TV

TCA Summer 2016 Tour: Quick Takes from the Amazon Presentations

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Twice a year, various cable and networks attend the Television Critics Association’s Press Tour where they promote new and returning television shows through a series of daily panels and exclusive preview clips spanning over a two week period. The tour presentations provide a way for television shows to get traction and attention of the hundreds of TV critics who then in turn will hopefully write about and promote those shows to their various audiences via online and print media outlets.

This Summer’s TCA tour included presentations from Amazon, who presented on the twelfth day of the tour. Here are some of the featured television shows and specials that caught our attention:

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Standing firmly by Amazon’s original content goal: “Watch what you want, when you want,” Amazon continues to pursue development and production of original TV series to offer its Amazon Prime subscribers. In fact, as their originals pick up steam, Amazon Studios is now making original content in Germany, U.K., India, as well as the U.S., for its global audiences.

Upcoming Amazon Prime premieres:

ONE MISSISSIPPI premieres September 9, 2016s
FLEABAG premieres September 16, 2016
TRANSPARENT Season 3 premieres September 23, 2016
GOLIATH premieres October 14, 2016
GOOD GIRLS REVOLT premieres October 28, 2016
RED OAKS Season 2 premieres November 11, 2016
MOZART IN THE JUNGLE Season 3 premieres December 9, 2016
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Season 2 premieres December 16, 2016

ONE MISSISSIPPI

Starring Tig Notaro, ONE MISSISSIPPI, is is a fictional look at that emotional stories from Tig Notaro’s real life as a modern gay woman — from finding out she has cancer, and then her mom dying, going through a breakup and moving back home in Mississippi all within a 4 month period — and weaves those into a comedy series. (Impression: Tig Notaro’s dry wit humor is pretty funny, although the circumstances that her character goes through are personal and painful.) Premieres September 10, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

MOZART IN THE JUNGLE

Amazon’s cheeky comedy about the behind-the-scenes in a opera theater company is delightful tale of ambition, love and mishaps along the way. MOZART IN THE JUNGLE filmed much of Season 3 on location in Venice, Italy – adds another layer of authentic beauty — then finished filming in New York City. EP Paul Weitz said filming in Italy: “We got to shoot in a deserted opera house, locations are incredibly atmospheric.” MOZART IN THE JUNGLE stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke, Saffron Burrows, Bernadette Peters, Malcolm McDowell, and Monica Bellucci joins the cast. (Impression: I find MOZART IN THE JUNGLE to be charming and very funny. Looking forward to watching Season 3.) MOZART IN THE JUNGLE Season 3 premieres December 9, 2016.

RED OAKS

RED OAKS is comedic look at coming of age story of teen on the cusp of adulthood.As the story grows, so do the characters in RED OAKS. Season 2 follows the characters beyond the confines of the country club, and allows the characters to travel to as far as Paris, France. RED OAKS stars Craig Roberts, Ennis Esmer, Oliver Cooper, Paul Reiser, Alexandra Socha, Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey. (Impression: Reminiscent of a 1980’s male-centic comedy, RED OAKS does not appeal to me as a female viewer.) RED OAKS Season 2 premieres November 11, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

FLEABAG

A modern British girl has misadventures as she seeks out a sexual mate and a place in the world when she moves on her own to London. Phoebe Waller-Bridges stars, writes and producers this screwball, feminist comedy based on the play she wrote. Phoebe said that modern dating felt like “the burden of choice can weigh heavy on a person’s shoulder.” As for her character in FLEABAG, she explained: “She’s very much alone. She partners up briefly and often with other people, but essentially she is trying to find out who she is.” (Impression: With strong co-stars like BROADCHURCH’s Olivia Colman, the show is subtle and ballsy all at once, but could be an acquired taste.) FLEABAG premieres September 16, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

TRANSPARENT

Amazon’s award-winning drama starring Jeffrey Tambor about a transgender man who comes out to his family and his subsequent choice to pursue gender reassignment. The Season 3 theme is: “To come out of your shell.” Season 3 also features 1958 flashbacks to 12-year-old Maura (Jeffrey Tambor), while in present day, Maura announces that she wants to be called Mom, not Moppa, much to his wife’s surprise. (Impression: TRANSPARENT delves even deeper into the humanity of the characters as they shift their perspective and adjust to their new familial relationships.) TRANSPARENT Season 3 premieres September 23, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

Amazon’s break-out hit drama THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE returns for Season 2 as the journey of Joe Blake and Juliana Crain parallel each other in their quest for freedom and to find out if the world portrayed in the forbidden news reels actually exists. THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE stars Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Joel De La Fuente. In the Season 2 sneak peek, Juliana (Alexa Davalos) walks towards the German embassy and says after crossing the line into their territory: “My name is Juliana Crain. I work with Joe Blake [Luke Kleintank]. I need asylum.” Executive producer David Zucker promised that Season 2 will introduce the Man in the High Castle in and viewers will find out where the reels of film are coming from. In addition, Joe Blake gets a new love interest portrayed by Bella Heathcote, which as Luke Kleintank explained: “[Joe’s] searching for something, and gravitates to her.” Then co-star Rupert Evans mentioned that as to his character: “New worlds open up for the characters . . . and Frank becomes radicalized.” When asked about John Smith and why he stands so staunchly by the Nazis even when it puts his family at risk, co-star Rufus Swell said: “I read as much about Nazi history as I could, so I could learn about how they justified themselves.” Co-star Joel de la Fuente chimed in to add that Season explores “what happens when you do give up civil liberties.” (Impression: I got chills just watching the sneak peek and cannot wait for Season 2. Plus, given the surprising journey of Joel de la Fuente’s character in Season 1, I am very curious what path his character takes in Season 2.) THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Season 2 premieres December 16, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

GOOD GIRLS REVOLT

In Amazon’s new drama series, a group of young women working at a newspaper in 1969 band together to assert that they are being discriminated against. As a bit of a cliffhanger, the 10-episode first season ends on the morning the women file their gender discrimination complaint. So the show focuses on the events leading up to the lawsuit in Season 1 and, if renewed for Season 2, the story would follow the lawsuit. Executive producer Dana Calvo reassured that the series has a 2-3 season arc and that the show focuses more on how this changed the women’s relationships with each other and their families. Starring Genevieve Angelson, last seen in Fox’s BACKSTROM, and Anna Camp, from THE PICH films, the series introduces a lively and earnest group of girls who are learning to assert their independence and strength. (Impression: Full of spunk, the show feels like a rallying cry for feminism.) GOOD GIRLS REVOLT premieres October 28, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

GOLIATH

In a murky new legal drama from David E. Kelley, GOLIATH stars Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt, Maria Bello. It is a modern “David vs. Goliath” tale about the systemic injustice in our court system. Executive producer David E. Kelley said: “It’s hard to tell which character, Thornton’s and Hurt’s, is good or bad over the course of series.” To which co-executive producer Jonathan Shapiro added that they wanted to emphasize: “Can David ever beat Goliath?” Kelley further explained that in our current legal system: “One lone warrior knows that he can’t fight big law. It just costs too much and takes too long. Truth has no currency in law.” Then from his perspective, star Billy Bob Thornton said that he wanted to do the role because: “The thing that appealed to me was a guy who’s sense of justice is not what is legal, but what is fair?” However, as a bit of a twist, the show also really wanted to make it hard for viewers to know which side they should root for. So while Thornton’s character thinks he is pursuing justice, is he really? (Impression: As fan of David E. Kelley’s work from PICKET FENCES to THE PRACTICE to BOSTON LEGAL, I am sold on his new drama series GOLIATH on Amazon.) GOLIATH premieres October 14, 2016 on Amazon Prime.

That’s a wrap on the network and studio presentations from Day 12 of the Summer 2016 Television Critics Association Tour. As a reminder: be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming new series and specials as you do not want to miss out on the next great TV show that everyone will be talking about.

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