Amazon has adopted the binge-release model — a la Netflix — for several of its marquee original series this fall: It will premiere all 10 episodes of the second season of Garry Trudeau’s political comedy series “Alpha House,” starring John Goodman, on Friday, Oct. 24.
For the first season last November, Amazon offered the first three episodes for free, as an enticement for users sign up for the Prime free-shipping membership service, which includes Prime Instant Video. Subsequent episodes were released weekly.
But the second season of “Alpha House” will be available in one big batch only on Prime Instant Video in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.
Debut of the soph session of “Alpha House” comes a week after Amazon Studios launched the critically acclaimed “Transparent,” a transgender dramedy from Jill Soloway, which also was released also 10 episodes at once. Amazon, like Netflix, doesn’t release viewing figures for its shows but “Alpha House” fared well enough to be renewed (whereas Amazon Studios opted to not bring back Silicon Valley comedy series “Betas” for a second run).
Still, Amazon could decide to continue to release other shows on different schedules, with no set strategy across the board. For example, this summer, Amazon released its first three original TV shows for children — “Tumble Leaf,” “Creative Galaxy” and “Annedroids” — with the first six episodes of each, to be followed by additional installments later this year.
In “Alpha House” season two, Goodman (“Argo”), Mark Consuelos (“All My Children”), Clark Johnson (“The Wire”) and Matt Malloy (“Six Feet Under”) reprise their roles as Republican U.S. senators bunking together in a Washington, D.C., townhouse. The series is produced by Trudeau, Elliot Webb and Jonathan Alter.
“We are grateful that Garry Trudeau took an extended hiatus from his Doonesbury daily strip to focus his time on producing an incredible second season of ‘Alpha House,’” Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios, said in announcing the second season premiere. “Customers are going to love the new season, particularly with election season on the horizon.”
Added Trudeau, “Our cast members hit their stride in season two. ‘Alpha House’ is blessed with actors who can find three laughs for every one on the page, and a crew that rivals any in episodic television. It’s been a privilege to come to work.”
In the new season, a midterm election looms with Senators Biggs (Goodman), Bettencourt (Johnson) and Laffer (Malloy) facing strong Democratic challengers — and the pols will use every trick in the book to woo voters on the road to re-election. Meanwhile, Sen. Guzman (Consuelos) is prepping for a 2016 presidential run.
Also returning for “Alpha House” season two are cast members Wanda Sykes, Amy Sedaris, Julie White, Yara Martinez, Alicia Sable, Kobi Libii, Brooke Bloom, Ben Rameaka, Haley Joel Osment, Natalie Gold and Willa Fitzgerald.
Guest stars set to appear this season include Bill Murray, Penn & Teller’s Penn Jillette, Andy Cohen (Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live”), Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie (NBC’s “Today”), MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, George Stephanopoulos (ABC’s “Good Morning America”), and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and John King. Other cameos will feature several real-life political personalities including former presidential adviser David Axelrod, U.S. Senators John McCain and Elizabeth Warren, and former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.