Amazon Pilots

I mentioned the other week that Amazon released 14 pilot episodes for original series. They haven't made a decision about which series will get picked up, but I watched a bunch, so here are some thoughts. High level summary: "Meh."
  • Zombieland - This was probably the only show I was actually curious about, and it acquitted itself reasonably well. It's tough to compete with the talent of the movie, but it actually worked well enough, and some of established in the movie actually fits the TV mold (notably the "Zombie kill of the week"). It's clearly not hitting on all cylinders and it's not as polished as the movie, but it has potential, and I could see myself watching this.
  • Alpha House - This show about 4 Republican congressmen who are roommates clearly has the best pedigree. Name actors, Doonsbury writer, and so on. That talent does show in the final product, which is probably the most composed of the shows that I watched. But it wasn't all that funny, and the one-sided politics means that it won't be surprising or interesting either. Again, the pilot was fine, and there's potential here, but I could also see this crashing and burning.
  • Onion News Empire - As a fictional show about a ridiculous news channel (i.e. it's not an actual fake news show, it's a story about people who put on a real news show that's, uh, fake), this one was ok, and I chuckled at a few jokes, but it's ultimately nowhere near the level of brilliance that the Onion is capable of. Again, I suppose it could grow some legs, but I was fairly disappointed by this one.
  • Those Who Can't - This show about a misanthropic trio of teachers who act outrageous and inappropriately towards their students sounded awful, but was surprisingly engaging. It's got a sorta It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia lite vibe going on. It seems a little too reliant on the characters' apathy, which is a joke that could get old pretty quickly, but I could see this working if given room to grow.
  • Browsers - People started singing and I immediately checked out. It's actually one of the better reviewed shows, but I couldn't even be bothered with watching it.
That's what I watched. I wasn't too enthused by any of the episodes, but I think that's more of an issue with Amazon's process here than the shows themselves. Comedy shows are cheap to produce (which is no doubt why Amazon is starting with them), but they usually take a few episodes to establish themselves and grow into their premise. There are very few comedies that launch with a pilot that is representative of what the show will ultimately become. A few of these episodes show promise, but who knows how any of them would play out. I watched them because I was curious, but that's because this is a sorta novelty thing. Perhaps if I came away from this experience with more than a "meh" feeling, it would be different, but at this point, I'm not particularly inclined to take more chances on these Amazon shows, which has to be a problem for Amazon. I'll be curious to see which shows get picked up and move forward (though apparently Zombieland won't, according to the creator's tweets, which indicate that fans of the movie really killed the show for some reason...)