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'Alpha House' premiere proves Amazon is serious about original TV

Caitlin McGarry | Nov. 18, 2013
The company's new original comedy isn't worth the cost of a Prime membership, but it's a nice bonus.

John Goodman is a standout—as usual—as tired North Carolina Sen. Gil John Biggs, who faces a new political challenger. Mark Consuelos is Florida Sen. Andy Guzman, a clear Marco Rubio substitute (though Ted Cruz would have provided more character fodder), and Clark Johnson rounds out the quartet as Sen. Robert Betancourt, who is being investigated by the Ethics Committee and has a strange subplot as the Senate matchmaker.

The show has potential, especially in the moments where it skewers the hostile political climate in Washington—in one hilarious scene, Goodman's character pretends to wag his finger while talking to a friendly Democratic colleague to avoid suspicion that the two are friends. It's comedy gold.

Amazon vs. Netflix
Amazon's attempt at original content creation has placed the company squarely in Netflix territory. But pitting Amazon against Netflix isn't exactly fair. Until recently, the two companies existed in parallel but related industries—retail and entertainment—and Amazon is only now really trying to catch up to the streaming media giant.

It's also worth noting that people aren't averse to subscribing to multiple services. Amazon just has to make the case that a Prime membership is just as compelling as a Netflix subscription, if not more so. Prime's selling point is still its free shipping, but if Amazon continues to load membership with extras like new TV shows and deals on ebooks, the company will likely win over potential subscribers.

When it comes to content, Netflix is still king. But Alpha House is early proof that Amazon means business.


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