Amazon Pilots: Predictable, Trite, Mildly Entertaining

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Amazon recently released a new batch of pilots as it does, I assume, when it’s bored or feels like it’s not currently getting enough attention.

Almost all of the shows have really good title sequences, but also, almost all of them are predictable and at least a little trite. But, you know, predictability doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all bad. Some of them were quite good, actually. But then again, I can’t help but roll my eyes at some of these arbitrary plots to the point where I’m scared my retinas will detach or something. It’s a problem. But it’s also a solution. And so I give you: the eye roll scale. (Please note all eye roll counts are basically in arbitrary numbers).

Come, roll your eyes vicariously through me, children.

“The Cosmopolitans”

Amazon calls it: “A dramatic comedy about a group of young American expats in Paris searching for love and friendship and an ocean of distance from their past.”

Rachael calls it: “That one show where everyone is pretty and white and boring, which I guess is the point.”

Nothing much happens in the pilot, to be fair.

“The Cosmopolitans” is beautifully shot, and the most familiar face is the ever-talented, ever-boring Seth Cohen Adam Brody as — you guessed it! — a hopeless romantic from some nobody town in the United States. And my God, there is so much ennui. This so-called “comedy” about American expats in Paris features an all-star cast of pseudo-intellectuals with no hint of self awareness and also Chloe Sevigny, who is too busy playing a fashion journalist who gives no fucks. Brody and his pasty comrades are in search of decadence, in search of love! And we’re supposed to be, like, enchanted or whatever by that. As much as I wanted to like “The Cosmopolitans,” I’m also kind of over watching shows about the woes of being a privileged white person.

Eye Roll Count: 8. If it’s renewed, I’ll watch it. I might just have to be a few drinks in first.


Amazon calls it: “A funny, honest, behind-the-curtain look at the psychological and emotional complexities of marriage and the charged dynamics of a tight-knit group of friends grasping on to what’s left of their youth.”

Rachael calls it: “That one show that’s pretty good, if not woefully predictable. Also, GOD, Rob Delaney we get it.”

“Really” is really good. Or at least, pretty good, considering the underrated actors (Selma Blair, where have you been all my life?) and honest portrayals of marriage and adult life. Although “Really” does rely heavily on predictable plotting (sexless marriages! Cheating on your alcoholic husband with one of his best friends! What are clearly Hispanic kids playing the children of an interracial Indian/white couple! Rob Delaney being, like, Rob Delaney!), the show is entertaining and highly watchable. So, besides it not being terribly original, I at least appreciate its attempts to face predictable situations in an honest way. Or maybe it’s just because I was obsessed with the idea of an Indian dude as the protagonist of a half-hour comedy.

Eye Roll Count: 3. Because like, I get it: Rob Delaney. And hardworking, overweight husbands never get beej’d. And, like, Rob Delaney.

“Red Oaks”

Amazon calls it: “A coming-of-age comedy set in the ‘go-go’ 80s about a college student enjoying a last hurrah before summer comes to an end — and the future begins.”

Rachael calls it: That one show that I enjoyed in spite of myself, probably because it’s only halfway taking itself seriously.

So, by nature, I hate all modern-made-media based in the ’80s. But then, like, coming of age? Totes gives me a halfie. Amazon was really dedicated to cliches and predictability this year, and “Red Oaks” is definitely another exercise in that. There’s a sassy sidekick slash person of color, the an evil dude who is president of a country club, the stoner geek is in love with the hot blonde who can’t bother to hide her Australian accent, and there’s there’s various mention of exercise video tapes. You know, the usual. I spent the entirety of the pilot whispering to myself, “Of course.”

Eye Roll Count: 2. I’m not entirely ashamed to admit this, but I actually enjoyed “Red Oaks,” even if I knew exactly what was happening and what was going to be happening. I barely rolled my eyes, which is frankly a more impressive feat than you know.


Amazon calls it: “An investigative thriller about a haunted young doctor who is summoned back to her hometown to investigate an epidemic that may be linked to social media — and her own tragic past.”

Rachael calls it: “Well, I guess I can’t sum this dumb shit up any better than Amazon could, so I won’t try.”

The first notes I made about “Hysteria” were, and I quote, “If this isn’t about the female orgasm, which I know it’s not, then I want nothing to do with it (I want nothing to do with it).” Maybe it has something to do with my innate inability to take either Mena Suvari or George O’Malley seriously. “Hysteria” is just another formulaic thriller without any, you know, thrill. It’s heavy handed, and it’s unclear whether or not a show like this could sustain any longevity over a series of seasons.

Eye Roll Count: 86.25. One thing of note that I liked was this crazy hot dude who only showed up halfway during the show. Things I disliked: Everything else. Also, what did social media ever do to get dragged into misguided Amazon pilots so half-heartedly? (It did everything. It ruined our society, for example.)

“Hand of God”

Amazon calls it: “A psychological drama about a morally-corrupt judge who suffers a breakdown and believes God is compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice.”

Rachael calls it: “UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

I mean, I like Ron Perlman just as much as the next person who’s binge-watched every episode of “Sons of Anarchy” just as a tribute to Charlie Hunnam’s Jax and his Goldilocks. But are we not, collectively as a people, over Ron Perlman?

Eye Roll Count: Approximately 1 billion. Because it’s, like, are you suffering a psychotic breakdown, or are you really doing this because some Hot Reverend™ baptized you? Actually, no. I know I should be concerned, but I don’t care. We, as an American people, don’t need another heavy-handed psychological drama about the morally corrupt, so I’m good.

Rachael Clemmons is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.  

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