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Roush Review: Amazon's New Comedy Pilots

Sea Oak - Glenn Close

Mere days before announcing its plans for a new Lord of the Rings series, Amazon presented pilots for three decidedly more modest projects, all comedies. Per usual, viewers will vote to determine which ones get the green light—here’s a quick peek at my ballot.

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Get ready for laughs, tears, and a few screams.

Sea Oak: “Zombie my ass!” screeches Glenn Close upon being suddenly reborn from a timid dead-end existence into a lusty afterlife. Dowdy Aunt Bernie no longer, she demands attention be paid by her terrified loser family. Highbrow author George Saunders wrote this weirdly compelling mashup of the bizarre and banal, but by the pilot’s end, it’s hard to know where it’s heading—or if we’ll want to follow.

Love You More: Bawdy cabaret headliner Bridget Everett is sensational, balancing uninhibited raunch with ­unexpected sweetness as Karen Best, a counselor at a group home for Down syndrome youths. She fills the screen with personality, and an R-rated ­musical-fantasy number makes us wonder if this could develop into a less bonkers Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

The Climb: As Nia, a fabulous but frustrated cubicle drone, creator Diarra Kilpatrick is clearly a star poised to rise. But this Detroit-set vanity vehicle is too derivative of funnier single-urban-female comedies like Insecure to have the intended impact. And when Nia declares that her ambition is to become an African-American Kardashian, famous only for being famous (“Isn’t that what’s so genius about it?”), you begin to suspect that this climb may not be worth it.