Amazon’s viewer-voted pilot season is currently one of the most unique ways of bringing shows to audiences, and we at TV Blend are anxiously awaiting the second round of greenlit series coming later this year. But Amazon isn’t waiting around to get their third pilot season started, and they’ve officially added a potential gold mine in Red Oaks, a half-hour coming of age comedy that just rounded out a talented cast to go with Oscar-winning executive producer Steven Soderbergh. Don’t let this show get flushed down the drain, America!
And Soderbergh isn’t the only big name in Red Oaks‘ corner. Directing the pilot will be David Gordon Green, who recently returned to his dramatic roots with Nic Cage in Joe, though he’ll probably be bringing his Eastbound & Down swagger to this project. The Red Oaks pilot was co-written by Eliza Graves scribe Joe Gangemi and Gregory Jacobs (Criminal), who will be working with Soderbergh again for the sequel Magic Mike XXL. Jacobs also serves as an executive producer on Soderbergh’s upcoming Cinemax series The Knick.
According to THR, Red Oaks is set in the grand old year of 1985 and follows David Meyers (Submarine’s Craig Roberts), a college student who is having trouble keeping it together after his father’s recent heart attack. Unable to figure out what he wants to major in, David takes a job as an assistant tennis pro for New Jersey’s Jew-friendly Red Oaks Country Club. Roberts will be joined on screen by Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf), Oliver Cooper (Californication) and funnymen Richard Kind and Paul Reiser, both of whom are known in part for Mad About You.
In the press release, Soderbergh described the process of getting the project together.
“Greg Jacobs told me this idea on the set of Behind the Candelabra and I told him it was great and that he should start working on it immediately. Then, while we were on the set of The Knick he gave me the script he wrote with Joe Gangemi and I said, 'This is ready to go, let's find a director.' We very quickly agreed to approach David because the humor was sharp without being mean, and we felt he would understand and appreciate that."
So getting Soderbergh involved on a series is apparently as easy as following him to each of his post-“retirement” projects and showing him things. I quite like that Green was chosen because he can appreciate humor that isn’t mean, since pretty much everything on Eastbound was drowning in mean-spirited glee.
Red Oaks joins several previously announced pilots, including Jay Chandrasekhar’s dramedy Really, the Ron-Perlman-starring Hand of God and Whit Stillman’s expatriates comedy The Cosmopolitans. Other in-the-works Amazon projects include the Mena Suvari-starring epidemic drama Hysteria and Point of Honor, Carlton Cuse’s Civil War epic.
Plan on voting Red Oaks into existence when it premieres on Amazon Instant Video later in 2014.