Amazon Prime is adding two new shows to its already budding bouquet of award-winning Original Series. Using its unique technique of getting viewers to vote on the pilots they enjoy the most, two shows have bubbled to the top of the rankings pool to make the cut for June: The Interestings and The Last Tycoon.
Both book adaptations, the first, The Interestings, is based on Meg Wolitzer's 2013 New York Times Best Seller about the life journey of a group artistically inclined friends who first meet at summer camp in 1974. The second is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's posthumous The Love of the Last Tycoon, which is considered by many to be the definitive exposé of early Hollywood in its glorious heyday.
Starring in The Interestings is Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as Jules Jacobsen, an aspiring actress who resigns herself to a more practical career when her artistic endeavors don't quite take off. Surrounding her are the friends she met at summer camp as a teenager, all with similar artistic ambitions, played by Jessica Paré (Mad Men), Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow), David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) and Jessica Collins (Revolution).
Today's millennials are inclined toward creative characters as well as a good-old-fashioned identity crises, though those who were teens in the '70s will likely appreciate the multiple time periods represented as the characters grow older.
Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directed The Interestings, which will debut June 17. With a scope of several decades, the TV movie seems set up for a potential follow-up, should it prove popular.
The Last Tycoon TV movie will also air June 17. It was written and directed by Billy Ray, who also wrote the screenplay for The Hunger Games.
The new version — which also had a film adaptation back in 1976 directed by Elia Kazan and starring Robert De Niro — is about Hollywood studio executive Monroe Stahr (played by Matt Bomer of American Horror Story creepiness) as he enjoys the success of his studio while battling his boss and mentor Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer) over its future. All of this, of course, in Gatsby-esque 1930s LA, a pre-war place of glitz and glamour.
Also starring Lily Collins and Rosemarie DeWitt, this one should be plenty stylish and full of Hollywood greed and the shady going-ons of an industry built on blind ambition.
In addition to these two adaptations, Amazon has also green-lit six kids pilots, all of which join the ranks of such popular (and multi-award-winning) series as Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and Catastrophe. Amazon's unique way of utilizing Prime members in choosing the content they most want to see is working well so far. Head of Amazon Studios Roy Price explains why he continues to utilize this method:
“We’re focused on bringing customers compelling, must-see TV and we accomplish this by going directly to them for input. Our process has proven to work time and time again. Their feedback has helped create series that have become fan favorites among critics and customers.”
Considering how much Amazon Prime has already sucked us into its well-crafted TV shows, both of these newbies are surely worth a look.
Will you be checking out either of these new shows come June?