February 18, 2015
Netflix might have the upper hand now, but Amazon Prime is making a hard push into original scripted fare — and it looks like the underdog streaming service might have found its first genre
Amazon Prime has picked up five pilots to series, led by buzzy sci-fi show The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 alt-history novel. The studio also snagged dark comedy Mad Dogs (from Shield creator Shawn Ryan), docu-series The New Yorker Presents and kiddie programs Just Add Magic and The Stinky & Dirty Show. Of the five, The Man in the High Castle easily leads the pack.
As you’re likely aware, Amazon has an unorthodox approach to pilot season. Basically, they produce a dozen or so, then toss them online to see what people think of the finished products. Whatever gets good reviews and garners some viewer interest typically gets a pickup. It’s a fun, collaborative approach to pilot season — and it also helps build some buzz by offering the pilots for free. Thanks to positive word of mouth, The Man in the High Castle marked the studio’s most-watched pilot in history, and the episode made it onto several “Best Of” lists.
The early preview did gangbusters to raise interest about the project, which is set in an alternate history where the Axis powers won World War II and now control most of the United States. It’s an ambitious pitch, but the pilot created an intriguing world we’re dying to see more of. The pedigree doesn’t hurt, either. The debut was written by X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz, and the series boasts sci-fi legend Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) as an executive producer.
The full series will debut later this year, or in early 2016, on the Amazon Prime streaming service. What’d you think of the pilot? Glad to see the show get a series pickup?