Amazon has announced its latest original show. "Hysteria" will star Mena Suvari as a doctor who returns to her home town to investigate a growing epidemic spreading through social media.
The pilot is directed by Otto Bathurst, who recently won a BAFTA for his work on BBC mini-series "Peaky Blinders". "Hysteria" joins a number of shows in Amazon Instant Video's pilot season, during which the online giant makes trial episodes of potential new shows and then produces full shows of the ones you like.
For this pilot season, Amazon Studios has announced sitcom "Really" from "Super Troopers" creator Jay Chandrasekhar, a half-hour dramatic comedy called "The Cosmopolitans" and an hour-long drama named "Hand of God."
Other original shows in the works at Amazon include "The After" from X-Files creator Chris Carter, "Bosch" based on the popular crime novels, and "Mozart in the Jungle" from Paul Weitz, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman.
By commissioning its own TV shows, Amazon is one of the online companies blurring the lines between traditional television and online viewing. Amazon has commissioned a number of new shows including three new kids shows and "Alpha House", starring John Goodman, but it's still lagging behind the online viewing that is Netflix. With the success of "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" -- combining high production values and proper Hollywood names like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher -- Netflix has set online giants racing to develop original content.
Hulu is making "Battleground" and "Spoilers." Microsoft is delving into its gaming treasure chest for a TV show based on the "Halo" gaming series, along with twelve Xbox Originals shows. AOL has plans for a whopping 16 shows involving big names such as James Franco, Steve Buscemi, and Ellen DeGeneres. Vimeo is getting in on the action with "High Maintenance." Yahoo has a couple of sitcoms in the works and is making new episodes of cancelled TV show "Community."
Netflix showed what was possible by winning Emmy awards for its adaptation of political potboiler "House of Cards". Future original programming from Netflix includes a talk show featuring Chelsea Handler and a new sci-fi show from the Wachowskis, the minds behind "The Matrix" and this summer's "Jupiter Ascending".
Netflix has also teamed up with comics powerhouse Marvel for one of the most ambitious projects in broadcasting history: four separate shows based on different Marvel superheroes that intertwine until they culminate in a mini-series uniting the quartet, like "The Avengers" except each character has a full 13-episode series behind them instead of a couple of movies.