Entertainment & Arts

Amazon Studios announces new original TV series

John Goodman in Alpha House
Image caption John Goodman stars in political comedy Alpha House about four misfit senators who share a house
Image caption Set in the land of Silicon Valley start-ups, Betas follows four friends as they try to strike it rich
Image caption Annebots introduces science and technology to children
Creative Galaxy
Image caption Creative Galaxy is an interactive art show to encourage crafts, music and dance
Image caption Stop-motion Tumbleaf follows the adventures of Fig the fox in the show aimed at pre-school children

Amazon has announced the five original TV series it will make this year after seeking customer feedback on 14 pilot shows.

Political comedy Alpha House, starring John Goodman, and Betas, a sitcom about Silicon Valley, were among those selected for full series production.

Children's programmes Annebots and animations Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf will also be made.

The shows will initially be shown on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.

It is Amazon's first foray into original programming, following in the footsteps of rivals Netflix and YouTube.

The pilots were shown on Amazon.com in the US and on Lovefilm in the UK last month, with customers asked to help decide which series should be made.

Alpha House, written by Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, stars Goodman as one of four misfit senators who share a house.

"We're thrilled to have emerged safely from this harrowing exercise in online democracy," said Doonesbury creator Trudeau.

Betas follows a group of friends hoping to strike it rich in Silicon Valley and has Ed Begley Jr as part of its cast.

Both shows will shoot another 10 episodes, with Alpha House airing in November.

'Just the beginning'

Annebots, a programme about science and technology featuring robots; interactive art show Creative Galaxy; and pre-school stop-motion Tumbleaf will all get 26-episode runs.

"We are thrilled at the enthusiastic customer response to our first original pilots," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

"The success of this first set of pilots has given us the push to try this approach with even more shows. This is just the beginning."

Image caption A pilot based on the film Zombieland was one of the unsuccessful projects

Simon Morris, Lovefilm's chief marketing officer, told the BBC last month that the shows would be made available to everyone, not just subscribers of Amazon's services.

Pilots that were not picked up as full series included Zombieland, a comedy based on the 2009 movie, and Browsers, a musical comedy starring Fraser's Bebe Neuwirth.

Rhett Reese, the writer and producer of Zombieland, blamed viewer feedback for the TV show's demise.

"I'll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans," he wrote on Twitter. "You guys successfully hated it out of existence."

Meanwhile, Emmy-winning director Adam Bernstein - who directed the pilot for Amazon's Alpha House - has signed on to direct the first episode of FX series Fargo.

Based on the 1996 Coen brothers film, the 10-episode series will feature a new crime story with new characters.

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