Amazon has revealed its first slate of 13 pilots for 2015, including an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's cult classic novel The Man in the High Castle executive produced by Ridley Scott, a Civil War-era drama co-written by Lost's Carlton Cuse and a dark comedy about floundering 40-somethings executive produced by The Shield creator Shawn Ryan.
This batch of new pilots — six comedies and dramas, six children's shows and one docuseries — will be available for free on Amazon Instant Video in the U.S., U.K. and Germany starting on January 15th. As in the past, Amazon will decide whether to order more episodes of each show after examining viewer ratings and reviews.
The Scott-produced adaptation of The Man in the High Castle was written by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files). Set in a world where the Allies lost World War II, the show follows an ensemble cast of spies, contraband dealers and individuals with secret identities as tensions grow between the two reigning powers, Germany and Japan.
As for Cuse's Civil War offering, Point of Honor tells the story of a Virginia family and its patriarch John Rhodes (Nathan Parsons), who frees his slaves but still fights for the South. On the battlefield, Rhodes must fight his best friend and brother-in-law, while at home, his three sisters struggle to maintain their plantation and divided family.
Mad Dogs — which The Shield's Ryan will executive produce — finds Cris Cole adapting his hit U.K. series for U.S. audiences. The psychological thriller and dark comedy stars Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club), Billy Zane (Titanic), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Romany Malco and Ben Chaplin as a group of old friends who reunite at a villa in Belize to celebrate one friend's early retirement. The trip, however, soon descends into a mess of lies, grudges, secrets and murder.
Among Amazon's comedy offerings is Salem Rogers, which stars Leslie Bibb (About a Boy, the TV series) as a brash, overly confident supermodel just out of rehab who's desperate to reclaim her past glamour and success. To do so, she enlists the help of her former assistant and successful self-help author Agatha (played by Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch).
Amazon will also offer the pilot for The New Yorker Presents, a new docuseries executive produced by Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and based on stories from the venerable magazine. The first episode will include an interview with performance artist Marina Abramović; a documentary about biologist Tyrone Hayes from famed director Jonathan Demme; Andrew Garfield reading a poem by Matthew Dickman; and a short film based on a story by Simon Rich starring Alan Cumming and comedian Brett Gelman.