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Amazon Packs Every Star It Can Find Into New TV Pilots

Hot off two Golden Globe wins for its dramedy Transparent, Amazon today (Jan. 15) is carpet-bombing the online TV world with 13 new pilot shows for members of Amazon Prime ($99 per year) to watch and vote on. And if big names are a factor in success, these pilots are will go big-time. 

Bigger than the plots and fictional characters is the who's who list of actors and directors Amazon has recruited, including Jason Leigh, Brian Dennehy, Paget Brewster, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Zane, Michael Imperioli, Ridley Scott, Alan Cumming and Andrew Garfield. They and others come from shows, movies and plays including The X Files, Lost, True Blood, Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, Orange is the New Black, The Shield, Kinky Boots, Dallas Buyers Club, The Sopranos, Sex and The City, Fraggle Rock, SpongeBob SquarePants and Shrek.

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It would exhaust both you and me to go over the details of every show, and Amazon does a great job of it on its own Pilot Season page. But here are some highlights:

  • Philip K. Dick's post-WWII "what if?" book The Man in the High Castle gets a screen adaptation written by Frank Spotnitz of The X-Files and executive produced (whatever that really means) by Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker (of The Good Wife). 
  • Sam Trammell of True Blood and Jason Leigh of My Name is Earl star in Cocked as mismatched brothers forced to work together to run the family gun business. Might be a bit like Six Feed Under, but with guns.

  • Down Dog sounds like a rats nest of dating and relationship angst stories, overpacked with stars including Paget Brewster of Criminal Minds, Lyndsy Fonseca from How I Met Your Mother, Will Greenberg of Halt and Catch Fire, Kris Kristofferson (needs no introduction), and Alysia Reiner from Orange is the New Black. (Take that, Netflix!) 
  • The New Yorker Presents is a half-hour docuseries by America's foremost erudite magazine. Highlights include a short film starring Alan Cumming, a reading by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man); a documentary by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) and an interview with whacky performance artist, Marina Abramović. 
  • Buddy: Tech Detective is a mystery show for preschoolers featuring a child sleuth, a child inventor...and a ferret. Jon Burton of The Lego Movie and Dicker and Jocelyn Stevenson of Fraggle Rock are behind the effort.

Senior editor Sean Captain now has a lot of TV watching ahead of him - poor guy. Follow him@seancaptain. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.