Streaming digital video services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are on the forefront of what is widely considered (at least by folks with solid internet connections) to be the future of television and home video. Unfortunately it’s a nebulous place where, for example, the desires of those that Netflix needs to partner with in order for their service to be relevant have actively opposed interests (like wanting to sell expensive DVD box sets of television series season by season). And in its competition with Netflix to be the go to place to watch cable television shows online, it looks like Amazon may be stepping up its game into an arena that only Netflix had so far occupied: producing original content.
Zombieland, as I said in my last post on the subject, is the highest grossing American zombie movie ever, and was originally intended to be a television show. Plans for a sequel and that fabled TV show have waxed and waned over the three years since its release, but mostly waned, so it was a surprise, last week, to hear that a Zombieland television adaptation was already looking for a cast.
The unexpected jump to casting before any news that a television studio was, in fact, bankrolling the project makes more sense now. If Amazon is producing it, they may indeed have gotten the whole thing together quickly and quietly. It definitely make the show’s production something to watch. With Netflix’s revival of Arrested Development on its way, one wonders if services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu will find a niche in salvaging shows with smaller, less mainstream followings, and bringing them back to viewers. And this seems radically optimistic, but could it create a media environment where a show like Firefly would have had more than one season?
Okay, I’ll stop raising questions and lower one instead. Last week I asked: is the mainstream so saturated with zombie fiction that it’s ready for an ironic zombie television show? Turns out no, but perhaps the subscribers to Amazon Prime are.