By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Los Angeles Times
1:50 PM EST, November 19, 2013
Amazon said its original series "Alpha House," a political comedy written by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, was the most-watched show on its Prime Instant Video service through the weekend.
The first three episodes of "Alpha House" debuted Friday on Amazon's online subscription service, with new installments available each week. Its second series, "Betas," a comedy set in Silicon Valley, is set to premiere Friday.
The launches of "Alpha House" and "Betas" represent a milestone in Amazon's commitment to original programming. The company has been investing heavily to bolster its entertainment offerings, and spending significant sums to bring exclusive movies and TV shows to its online subscription service, as it looks to compete with Netflix.
"The Amazon Studios process is designed to use data and feedback from customers to help us create and launch shows they will love," Amazon Studios Director Roy Price said in a statement. "It is incredibly rewarding to see that process working."
Amazon did not disclose viewership numbers for "Alpha House," which won positive reviews from 67% of critics tracked by online review site Rotten Tomatoes. Some found it fresh, smart and bold, with one drawing comparisons to HBO's acclaimed political comedy "Veep," while others found it less than entertaining. One detractor described the show as "a hair more fascinating than C-Span."
In "Alpha House," Goodman portrays one of four Republican senators sharing a D.C. townhouse. Each of the elected officials comes with baggage and ethical blind spots.
"Betas" follows four friends as they attempt to achieve Bay Area acclaim with a new mobile social-networking app. It stars Joe Dinicol, Karan Soni, Jon Daly, Charlie Saxton ad Maya Erskine, with special appearances by Ed Begley Jr.
Michael Lehmann, known for episodes of the HBO series "True Blood" and the 1989 film "Heathers," directs and produces the show.
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