Amazon has lifted the lid on a host of new series in development for its recently renamed Freevee service, including an American remake of cult British comedy Inside No. 9.
Formerly known as IMDb Television (which itself was renamed from IMDb Apnea in 2019), Freevee is Amazon’s free, ad-supported video channel, available to Amazon account holders in the US and UK through the First video website or app.
Amazon recently pledged to grow the platform’s slate of free original content by 70% in 2022, and the company’s latest announcement reveals the names of several shows it hopes will help achieve that. ambitious objective in the coming months.
Among the recently unveiled plans are a second season of Bosch: Legacy, which has been renewed ahead of its May 6 premiere, and series orders for existing unscripted specials America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation and Play-Doh Squished.
By far the most interesting of the bunch, however, is Amazon’s planned remake of Inside No. 9. Having run for six seasons (between 2014 and 2021) on UK channel BBC One, the anthology series tells various stories that, despite the presence of different characters and settings, are all linked in one way or another by the number 9 (and, incidentally, a brass statue of a hare).
The series was – and will continue to be – written by British actors Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, who are also its only recurring cast. Over its 37 episodes, Inside No. 9 featured cameo appearances from Sir Derek Jacobi, Helen McCrory, Gemma Arterton and Rory Kinnear.
Amazon’s US remake is being developed by Lionsgate Television and BBC Studios Los Angeles Productions (the duo responsible for the CBS Ghosts comedy), though we don’t expect it to arrive until at least the end of the year. .
Announcing the development of the show, Lauren Anderson, Co-Head of Content and Programming at Freevee, said, “We want to make television and television inventive, loud and interesting. [Inside No. 9] is one of one. We hope we can make a version worthy of the legacy.
Analysis: a history of imitation
American entertainment studios are used to finding success fishing in the pond of British comedy. NBC’s adaptation of BBC sitcom The Office is the best example of a British show becoming an overseas sensation, although Netflix’s House of Cards and HBO’s Veep also owe their existence to British originals.
Amazon is therefore hoping to strike the same gold with Inside No. 9, even if the show’s exclusivity on Freevee limits its mainstream appeal (such is the irony of free programming in the age of streaming services).
That said, Inside No. 9 won’t mark the first time Amazon has adapted an international entertainment property. An English language remake of the popular French comedy series Call My Agent! – which originally aired on Netflix – has recently arrived on Prime Video, AMC Plus and Sundance Now (depending on your region), for example, while the company also has experience breathing new life into aging franchises like Jack Reacher and the Lord of the Rings.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Amazon’s Inside No. 9 adaptation will recapture the magic of its cult-status original — but at least you won’t have to pay to find out.