Amazon Prime members get access to the streaming service’s biannual ‘Pilot Season’ today, March 17. There are three half-hour comedies, and two hour-long dramas. After you watch them, you’re asked to vote on which pilots should be given a full series order. We watched all five and decided to rank them from worst to best.
5) Budding Prospects
Based on the 1984 T.C. Boyle novel of the same name, Budding Prospects details the misadventures of a group of friends who leave San Francisco in 1983 and plan to get rich by illegally growing marijuana at a “summer camp.” Marijuana is a polarizing topic and for that reason, I expect this show to receive some undeserved fan votes. Budding Prospects is a pot comedy, and for those that are into that kind of thing it might be enjoyable. I am not, to say the least, so for me the show was a complete dud. The acting was unimpressive and the shaky camera job really bothered me. Aside from the aesthetic issues, it seems like it could potentially be a pretty good plot. I wish it would’ve veered away from being too much of a stoner comedy, and gone more in-depth in the story aspect. I feel like the plot would be more well-suited if the show was a drama, rather than a comedy. I didn’t like it at all, but given time, it seems like Budding Prospects may be able to get better (but I doubt it). Everyone involved seems too dim-witted to notice its shortcomings. This show was awful.
Oasis follows a chaplain who is sent to space to establish a colony on a distant planet. The hour-long drama takes place in London in the year 2032. The British accents make it difficult for this American to understand at times. This show is confusing as hell, and I didn’t even know what was going on half the time. The design team does a great job, making everything high-tech and the planet look realistic.
Oasis seems too futuristic. It only takes place 15 years into the future, and I find it hard to believe that technology could’ve advanced that much. But after watching the pilot, I really have no idea what’s happening. That’s a problem. With the exception of say, Westworld, pilots should draw the viewers in and leave the mind-bending mysteries for later. This show is way too complicated to keep viewers interested.
3) The Legend of Master Legend
The show is based on the true story of registered real life superhero Master Legend. Master Legend seems like a really weird person, and in turn a really weird character. “Legend” has a strict moral code, as he fights crime and helps the poor. Outside of John Hawkes as Master Legend, the acting is very poor. The show focuses on the story line of Master Legend and his brother’s return from jail, and his conflicts with his loved ones, but it doesn’t make for such entertaining television. I would far prefer if we just got footage of the real Master Legend at work, similar to the show Cops. I thought the premise of the show was very cool going in, but it didn’t deliver. The Legend of Master Legend was super low-stakes and extremely boring. The fact that this was the third best shows just how bad the other pilots were.
2) The New VIPs
This raunchy animated comedy about office workers had moments of hilarity. If you’re a fan of South Park or Family Guy, then this is the show for you. After their boss dies in front of them, the office workers attempt to run the corporation on their own, without anybody even knowing their boss is dead. While I’ve never been a fan of adult animated comedies, The New VIPs really impressed me.
It wasn’t overly clever but most of the the jokes were very funny. Unfortunately, the first half of the pilot was much better than the second.
1) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
In 1958 New York City, Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a Jewish housewife, has an incredible career change; She becomes one of the first female comedians in history.
The dramedy begins with Midge at her wedding, giving a hilarious speech, which she concludes by telling the mostly religious crowd that “there is shrimp in your meal,” obviously leading to uproar.
Fast-forward 4 years, where events lead to a naturally funny Midge trying her hand at stand-up, which she nails. There is a lot that goes on in between that I don’t want to spoil, but it’s all very well done.
Gilbert Gottfried guest-stars in the pilot. If this show continues (which it absolutely should), I expect there to be many more comedians as guest stars.
This show is great and is by far the best of all the Amazon pilots this season. Make sure you vote for it. Maybe it’s only due to the weak crop, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel stands out as something special. The acting is fantastic, the storyline is stellar, the jokes are funny, and Rachel Brosnahan is a star.