Amazon Original Content

Amazon is getting into the content business and their first two comedies are absolutely brilliant.

Alpha House
This show is about a group of republican senators in Washington DC who share a brownstone.  It stars John Goodman.  The writing is crisp and the comedy is nuanced.  The republicans are portrayed as fairly cynical.  They aren’t “true believer” tea party guys.  They are actually unmotivated by ideology at all.  They are just happy to be senators and want to keep it that way.

An episode comes out each Friday.  I watch it immediately by streaming it on my iPad.  Great show.

Betas
I didn’t try this show for quite a while.  I hate shows that try to portray the internet culture and mangle it in the process.  Every time I see a computer in a TV show or movie, I cringe, knowing that the writers have no idea what they are doing.

When I started watching Betas, I put the bar very low.  However, I was shocked at how accurate the language and specifics were.  When they talked about technologies, they were current and accurate.  They used Tublr and Instagram in a sentence and actually knew the difference.

Betas captures the silicon valley scene at one level, which is the Palo Alto/San Francisco Y-Combinator mobile startup space.  By comparison, I’m part of the San Mateo, B2B boring software scene.  We all have families and don’t go to parties.

I love the characters in Betas.  Especially one of the security engineers named Hobbes.  I love every line he gets and he usually steals the show.  One line was about Ringo Starr (someone made a disparaging comment.  He exploded, “Ringo was a fucking metronome!”

What is shocking to me is how both shows have a very limited social/internet presence.  This is the Betas homepage. (Sorta)  What is that?  The characters don’t have twitter handles or any other social media, as far as I know.  The show twitter feed is anemic.  Only 700 followers and 88 tweets.  How can a show THAT wired be so socially dead?

Anyway, these are two awesome shows.  I strong recommend.

The trend is moving towards high quality content coming from strange places.  Netflix, House of Cards is great.  History Channel, Vikings is awesome.  I figure Yahoo is going to come out with original stuff soon.

I started as a kid with 4 channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS).  Then came the WB and Fox. Then cable added MTV.  Then HBO.  Then hundreds of cable channels.  Then the internet and youtube.  This explosion of content is one of the defining trends in culture of my lifetime.

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