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Amazon’s strategy of letting people watch and rate the pilot episodes of possible original series has paid off for two shows.
The tech giant announced Friday that it has ordered to series dramatic thriller Hand of God, directed by World War Z‘s Marc Forster and written by Burn Notice‘s Ben Watkins, and coming-of-age comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and directed by David Gordon Green.
Both shows will return to Prime Instant Video next year as full series following rave customer reviews of the pilot episodes.
Hand of God marks Forster’s TV debut and was created and written by Watkins. The show stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living, law-bending married judge who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. He begins to rely on visions and messages he believes are being sent by God through his ventilator-bound son. The series co-stars Dana Delany as the judge’s wife and Garret Dillahunt as a born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by the judge.
Red Oaks is set in 1985 and centers on Craig Roberts’ David Myers, a college student reeling from his father’s heart attack and conflicted about what major to declare in the fall. He gets a summer job as an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey. The coming-of-age comedy also stars Jennifer Grey, Mad About You alums Paul Reiser and Richard Kind, and Californication’s Oliver Cooper.
“We are excited to get working on full seasons of Hand of God and Red Oaks,” Amazon Studios vp Roy Price said in a statement. “These shows come from some of the most talented creators in the business. Customers loved the pilot episodes, and we can’t wait to hear what they think of the entire series.”
Amazon Studios has also ordered additional scripts of Whit Stillman‘s The Cosmopolitans to further explore that series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Amazon made the pilot episodes of Red Oaks and Hand of God available at the end of August, along with three more shows, as part of its third slate of pilots. Viewers were able to provide feedback on the shows as part of Amazon’s development process, with the tech giant factoring those reactions in to its decision on what to pick up. Earlier in 2014 Amazon released 10 pilots, including five children’s shows, and picked up six shows to series including Transparent, The After and Bosch.
Oct. 3, 7:44 a.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that David Gordon Green wrote Red Oaks. THR regrets the error.
Oct. 3, 8:14 a.m. This story has been updated to add that Amazon has ordered additional scripts of The Cosmopolitans.
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