As Netflix works to break into feature-length programming, Amazon is still taking steps to catch up with its competitor in the realm of original series. Following pilot season, the Internet superstore announced today that it has picked up the Steven Soderbergh exec-produced period story Red Oaks and the Ron Perlman-led Hand of God to series. Additionally, Amazon has ordered more scripts for Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans in order to further evaluate whether it will be a good fit for the company.
Red Oaks is a coming-of-age comedy set in the “go-go” ’80s. Craig Roberts (Neighbors) stars as a college student who is determined to make the most of the last days of his summer while working as an assistant tennis pro at a Jersey country club. Jennifer Grey, Oliver Cooper, Paul Reiser, Richard Kind and more co-star in the series, which had its pilot directed by David Gordon Green. Amazon’s ordering of more episodes strengthens the company’s relationship with Good Night and Good Luck director Steven Soderbergh.
The more action-oriented Hand of God focuses on a morally corrupt judge (Perlman) who experiences a mental breakdown and goes on a quest for vigilante justice, believing that God is compelling him to take up arms against those who slipped through the cracks of the legal system. The pairing of creator Ben Watkins (Burn Notice) and director Marc Forster (World War Z) promises a violent, thrilling series, and the supporting cast is also highly promising. Joining Perlman in Hand of God are Dana Delany, Andre Royo, Alona Tal and Garrett Dillahunt.
As for The Cosmopolitans, Amazon doesn’t yet have enough confidence in the project to order it to series, but additional scripts should swing its decision one way or the other. The dramatic comedy follows a group of American expats in Paris looking for love and greater meaning while running away from the ghosts of the past. Writer-director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan) is a big catch for Amazon, so the company likely doesn’t want to scuttle the project until it’s certain that The Cosmopolitans won’t work with its lineup.
Along with the pickups came the announcement that two Amazon pilots, Hysteria and Really, will not be going forward. Now that Red Oaks and Hand of God have made the cut, they’ll join a promising schedule that includes already acclaimed dramedy Transparent, sexy musical drama Mozart in the Jungle, gritty cop serial Bosch, sci-fi drama The After and the second season of the John Goodman political comedy Alpha House.