Amazon has a slate of new shows available now on its Instant Video streaming service, which includes 13 new comedy, drama, documentary and kids shows. This is the first of its so-called “Pilot Season” slates for 2015 – collections of programs which it creates initial episodes for, and which it releases in order to gather data about their reception and decide which to select for full production runs.
Among the shows in this group include the children’s animated series Niko and the Sword of Light, based on the popular interactive story book iPad app Kickstarted by startup Imaginism Studios. We spoke to founder Bobby Chiu about the deal back when the ink was still fresh on Amazon’s decision to option a series based on his company’s creation, and this one should be among the better offerings in this batch of Pilot season programming, based on the source material.
Other shows in this batch include Cocked, in which a big city business guy encounters a reversal and has to go run his family’s country gun business; Down Dog, about a Yoga instructor whose charmed life starts falling apart; Mad Dogs (dog season for Amazon), which is an hour-long dark comedy starring Steve Zahn and Billy Zane of all people; The Man in the High Castle, an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick book that imagines what would happen is the Allies lost WWII (the most promising sounding IMO); The New Yorker Presents, a docuseries and variety show based on content and editorial selection from the magazine of the same name; Point of Honor, a period drama about the Civil War; and Salem Rogers, a half-hour comedy about a former supermodel who cleaned up in rehab and now has to deal with the real world.
Six new kids shows are also available, including the aforementioned Niko. Amazon’s model here of putting out a bunch of programs and having them duke it out to see which gets a full production slate is perhaps among the most interesting content creation strategies currently out there, in that by watching them and participating in the process you genuinely feel like you’re having an impact in what gets made.
All of the pilots are available now in the U.S., U.K. and German via Amazon Instant Video, and the kids pilots are also offered as part of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. Any app or device that can stream Instant Video content can partake, so go take a gander if you’re picking up what Amazon is putting down this pilot season.