Here comes the third round of Amazon pilots, even before we've seen the fruits of the second. The first gave the world Garry Trudeau's (neologism alert) Republicom "Alpha House," whose second season began filming in July. Jill Soloway's "Transparent," one of four green-lighted pilots from the last batch, arrives as a series to stream via Amazon.com in late September.
It's useful to remember that pilots are only pilots. They are ideas made flesh in order to see whether those ideas are good or not, or how they might be tweaked in order to become good. The twist with Amazon's endeavor, which is as much of a marketing idea as a process, is that the public is invited into the process early, to rate and comment on the works.
FOR THE RECORD
An Aug. 28 Calendar review of upcoming television pilots from Amazon said that actress Chloe Sevigny starred in Whit Stillman's "Barcelona." She was not in that movie. Rather, she starred in Whitman's "The Last Days of Disco."
On the whole, the episodes are both impressively professional and a little eccentric: They look very much like Real TV Shows, but some seem slightly distorted: a little overstuffed here, a little undercooked there, as if conversations usual to the development of a television pilot had never taken place.
As a fan of Whit Stillman's dry, cheerful, talky romantic comedies, I have been looking forward to "The Cosmopolitans" since it was first announced back in April. There are not a lot of Stillman movies around — he has made four since 1990, his most recent being 2011's
Stillman, whose movies have the quality of seeming at once unreal and naturalistic, is a filmmaker whose approach remains remarkably consistent from picture to picture. Indeed, "Cosmopolitans," which is set among expatriates in present-day Paris, could have been made a week after 1990's New York-set "Metropolitan," they are aesthetically and textually so much of a piece.
Here, as elsewhere, the characters have a lot of theories about life, which they compulsively share in dialogue whose proper cadences seem slightly out of time, or foreign, as if you had stumbled into a lost world where some earlier form of English was still spoken. The cast includes Adam Brody and Carrie MacLemore, who were in "Damsels," and Chloe Sevigny, who was in Stillman's
Directed by David Gordon Green (
Jay Chandrasekhar, who directed one of the better Group 2 pilots ("The Rebels," not picked up), created and stars in the tiring "Really," about a pack of coupled friends confronting the horrors of early middle age. A great cast, including
Neither of the dramas worked for me, though they show a lot of craft and put the money on the screen.
"Hand of God," written by Ben Watkins (a