Amazon Studios’ first big show is no ‘House of Cards’

Apr 19, 2013

FORTUNE -- Amazon Studios has been busy.

Today, Jeff Bezos's nascent TV and feature film studio, which lets the public evaluate and comment on scripts online, went live with eight adult comedy and six children’s pilots on Amazon (amzn) Instant Video and Prime Instant Video in the U.S. and the Amazon-owned Lovefilm service in the U.K. It's the first big wave of fresh original content from Amazon Studios, launched over two years ago.

Amazon's crowdsourcing approach is intended to be a more efficient way to make films and shows. Whereas traditional media companies will front tens of millions of dollars and receive feedback once a film is shot and done, Amazon Studios allows for feedback at almost every step of the creative process. That's far more cost-effective, explained Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, to Fortune last November. "By and large, your $80 million is out the door. You're certainly not going to be able to unmake the movie and go make a different movie that people want to see."

The most high-profile of Amazon's crop of pilots is Zombieland, a TV series treatment of the well-received 2009 dark comedy with Emma Stone and The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg. Series writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are back, but the original cast isn't. Some on the Internet are already knocking the show -- for the cast changes and its low-budget look -- based on the 50-second trailer and the pilot, which was made briefly available earlier this week before resurfacing again today.

But don't take the Internet's word for it. You can watch Zombieland for free, along with the 13 other pilots, at

Zombieland TV series trailer

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