The broadcast networks aren't the only ones rolling out most of their comedies when the new TV season kicks off in September. Amazon will debut four of its comedies, including the third season of Transparent, that same month.
"This September will be Amazon's month of comedy, where we will debut four new comedy series in a row, the first streaming service to do so. We're calling it Amazon's month of comedy, unless we come up with something better before September," Amazon Studios' head of half-hour series Joe Lewis said today at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in L.A.
One Mississippi, starring comedian Tig Notaro and inspired by her life, debuts on Sept. 9. Fleabag, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also wrote every episode) as a detached London woman, airs on Sept. 16. The critically-acclaimed Transparent returns for Season 3 on Sept. 23. And Sept. 30 will be the debut of Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes. That show, which did not panel at press tour, is set in the '60s and revolves around a middle-class suburban family whose world is upended by a guest.
"Today, the idea of scheduling has gone away as you go to streaming," Lewis explained to Adweek (earlier, Amazon Studios head Roy Price had joked, "We're moving Man in High Castle to Tuesdays at 10."). "But I think the way users interact with shows, there's still a lot of iteration to be done. What takes the place of, this show leads into that show, and that's how the shows are arranged online, that's how the shows interact with each other. It's just an experiment and we'll see how it goes. If it works out, I think we should do it more."
But Amazon's definition of comedy has changed. "We have a range of tones, all the way from sad to devastating," said Lewis, who called One Mississippi "traumedic." To that end, Lewis' title has changed from head of comedy to head of half-hour. (His counterpart Morgan Wandell, however, is still head of drama, not "head of one-hour series.")
Amazon's first original shows, Alpha House and Betas, were straight comedies, but Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle are more "dramedic," while The New Yorker Presents is a docuseries, said Lewis, explaining his title change.
Now, "we do think about things, not in terms of, 'this is a comedy, this is a drama,' but what's meant for this length of time. I think in the next 2-5 years, you're going to see so much experimentation in structure," Lewis said.
Last year, Amazon didn't release Transparent's second season until December, when critics were already publishing their Top 10 lists, and the show didn't have the same momentum as its first season. "We just wanted to get it out earlier. The first year, it worked really well to have it in September with the other fall shows," said Lewis, who noted that a December release dates has worked for Mozart in the Jungle.
Not all of Amazon's comedies will air during September: Red Oaks will return for Season 2 on Nov. 11, while Mozart in the Jungle's third season debuts on Dec. 9.
On the drama side, Amazon is bringing back The Man in the High Castle for Season 2, which premieres Dec. 16. It is premiering two new dramas this fall: Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton as a lawyer seeking redemption, airs on Oct. 14, while Good Girls Revolt, which is about a sexual discrimination case in the newsroom in 1969, debuts Oct. 28.