're trying to choose which to view first, here are some hints!

Alpha House, with four senators sharing a rental in Washington, DC, one of whom is played by John Goodman.

Betas was not part of the initial pick-up, but has four friends in Silicon Valley trying to launch an app.

Browsers, a musical set in a Manhattan office, has four young employees working for a news website. The biggest hook, however, is that Bebe Neuwirth is their boss.

Dark Minions, an animated series, focuses on a couple of underachievers "working an intergalactic warship."

The Onion Presents: The News, allegedly illustrates just how far reporters will go for a story at The Onion. Jeffrey Tambor is the star, playing The Onion's oldest and most respected news anchor.

Supanatural follows two retail divas who are also "humanity's last line of defense against the supernatural."

Those Who Can't has three immature, misfit high school teachers who are trying to make a life while plotting revenge against a hot-shot student.

Zombieland wasn't an initial series for Amazon, either, but with the popularity of zombies, it fits that four survivors are rambling around, looking for a home.

I was most excited to give Browsers and Those Who Can't a try, so here's some semi-spoiler thoughts about those pilots...

began with a warning that musical numbers would be present in the episode, which made me laugh. Similarly, the opening number with everyone's backstories was good. The idea that one of the unpaid interns would be let go after "Winnowing Week" was not so good, especially when the rules aren't clear. In fact, one of the interns (Gabe from Oberlin, Ohio) is fired before the first day is up, as he tried to stick to his principles by screwing up a guest's coffee order. Fortunately, Kate (from Providence) stands up for him and wins him a temporary reprieve. The twenty minutes featured several politically incorrect jokes (that were kinda funny), though the biggest bust was probably Josh (from NJ), who had little to contribute. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Prudence (from LA), who has no trouble finding and sharing links she believes will be hits, as she has passed news on to Tosh.0. The different feels of the musical numbers is nice, but I'm not sure how I feel about Bebe Neuwirth's accent for her role. The show-stopping number was definitely Neuwirth's closing, featuring the new catchphrase, "I'm someone with whom not to f*ck." I look forward to more episodes.
Those Who Can't has a gym teacher, a Spanish teacher, and a social studies teacher who gang up on Bryce, a lacrosse athlete who torments them in school and at their homes. The idea that the Spanish instructor is actually teaching the vosotros phrasing is different, but his desperate attempts to woo the librarian are sad. There was definite humor to the shoe, though not in the way the teachers and students talk to one another, which is on the verge of disturbing. Similarly, the sleeves of tattoos was also a bit much for a daily role model.] Things go overboard pretty quickly (and not just with the 100& unbelievable cafeteria lady), as the trio each tries to plant drugs in Bryce's locker, resulting in a wide array of pills and even some heroin. AND, when the kid doesn't get a strong enough punishment, they hire some thugs to beat up Bryce. Though I loved the John Hughes shout-out, the stupidity of these guys can only lead to disappointing further episodes, so don't look for more from me.  
I expect The Onion will really draw a crowd, and some early numbers suggest Betas may be pretty popular, but which are you going to check out?
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