Amazon (s AMZN) Studios is considering its first hour-long original dramas, and has greenlighted two pilots for testing by Amazon users. If the pilots get positive viewer feedback, Amazon will produce full seasons that will be available on Prime Instant Video and Lovefilm in early 2014.
The first pilot, The After, is written by X-Files screenwriter Chris Carter. The second, Bosch, is based on Michael Connelly’s bestselling Harry Bosch series and is co-written by Connelly and Eric Overmyer, who’s also written for The Wire, Treme and Law & Order, among other shows.
Amazon followed the same testing model with half-hour comedies and kids’ shows and chose to go forward with five this year. Two comedies — Alpha House, a political comedy written by “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, and Betas, a show about a group of friends trying to make it in Silicon Valley — will start streaming in November.
It’s all part of Amazon’s plan to provide more value to Prime members, who pay $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and other perks. In its most recent earnings report, Amazon said it had added “millions” of Prime members during the quarter, thanks in part to streaming video. A successful hour-long original drama would also help Amazon compete against Netflix, which got tons of publicity — and Emmy nominations — this year for its original drama House of Cards.
Here are the official descriptions of the two dramas:
“Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling Harry Bosch series and written by Eric Overmyer and Michael Connelly, Bosch follows a relentless LAPD homicide detective as he pursues the killer of a 13-year-old boy while standing trial in federal court on accusations that he murdered a suspected serial killer in cold blood. Bosch will be played by Titus Welliver (Argo, The Good Wife) and the pilot will also star Annie Wersching, Amy Price-Francis and Jamie Hector. Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment (The Killing) is producing and Jim McKay will direct.”
“Written and directed by Emmy-nominee Chris Carter (The X-Files), executive produced by Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and produced by Gabe Rotter, The After follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Sharon Lawrence, Jamie Kennedy, Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel,Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Louise Monot will star.”