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The Future Is Here: Netflix And Amazon Are Probably Making NBC Jokes Too.

By Jodi Clager | Trade News | March 28, 2013 | Comments ()


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Did it all start with “Arrested Development” returning to us via Netflix Instant? I can’t recall the exact moment when Netflix and Amazon decided they could create programming for themselves instead of relying on greedy licensing deals from established production houses.

Netflix started with “Lilyhammer,” starring Steven Van Zandt as Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano. Tagliano testifies against his fellow mobsters and is placed in witness protection in Lillehammer, Norway. All 8 episodes of the first season premiered on Netflix February 6, 2012 and a second season is on its way. I’ve not watched the series, but the numbers show that it did really well with Norwegian viewers.

“House of Cards” is the Netflix program that I’ve heard people talk about the most on Facebook. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara star in the political drama about a congressman getting revenge for being passed over for Secretary of State. If I liked anything with a political backdrop, I would be all over this just for the cast.

Apart from “Arrested Development” premiering in May, Netflix has 8 other original programs slated for release. The Eli Roth produced “Hemlock Grove” will be released April 19th and stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, Dougray Scott, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley, and Lili Taylor. I am all over this one.


(Cinema Blend)

“Bad Samaritans” is a comedy series that Netflix will release this Sunday, March 31. This is a notable series because David Faustino is in it. Just kidding! I mean, Bud Bundy is in the series, but it isn’t really notable to me. Anyway, the series follows a couple that breaks up and starts a forest fire, earning themselves 2000 hours of community service. What? Yeah. It sounds like a “My Name Is Earl” type of situation, except instead of scoring karma points by righting wrongs on a list, each episode covers community service in a different location.

Maybe you are thinking that a sci-fi series is missing from Netflix’s formidable lineup. Maybe you’re thinking that toast is too crunchy, and to that I say oven toast. The Wachowski Siblings are working with J. Michael Straczynski (“Babylon 5”) to develop the sci-fi series “Sense8”. The show will have 10 episodes and is described as “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted”. So.

What about Amazon? We already know that they have the “Zombieland” series and that they are taking a slightly different programming angle by allowing viewers to decide which series is made based on the pilots. That is a stupid idea, I think, but whatever. In addition to the aforementioned “Zombieland”, Amazon will present “Betas” for judgement. “Betas” follows a group of geeks in Silicon Valley looking to crack some ultimate code. It sounds exceedingly boring to me.

Amazon has a large slate of series in development, but only a few have pilots being filmed right now. “The Onion Presents: The News” is a behind-the-scenes look at the fictional news source and the shenanigans that occur. “Those Who Can’t” concerns high school teachers who are just as childish as the kids that they teach. “Browsers” is a musical comedy about people that work in Manhattan for a news website. “Alpha House” is about senators living together in an apartment in D.C. “Supanatural” has two “divas” that work at the mall saving the world from paranormal threats.

There are several more shows in the pilot stage at Amazon, but each one sounds progressively worse than the one before it. Amazon seems to believe that quantity is the answer while Netflix has a quality over quantity outlook. Which streaming giant do you think will come out on top?




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • alwaysanswerb

    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I would love it if Netflix stopped trying to be the next HBO or AMC and instead focused their money on getting more quality content available on streaming.

  • Green Lantern

    Not as unpopular as you might think.

  • alwaysanswerb

    Glad to hear it!

  • e jerry powell

    How long before the online players go from long-form into feature films?

    I'm legitimately curious, actually.

  • melissa82

    I love everything about this - not most of the shows, but everything about you're writing.

  • James

    I just don't see how Netflix will be able to produce series with how little profit Streaming only makes them. With less than half the revenue of streaming their DVD business brings in the same profit. They need to grow the hell out of streaming.

  • Cazadora

    If you saw the movie "Moneyball" (or better yet, read the book), you will kinda' see why sometimes it's a quantity over quality concept...in other words, they are trying to take as many swings as possible, cuz you really never know where the next hit is going to come from. This is the model that most networks (cable and now even broadcast) are following. Additionally, subscription fees allows Netflix and Amazon to take more risk (similar to pay cable) than you would normally see in an ad driven environment.

    Edited to add that reduced episodes help them to manage the risk, but also to attract talent that might not want to commit to the typical 20+ episodes that is a race to the syndication format.

  • JH

    Apparently I hate the saying "those who can't, teach" so much that I already have a grudge against that series.

  • My mom has the best finish to that ridiculous saying - those who can't, make laws about teaching"

    This from the matriarch of a teaching family. So there you go

  • PerpetualIntern

    QUIT BITING YOUR NAILS, ZOE!

    Ahem.

  • BWeaves

    “Betas” follows a group of
    geeks in Silicon Valley looking to crack some ultimate code.

    I've been a computer programmer for 30 years. You know what I do all day? I sit in my back bedroom, by myself, and stare at a screen for 10 or 12 hours. Sometimes it's work. Sometimes it's Pajiba, cough, cough. I don't talk to anybody. I don't see anybody, except when my husband gets home from work. I haven't seen my actual co-irkers for months, and I haven't met some of them in 13 years. We type once in a while to each other. There is nothing more boring than an TV show about programmers, except maybe being one.

  • Uriah_Creep

    I know some programmers who do work together in an office setting, and in fact collaboarte on projects. That being said, they're just as boring as the other type, so your point is well made.

  • Drake

    I thought "Betas" was a follow-on to SciFi's "Alphas", with even more lame super powers (although finding such powers would stretch the plausibility)

  • Rocabarra

    I usually despise things with a political backdrop too, but I have to say that House of Cards will suck you in with the first episode, no matter how you may kick and scream. I would recommend giving it a try, Jodi! Spacey is deliciously scheming and manipulative, so what's not to love about that?

  • kirivinokur

    I thought it started well but that the middle chapters got really weak, loaded with implausible plots/twists that made me roll my eyes. A lot of what the characters were doing did not make any sense and the crises and their responses to the crises just ended up looking ridiculous. It improved in the final chapters, but not enough to let me give it a solid thumbs up.

  • Rocabarra

    Dangit, perhaps I spoke too soon. I have not yet finished the season!

  • ed newman

    Trailering 101: if you are going to have Famke Janssen in your show, you put her in your teaser trailer.

  • I watched that trailer JUST to see her and I was very disappointed. That show doesn't look very interesting but ill watch to see her

  • TK

    Hell, even if she's not in your show. It can't hurt.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Amazon's pilots sound like the kind of fictional TV shows featured in The Simpsons. I mean, "'Alpha House” is about senators living together in an apartment in D.C.", that can't be serious, right? right?

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I can't see how Alpha House will be anything other than awful. There are several group houses in DC with Members of Congress, and none of them are fun or interesting.

  • DataAngel

    Does this mean I can hold out hope for "Commander-in-Chimp," "Admiral Baby," and "Police Cops"? Oh, please let them make "Police Cops!"

  • Captain D

    We need a kickstarter campaign for "Police Cops" pronto!

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Amazon's slate of proposed programming looks like they're trying to be the CW of the big boys. If Netflix can keep up the quality that they showed with House of Cards, they'll be chilling in smoking jackets and sipping brandy in front of the fire with HBO and AMC.

    Amazon will be getting a Big Mac and trying to score a joint from NBC.

  • Cazadora

    I was in a pitch meeting recently when we got the guy from Warner to talk about Amazon and what was going on "over there." He was kind of admiring by saying that these were not TV people and that they've developed their business in such a way that it's a try it, see if it works, if not move on. It helps that they are sitting on tons of cash.

  • Kballs

    Since when are we calling James Franco "Amazon?"

  • Finn

    That actually made me laugh aloud.

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