With all the attention heaped on Netflix for their original series (with good reason it must be said) we sometimes forget that the world’s no.1 name in e-commerce, Amazon, also has a streaming service, Amazon Video, and creates its own original content through Amazon Studios – all without any actual Amazons as far as I know.
An interesting thing about their approach to new content is their annual pilot season, in which they elicit ideas for new series, select a few with promise and produce a pilot, and then their viewers get to vote on the series they’d most like to see more of. We’ve talked previously about their reboot of The Tick, but another project has caught our eye – a meta action-comedy starring the Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme, titled Jean-Claude Van Johnson.
The official plot synopsis for the series is as follows:
Jean-Claude Van Damme comes out of retirement to put on the mantle of his alter ego, undercover private contractor Jean-Claude Johnson. Johnson’s cover as the lead role in a re-imagined action film version of Huckleberry Finn lands him right back in the midst of the danger he secretly always craves — but most important, back in the orbit of Vanessa [Kat Foster], his fellow secret international operative and the woman he loves.
The pilot was directed by Peter Atencio (Key and Peele, Keanu) and the script written by Dave Callaham (The Expendables franchise) – a good mix of action and comedy right there.
While Van Damme was one of the biggest action stars of the 90’s his career took a bit of a dip when the new millennium arrived (for which I’ll blame millennials because symmetry), but has seen a resurgence of late with his roles in The Expendables 2 and the upcoming Kickboxer: Vengeance. He’s recently also shown a knack for more than just crotch-breaking splits and kicks with a dramatic turn in JCVD and surprisingly good comedic timing in Welcome to the Jungle.
The latter makes me think that Jean-Claude Van Johnson might just be a sleeper hit because it not only plays to his obvious strength – being action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme – but also playing off that strength to make fun of it, and have fun with it, at the same time.
Anyway enough waffle, here are the first few images from the upcoming pilot (via Coming Soon) for your viewing pleasure:
The Jean-Claude Van Johnson pilot is set to air on Amazon’s streaming service on 26 August. Directed by Peter Atencio, it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kat Foster, Phylicia Rashad and Moises Arias. So if you’re subscribed don’t forget to watch; and if you like it – vote for it!
Last Updated: August 18, 2016