First Netflix gave us 'House of Cards', now LoveFilm airs 14 pilots in an online makeover for pilot season
First Netflix created its own on-demand drama series, now Amazon-owned LoveFilm is piloting 14 would-be shows. Are we watching the future?
Netflix stole a march in the race to the future of television in February when it released all 13 episodes of a series in a single dump, letting viewers decide when they watched. The online rental site starts filming series two of House of Cards, a US take on the British political thriller, next week, but the competition is already catching up.
LoveFilm, a rival rental service, has just put the first episodes of 14 would-be series online in a subversion of US telly traditions. Every year, suits at the big networks consider pilot episodes, sometimes using test audiences to help decide which become full series. But LoveFilm, which has the big backing of its parent company, Amazon, wants to know what you think.
Eight comedy series that may never see the light of a laptop screen include Zombieland, a television version of the Woody Harrelson film (it’s good, despite missing Woody). In Alpha House, John Goodman plays one of four hapless Republican senators sharing a house in Washington (he’s the best thing about it). Browsers is a musical about Manhattan interns we can probably put out of its misery right now.
There are six kids’ pilots, too. I like the look of Teeny Tiny Dogs (“It’s Butch’s first day at the Barking Lot, and he’s nervous. But with Butterfly, Dinky and Polly around, he doesn’t have to worry about being alone”).
Of course there’s nothing to stop Amazon sucking up the attention and ignoring the views of viewers. There’s also an argument for it; a pilot for a great slow-burner such as Mad Men, say, would be unlikely to do well in an X Factor-style commissioning contest. But Amazon has promised only to make what goes down well.
Elsewhere, the future looks similarly consumer-centric, presumably to the head-scratching horror of those suits quietly pursuing their pilots in the background. Netflix has hit back with Hemlock Grove, a 13-episode horror thriller . Its pilot, directed by Eli Roth, may have benefited from a public release, however – the series has been poorly received by critics. Google, meanwhile, has in YouTube the perfect vehicle for its own fledgling television adventures.
Perhaps the most promising of the Amazon shows is Onion News Empire, a comedy based in the imagined studios of the established satirical online news network. In one scene we see reporters working on a story about suicide bombers who grew too fat for their vests. Others work on a show called “America’s Most Shocking Shark Shootings”. Now there’s a pilot I’d like to see.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
JK Rowling announces Harry Potter's son is starting at Hogwarts
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
Photographer fights ginger discrimination with vivid portraits of redheads
Akram Khan: Choreographer says dance is 'as important as maths and being a doctor'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up