As part of its foray into original programming, Amazon Prime has picked up a comedy called Betas. The online retailer greenlights the Silicon Valley comedy as it joins 14 other programs that Amazon has picked up for a pilot season. Here's what you should know about the upcoming series.
1. It's Set in Silicon Valley and Stars Computer Geeks
The show is being described as a high-tech comedy about "four computer geeks and their quest for nerd fame," according to a press release by Amazon. The show will be entirely set in the Silicon Valley area, home to the world's largest technology companies like Apple and Google.
2. It Joins 13 Other Amazon Pilots, Including Zombieland
Betas is the eighth comedy pilot to be picked up by Amazon as it joins seven other comedy pilots and six children's pilots. “Amazon is giving us a chance to work outside the TV bureaucracies and connect directly with audiences hungry for original content, and Betas is the perfect match for that model,” says producer Michael London. Other pilots that joined the lineup include Alpha House, Browsers, Dark Minions, Onion News Empire, Supanatural, Those Who Can’t, and a TV adaptation of the film Zombieland.
3. Michael Lehmann Will Direct the Pilot
The pilot of the series will be directed by Michael Lehmann, known for directing episodes of American Horror Story and Dexter. He has also directed features films such as Heathers and 40 Day and 40 Nights.
4. The Producers of American Dad Are Onboard
Betas is being produced by Alan Freeland and Alan Cohen, known for their work in American Dad. They will also direct some episodes if the show gets picked up. Sideways producer Michael London will also direct one of the episodes.
5. Ed Begley Jr. Plays One of the Leads
Ed Begley Jr. has a starring role. He is known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich in the drama series St. Elsewhere and Planet Green's reality show Living with Ed. His other TV credits include Arrested Development and Happy Endings, where he played himself.
6. Other Cast Members Have Been Announced
The new series has already brought in other actors for potential recurring roles. The cast includes Jon Daly, Joe Dinicol, Margo Harshman, Charlie Saxton and Karan Soni.
7. Other Shows Have a Similar Concept
Betas' premise and setting are similar to other shows in development. HBO, for instance, is developing a dark comedy series titled Silicon Valley, which is also about technical geeks trying to be rich. Let's not forget last fall's fiasco Start Ups: Silicon Valley, which was a reality show on Bravo that was critically panned and was a ratings failure.
8. Amazon Will Air the Pilot to Determine Season Pickup
Amazon will be airing Betas as a pilot that will be streamed on its site. The pilot will air first and gather viewer feedback to determine whether the show deserves to be picked up as a series, according to Amazon.
9. The Pilot Will Be Broadcast Free
Amazon stated in its press release that the shows being picked up will air as pilot episodes free for Amazon users.
10. Amazon is Going Head to Head with Netflix
Amazon will be up against Netflix, which is also making a major foray into original programming after the success of House of Cards. Netflix will be releasing other programs soon, including Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black and a revival of Arrested Development.