Review: Betas Amazon Original Series – Pilot

Set in the land of Silicon Valley start-ups, Betas follows four friends as they attempt to strike it rich with a new mobile social networking app.

Betas-tvshwWritten by Evan Endicott and Josh Stoddard and directed and produced by Michael Lehmann (True Blood, Dexter) along with Emmy Award winners Alan Freedland and Alan Cohen (King of the Hill), and Academy Award nominee Michael London (Sideways). The pilot episode also features Ed Begley Jr. and Moby.

There’s a lot of talent behind this show and it’s evident. Having watched several of the pilots for upcoming shows on Amazon Original Series, this is the most polished.

The four main characters in Betas follows a formulae that is rock solid but a little overused. Some reviews likened them MCs to caricatures, but you don’t care what happens to a caricature, and I did like these guys and want to see them succeed – after struggling horribly through hell – of course.

The ambitious Jay is the easiest to identify with. He knows what he wants and hasn’t got a clue about how to get it. He plays the roll least anti-normal and is likeable.

Avinash (Nash) is neurotic and easily shaken, but brilliant at what he does – coding. He uses soft rock to relax – think Christopher Cross or Toto – and has an abort sequence he uses often in social situations that become overwhelming, which is all of them.

Mitch (yes, same name as me – real funny. Ha-ha-ha) is socially inept around the opposite sex – and is none-to-competent around those of the same sex – but has a hopeless crush on a particular girl at his place of employment.

Hobbs is the crude, street-wise friend who lacks social grace but is likable, nonetheless. We are introduced to him as he’s having video sex in a laundromat while waiting for his clothes to dry. Hobbs helps offset the introverted personalities of the other MCs.

Betas is like Big Bang Theory, but crude.  Unlike BBT,  I think Betas is too insider for its own good, between the technical jargon and the quick, geek banter, it might lose some audiences.  I dig Betas, but I’ve worked for Microsoft for 18 years.  I am a geek.

I’ll watch this and I’ll pay for it.    Betas is a smart, funny show.  I want to see this series take off and dominate the world, one geek at a time.

Trailer for Betas–Amazon Original Series

Watch the brilliant pilot episode here, on Amazon Instant Video.

Review: Zombieland Amazon Original Series–pilot

Zombieland is based on the hit movie of the same name, and follows four survivors outwitting zombies and searching for a place to call home.

The Zombieland pilot comes from the film’s original creative team, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and producer Gavin Polone, so you would expect it to have the same quirky, smarmy humor, and it does. Mostly.

Photofunia Zombie#pjPT3KAhshPWlWW2hA7AngThe show picks up with the same characters from the movie – Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock – played by different actors. This works alright for me, but Zombieland fans – the ones that would French-kiss the movie if they could – may be a bit put off by this. Admittedly, nobody could follow Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee from the movie. It’s was unfair to put Kirk Ward in those very large shoes, but he manages it. He’s just no Woody.

I liked the addition of Detroit – the ex-OnStar lady that directs them to wherever they are trying to go.

The show is funny in the same distasteful, juvenile way as the movie. It’s also smart and witty, but keeps putting a toe over the line of good taste. Mind you, I laughed, and this is a zombie show, after all. If you’re going to have zombies eating bloody guts, why not load up on F-words and vagina jokes (complete with on screen counter), too?

Still, the show doesn’t quite capture the feeling of the movie.  It takes time for a new series to start clicking, so I’m holding out judgment on Zombieland until I see more, and if there is more, I will watch.

Oh yes. I will watch.  I have to see the Zombie Kill of the Week, don’t I?


Zombieland Amazon Original–Trailer


You can watch it here for FREE, on AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO.

At this time, only the 28-minute long pilot is available to watch, but it’s free. Since this is an “Amazon original Series”, you will have to watch it on Amazon Instant Streaming (computer or phone with an Amazon app). I watched it using the Amazon instant video app on Xbox Live, and it looked great in HD.