Last week Amazon Studios released five new comedy and drama pilots — along with five kids’ pilots — for viewers to watch and review. The reviews will help Amazon decide which shows to pick up for a full series (last year, they settled on the two comedies Alpha House and Betas). The best of the bunch was Transparent, Jill Soloway’s beautifully written story of three children learning about their father’s transition while also struggling with changes in their own lives. Here, we take a look at the remaining four.
Much of Mozart in the Jungle seems based on the joke that band kids secretly love to party. Adapted from a book of the same name by the impressive trio of Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Alex Timbers, Mozart in the Jungle is about the “raunchier” side of the classical music scene. It is, hands down, the most interesting premise of the group of pilots, although it runs the risk of being alienating to those who aren’t familiar with orchestra culture. But Mozart is just the right amount of zany — one standout scene has a group of band kids playing a version of spin the bottle that involves downing multiple shots while trying to play their instruments flawlessly; another scene features an orchestral Styx cover band. The pilot is also aesthetically wonderful (it was directed by About a Boy‘s Paul Weitz), and the lovely Gael García Bernal is always a pleasure to watch. Mozart isn’t perfect, but it’s a show that I’d love to see get picked up, if only to see where it could go.