The pilot for Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle deviated in several major respects from Philip K. Dick‘s original novel — about an alternate timeline in which Germany and Japan won WWII, and occupy divided United States territory — but it’s a good hour of television, and a very promising start to the series. Evidently enough people saw it that way, and the show was ranked highly enough for Amazon to order it to series. Along with The Man in the High Castle series order came some other orders, which we’ll run down below.
On the existing series front, Mozart in the Jungle will get a Season 2. The first season followed dynamic young conductor Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) as he shakes up a major New York City symphony orchestra.
Additionally, Amazon ordered five new series from the current pilot season, with two culled from the kids’ section, and three from the adult. The Man in High Castle, Mad Dogs, and The New Yorker Presents scored orders, as did the two children’s shows Just Add Magic and The Stinky & Dirty Show.
All the new shows are expected to arrive sometime between the end of this year and early 2016.
Here are the official rundowns on each.
The Man in the High Castle
Based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternative history, The Man in the High Castle considers the question of what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. Some 20 years after that loss, the United States and much of the world has now been split between Japan and Germany, the major hegemonic states. But the tension between these two powers is mounting, and this stress is playing out in the western U.S. Through a collection of characters in various states of posing (spies, sellers of falsified goods, others with secret identities), The Man in the High Castle provides an intriguing tale about life and history as it relates to authentic and manufactured reality. The hour-long dramatic pilot stars Alexa Davalos (Mob City) as Juliana Crain, Luke Kleintank (Pretty Little Liars) as Joe Blake, Rupert Evans (The Village) as Frank Frink, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy) as Tagomi, Joel De La Fuente (Hemlock Grove) as Inspector Kido, Rufus Sewell (Eleventh Hour) as John Smith and DJ Qualls (Z Nation) as Ed McCarthy. The pilot is directed by David Semel (Madam Secretary, Heroes) and written byFrank Spotnitz (The X-Files), both serving as Executive Producers. Also executive producing are Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker, with co-executive producer Jordan Sheehan of Scott Free Productions (The Good Wife, The Andromeda Strain), and Executive Producers Stewart Mackinnon and Christian Baute of Headline Pictures (The Invisible Woman). In addition, Isa Dick Hackett will executive produce and Kalen Egan will co-executive produce on behalf of Electric Shepherd (The Adjustment Bureau). Christopher Tricarico (May in the Summer) is also Executive Producer.
Mad Dogs is an hour-long dark comedy created by Cris Cole (The Bill), and Executive Produced by Cole, Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Marney Hochman (Last Resort), Andy Harries (DCI Banks), Suzanne Mackie (All in Good Time), and Charles McDougall (The Mindy Project). Based on the hit UK series, Mad Dogs follows the twisted reunion of a group of underachieving forty-something friends—a mixture of single, married and recently divorced—who are all at different crossroads in their lives. Celebrating the early retirement of an old friend at his gorgeous Belize villa, grudges begin to emerge and secrets explode as their trip becomes a labyrinthine nightmare of lies, deception and murder. Mad Dogs is a twisted tale of friendship put to the ultimate test. As an inconceivable chain of events unfolds, cracks within the group widen before the friends realize that the only people they can trust are each other, the last people they want to be relying on. The pilot stars Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) as Cobi, Billy Zane (Twin Peaks) as Milo, Romany Malco (Weeds) as Gus, Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) as Lex, and Ben Chaplin (World without End) as Joel. Mad Dogs is directed by McDougall and is being co-produced with Sony Pictures Television.
The New Yorker Presents
America’s most award-winning magazine comes to life in this half hour docu-series pilot. The New Yorker Presents is a completely unique viewing experience that features Tony-Award winner Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) and actor Brett Gelman (Go On) in a short film based on a story by Simon Rich (Saturday Night Live) and directed by Emmy Award-winning director Troy Miller (Arrested Development); a poem by Matthew Dickman; a documentary by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) about biologist Tyrone Hayes based on a Rachel Aviv article; and an interview with famous performance artist, Marina Abramovi?, conducted by The New Yorker writer Ariel Levy. Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is Executive Producer, joined by Dave Snyder (Death Row Stories) and Dawn Ostroff (The Fashion Fund). The pilot is co-produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Jigsaw Productions.
The Stinky & Dirty Show
(For preschool-aged children) – The adventures of best friends and unlikely heroes, Stinky the garbage truck and Dirty the backhoe loader, a dynamic and hilarious duo of resourcefulness that learn when things don’t go as expected, asking “what if” can lead to success. Based on the books by Jim and Kate McMullan. Written and developed by Guy Toubes.
Just Add Magic
(For children ages 6-11) – Kelly Quinn and her two BFF’s, Darbie and Hannah, stumble upon her grandmother’s mysterious cookbook in the attic and discover some far from ordinary recipes. When the Shut’em Up Shortcake silences Kelly’s pesky little brother and the Healing Hazelnut Tart heals Darbie’s ankle, the girls discover they have the power of magic. A single-camera live-action pilot based on the popular book.
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