Amazon Joins the Weed Business by Developing a Sitcom about It
It is only natural that large companies like Amazon want their piece of the delicious marihuana cake, in terms of revenue of course. Since the legal situation didn’t allow their first plan to conveniently distribute and deliver nicely cured buds through their selling platform, they decided to follow a different strategy by developing a stoner series for Amazon Prime.
Amazon is moving forward to become a respectable player in the entertainment industry and is now developing “Highland”. The concept of this show is not particularly new but has the potential to entertain the viewer and support Amazons plans to become one of the leading streaming platforms, at the same time.
WHAT IS THIS HIGHLAND ALL ABOUT?
At this point, the information doesn’t allow us to draw a complete picture of the situation but there are some facts that reached the general public.
Margaret Cho, a high-class standup comedian, is playing a character that was just released out of a court-ordered rehabilitation facility and moves back in with her parents and family. The classic scenario. Her family is now in the pot business by running their own dispensary or weed shop. This is all the information Amazon released until today but we can be curious for further details.
Even though we don’t know much yet, we can speculate a little bit. This is the usual procedure when information is missing but valuable.
It is most likely that “Highlands” will show cannabis in a realistic way, without exaggerating or understating the potential risks and benefits of cannabis. Margaret Cho will be the executive producer and can luckily influence the creative process a lot. She is of the opinion that “Medical and recreational marijuana and the end of prohibition is important in terms of helping people and getting safe access.”
Showing weed in a realistic way is pretty much key when creating a series which stoners want to watch after their hard day of doing nothing or working like everybody else.
What remains a little bit unclear is how the viewer gets the “addiction-factor” that every successful series seems to have. Will it be a show that generally lives of its funny moments and creates a nice family atmosphere around it, so more sitcom-style or are there tragic events that life usually throws upon people living it?
Maybe Amazon follows the recent tendencies towards “Dramedy”, a balanced composition of comedy and drama. This would certainly be better for the viever, the addiction-factor, and Amazon Prime. If you haven’t been busy your entire live, you know how binge watching works.
AMAZON IS LATE, NBC AND OTHERS WERE QUICKER
It’s not necessarily criticism when saying that Amazon is kind of the last one who jumps on the train of producing a stoner series. Others were quicker and the concept of putting weed in a family context is not very revolutionary. We have seen this before.
When thinking about the mainstream series Weeds, where single mother Nancy Botwin tries to put food on the family table by selling “Milf-weed”, one gets reminded that a lack of authenticity can be poison for a stoned audience. Having fake weed plants on the set might be legally the safest way to display them but it’s a smack in the face for every true cannabis connoisseur.
NBC now has the series “Buds” in their development cycle of 2015/2016. It is also a stoner comedy series about a pot dispensary in the US, featuring Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott. It’s not clear why there are two big series in the pipeline who kind of try to tell the same story: Weed is legal in many states of the US and gets sold and smoked by more or less normal people.
It will be interesting to see if Amazon manages to learn from the mistakes of others and create a series that is authentic on the one side, but unrealistically funny on the other side. This is a big challenge that Amazon and other companies of the entertainment industry are facing when trying to persuade an audience that is stoned and highly critical at the same time.
The fact that Margarete Cho is executive producer of Highland and actively supports the legalisation of cannabis, gives reason to believe that this show will most likely be a success among non-stoners, and stoners. What would be very refreshing for the sophisticated viewer if producers would risk a little more, especially when putting together the concept for a new show.
How about a college dropout from Colorado who tries to make it in Europe by using his knowledge about cannabis to create one of the largest (illegal) cannabis production facilities on earth? Just to put an idea out there that is less mainstream, less family, and a little bit more exciting.
The new Amazon series will be titled “Highland” and is about a family business that is not so delicate anymore. They run their own weed shop.
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