Amazon OKs two pilots for its next round of original series

People will be able to watch and vote on the pilot episodes to determine which series make the cut for a full season.

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James Martin/CNET

Amazon has lined up two more original shows that could end up as full series with a thumbs-up from viewers.

Debuting later this year as part of Amazon Prime Video's third pilot season are a half-hour dramatic comedy called "The Cosmopolitans" and an hour-long drama named "Hand of God," the company announced Wednesday.

Set to start shooting in Paris this week, "The Cosmopolitans" tells the story of a group of young American expatriates in search of friendship and romance in the famous French capital. Written, directed, and produced by Academy Award nominee Whit Stillman, the show features Adam Brody and Chloe Sevigny among the cast.

"Hand of God" stars Ron Perlman as a judge who turns vigilante following a mental breakdown in which he believes God is talking through him through his son. Directed by Marc Forster, the show also features Dana Delany as the judge's wife. The pilot starts shooting this week in California around Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Amazon is certainly hoping to find a pilot that strikes a cord with viewers and helps it compete with Netflix, the Internet's No. 1 subscription streaming service. Amazon recently announced that its first original series, the political comedy "Alpha House," will come back for a second season and that it plans to make full series out of 6 of the 10 shows in its last pilot season. In addition to bulking up its original programming, Amazon appears to have its eye on shows that will generate online buzz and possibly lead to award nominations.

"We're very pleased to be working with Whit, Ron, Ben, and Marc on developing these pilots," Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. "'The Cosmopolitans' and 'Hand of God' both contain rich stories and deep characters that we think customers will really enjoy. I'm looking forward to seeing our customers' reactions when they debut."

And customers will certainly help determine if either series makes the grade.

Viewers will be able to watch the shows on Amazon Prime Video and chime in on which ones they'd like to see turned into full series. The winners then become available for viewing on Prime Instant Video. Amazon said it will announce more pilots in the coming weeks to join "The Cosmopolitans" and "Hand of God" for its third pilot season.

 

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