The world of online television (is it really television? Nothing's being broadcast, technically...) is getting more and more interesting with each passing moment: Netflix is obviously killing it, with their stellar line-up of critical and commercial darlings ("House of Cards," "Orange is the New Black") and Yahoo is about to seriously get into the game by taking a page from the Netflix handbook and resurrecting a wonderfully cultish TV series ("Community," in the spirit of "Arrested Development"). Also: Hulu keeps plugging along. And while Amazon certainly has made strides, with several original shows developed in the last few years, it has yet to really breakthrough. That could change later this month, with its new "third wave" of pilots that boast an impressive line-up of exciting, starry projects.
As Variety notes, the site will debut five pilots as part of its third "pilot season" – they will all debut on August 28th in the United States and UK. There will be three half-hour comedies and two hour-long dramas. And most of them sound really, really good.
But what are these new shows? Read on to find out!
"The Cosmopolitans" is a half-hour comedy written, produced, and directed by Whit Stillman, the darling indie filmmaker behind "Metropolitan" and "The Last Days of Disco." In typical Stillman fashion the pilot "follows a group of young American expats in contemporary Paris searching for love and friendship in a foreign city." Yes, yes it does. The show stars Chloe Sevigny, Adam Brody, and Dree Hemingway. Somewhat tellingly (when it comes to the amount of money Amazon is willing to shell out), the pilot was filmed in Paris.
"Hand of God," one of the two hour-long dramas, comes from Marc Forster, the director of "World War Z" and "Monster's Ball," and stars Ron Perlman, who used to be Hellboy, and Dana Delany, who was on the bafflingly popular "Body of Proof." The show sounds so bonkers that we're just going to let Variety explain it: "Judge Harris (Perlman), a hard-living married man with a high-end call girl on the side, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart." Yowza. Sign us up!
"Hysteria" is another one of the hour-long dramas, and it's the one we're the most excited about. Why? Because it comes from Shaun Cassidy, the former pop star who has created a number of highly involving, deeply bizarre TV series over the years, including the chronically underrated "American Gothic" and "Invasion." This one just sounds so great and weird. We honestly cannot wait. This new series will feature "a girls' competitive dance team in Austin, Texas, that is stricken by a strange, psycho-physiological illness that spreads through social media." How amazing is that? Honestly. This is going to be so good. Especially since Mena Suvari stars as a neurologist. Mena Suvari. A Neurologist. Do we need to say more?
"Really," another one of the half-hour comedies, comes from Broken Lizard principle Jay Chandrasekhar (who also stars) and concerns a group of suburban Chicago couples who are trying desperately to hold on to their youth. The cast, which includes Selma Blair, is pretty promising and Chandrasekhar has impressive sitcom credentials. So while this might sound like the least outwardly exciting of the new shows, it could sneak up on you.
And, finally, we have "Red Oaks," a half-hour comedy that is produced by Steven Soderbergh and directed by David Gordon Green. So, yeah, not too shabby when it comes to behind-the-scenes talent. The show takes place at a suburban New Jersey country club in 1985 and the equally stacked cast includes Jennifer Grey, Richard Kind (who just turned in a fine cameo performance in "Sharknado 2") and Paul Reiser. This is probably the half-hour comedy we're most looking forward to. Bring it on!