Ama­zon con­firms its place in showbiz with sec­ond orig­i­nal online TV show

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

LOS AN­GE­LES: When Ama­zon de­cided to join Net­flix and Hulu in the online pro­gram­ming race, it didn’t have to look fur­ther than its own tech back­yard to find a world ripe for com­edy.

Be­tas, star­ring new­com­ers Joe Dini­col, Karan Soni and Char­lie Sax­ton as dat­ing app en­trepreneurs, ex­plores the hy­per-am­bi­tion that vi­brates among North­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s tech-savvy Bay Area’s lo­cals.

Tech en­trepreneurs, Dini­col says, “are the ones shap­ing how hu­man be­ings in­ter­act, and cer­tainly the idea of our show is that they’re not the best at in­ter­act­ing so­cially so it’s sort of a per­fect storm of an en­vi­ron­ment to have”.

Stream­ing of the first three episodes starts this week and fol­lows Ama­zon’s pro­gramme Al­pha House, a po­lit­i­cal satire about four Repub­li­can se­na­tors liv­ing to­gether.

Like online stream­ing and DVD rental com­pany Net­flix, Ama­zon has de­cided it must move be­yond be­ing a dis­trib­u­tor of shows made by oth­ers to pro­duc­ing top-drawer pro­gram­ming of its own. Net­flix made big waves this year with its first orig­i­nal se­ries, House of Cards, a po­lit­i­cal drama that scored three Emmy wins.

Stream­ing video com­pany Hulu, owned by Walt Dis­ney, 21st Cen­tury Fox and Com­cast, has also been rolling out orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming, most re­cently com­edy se­ries The Wrong Mans, co-pro­duced by the BBC.

Be­tas ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Michael Lehmann said he finds the land­scape “ex­cit­ing, it’s the new Wild West, a new fron­tier of pre­mium cable with AMC, Net­flix, HBO”.

For Ed Be­g­ley Jr, who plays Be­tas play­boy dot-com bil­lion­aire Ge­orge “Murch” Murchi­son, the tech in­dus­try has been “un­der­served in tele­vi­sion”.

“It seemed very ob­vi­ous to us that the world’s out there and no one’s done a show about it. When a world is new – this cul­ture has just ex­ploded re­cently – there’s a feel­ing that you can’t do it right when it’s shown up, it al­most feels too top­i­cal,” said Michael Lon­don, another ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer for the show.

“Now it feels like the cul­ture is deep enough and es­tab­lished enough that we can watch ver­sions on TV.”

Af­ter its re­lease on Novem­ber 15, Al­pha House be­came Ama­zon’s most-watched TV se­ries over the weekend, the re­tail gi­ant said.

The com­edy por­trays four Repub­li­can US se­na­tors co­hab­it­ing a Wash­ing­ton, DC, house while fac­ing var­i­ous hur­dles in an elec­tion year. It brings to­gether the star power of ac­tors John Good­man, Clark John­son and Matt Mal­loy with the writ­ing of po­lit­i­cal satirist Garry Trudeau.

Writ­ten by Doones­bury car­toon­ist Trudeau, the se­ries prom­ises to mine cur­rent events from both the Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic camps for com­edy as the fic­tional se­na­tors gear up for elec­tion sea­son.

“There’s al­ways go­ing to be gaffes on both sides, and we’re go­ing to throw jabs on both sides,” John­son said.

“Right now, DC is just ba­nana peels ev­ery­where, peo­ple slip­ping on them, pies in faces.” – Reuters

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