Amazon has long been on the fringe when it comes to the high-quality original series game currently dominated by Netflix (alongside traditional media heavy-hitters like HBO and AMC). The company launched two "primetime" series, Alpha House and Betas, last year, but neither received the acclaim that Orange Is the New Black or House of Cards have earned in their two seasons.
That could change later this month when Amazon Studios premieres pilots for five new shows: three half-hour comedies and two hour-long dramas. Among the most promising are Marc Foster's Hand of God, which stars Ron Perlman as a powerful judge seeking vengeance against "the rapist who tore his family apart" and Really, which Broken Lizard vet Jay Chandrasekhar writes, directs and stars in, alongside Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) and Selma Blair. Other offerings include Red Oaks, a comedy directed by David Gordon Green (Eastbound and Down) and produced by Steven Soderbergh, Whit Stillman's The Cosmopolitans (starring Adam Brody, of The O.C. fame) and Hysteria, with Mena Suvari.
It's too early to say with any certainty that the shows will be hits (or even picked up at all), but some of the star power — especially behind the camera — is encouraging.
The shows will be released on Amazon Instant video in the U.S. and U.K. on August 28.