man-in-the-high-castle

In its first three pilot seasons, Amazon has mainly focused on half-hour comedies, hour-long dramas, and dramedies that fall somewhere in between. Now, the online-retailer-turned-video-platform has announced its latest wave of original pilots, and they are quite a diverse bunch. Included among the seven pilots are two historical dramas, two dark comedies, two sitcoms, and a docu-series.

By offering seven pilots, Amazon is increasing its output; previous pilot seasons contained five entries each.  As per usual, some of the pilots come from recognizable names. One of those names is Ridley Scott, who is one of the executive producers of The Man In The High Castle, a series based off a Philip K. Dick work. The pilot explores an alternate history where the Axis Powers won World War II, and it could be Amazon’s answer to 11/22/63, the alternate history book adaptation Hulu plans to distribute. Of course, given Scott’s recent history with online video, don’t bet on this one just yet.

The other historical drama is Point of Honor, a Civil War period piece co-written by Lost writer Carlton Cuse. The two other hour-long pilots both lie somewhere between comedy and drama: Cocked, starring Sam Trammell, Jason Lee, and Brian Dennehy, tells the story of a city slicker who joins his family’s rural gun business, while Mad Dogs tells the story of five friends who reunite at a Belizean villa.

The first of the two sitcoms, Down Dog, was announced several months ago. The other one is Salem Rogers, which stars Leslie Bibb as a former supermodel and includes Rachel Dratch and Jane Kaczmarek among its supporting cast.

The last of the seven pilots is the biggest departure for Amazon: It’s titled The New Yorker Presents, and it will feature non-fiction stories from the New Yorker magazine, which will be adapted for the screen by award-winning filmmakers (such as Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme). This format is reminiscent of Op-Docs, a series of high-quality documentary shorts released by the New York Times.

“Our first pilot season of 2015 brings some of the greatest storytellers in the business to Amazon customers with works of novelty and passion,” said Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios, in a release. “We’re very excited by these shows and look forward to getting customers’ reactions next year.”

Those reactions are key for Amazon–they help decide which shows get picked up and which ones get left behind. There’s no exact release date planned, though the pilots are expected to arrive “early in the new year.”

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