While it isn’t behind the most-watched streaming subscription service, Amazon Studios is bounding forward with an intriguing assortment of upcoming projects. (Including that Woody Allen series.) They’ve followed their recent Golden Globe success for the stellar comedic drama Transparent by unleashing the latest Pilot Season on potential audiences.

As with their earlier Pilot Seasons, Amazon has brought a genre-jumping variety of would-be series for viewers of all ages, and there are three of them that absolutely need to be enjoyed by everyone now, so that they may one day get full series orders. (Not that a series order did Chris Carter’s After any good.) For what it’s worth, I didn’t hate any of the pilots I watched, although Carlton Cuse’s Point of Honor could almost be an unironic parody of war dramas. So if the following series sound up your alley, be sure to check them out and rate them, since Amazon always takes viewer opinions into account.

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Mad Dogs
Based on the acclaimed U.K. series of the same name, Mad Dogs was developed by Shawn Ryan, of The Shield and Terriers fame, and it absolutely features the same machismo-imbued characters we’ve come to expect from Ryan, as well as a pretty stellar cast of B+-list actors. The story is pretty simple: five lifelong friends all get together for a Belize-set reunion at the expansive villa of the super-wealthy Milo (Billy Zane). There’s the indulgent fun-hound Cobi (Steve Zahn), the big-talking Gus (Romany Malco), the seemingly depressed Lex (Michael Imperioli) and the morally sound nice guy Joel (Ben Chaplin).

As you might imagine, these “best friends” all have reasons why they haven’t kept in constant touch with one another, and what at first looks like an obnoxious “privileged middle-aged men being privileged” story quickly unravels into tension-fueled madness. Secrets are revealed, including hints at how Milo managed to pad his bank account, and things take a deadly turn that leaves the guys in a perfect storm by the time the episode ends. While Mad Dog isn’t spotless, it’s interesting in that its early-episode “problems,” such as a loud and voracious sex scene, end up justifying themselves plotwise by the pilot’s end. I need to see what happens to these guys in Episode 2. Make Episode 2 a reality!

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