Amazon Studios has a new pilot in production, Hand of God, a drama series which will ramp up its competition with Netflix. The burgeoning show is about a vigilante judge, his wife, ventilator-bound son, and a church which has lost its way. The show stars Ron Perlman who has starred in Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy, and Conan the Barbarian, among many other titles. His wife is played by Dana Delaney (China Beach), and the mayor is played by Andre Royo (The Wire).
The production team has been turning heads in the industry as it is the brain child of Ben Watkins, formerly of tv’s Burn Notice, and the show’s producer/director is Marc Forster, who is best known as the driving force behind World War Z. Watkins has been hailed as an organizational master and creative powerhouse. He rose to fame due to a small film he created on spec. It was hot and landed him a spot as writer and executive producer for Burn Notice. He even acted in a few episodes.
Watkins’ mother was on the set for the final days of the pilot shoot. An ardent supporter of her son, April Kutger has been sure to share her experience and enthusiasm on social media. While visiting the lot, she was fortunate enough to meet Delaney, Perlman, and the rest of the cast and crew. She particularly enjoyed the craft services table.
The Twitter hashtag #handofgod has been abuzz with exclamations praising the script, the characters, and the actors. Excitement is high among the creators and when creators are confident in their product that often conveys to an audience.
Amazon is using the pilot for Hand of God to take direct aim at Netflix with its deal with HBO to carry that channel’s popular serial dramas. Now, Hand of God promises to be another bullet in the arsenal towards domination in online delivery of prime content. The powerhouse cast, brilliant pilot script, and the deep talent on the cast and crew will put a challenge to Netflix favorites such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Lilyhammer.
For years, Netflix subscribers have been frustrated to have limited access to HBO’s original productions, including The Wire, The Sopranos, and Treme, among others. HBO’s latest hit, Game of Thrones, will not be available on Amazon Prime. Now, that material will be available to stream exclusively via Amazon Prime. The additional content does come at an additional cost, as subscribers have seen their bill increase from $79 to $99. Netflix has also announced a price increase, but has yet to announce any new exclusive content.
While some consumers have grumbled a bit at the quality of original programming offered by Amazon, the pilot (and series), Hand of God promises to turn the tide against Netflix. With the fantastic script, cast, and crew, the high-concept show is sure to fascinate audiences already captured by deep character-driven narratives such as Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, and Mad Men. Hand of God could very well do for Amazon what The Sopranos did for HBO – propel it into a new era of production, fueling the renaissance in serial dramas television viewers have been basking in. Netflix must be quaking in its boots.
By Hobie Anthony