Amazon Greenlights Four New Series, Including Transparent and Chris Carter's The After

By Tim Surette

Mar 11, 2014

The people have spoken! Amazon's trial of its TV development slate by democratic vote has come to a close, and this time around, the company that rose to fame for delivering books to your doorstep was a lot kinder with its green lights. Four of the five pilots targeted at non-kids were ordered to series today, according to Variety, and they are... drumroll please...


The After


The sci-fi series from The X-Files' Chris Carter is another one of those big sweeping mystery shows, this time throwing Los Angeles into an end-of-the-world scenario as seen through the eyes of seven strangers. And one of them is Jaime Kennedy. Eek! This was probably the project with the highest profile thanks to Carter's involvement and its premise, but stilted acting and characters that make FlashForward's seem complex by comparison made me give this pilot a thumbs-down.


Transparent


The critical favorite, from writer Jill Solloway. Set in Los Angeles and following a family comprised of a dad (Jeffrey Tambor) and his three semi-spoiled children, Transparent is the artsiest thing Amazon has done and the show that's most likely to be discussed at your local independent coffee shop. Tambor's character harbors a secret that's revealed toward the end of the pilot, and it's bound to change the outlooks of each of his kids. This was the best pilot of the bunch, but I do wonder how an entire season can be milked from the premise.


Bosch

This one's based on the popular book series by Michael Connelly. Titus Welliver stars as the lead character, a tough cop in Los Angeles who's hunting the murderer of a 13-year-old boy. There's just one problem! He's standing trial himself for the possible unnecessary murder of a suspected serial killer! Oops! *sad trombone sound* But seriously, this is a serious drama. It's a good-looking cop show, but based on the pilot, I don't know if it was any better than other cop shows out there. However, if you're a fan of the source books, you should be happy.


Mozart in the Jungle


A dramedy about the naughty side of orchestral musicians. Yep! Orchestral musicians. Imagine Nashville with less country music, more hard drinking and drugs, and some nudity. It probably also has the most recognizable cast of the bunch: Gael Garcia Bernal, Saffron Burrows, Lola Kirke, Bernadette Peters, and Malcolm McDowell all star. The pilot was entertaining mostly due to the setting, however, it's another show that makes a good first impression but has a muddy future as a full-blown television series. 


This news likely means that The Rebels, the jock-rock comedy starring Natalie Zea as a widow who inherits a pro football team, was sent packing. Amazon's first round of pilot testing was much more discerning; only two of the eight pilots it ordered in 2013 ultimately received series orders, Alpha House and Betas.

There's no timetable on when these shows will be shows (heck, we're still waiting for Amazon to confirm the pickups), but if the company follows a similar schedule to what it did last year, look for more episodes of the new shows in October or November. 

Amazon claims that viewer reviews and number of watches have a role in its selection process, but they have yet to release any real data on the matter. However, people who are much better at computering than I am have claimed that the company hacked some answers. (This data is unofficial, so judge it accordingly.) The After and Bosch were well ahead of their peers in terms of views (both were over 10,000), with the best average reviews going to Bosch (8.8) and Mozart in the Jungle (8.4). Transparent was well in last place in both categories, accumulating a quarter of the number of views as The After and the lowest average score (7.3). However, critics have gushed about it online, so that likely weighed heavily into Amazon's decision. In other words, Amazon doesn't have any algorithm about which shows to choose. It's picking the ones that get watched the most and the ones that critics like. 

Amazon has yet to make decisions on its new crop of kids' programs. 


Will you be watching any of Amazon's new shows?


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  • komesamurai Apr 30, 2014

    the after seems to be good

  • osdawaya16 Mar 28, 2014

    I meant to watch Bosch (because honestly I love Titus Welliver) but only ever got around to watching Mozart and loved it! I'm very happy that it's actually going to be a thing. Now I'll have to watch Bosch too.

  • missjudgment Mar 28, 2014

    So happy about Mozart! I loved the first episode but was worried they'd order fewer shows with Mozart suffering so I'm really glad this isn't so. Yay.

  • KevinBradsher Mar 28, 2014

    I watched most of them, I was really hoping The Rebels would make it... :(

  • Toast033 Mar 13, 2014

    Shame, The Rebels was a good show, at least I liked it.

  • LOST-TWD-PP-GOT Mar 12, 2014

    I watched The After a few weeks ago. I posted a review of the pilot on SyFy forums.:

    Amazon Prime's: The After

    The pilot from X-Files creator Chris Carter, is up on Amazon for prime users. I found it watchable, but with some issues. Amazon wants viewers to vote on whether to send it to series. I voted yes, but gave some criticisms.
    From their site: Eight strangers are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help
    each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation.
    The Bad
    1. Stereotypical characters.
    2. Some over the top reactions by the characters. Some stupid unbelievable decisions by the characters.
    3. Acting could be better. But the man who played Nathan Petrelli on heroes, is a main cast member.
    The Good
    1. Great plot idea.
    2. Very mysterious.
    3. Apocalyptic setting.
    4. Shocking reveal at the end, that had me asking WTH!
    5. Beautifully shot.

  • vlbb22 Mar 12, 2014

    I would watch Titus Welliver read the phone book. I *love* that man! So talented. (And not too hard on the eyes.)

    But, seriously, Bosch actually was my favorite of the pilots I watched this go-round. I wanted to like The After, and maybe I would have if the acting had been a bit better. (I didn't even get through 10 minutes of The Rebels before switching away in disgust.)

    I like to think my note to Amazon is what put Bosch over the top. I believe it went something like this: "Please, please, please, please, please!!!" :-)

  • Flatlegz Mar 12, 2014

    The After got picked up? I guess people just have to know WTH that crap was all about.

  • Gonzai Mar 12, 2014

    I finally got caught up on TV viewing and tried Bosch and The After last night. I guess Amazon was waiting for me?

    Bosch, premise-wise, is the usual detective show, and reminded me of an Americanized Luther. Otherwise, it was excellent. Good writing, good characters, excellent acting, some creative filming particularly in the opening. And it's Overmeyer and Welliver. I'm on board.

    The After was the reverse - pretty decent premise (although is it just me or are post-apocalyptic shows almost as ubiquitous as police procedurals now?) but the writing was marginal, the characters were stereotypes and the acting was poor. Dunno if I'd watch.

  • MarkNash1 Mar 12, 2014

    The After was a huge turd for sure. The actors didn't care about their generic characters and were all written to be self-interested automatons to drive a nonsensical plot (to the point they are not bothered about friends, family or what might be causing a terrorist event or possibly armageddon). That terrible last act felt like 3 weeks of reveals crammed into 10 minutes to give the appearance of depth and mystery.

    I liked Bosch, it didn't wow but i'm a sucker for detective drama, the character feels solid enough but it's gonna live or die on the cleverness/depth of the cases and characterization.

    Transparent was just that, sure it looked and played great but the premise felt like a one act play and I wont waste my time with it.

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