TCA: Amazon delivers the goods – with free shipping!

Cheers, bitches. Jeffrey Tambor in drag in "Transparent". (Amazon)
Cheers, bitches. Jeffrey Tambor in drag in “Transparent”. (Amazon)

To show you how things have changed in television, streaming services now have their own sessions at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. A few days after Netflix appeared at the gathering, itwas Amazon’s turn to present to the crowd.

But According to some on Twitter, Amazon was just as excited about selling television shows as they were selling microwave ovens… although Jennifer Gray is excited about the free shipping (see below.)

– The Price Is Right: During an session with critics, Amazon Studios chief Roy Price discussed how his SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) service differs from Netflix and Hulu, saying they were “not in the outcome business” or in “the programming business”. he said picking up a show for additional seasons (i.e. Hannibal) after being canceled would actually take away from producing the first season of a new show. Certainly, SVOD services don’t have to worry about ratings and demos as linear shows do, as he pointed out.

Price talked about a new project from the overrated Woody Allen, which could bow in 2016 (or not; Allen’s perfectionism could hold the project up until 2021); Price also said a project from X-Files creator Chris Carter was touted at last summer’s TCA, but was scrapped a few months ago. Price also mentioned Amazon picked up former BBC series Top Gear, but avoided questions about host Jeremy Clarkson’s alleged racist and sexist slurs, much to the chagrin of critics.

Oddly, Price did not mention Chiraq during his session, the controversial movie project from Spike Lee being filmed here in Chicago and generated non-stop headlines since it was announced.

– Creator Jill Soloway was amazed of how the acceptance of transgender people has caught up to her series Transparent, which was picked up for a second season.

“It’s mind blowing how much has changed over the past year, how our culture has caught up to Trend 101” Soloway told the crowd at the press tour and reported in Broadcasting and Cable.

The transformation of former Olympian Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn is an interesting real-life backdrop for Transparent, which features a character played by Jeffrey Tambor who transforms from a man to a woman.

To give the show more clarity, the show recently added a transgender person to its writing staff. “Any show about trans people should have trans people at the center of it” said Soloway. A very good idea, especially given there are so few transgender people in the industry.

– Going from the a biker gang to the bench: that’s exactly what Ron Pearlman is doing in his new series Hand Of God, where he plays a judge who has visions sent to him by God, while trying to find the perp who raped his sister-in-law. The former Sons Of Anarchy was excited about his newly different role:

The series is produced by Burn Notice’s Ben Watkins and also stars Dana Delaney (China Beach), who noticed that Amazon treated female characters with a lot more respect than their network counterparts.

Hands Of God drops on Sept. 4 with ten episodes.

– Overheard at the Amazon TCA presentation: From Red Oaks star Jennifer Grey: