Ed. note: At the end of last week, Amazon posted eight comedy pilots online for all the world to watch and rate. Basically, over the next month or so, the company plans to sample the pilots to anyone who wants to see them, and then it will take viewer feedback into account as it decides which ones to order to series. Since many of you have already checked them out and also since one of them was created by three friends of TV.com—writers Price Peterson, Lily Sparks, and Ryan Sandoval—we asked the three of them to tell us a little more about how this thing came to be. Below, you'll find their answers to some "Hey TV.com, Should I Watch This?"-style questions, and we encourage you to ask more in the comments, so Price and Lily and Ryan can do their best to answer them.
So, three TV.com writers made a pilot?
Yes! Three TV.com writers have earned the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is: To stop
saying what makes good TV and try to actually make it. That show, Supanatural, is available NOW, on
Amazon Prime, for FREE. It was created by Price Peterson, Lily Sparks, and Ryan Sandoval, and we’re not going to
just do a normal “Hey TV.com Should I Watch This?” because let's be real YOU DEFINITELY SHOULD.
Pretty bold statements, you shameless self-promoters. What is Supanatural even about?
Ryan Sandoval: Supanatural is about two best friends with big attitudes who are the world's leading experts on the paranormal. They also work at the mall.
Price Peterson: To these ladies, larger-than-life dangers ain’t even a thing. They handle demons, ghosts, ghouls, and nightmare creatures on the regular but frankly they'd rather just clear their DVR and gossip. Their most pressing issues are just the real-life concerns we all deal with: jerk bosses, lazy landlords, and that one hussy who works across the hall.
Lily Sparks: And they have to keep working day jobs, much like Indiana Jones did, because just recovering artifacts from temples doesn’t make you rich, you know? That artifact suddenly belongs to like, the Chilean Natural History Museum. And you’re out the $50 you spent on a pith helmet and bug spray.
R: It’s your typical story of overqualified people stuck in dead-end situations. Everyone has unappreciated passions or hidden talents. I can juggle chainsaws, but I’ll be damned if any office supervisor gave a care about it.
L: Supanatural is set in basically my old hometown, a busy Connecticut city with ancient, colonial roots. So there’s a bunch of strip malls and fast food joints and Redbox disc rentals located right next to/on top of very old graveyards and haunted Victorian mansions. So yes there are pilgrim ghosts but they might just haunt a store that sells "YOLO" t-shirts.
P: In our pilot episode, the ladies are tasked with recovering an
ancient doomsday device, a crystal skull. Unfortunately the hottest pop song of
the day, "Junk Dick," samples the same melody that activates this
doomsday device. So of course that song is playing everywhere all the
time, and all hell breaks loose when the crystal skull comes alive and tries to
destroy the universe. Even worse, though, is the fact that the crystal skull is
Who is behind Supanatural again?
P: The three of us, besties since college. And two amazing
producers in Jason Micallef (Butter) and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the
Conchords). Plus a dozen of the most hilarious working comedians alive.
Who is the intended audience for Supanatural?
P: North Korea, ghosts, most sea mammals (NOT orcas).
R: Supanatural is for folks with attitude, or those who wish they had it.
P: It's also for people who love references to '90s R&B.
R: Supanatural is for people who are tired of seeing only hunky studs fight evil and go on adventures.
P: I am personally not tired of hunky studs fighting evil, but I'm definitely tired of super serious, unfunny people on my TV in general.
R: Get off the TV, unfunny people.
P: Jump in a dumpster, boring people.
L: And I think it’s important to say that every episode will be a mini
horror movie made by people who love horror movies. The scary stuff is actually
scary and we want to continue referencing horror and making it scarier and
P: Bottom line: We wanted to create a scary world navigated by main characters WE'D want to hang out with. That they are women of color shouldn't be such a big deal, but that aspect alone does make it pretty special too.
What do you think makes Supanatural work?
P: It's animated! We can have tons of voices, huge, huge celebrities! There is swearing and nudity. And it's heavily improvised, so our punchlines and tangents can be pretty unpredictable.
Obviously you're not going to tell me what's wrong with Supanatural, you're incredibly biased. So what did you learn by trying to make your own show instead of just making fun of somebody else's?
L: I really appreciate all TV shows on a whole new level now. Seeing how a single vision gets passed from highly specialized department to highly specialized department like a baton in a relay, it takes so many people working so hard together, and that makes the shows I love seem that much more special.
R: Be nice to the animators. Feed them candy and give them back rubs—sensual ones, if need be.
P: Right, this might sound shocking, but merely writing about TV (a.k.a. nitpicking episodes to death) is way easier than actually MAKING TV. We suddenly have a huge appreciation for people who do this for a living. I still hate procedurals, but holy moly, it's a miracle ANY show makes it to air at all.
Why Amazon, and why you guys?
P: Ryan, Lily, and I have been working on comedy ever since we met in college 45 years ago. We're talking live sketches, videos, things of that nature. At some point some of our work came to the attention of a couple of really funny producers we knew and they asked us if we had any ideas for a TV show. We definitely did and we made a little animated sizzle reel to prove it. A few pitch meetings later we were part of the new Amazon development process (itself a very open and futuristic way of doing things). That was last spring. After that came a long but exciting summer of developing the project, and then we finally got the official green light in the fall. We were set up at Titmouse Inc. (the amazing animation house behind Metalocalypse, China, IL, and countless others) and our pilot went from treatment to finished product in four months. It was all so fast and juicy!
R: We also got free lunches.
P: Lunches were in the budget!
L: And then like an idiot I went on a diet when what I should have been doing was mainlining hoagies.
R: “Woulda, shoulda, coulda...” —Lily’s tum-tum
P: Amazon is obviously the new kid in town, but in this case the new kid is this mysterious, very handsome, and effortlessly cool presence. Makes the girls swoon, is what we're saying. We simply can't believe how easy the process has been, and how laser-focused on quality Amazon has been. Everything Amazon wants to build in the realm of TV is futuristic. From letting audiences help pick shows, to the type of content it's interested in. Not that we're biased. This is a 100 percent bias-free interview, you guys.
R: Amazon saved us from a life of e-crime.
P: I'm actually e-criming people in another browser right now (sorry).
R: Better open up legalzoom.com on a new tab.
P: PLEASE WATCH OUR
SHOW, everybody! And if you like it, rate it? And maybe tell your friends? You
sincerely have the power to help us make more episodes, and we made this show
for you. Our friends and peers. We really hope you like it.
If you've already seen Supanatural (watch it here), what did you think? And what other questions do you have for Price, Lily, and Ryan about the show and/or the TV-making process? They're now taking questions in the comments...