Earlier this month, Variety reported that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued a mandate to the company’s studio: produce more “high-end drama series with a global appeal.” This morning, Variety reported that the company is following that order by moving forward with three major science fiction shows: adaptations of Larry Niven’s Ringworld, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, and Greg Rucka’s Lazarus.
Since launching the studio in 2010, Amazon has earned considerable acclaim for its shows, such as The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, and The Grand Tour, but it seems that Bezos is setting his sights a bit higher. In an interview with Variety earlier this month, the head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, said that Amazon is looking to create “big shows that can make the biggest difference around the world,” by working on shows that appeal to a global audience.
Price compared their efforts to trying to create the next Game of Thrones, saying that HBO’s fantasy drama is akin to Jaws or Star Wars in the television world. “Everybody wants a big hit and certainly that’s the show of the moment in terms of being a model for a hit,” he said. Variety also says that Price sent an email to Amazon employees, saying that 2018 and 2019 are shaping up to be major years for the company. “Our overall content investment is increasing, which will allow us to continue to meet customer demand around the world for high quality and engaging programming,” he reportedly wrote in the email.
Earlier this year, the studio brought on former Fox executive Sharon Tal Yguado as head of event series. She was tasked with bringing major science fiction, fantasy, and horror television shows to the studio and Amazon’s Prime subscribers. Amazon has dipped its toes into science fiction television with with The Man in the High Castle, its forthcoming anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and a pilot for a show called Oasis, which debuted earlier this year. The three shows that Amazon is developing could certainly become the same type of television juggernauts as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, or The Handmaid’s Tale, and Variety notes that the studio is putting “significant production investment,” into each.