By Sahil Patel
Amazon Studios has unveiled the full list of pilots coming to its Prime Instant Video streaming service in January. It features seven previously announced drama, comedy, and docu-series pilots, and six new kids pilots.
As usual, the talent behind these potential series is stellar; the adult-oriented slate includes shows from Samuel Baum (“Lie to Me”) and Sam Shaw (“Manhattan”); Cris Cole (“The Bill”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”); Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”); Will Graham (“Onion News Network”); Alex Gibney (“The Armstrong Lie”); and Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”).
Amazon Studios is also plans to continue beef up its kids’ programming slate, with four new animated pilots and two live-action pilots from a roster of creators that includes May Chan (“Phineas & Ferb”), Carol Greenwald (“Arthur”), Jennifer Hamburg (“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”), Rob Hoegee (“Generator Rex”), Guy Toubes (“The Adventures of Chuck & Friends”), Angelo Santomero (“Creative Galaxy,” which was greenlit by Amazon), and Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (“Sullivan & Son”).
All of these pilots will arrive on Prime Instant Video in the US, UK, and Germany on January 15, after which viewers will get the chance to watch each for free and rate whether they like them or not. Amazon Studios will then determine which pilots get a shot at a full season, to join the likes of “Alpha House,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” and “Transparent” in the company’s original programming slate.
Here’s the full list of what’s coming:
Comedies & Dramas
“Cocked”: An hour-long dark comedy created by Sam Baum (“Lie to Me”) and Sam Shaw (“Manhattan” — the TV series), “Cocked” follows a family man and “corporate lapdog” who’s forced to leave the big city and return home to rural Virginia to help his family’s gun business. What follows is a clash of cultures as his wife and kids clash with the world he left behind. The pilot stars Sam Trammell (“True Blood”), Jason Lee (“My Name Is Earl”), Brian Dennehy *”The Good Wife”), Laura Fraser (“Breaking Bad”), and Dreama Walker (“The Good Wife”), and is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“Skull Island”). Erwin Stoff, Shaw, and Baum are executive producers.
“Down Dog”: The half-hour comedy centers on a teacher at a yoga studio, whose good looks and winning smile have allowed him to coast through romances and random jobs. A breakup with his older girlfriend, who also happens to own the yoga studio, throws his life out of order. The pilot stars Josh Casaubon, Paget Brewster (“Criminal Minds”), Lyndsy Fonseca (“How I Met Your Mother”), Will Greenberg (“Halt and Catch Fire”), Kris Kristofferson (“Lone Star”), and Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”). The pilot is written by Robin Schiff (“Are You There, Chelsea?”), directed by Bradley Siberling (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”), and produced by Bob Cooper (“RFK”) and Michael Fuchs (“Death in the Modern Age”).
“Mad Dogs”: An hour-long dark comedy from Cris Cole based on the UK series of the same name, “Mad Dogs” centers on the reunion of a group of underachieving forty-something friends. A celebration of an early retirement of an old friend devolves into a nightmare of lies, deception, and murder. Pilot stars Steve Zahn (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Billy Zane (“Twin Peaks”), Romany Malco (“Weeds”), Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”), and Ben Chaplin (“World Without End”). It’s directed by Charles McDougall and co-produced with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers include Cole, McDougall, Shawn Ryan, Marney Hochman (“Last Resort”), Andy Harries (“DCI Banks”), and Suzanne Mackie (“All in Good Time”).
“The Man in the High Castle”: This adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name considers the question of what would happen if the Allies had lost World War II. Taking place 20 years after the war, the US and much of the world has been divided by Japan and Germany. But tension between the two remaining superpowers is mounting. The series provides a view of this world through the eyes of a collection of characters. Stars include Alexa Davalos (“Mob City”), Rupert Evans (“The Village”), Joel De La Fuente (“Hemlock Grove”), Rufus Sewell (“Eleventh Hour”), and DJ Qualls (“Z Nation”). The pilot is directed by David Semel (“Heroes”), and written by Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”). Executive producers include Semel, Spotnitz, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker, Christopher Tricarico, and Stewart Mackinnon and Christian Baute of Headline Pictures. Jordan Sheehan of Scott Free Production is co-executive producer. Isa Dick Hackett and Kalen Egan will executive produce and co-executive produce, respectively, on behalf of Electric Shepherd.
“The New Yorker Presents”: This half-hour documentary series will look to bring the pages of The New Yorker “to life” via series of short films, sketches, and interviews. Co-produced by CNE and Jigsaw Productions, the pilot features a short film starring Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”) and Brett Gelman (“Go On”), based on a story by Simon Rich (“SNL”) and directed by Emmy winner Troy Miller (“Arrested Development”). Other elements include a mini documentary by Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) and interview with famous performance artist Marina Abramovic. Pilot is executive produced by Alex Gibney, Dave Snyder, and Dawn Ostroff.
“Point of Honor”: An hour-long drama, “Point of Honor” centers on a Virginia family divided by the Civil War. The pilot stars Nathan Parsons (“True Blood”), Christopher O’Shea (“Baby Daddy”), Annabelle Stephenson (“Revenge”), Riley Voelkel (“The Newsroom”), and Hanna Mangan Lawrence (“Old School”). It’s directed by Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”), and written by Wallace and Carlton Cuse (“Lost”). Cuse, Wallace, and Barry Jossen (“Sex and the City”) are also executive producing “Point of Honor,” which is being co-produced with ABC Signature Studios.
“Salem Rogers”: This half-hour comedy stars Leslie Bibb (“About a Boy”) as an overconfident and blunt former supermodel, who is forced to face her past and re-enter the real world after 10 years at a posh rehab center. Trying to get back in the game, she tracks down her former assistant, played by Rachel Dratch (“SNL”), who has built a new career writing self-help books. Other stars include Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Harry Hamlin (“Mad Men”), Brad Morris (“Cougar Town”), and Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”). The pilot is written by Lindsey Stoddart, executive produced by Will Graham (“The Onion News Network”), and directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”). “Salem Rogers” is notable for coming out of Amazon Studios’ online screenplay submission program.
“Buddy: Tech Detective”: Based on an original idea by Chris Dicker (“What’s Your News?”) and created by Jon Burton (“The Lego Movie”), Dicker and Jocelyn Stevenson (“Fraggle Rock”), and developed for television by Jennifer Hamburg (“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Henry Hugglemonster”), “Buddy: Tech Detective” is a preschool whodunit that follows super-sleuth Buddy, his inventor best friend Trudy, the funny furry ferret Ferdo, and you, the viewer Using a myriad of interactive technologies, Buddy and his team gather evidence, follow cues, and crack the case. The project is a TT Animation/The Foundation (a part of Zodiak Kids) production, and is animated by Jellyfish Animation Limited.
“Sara Solves It”: This animated musical comes from the talented minds of Carol Greenwald (“Arthur”), and Angela C. Santomero (“Blue’s Clues,” “Creative Galaxy,” “Wishenpoof!”) with animation production handled by DHX (“Inspector Gadget”). Produced by WGBH and Out of the Blue Enterprises with Greenwald, Santomero, and Samantha Freeman executive producing, “Sara Solves It” follows 9-year-old whiz kid Sara and her younger brother Sam as they work together in order to solve mysteries in their apartment building, at school and beyond using creative problem solving.
“The Stinky & Dirty Show”: The pilot is based on the “I Stink!” book series by Kate & Jim McMullan, is written by Guy Toubes (“The Adventures of Chuck & Friends”), and animated by Brown Bag Films, Ltd (“Peter Rabbit,”). “The Stinky & Dirty Show” follows the misadventures of best friends and unlikely heroes, Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty, the backhoe loader.
“Niko and the Sword of Light”: The pilot is based on the motion graphic comic by Imaginism Studios, the studio behind character and concept designs for Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Men in Black 3,” and Studio NX (“The Carrot and Rabbit Show”). Written by Rob Hoegee (“Generator Rex”) and animated by Titmouse (“Turbo FAST”), “Niko and the Sword of Light” follows 10-year-old Niko who is the last of his kind in a strange, fantastical world. He must embark on an epic quest to defeat the darkness and bring the light back to his land. Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants”) and Jim Cummings (“Shrek”) lend their vocal talent.
“Table 58”: Written by May Chan (“Phineas & Ferb”), “Table 58” is a single-camera live-action pilot directed by Gil Junger (“Greek”). The pilot centers on the titular Table 58 — the “odd table in the lunchroom,” made up of kids from all different cliques who have been ousted from the table where they seemingly belong. When new kid Logan moves to town, he rallies the group of six mismatched middle schoolers to form a tenuous partnership in order to help each other get back to their rightful place in the cafeteria. The project stars Grace Kaufman (“Bad Teacher”), Johnnie Ladd (“Melissa & Joey”), Jacob Melton (“The Middle”), Nathaniel Potvin (“Girl Meets World”), Juliana Rigolioso (“The Smurfs”), and Zack Shires (“Wilfred”).
“Just Add Magic”: Based on Cindy Callaghan’s young adult book of the same name and adapted by Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco (“Sullivan & Son”), this pilot is a single-camera live-action pilot directed by Joe Nussbaum (“Awkward”). It centers on Kelly Quinn and her two best friends, Darbie and Hannah, who stumble upon her grandmother’s mysterious cookbook in the attic and discover it has some interesting recipes — and also the power of magic. The project stars Olivia Sanabia (“Extant”), Abby Donnelly (“Suburgatory”), Aubrey Miller (“Austin & Ally”), and Judah Bellamy (“Home”).