Amazon may be fighting with Hachette and Disney, but it's still got enough energy to try and beat Netflix at its own game. The bookseller has announced its third pilot season, asking members of the public to determine which of five new original TV series will be given a full series by Bezos and his chums. This time around, three comedies and two hefty dramas will be screened on the retailer's website on August 28th in the US and the UK, of which the most praised and watched will arrive on Prime Instant Video in due course. If you're excited at the prospect of playing armchair TV executive, we've prepared a print-out-and-keep guide for what to expect.
First up, there's The Cosmopolitans, in which a group of mostly white, privileged Americans wander around Paris looking for "love and friendship in a foreign city." Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny star, and we imagine it'll be great, if you like obscure music, going to Paris and whining about how no-one "gets" you, you know?
Second in the batting order is Hand of God, a meaty hour-long drama in which Ron Perlman plays a hard-drinking judge who suffers a mental breakdown after his family his destroyed. He decides to take his revenge, and is aided in his quest by messages and visions that he believes have been sent to him by God. It all sounds tremendously exciting, but it's directed by Marc Forster, who ruined Quantum of Solace, and therefore we won't get excited lest he breaks our hearts once again.
Thirdly, there's Hysteria, in which Mena Suvari plays a neurologist in Austin, Texas, who has to stop a weird psychological disease that's spread through friendship. Let's just hope that no-one in the show has ever heard of Facebook, or we're all doomed. Weird premise aside, it's been created by Shaun Cassidy, who created American Gothic, so this one is likely to be first on our watch list.
The second half-hour comedy on the list is Really, in which a group of hard-charging suburban Chicago couples try to grasp onto their dwindling youth. It sounds a little like the premise of thirtysomething, in which a group of people in their late-thirties try to grasp onto their dwindling youth -- although that show was set in Philadelphia, so they're probably completely different.
Finally, there's Red Oaks, a coming-of-age comedy set in the "go-go" 80s that's "equal parts hijinks and heartfelt." We're not sure what that means, but presumably every time someone makes a joke about Molly Ringwald, or leg warmers, or mobile phones, they have to hug someone and cry.