After members started dropping off Netflix like flies with complaints of prices being too high, Netflix needed a new idea. The first of those new ideas, which was to make separate websites for streaming and for DVD delivery, wasn’t amazing, and Netflix didn’t go through with it. Netflix began focusing more attention on its streaming feature and more people became interested. Yet, then Netflix decided to pull off something daring and nervy. They had decided to start making original series to stream on Netflix Instant. First, Netflix released the Norwegian series, Lilyhammer, which never gained much traction. Next, they made fans everywhere ecstatic when they announced that they would be producing season 4 of the infamously short-lived, cult classic Arrested Development. And most recently, they aired the critically acclaimed and much buzzed about House of Cards (a remake of a popular British series) starring Kevin Spacey. That was their first real triumph. Since then, they have released Eli Roth’s gothic horror fest Hemlock Grove. Despite receiving mixed to mediocre reviews, Netflix announced, “Hemlock Grove was viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House of Cards.”
Now Arrested Development has been secured for its return on May 26th, which is now only a couple of weeks away. Main and character posters were released within the past week, and the first promo for Season 4 (also the first footage for Season 4 publicly released) was released today. (Click here to watch the clip.) I am eagerly counting down each minute until that day.
Netflix is currently planning comedies, dramas, children’s, action, and science fiction original programming to stream, starting later this year and in 2014. I am especially excited for the science fiction show, Sense8, because its creators and writers are Matrix director/writer sibling team Lana and Andy Wachowskis and Babylon 5 writer J. Michael Straczynski. Nothing is known about the show’s plot yet. Netflix has also gained popularity because they have a large amount of critically acclaimed, clever comedy, cult favorite, cancelled too quickly and the most popular shows on television currently available to stream. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful Netflix.
Amazon Instant Video. The video streaming service for Amazon customers is very similar to Netflix, but it has more movies, and you have to pay more money to watch them unless you have Amazon Prime. But the first news of Amazon Instant Video going outside of the box with a smile on it was when it announced it would produce and release 14 pilots for free on Amazon Instant Video and let the viewers vote and review to decide whether they should become a real series. Amazon released these pilots close to two weeks ago with 8 comedy series, such as the The Onion-produced pilot for Onion News Empire, an adaptation of the 2009 surprise hit Zombieland, Zombieland: The Series, and DC political satire Alpha House, starring John Goodman. Along with these comedy series, six children’s shows were released. Amazon Instant Video might be on to something.
Reviews of two Amazon Studios pilots:
Onion News Empire
Starring: Arrested Development’s Jeffery Tambor, William Sadler, and Malcolm in The Middle star Christopher Matheson
Overall Reaction: I found this satirical take on the news industry to be riotous, and it caught my attention within the first few minutes with its very quick, clever humor and the signature satirical punch that only The Onion can deliver. I very much hope to see more from this show, if the wonderfully enjoyable pilot is any indication of what the show is capable of. It reminded me of the early days of 30 Rock. Interestingly, the show does feature 30 Rock cast member Cheyenne Jackson as illiterate news anchor, Cameron Grey.
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Starring: Kirk Ward (Forrest Gump), Tyler Ross, Maiara Walsh (Cory In The House), and Izabela Vidovic
Overall Reaction: With Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick returning to write the pilot, the pilot wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been. But without the original cast, a proper budget, and any real purpose besides profit, this show really wasn’t anything special. I didn’t hate it; I just don’t really think it has much potential. It will be picked up as a full series only because it is the most recognizable and official pilot on Amazon.
Rating: 2.5 of 4