An intriguing tale about alternative history, a twisted story of friendship put to the ultimate test, a docu-series based on America’s most award-winning magazine, a kids series based on magic and another about being stinky and dirty—all coming exclusively to Prime Instant Video. Amazon today announced it has greenlit five new Amazon Original Series, including The Man in the High Castle, which is based on the Philip K. Dick alternative history novel; an hour-long dark comedy Mad Dogs; docu-series The New Yorker Presents; along with kids shows Just Add Magic, and The Stinky & Dirty Show. The new Amazon Original Series come from an acclaimed creative roster including Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), Cris Cole (The Good Times Are Killing Me), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), Alex Gibney (The Armstrong Lie), Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love, Awkward), and Kate & Jim McMullan (I’m Dirty!). These new shows will premiere exclusively to Prime members in the US, UK and Germany later this year and in 2016.
As part of its unique development process, Amazon gives customers an opportunity to provide feedback on which pilots they want turned into series that are then available to Prime members. During pilot season, any Amazon customer in the US, UK, and Germany can watch, rate and comment on the pilots. At the end of pilot season, that feedback helps determine the shows that become an Amazon Original Series. To date, customers have helped Amazon greenlight 13 series including the multi-Golden Globe-winning show Transparent, which will return for a second season later this year.
“During the latest pilot season, Amazon customers made The Man in the High Castle our most watched pilot ever,” said Roy Price, Vice President of Amazon Studios. “These new series, including our first docu-series, are some of our most ambitious to date and I’m looking forward to their premieres in the future.”
Amazon Original Series are available for Prime members to stream and enjoy through the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. Customers who are not already a Prime member can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime.
Here’s what customers are saying:
“Wow! Love the pilot, and couldn’t ask for a better cast of friends to get wrapped up in trouble with.”
“Definitely exceeded my expectations. The visuals were amazing! Can’t wait to get to know the characters as the show progresses.”
“Hooked us in within the first five minutes.”
“As a big fan of Shawn Ryan’s The Shield, I knew to trust this pilot blindly and just push play. I was rewarded.”
The Man in the High Castle:
“Beautifully done all around; the story, special effects, acting, and production were top notch. I couldn’t stop watching. I am desperate to see the next installment.”
“Not only is this a beautiful and well done pilot, but it’s super engaging and quite a great homage to the book.”
“I love alternative history and this was well done, well-paced, well-acted and very compelling.”
“The Man in the High Castle may very well be the single best thing I’ve ever seen or heard. It sits at first place on my list of best TV shows ever, and its audio track sits at second.”
The New Yorker Presents:
“With all of the ridiculousness and nonsense on TV today, this show makes me feel as if I’m being linked to a real part of the world.”
“Highly intelligent documentary shorts that are poignant and thought provoking. Looking forward to more!”
“This is a moving series. Each section was thought-provoking and touched on complex issues that clearly need to be considered in the current world.”
“I don’t write many reviews on programs but I was so compelled to do so. You must see this outstanding journalistic presentation. The New Yorker Presents is wonderful.”
Just Add Magic:
“I love that they show smart, compassionate girls and that the friendship among the girls is so strong.”
“I appreciate the values and morals that this show portrayed, and it was even realistic and sincere, not fake or cheesy. I would give it six stars if I could!”
“My daughter and I just watched Just Add Magic. We loved it! My daughter loves to cook and this is a perfect show for her.”
“I have two girls. One is almost five and the other is six. They LOVED this show. I loved it because it shows intelligent, kind, thoughtful young girls who are not annoying, obsessed with makeup/clothes, or mean to their ‘enemies’ or families. We need more shows like this for our young girls.”
The Stinky & Dirty Show:
“Great show from top to bottom. The animation is some of the best I’ve seen on television.”
“If your kids are into trucks and construction equipment like mine are, this show will be a home run for them just as it was for mine.”
“My son loves it! It’s a great show that shows kids how to work together.”
“Move over Dora the Explorer, Stinky and Dirty are on their way to being the next great kids’ show.”
The new Amazon Original Series include:
Comedy / Dramas:
Mad Dogs is an hour-long dark comedy drama created by Cris Cole (The Good Times Are Killing Me), and Executive Produced by Cole, Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Marney Hochman (Last Resort), Andy Harries (Strikeback), Suzanne Mackie (Kinky Boots), and Charles McDougall (The Good Wife). Based on the hit UK series, Mad Dogs follows the reunion of a group of underachieving forty-something friends—a mixture of single, married and recently divorced, all seemingly at crossroads in their lives. Celebrating the early retirement of an old friend at his gorgeous Belizean villa, grudges begin to emerge and secrets explode as their trip becomes a labyrinthine nightmare of lies, deception and murder. Mad Dogs is a twisted tale of friendship put to the ultimate test. As the chain of events unfolds, cracks within the group widen before the friends realize the only people they can trust are each other, the last people they should be relying on! The pilot starred Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) as Cobi, Billy Zane (Titanic) as Milo, Romany Malco (Weeds) as Gus, Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) as Lex and Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line) as Joel. Mad Dogs was directed by McDougall and is being co-produced with Sony Pictures Television.
The Man in the High Castle
Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternative history, The Man in the High Castle considers the question of what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. Almost 20 years after that loss, the United States and much of the world has now been split between Japan and Germany, the major hegemonic states. But the tension between these two powers is mounting, and this stress is playing out in the western U.S. Through a collection of characters in various states of posing (spies, sellers of falsified goods, others with secret identities), The Man in the High Castle provides an intriguing tale about life and history as it relates to authentic and manufactured reality. The hour-long dramatic pilot starred Alexa Davalos (Mob City) as Juliana Crain, Luke Kleintank (Pretty Little Liars) as Joe Blake, Rupert Evans (The Village) as Frank Frink, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy) as Tagomi, Joel De La Fuente (Hemlock Grove) as Inspector Kido, Rufus Sewell (Eleventh Hour) as John Smith and DJ Qualls (Z Nation) as Ed McCarthy. The pilot was directed by David Semel (Madam Secretary, Heroes) and written by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), both serving as Executive Producers. Also executive producing are Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and David W. Zucker (The Good Wife), with co-executive producer Jordan Sheehan of Scott Free Productions (The Good Wife, The Andromeda Strain), and Executive Producers Stewart Mackinnon and Christian Baute of Headline Pictures (The Invisible Woman). In addition, Isa Dick Hackett will executive produce and Kalen Egan will co-executive produce on behalf of Electric Shepherd (The Adjustment Bureau). Christopher Tricarico (May in the Summer) is also Executive Producer.
The New Yorker Presents
America’s most award-winning magazine, which marks its 90th anniversary this year, comes to life in this half-hour docu-series pilot. The New Yorker Presents is a completely unique viewing experience. The pilot episode featured Tony-Award winner Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and actor Brett Gelman (Go On) in a short film based on a story by Simon Rich (Saturday Night Live) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Troy Miller (Arrested Development); a poem by Matthew Dickman; a documentary by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) about biologist Tyrone Hayes based on a Rachel Aviv article; and an interview with famous performance artist, Marina Abramović, conducted by The New Yorker writer Ariel Levy. Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is Executive Producer, joined by Dave Snyder (Death Row Stories) and Dawn Ostroff (The Fashion Fund). The pilot was co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Jigsaw Productions. Future episodes will include new segments that come from noted filmmakers, star talent and New Yorker writers.
Just Add Magic (for children ages 6-11)
Based on Cindy Callaghan’s young adult book of the same name and adapted by Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco (Sullivan & Son, Fairly Odd Parents), Just Add Magic is a single-camera live-action pilot directed by Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love, Awkward). The story centers on Kelly Quinn and her two BFFs, Darbie and Hannah, who stumble upon her grandmother’s mysterious cookbook in the attic and discover it has some interesting recipes. The Shut’em Up Shortcake actually silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and when the Healing Hazelnut Tart quickly heals Darbie’s ankle, the girls discover they have the power of magic. The project stars Olivia Sanabia (Extant), Abby Donnelly (Suburgatory), Aubrey Miller (Austin & Ally), and Judah Bellamy (Home).
The Stinky & Dirty Show (for preschool-aged children)
The Stinky & Dirty Show, based on the “I Stink!” book series by Kate & Jim McMullan, is written by Guy Toubes (The Adventures of Chuck & Friends, Littlest Pet Shop, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi) and animated by Brown Bag Films, Ltd (Peter Rabbit, Octonauts, Doc McStuffins). The Stinky & Dirty Show follows the adventures and mishaps faced by best friends and unlikely heroes, Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty, the backhoe loader. Whether it’s rescuing their pal Mighty the tugboat, or moving a giant boulder blocking the highway in their town of Go City, Stinky & Dirty are a dynamic duo of resourcefulness who make plenty of mistakes along the way. For them, hilariously failing turns out to be the most fun path to success.