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.
“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?