Amazon's latest batch of original series pilots is now available to stream on the Amazon website. (The pilots, unlike the full series, are free to watch even if you aren't a Prime member.) Below, we take a look at what critics are saying about Amazon's three newest live-action comedy series. Note that scores are only listed in cases where a publication has assigned a grade to the pilot. Updated 8/19 8:33am.
The second live-action comedy series (following Fox's short-lived but well-received 2001 effort) based on the cult comics of the same name stars Peter Serafinowicz (Look Around You, Guardians of the Galaxy) as the blue-suited hero. (The pilot, inexplicably, centers more on his sidekick Arthur, played by Griffin Newman.) Ben Edlund, who created the comics and the previous series, is also the creator and a producer of the Amazon series, joined by fellow producer Barry Sonnenfeld and director Wally Pfister (best known as Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer).
Transparent creator Jill Soloway returns to Amazon with an even greater challenge: an adaptation of Chris Kraus's experimental, genre-blending 1997 novel/memoir acclaimed for its intelligent and intimate exploration of male/female relationships. Filmed on location in Marfa, Texas (a setting that represents just one of many changes made from the source material), the pilot stars Kathryn Hahn (whose performance is already generating Emmy buzz despite the fact that the show hasn't even been ordered to series yet) along with Kevin Bacon and Griffin Dunne.
The great thing about Soloway’s work is that she herself is both Dick and Chris, a woman interested in society’s crushing expectations of women but also talented and funny and wise enough to know you need character and plot and entertainment and complications to tell that story—that you need people, not symbols.
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a global action movie star (named, yes, Jean-Claude Van Johnson) who lives a secret double life as an undercover operative. Key and Peele's Peter Atencio produces and directs the pilot, which comes from writer Dave Callaham (The Expendables) and also stars Kat Foster, Moises Arias, and Phylicia Rashad.
The Hollywood Reporter
I think it's the best version of itself that it could be. ... The problem? I don't really need any more than the 30-minute pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson. In fact, I probably could have been satisfied with a 22-minute pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson.
Have you watched any of Amazon's new comedy pilots? If so, let us know what you think.