A long time ago...when I was like ten or something, you have three stations on TV to watch, then Fox came along and it was four. Then we all got cable or DirectTV or whatever and it was more channels than we could shake the proverbial stick at. And if that wasn't enough along came Netflix and Hulu and now it appears Amazon wants to jump into the mix of streaming original content.
Their first show? A drama called "Alpha House" which includes a former North Carolina basketball coach turned U.S. Senator fielding a primary challenge from the Duke basketball coach. Yes. Really.
The program is loosely based on a house that served as a crash pad for four Democrats in Washington, including Senators Charles E. Schumer and Richard J. Durbin, and Representatives George Miller and Bill Delahunt. Except on "Alpha House," the four men are all senators, all Republicans and all flawed in ways that give the comedy impulse plenty of room to roam.
Mr. Goodman’s character, Gil John Biggs, is a revered former basketball coach of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and now a Republican senator from that state who is confronting a Tea Party challenge from Digger Mancusi, the current Duke coach.
In a scene filmed last month, Mr. Biggs is bathing in post-gaffe regret — we will avoid spoilers here — trying to deal with a video gone "virile," as he describes it. When an aide tells him there are in fact six deeply embarrassing videos making the rounds on the Internet, Mr. Biggs’s face becomes a portrait of hatred for this modern age.
He swears lustily, and then moans, "It’s like the Clemson game all over again!" After his wife and aide suggest that he go on a morning show as part of an apology tour, he swears again, and says, "I don’t need to humanize myself! I’m plenty human."
There is so much I can't get my brain wrapped around about this. First of all is the image of John Goodman coaching the Tar Heels in basketball. Nope. Can't do it. As T.H. points out, these characterizations rub against the known political leanings of Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski. Finally, running for US Senate probably takes more of a time commitment than coaching Team USA at the Olympics. Recruiting is bound to suffer right?
Yeah, this all sounds like a really bad idea yet there will be some UNC and Duke fans who would probably give it a shot just to see how many references are made to basketball or the rivalry. I am going to guess those mentions will be rare and there is even a high risk of various details being botched. However, there is some element of crossover appeal at work here that at least gets the show an initial bump.
After all, I just wrote a post about an streaming based original series that not many people will end up watching. Well played, Amazon, well played.