It's time again for Amazon Pilot season. This time around there's just two to choose from. As always, you can watch these yourself for free and vote on what Amazon should make next!
About: This time-jumping story is based on the novel from Meg Wolitzer. It's about a group that becomes friends at a drama camp as teens in the 1970s and remains close into adulthood in the 1990s. The idea, at least from the pilot, is that this is a time-jumping story that shows that people really only understand what they should have done with the benefit of hindsight. The show centers on characters played by Lauren Ambrose — who is keeping secrets and navigating a marriage that never should have happened — Jessica Pare — her best friend who is keeping a secret of her own about her fugitive brother — and David Krumholtz — Pare's husband, who has his own successful TV show. The idea is that these people are supposed to be incredible interesting, or at least think they're incredibly interesting. It's not, however, that great to watch. The pilot was slow and bounced around too much to really help you get a feel for the characters or the story. If I had read — or was a fan of — the novel, it might work better. But I just didn't feel it in this pilot.
Pilot Grade: C-
The Last Tycoon
About: This is the only other Amazon pilot for adults, and it, too, is based on a novel. This time an unfinished novel from F. Scott Fitzgerald that was adapted into a movie starring Robert De Niro. That's a tall order for a TV pilot, and this one doesn't live up to that billing. But it is interesting. Matt Bomer steps into the lead role, with Kelsey Grammer in the cast, too. I actually thought the pilot was stylish and interesting as it follows the story from the novel — one I've read. "The Last Tycoon" is a fascinating book, and this pilot captured that. I thought it looked stylish, was well acted, and has potential. It's hard to see how it has a long future, but for now I'm intrigued. This is one of the better pilots I've seen in the past few years from Amazon.
Pilot Grade: B-