Jeff Bezos has had enough of Amazon’s status as largely a niche player in television and now Amazon Studios is undergoing a philosophical retool in hopes of being the streaming service that can boast the next Game of Thrones level smash. Y’know, because those sorts of things are just out cooling on windowsills.
Variety reports that Amazon is shifting away from its critic-friendly but breakout hit light roster of original programming to pursue high end dramas with global blockbuster appeal. So less Mozart in the Jungles and more home run swings for big epic breakouts. The change syncs up with Friday’s big reveal of new programs lined up for Amazon like a period drama from Paul Attanasio and Wong Kar-wai, an adaptation of a Garth Ennis comic produced by Seth Rogen (that isn’t Preacher) and a comedy that pairs Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen.
Amazon Studios chief Roy Price told Variety that the company’s new emphasis on going bigger was the consensus of senior management. Speaking of which, not everything that’s currently on Amazon now is considered out of place following the philosophical shift. That said, Amazon isn’t shy about their interest in developing shows that could rival Game of Thrones in massive appeal and cultural relevance.
“I do think Game of Thrones’ is to TV as Jaws and Star Wars was to the movies of the 1970s,” Price said. “It’ll inspire a lot of people. Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit.”
It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest award-winning Amazon Prime offerings like Transparent will still have their place on the streaming service no matter what strategy Price puts into action. What the shift does raise alarm bells for is the future of new programming that could be the next One Mississippi and the potential for pricey epics to knock them out of existence before they even begin. Here’s hoping the big and little shows can co-exist and we can reap all the peak TV benefits. It’s nice to be spoiled.