Having ousted its head of programming in the fall, Amazon is in a state of flux. But it has a lot of programming heading our way anyway, most of which has not been dated yet. There are a number of unscripted shows — Grand Prix Driver (probably for February), Hannah Grant’s Tour de France, All Blacks, and Gymkhana Files — all of which focus on sports.
The streaming service also has a number of scripted shows, many of which sound ambitious. Among them is Picnic at Hanging Rock, starring Natalie Dormer. Set in Australia, it's an hourlong drama about the disappearance of a teacher and three female students in Australia in 1900. (The Peter Weir film version of this Joan Lindsay novel is very creepy, if you haven't seen it.) Amazon also has a reimagining of King Lear, starring Anthony Hopkins as a totalitarian ruler of a fictional, present-day England. Playing Lear's three daughters are Emma Thompson (Goneril), Emily Watson (Regan), and Florence Pugh (Cordelia). Jim Broadbent, Andrew Scott, and Christopher Eccleston also star — geez, what a great cast! In other literary adaptations, Gwyneth Hughes has Vanity Fair, with Olivia Cooke from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl playing Becky Sharp. And Hugh Grant comes to television! He stars in the based-on-a-true-story drama A Very English Scandal, playing Jeremy Thorpe, a member of Parliament and a closeted gay man in the late 1960s — when that was not an acceptable way to live. Thorpe stood trial for conspiring to murder his ex-lover, Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw).
The highest-profile Amazon projects of next year are The Romanoffs, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Homecoming. In Matthew Weiner's The Romanoffs, each episode will tell the story of someone who believes he or she is a descendant of the Russian royal family. Weiner — who was recently accused of sexual harassment, which he denies — directs every episode, and the project will reunite him with some of his Mad Men cast (Christina Hendricks and John Slattery). The Romanoffs also stars Diane Lane, Andrew Rannells, Corey Stoll, and more. In Jack Ryan, an eight-episode thriller, John Krasinski stars as the Tom Clancy character who in film was played by many men: Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and, most recently, Chris Pine. Carlton Cuse, who steered Lost for years, is the showrunner, and Wendell Pierce and Abbie Cornish costar. And with Homecoming, Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg will adapt their their Gimlet Media podcast, with Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail executive-producing and directing. But I've buried the lede! Julia Roberts is Homecoming's star, playing a government caseworker treating a soldier (Stephan James). Julia fucking Roberts! On the TV! Needless to say, Amazon ordered two seasons of Homecoming from the start.