Though Amazon is not the only streaming player out there, the site is the first to take advantage of audience feedback when developing series. As part of its pilot season, Amazon releases the first episodes to the public and asks for feedback, a feature that the casts of its series find refreshing.
The stars took to the carpet at Downtown L.A.’s Ace Hotel Monday night for the premiere of Amazon’s new dark comedy, “Transparent.”
“It’s different, but it’s really cool,” remarked Mena Suvari, who stars in the site’s new pilot “Hysteria.” “I really enjoyed reading the comments that people had made, and the recommendations that they give. It’s a collaborative effort and it’s nice to engage audiences like that.”
“It was exciting to be able to share the pilot with the world,” exclaimed “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway. “So many pilots are in a vacuum and you have no idea what people will think, or how it will go. So it was really cool to be able to know that people loved it!”
‘Transparent” was released with Amazon’s second pilot season in February, and currently averages 4.1 out of 5 stars ahead of all ten episodes premiering on Sept. 26.
Of course, as the series are not just television shows, but also Amazon products, the comments section can be treacherous and terrifying as “Really” star Sarah Chalke exclaimed. “But most of the stuff I’ve read was pretty supportive of the show – and yeah, I do think you have to develop a thick skin.”
“I kind of browse with one eye open,” laughed Dana Delany, star of “Hand of God” opposite Ron Perlman. “I’m just happy people are enjoying it.”
“That’s the great thing about it,” added “Really” creator Jay Chandrasekhar of the mass feedback. “Ultimately in regular television you’ve got seven or eight executives and maybe 50 people in the room with dials who are deciding whether a show goes – and it’s not a great way, because we’re making mass entertainment.”
Chandrasekhar noted that though Amazon is new to the TV game, the site is eager to turn out a different variety of programming than its network and streaming rivals. “It’s almost like they’re creating a new independent film scene,” he said, commenting on Amazon’s openness to creative freedom, long takes and experimentation. The process, he explained, was new, and involved a little bit of guidance from the writers and crews of the series.
“They wanted to do things differently, so we’ve all sort of met in the middle.”
“Hysteria,” “Really” and “Hand of God” are currently available to review on Amazon Instant Video, along with “Red Oaks” and “The Cosmopolitans.”