Amazon is set to make a bigger push into original programming with the help of some TV veterans.
The online retailer will greenlight two new pilots for its Amazon Prime Instant Video service (shown above). Both shows will be hour-long dramas—a first for Amazon’s TV pilot program.
Bosch will be a crime drama, based on the Harry Bosch book series by Michael Connelly. The series “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,” according to Amazon.
Connelly, whose novel The Lincoln Lawyer has received the film treatment already, will co-write Bosch along with Eric Overmyer, whose writing credits include Law & Order, Treme, and The Wire. Titus Welliver, who TV buffs will recognize as The Man in Black from Lost, will take the lead role.
The second show, titled The After, is being written and directed by X-Files creator Chris Carter.
According to Amazon, “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.”
The After looks to have an ensemble cast, and Carter is staying mum on what the show is actually about. According to IMDb, Carter hasn’t been very active in television since X-Fileswent off the year more than a decade ago.
Amazon’s journey into hour-long drama could be seen as a response to Netflix, which won an Emmy award for House of Cards and has earned critical acclaim for Orange is the New Black.
Although Netflix doesn’t reveal viewership numbers for its original shows, the effort is apparently successful enough that Netflix is now considering its own large-scale original films as well.
But Amazon takes a much different approach to its original programming. Instead of committing to a show and releasing the entire season at once, Amazon creates many pilot episodes and uses viewer response to decide which series will go into full production. This could be an issue for drama, which can take more than one episode to get into, and may not benefit as much from word-of-mouth with just a pilot episode to judge from.
For now, both pilots are set to arrive in early 2014, and will be exclusive to Amazon Prime Instant Video, as well as Amazon’s Lovefilm service in the United Kingdom.