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While the fall TV season is still the best place to find new series, I’m becoming increasingly interested in Amazon Studios’ Pilot Seasons, in which viewers vote on a selection of pilots that then have the chance of being turned into full series. (For example, last year’s Alpha House and Betas.) Amazon announced their third Pilot Season will begin on Thursday, August 28, but they’re cutting back the initial number of ratable series to just five. Should make it easier to sort through, right?
In no particular order, here are the five pilots viewers will be able to watch and review. Be smart, people. These all sound like pretty good options.
First off is Red Oaks, a coming of age dramedy produced by Oscar-winner Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) and directed by David Gordon Green (George Washington, Pineapple Express). Written by Gregory Jacobs (The Knick) and Joe Gangemi (Stonehearst Asylum), Red Oaks centers on David Meyers (Craig Roberts), an assistant tennis pro at the titular New Jersey country club in 1985. He’s at the youth-meets-adulthood crossroads in his life, wondering where he should take his college years while worrying about his father’s recent heart attack. Red Oaks also stars Paul Reiser, Richard Kind, Jennifer Grey, Alexandra Socha, Olivia Cooper and Gage Golightly.
Keeping with the comedy, Really takes a funny look at the complexities of marriage and friendship. Written and directed by Broken Lizard alum Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers), Really stars Chandrasekhar as Jed, who is “happily but messily” married to Lori, played by Scrubs’ Sarah Chalke. Once he finds out about a close friend’s important secret, Jay has to choose whether to keep the friendships going by keeping quiet or to upend everything with honesty. The Chicago-set comedy also stars Selma Blair, Travis Schuldt, Rob Delaney and Lindsay Sloane.
Romance and comedy also mix in The Cosmopolitans, a series written and directed by Oscar nominee Whit Stillman (Metropolitan). Filmed on location in Paris, this pilot centers a group of American expatriates living it up in Paris, looking for love and companionship. The cast of characters, American and otherwise, will be comprised of Adam Brody, Chloë Sevigny, Carrie MacLemore, Dree Hemingway, Freddy Åsblom, Jordan Rountree and Adriana Giannini.
Now we shift over to less amusing fare with Hand of God, the first foray into television from World War Z director Marc Forster, who directs from a script written by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice). Hand of God stars Ron Perlman as Judge Parnell Harris, a rough-and-tumble hardass who is trying to unlawfully bring to justice the rapist that destroyed his family life; he soon starts listening to “messages from God” as his only form of evidence. (I’m assuming this rapist character is KD (Garret Dillahunt), described as a “born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell.) The judge is married to a protective wife named Crystal (Dana Delany) but he also has a hooker named Tessie (Emayatzy Corinealdi) on the side. Hand of God also stars Andre Royo, Julian Morris, Alona Tal and Elizabeth McLaughlin.
Finally, there’s Hysteria, an Austin-set psychological thriller from Shaun Cassidy, creator of such genre hits as American Gothic and Invasion. Directed by Peaky Blinders’ Otto Bathurst, the Hysteria pilot follows neurologist Logan Harlen (Mena Suvari), who temporarily heads back to her hometown after a series of psycho-physiological spasm-laden episodes begin affecting the town's community, stemming from a girls’ competitive dance squad. Logan soon starts to believe that the source of the town’s problems is embedded in social media and her own troubled past. Grey’s Anatomy’s T.R. Knight plays Carter, Logan’s manipulative brother currently serving time on death row, and the pilot also stars James McDaniel, Josh Stewart, Adan Canto and Laura San Giacomo.
Which of these pilots sounds the most interesting to you? Let us know in the poll below.
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