At a certain point, maybe you have to feel a little bit bad for Natalie Zea. She gets written out of her regular part on Justified in the show’s third season, but at least that character’s still alive. (Plus, as Zea herself noted on Twitter, it’s not like her Justified character was used particularly well.) She was killed off on The Following, the show she immediately followed Justified with, at the end of its first season (though maybe this is a reason to feel good for her). Dirty Sexy Money was canceled, and she’s been in recurring parts in seemingly dozens of things, only to see those shows go away or eventually move on to other things. And now, in the cruelest move of all, Amazon Studios has picked up every one of its five pilots for adults but the Zea-starring The Rebels. Okay, yes, theoretically, Amazon could still pick up The Rebels, as it hasn’t officially passed yet. But four series was far more than anybody expected Amazon to pick up in the first place, and networks tend to make these decisions in one fell swoop. (Amazon has yet to decide on its children’s pilots, according to Variety.)
We don’t really mind this decision. When we reviewed the five shows last month, we gave good-to-great scores to The After, Bosch, Mozart In The Jungle, and Transparent, and we’ll be happy to watch more episodes of all of them. (Then again, we are a TV-watching collective hive-mind.) We didn’t like The Rebels much at all, however, and it was hard to see that changing, even though it was the one, pure, out-and-out comedy of the bunch. The other four shows—even the frequently messy The After—were just more interesting, more like things you couldn’t get elsewhere. Amazon, which is desperately trying to put its name on the map, clearly felt the same way.
While it’s impossible to know the results of the survey Amazon commissioned from viewers of the pilots, on the company’s own, publicly available star system, The Rebels came in third, with an average score of 4.3 out of five stars. That put it ahead of Transparent (4.0) and The After (3.9) and only narrowly behind Mozart (4.4). Only the based-on-a-book-series-and-therefore-carrying-certain-advantages-thanks-to-book-fans Bosch really broke the curve, scoring a 4.7. Assume Bosch was picked up because of viewer response to it and The After because the sci-fi market is a currently underserved TV audience and is creator Chris Carter’s first new show since The X-Files left the air. Really, the only substantial advantage either Transparent or Mozart had over The Rebels, in that instance, was generally kind reviews and buzz in the press and (some) Internet comments sections. So if you assume all of that is true (and ignore that we’ll never know the survey results), you can grossly overinflate your own importance to the system and pat yourself on the back. We did it, everybody! We killed The Rebels!
Now, we just have to find Natalie Zea a job. Anybody got a pilot they’re trying to cast?