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November 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

If the seminal trend developing among the streaming services continues, the issue of cord cutting may become irrelevant: all the best shows will be on the Internet. The latest Internet-only series to be greeted enthusiastically by critics is Amazon’s first original offering, Alpha House, a political comedy from Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and starring the likes of John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson and Matt Malloy. With the debut of the new series (which features Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert in cameo roles), Robert Lloyd comments in today’s (Friday) Los Angeles Times, Amazon “has set itself up alongside Netflix and Hulu as a New Force in Television (or ‘television’) to contend with, and, on this evidence, to welcome.” Lloyd pronounces the debut episode, “an accomplished piece of work.” In today’s New York Times, TV critic Alessandra Stanley writes that Trudeau “has a feel for not just political hypocrisy but also character, and this cast manages to bring life and even some charm to these Capitol Hill caricatures.” The two trade publications, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, both agree that Alpha House is the sort of offering that can distinguish Amazon from the broadcast pack. Brian Lowry in Variety calls it a polished comedy — not a game-changer, but the kind of show a premium service should be happy to have.” Likewise, Tim Goodman in the Reporter describes it as “a nice coming-out party for Amazon. … A potential winner.” U.S. News and World Report notes that Amazon plans to release one episode a week of Alpha House, unlike Netflix, which releases an entire season of shows at a time. The strategy, writes media columnist Tierney Sneed, makes for “an interesting experiment in testing the appeal Internet television, but not a wise one, as the ability to binge watch shows is often what brings users to streaming services.”