Amazon Studios has set a slate of seven pilots to debut in early 2015, including Civil War-era drama “Point of Honor” from Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and “The Man in the High Castle” from scribe Frank Spotnitz (“The X-Files”), an adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s alternate American history of post-World War II.
The studio’s early-2015 pilot wave also includes its first docuseries pilot, “The New Yorker Presents,” bringing stories from the magazine’s history to life, produced by Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Prods. and Condé Nast Entertainment.
As with Amazon Studios’ previous pilot releases, viewers will be able to provide comments and ratings on the shows, which Amazon will factor into deciding which ones get greenlit as full series to be available exclusively on Prime Instant Video.
“Our first pilot season of 2015 brings some of the greatest storytellers in the business to Amazon customers with works of novelty and passion. We’re very excited by these shows and look forward to getting customers’ reactions next year,” Amazon Studios VP Roy Price said.
Here are the shows in Amazon’s first pilot season of 2015:
“Cocked”: The one-hour dark comedy created by Sam Baum (“Lie to Me”) and Sam Shaw (“Manhattan” TV series) stars Sam Trammell (“True Blood”) as Richard Paxson, a family man and corporate lapdog who left his family in rural Virginia 20 years before and vowed never to go back. He’s forced to return home to help run his family’s gun business, but familial conflict ensues. “Cocked” also stars Jason Lee (“My Name is Earl”), Brian Dennehy (“The Good Wife”), Laura Fraser (“Breaking Bad”) and Dreama Walker (“The Good Wife”). The pilot is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“Skull Island”) and executive produced by Erwin Stoff (“Unbroken”), Shaw and Baum.
“Down Dog”: Comedy about late-30s Southern California yoga instructor Logan Wood (played by Josh Casaubon, “I Just Want My Pants Back”). Wood’s life gets complicated after he breaks up with his girlfriend, an older woman named Amanda who owns the yoga studio (played by Paget Brewster, “Criminal Minds”). “Down Dog” also stars Lyndsy Fonseca (“How I Met Your Mother”), Will Greenberg (“Halt and Catch Fire”), Andrea Savage (“The Life and Times of Tim”), Amir Talai (“American Dad”), Kris Kristofferson (“Lone Star”) and Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”). The pilot is written by Robin Schiff (“Are You There, Chelsea?”), produced by Bob Cooper (“RFK”) and Michael Fuchs (“Death in the Modern Age”), and directed by Bradley Silberling (“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”).
“Mad Dogs”: Hour-long dramedy based on the U.K. series created by Cris Cole (“The Bill”) follows the twisted reunion of a group of underachieving 40-something friends to celebrate the early retirement of a friend at his gorgeous villa in Belize. The pilot stars Steve Zahn (“Dallas Buyers Club”), Billy Zane (“Twin Peaks”), Romany Malco (“Weeds”), Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) and Ben Chaplin (“World Without End”). “Mad Dogs” is directed by Charles McDougall (“The Mindy Project”) and is being co-produced with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers are Cole, Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) and Marney Hochman (“Last Resort”), Andy Harries (“DCI Banks”), Suzanne Mackie (“All in Good Time”) and McDougall.
“The Man in the High Castle”: One-hour drama based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel is set in an alternate post-World War II world after the Allied Powers lost the conflict — with the U.S. and much of the rest of world now carved up between Japan and Germany. Pilot stars Alexa Davalos (“Mob City”), Luke Kleintank (“Pretty Little Liars”), Rupert Evans (“The Village”), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (“Mortal Kombat: Legacy”), Joel De La Fuente (“Hemlock Grove”), Rufus Sewell (“Eleventh Hour”) and DJ Qualls (“Z Nation”). Directed by David Semel (“Madam Secretary,” “Heroes”) and written by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files), who both serve as executive producers. Executive producers also include Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker, Stewart Mackinnon and Christian Baute of Headline Pictures (“The Invisible Woman”), and Christopher Tricarico (“May in the Summer”), with co-executive producer Jordan Sheehan of Scott Free Prods. (“The Good Wife,” “The Andromeda Strain”). In addition, Isa Dick Hackett will executive produce and Kalen Egan will co-executive produce on behalf of Electric Shepherd (“The Adjustment Bureau”).
“The New Yorker Presents”: Half-hour docuseries pilot features several segments: a short film with actors Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”) and Brett Gelman (“Go On”) based on a story by Simon Rich (“Saturday Night Live”) and directed by Troy Miller (“Arrested Development”); a poem by Matthew Dickman; a documentary by director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) about biologist Tyrone Hayes based on a Rachel Aviv article; and an interview with performance artist Marina Abramović, conducted by New Yorker writer Ariel Levy. Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) is executive producer, joined by Dave Snyder (“Death Row Stories”) and Condé Nast Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff (“The Fashion Fund”). Pilot is co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Jigsaw Prods.
“Point of Honor”: Hour-long drama turns on a Virginia family led by their West Point-bred son John Rhodes (played by Nathan Parsons, “True Blood”), who at the outset of the Civil War makes the controversial decision to defend the South while freeing all of their slaves. Shot entirely on location in Virginia, “Point of Honor” also stars Christopher O’Shea (“Baby Daddy”), Annabelle Stephenson (“Revenge”), Riley Voelkel (“The Newsroom”), Hanna Mangan Lawrence (“Old School”), Patrick Heusinger (“Revolution”), Luke Benward (“Ravenswood”), Adrienne Warren (“Black Box”), Lucien Laviscount (“Waterloo Road”) and James Harvey Ward (“Low Winter Sun”). Pilot is directed by Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”), written by Carlton Cuse and Wallace, and executive produced by Cuse, Wallace and Barry Jossen (“Sex and the City”). “Point of Honor” is being co-produced with ABC Signature Studios.
“Salem Rogers”: Half-hour comedy stars Leslie Bibb (“About a Boy”) as Salem Rogers, an overly confident, outrageously blunt and hard-partying former supermodel who is forced to face her past and re-enter the real world after 10 years in a posh rehab center. Trying to return to fame, she tracks down her former assistant Agatha (played by Rachel Dratch, “Saturday Night Live”), who is now an author of self-help books. Pilot also stars Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”), Brad Morris (“Playing House”), Harry Hamlin (“Mad Men”), Toks Olagundoye (“The Neighbors”), Brad Morris (“Cougar Town”) and Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”). “Salem Rogers” is written by newcomer Lindsey Stoddart, executive produced by Will Graham (“The Onion News Network”) and directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”). Stoddart submitted “Salem Rogers” through the studio’s online screenplay submission process.