Behind the scenes of Amazon's first original series -- a political comedy starring John Goodman and coming to a screen near you

By Hillary Busis
Updated November 08, 2013 at 05:00 AM EST

What It’s About Four GOP senators (John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Matt Malloy, and Clark Johnson) share a D.C. rental that’s based on an actual home inhabited by politicos Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, George Miller, and Bill Delahunt. Creator Garry Trudeau (of Doonesbury fame) originally made his fictional gang Democrats, but he switched parties because Republicans are funnier, according to exec producer and former Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who first pitched the idea of taking the series to Amazon when he and Trudeau were in New Hampshire for the 2012 Republican primary.

What To Expect Season 1 revolves around next year’s midterms: “Three of the four guys have primary challenges from the right,” Alter explains. The fourth, Consuelos’ character, is preparing for a presidential run. The roommates will also tangle with Democratic senators played by Cynthia Nixon and Wanda Sykes.

How To Watch The pilot’s already available on Amazon, and the next two episodes will begin streaming Nov. 15. You’ll need a Prime Instant Video subscription to see Alpha‘s remaining eight installments, which will be released once a week. The service costs $79 per year and will eventually offer more scripted bang for your buck: Amazon will debut the tech-centric comedy Betas Nov. 22, as well as a slew of kids’ shows in 2014. A comedy pilot from Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman is in the works for next year — as are drama pilots by Treme‘s Eric Overmyer (starring Titus Welliver) and The X-Files creator Chris Carter. Like Netflix, Amazon clearly isn’t having trouble attracting talent on both sides of the camera. Says Goodman, “A good script is going to draw good actors.”