Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > TV Talk
Reload this Page >

Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

TV Talk Talk about Shows on TV

Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Old 10-03-15, 05:23 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
Decker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Vegas, Baby!
Posts: 42,833
Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I, for one, fell immediately in love with the pilot for Red Oaks when I saw it on Amazon Pilot Season last year. It was exactly the sort of show that was in my wheelhouse -- an 80's themed comedy that was kind of a cross between Caddyshack and The Flamingo Kid. It was well acted and involving. I was sure Amazon would pick it up and gladly they have.



Set in suburban New Jersey in 1985, Red Oaks centers around college student David Meyers—a young man at a crossroads as he tries to figure out who he is and what he wants to be in this world. He gets a summer job as an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club and while there, David finds himself the recipient of unsolicited life advice from a colorful group of coworkers and club members on his journey of self-discovery.
Here's a nice L.A. Times article about the upcoming first season :

Spoiler:
Coming-of-age comedy 'Red Oaks' is, like, totally sincere about the '80s

Craig Roberts stars as college student and assistant tennis pro David Meyers and Gage Golightly as his girlfriend Karen, an aerobics instructor, in Amazon's "Red Oaks." (Nicole Rivelli)

Meredith BlakeContact Reporter

The air was thick with the smell of freshly cut grass and hair spray.

As dozens of extras clad in madras pants and popped-collar Lacoste shirts tried to stay cool in the sweltering July heat, director David Gordon Green conferred with actors Craig Roberts, Ennis Esmer and Paul Reiser on a sun-drenched tennis court. On the set of the Amazon comedy "Red Oaks," present-day Westchester County was standing in for suburban New Jersey in the summer of 1985 — those heady days of "Back to the Future," Live Aid and Just Say No.

After a few minutes' deliberation over the upcoming scene, a climactic match between Reiser's character, the arrogant president of the Red Oaks Country Club, and his chief rival, it was time to roll: In character as Nash, the club's lecherous tennis pro, Esmer extended his arms outward like a circus ringmaster and asked, "Who among us is ready for some tennis?"

Amazon is hoping viewers are ready for some '80s nostalgia — if not forehands and serves — when "Red Oaks" premieres Oct. 9 on the streaming service. Created by Greg Jacobs and Joe Gangemi and executive produced by Green and Steven Soderbergh, the series is a coming-of-age tale that hearkens back to the sun-soaked, youthful romps of the go-go Reagan era.
See the most-read entertainment stories >>

The angsty young protagonist is David Meyers (Roberts), an NYU student with vague ambitions of becoming a filmmaker. For the time being, however, he's busy with a summer job as an assistant tennis pro — one that brings this middle-class kid in close contact with the club's wealthy clientele, including Getty (Reiser), a corporate raider. Naturally, David is also confused romantically, torn between Karen (Gage Golightly), his foxy but boring aerobics instructor girlfriend, and Skye, an adventurous art student (Alexandra Socha).

Along with the beer chugging, pot smoking and sexual high jinks one would expect, "Red Oaks" also delivers some ennui. The pilot, directed by Green, opens with a darkly humorous scene in which David's father (Richard Kind) collapses from a heart attack and, assuming death is imminent, makes a startling confession about his marriage that proves quite awkward when he survives.

"It's a show that's about a lot of tough choices at a time in life when you're particularly indecisive," said Gangemi, resting in the air-conditioned clubhouse during a production break. "We really wanted to set up a character who was at the center of a lot of people giving him unsolicited life advice."

"Red Oaks" is Amazon's latest foray into scripted, half-hour series that toe the line between comedy and drama — an area where the streaming outlet has had some notable successes. It follows five-time Emmy winner "Transparent," which stars Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender woman who comes out late in life; "Catastrophe," a bawdy romantic comedy that received glowing reviews when it premiered in June; and "Mozart in the Jungle," set in the world of classical music.

The series is partially inspired by Jacobs' summertime stints as, yes, an assistant tennis pro at a New Jersey country club in the 1980s. "I'd been telling anecdotes over the years and Steven had encouraged me to write them down," he said, referring to Soderbergh, the filmmaker he's collaborated with for the better part of the last two decades. With help from his buddy, Gangemi, a screenwriter and novelist, Jacobs reconceived it as a series.

Green, a filmmaker with a fondness for coming-of-age stories dating to his 2000 debut "George Washington," was enlisted to direct three episodes, including the pilot, and has played a hands-on role as an executive producer, helping nail down the tone and weighing in on casting decisions.

"I read it like someone was writing my biography," Green said of the pilot. "A kid who wants to get into film and chase girls? That's kind of the way my life has been the past 40 years."

"Red Oaks" lands amid a wave of '80s nostalgia on the small screen, including the ABC sitcom "The Goldbergs," the Netflix revival "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" and even the FX spy drama "The Americans." But the series treads lightly on the potential minefield of cliches presented by the decade; "The Wedding Singer," it most certainly isn't.

For added authenticity, Amy Heckerling, the auteur behind the teen classics "Clueless" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," directed two episodes.

"We wanted it to feel as if it was something from that era, not gimmicky," said Jacobs, likening the series to " 'The Graduate' meets 'Caddyshack.'" (Throughout the day, the references fly as freely as the tennis balls: "The Flamingo Kid," "Harold and Maude," "The Wonder Years" and "Freaks and Geeks" are also cited as influences.)

The goal was to avoid pastiche or making wink-wink allusions to '80s kitsch, like Rubik's Cubes or New Coke, even if the casting of "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey as David's mother does feel a touch meta. The songs on the soundtrack are deeper cuts by Billy Ocean and Sweet rather than the era's greatest hits, and the hair is big, but "not so big that it distracts from the performance," said Gangemi. "Sincerity is our operating principle across the board."

The period setting also allows for a purity that wouldn't be possible in a contemporary time frame, said Roberts — who was, it should be noted, not born until 1991. "There's a lack of innocence now. Ferris Bueller skips school and goes to an art gallery and everyone's like, 'That's badass.' Now you've got to burn a house down to make an impression."

The series also represents a kind of coming of age for Jacobs, who has worked closely with Soderbergh as an assistant director and producer. Jacobs seems similarly compelled to skip among genres, moving from the stripper dramedy "Magic Mike XXL" to the gritty Cinemax medical series "The Knick," on which he serves as an executive producer, to "Red Oaks."

This breadth of experience has been useful as Jacobs moves into the world of series television. "Having to work fast and for a price doesn't terrify me," he said.

Amazon encouraged Jacobs and Gangemi to think of the 10-episode season as a single, five-hour movie. This approach helped steer the writers away from typical sitcom pacing and toward a long-form narrative that would ideally entice viewers to watch many episodes in a single sitting. Indeed, the streaming service is so committed to the binge-viewing model that Joe Lewis, head of comedy at Amazon Studios, assembled a first-of-its-kind binge table-read before "Red Oaks" went into production.

"We learned things about the story you never would have learned watching episodically or writing episodically," Lewis said of the six-hour experiment. "That's what I love about the platform: It allows you to tell longer, deeper stories."

Amazon's approach has proved enticing to behind-the-scenes talent. "It's an opportunity for independent-minded filmmakers, people that want to do things that are a little weird," said Green, who's dabbled in TV, most notably the HBO series "Eastbound & Down," between directing films. "That's the cool thing about television right now, networks like Amazon are not necessarily just going for ratings or viewers. It's not just the biggest hit, it's what gets people talking."

Reiser, a TV veteran whose experience spans network and cable realms, is equally pleased to be working with an outlet that was, as he puts it, once best known for "books and garden hoses."

"The only hard part," he said, "is explaining to my 80-year-old mother-in-law how to watch it."
Decker is online now  
Old 10-09-15, 10:06 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
davidh777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Home of 2013 NFL champion Seahawks
Posts: 41,073
re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Bump for episodes available today.

I've started watching Mozart in the Jungle, and when searching for a thread on that, I found only general Amazon Prime threads plus this one, which is convenient since I didn't know the season was coming out. I liked the pilot and will watch more episodes at some point.
davidh777 is offline  
Old 10-11-15, 11:19 AM
  #3  
Moderator
 
dex14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26,939
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

6 episodes into this. Really enjoying.
dex14 is online now  
Old 10-11-15, 03:46 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
Decker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Vegas, Baby!
Posts: 42,833
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I'm two episodes after the pilot so far. Really like it. It's a very sweet show, anchored by an extremely likable main character played by Craig Roberts. Love the three old veterans in the cast as well. Plus I think it's Gina Gershon as Paul Reiser's wife. Solid show so far.
Decker is online now  
Old 10-11-15, 07:10 PM
  #5  
Moderator
 
dex14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26,939
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Finished it in a day. Really enjoyed it. Looking forward to more... hopefully.

Love seeing Paul Reiser involved in quality project. I feel like that guy deserves more than he gets.
dex14 is online now  
Old 10-12-15, 11:33 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
mrhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,069
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I guess a Jewish "F" is a lot more lenient than an Asian "F".
mrhan is offline  
Old 10-12-15, 12:07 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Mobile AL USA
Posts: 1,644
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Started watching last night, the half hour episodes seem to work well with the show, though I will probably finish this up tonight. I have enjoyed it greatly so far
lewisb73 is offline  
Old 01-14-16, 02:21 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Marina Del Rey, California
Posts: 9,710
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Wow. This one has been a total surprise. Binge watched this over the past two days. It's terrific. Everything about it is a homerun. The cast, the music, the dialogue...its all top notch. I'd give it an A+.
starseed1981 is online now  
Old 01-14-16, 02:22 PM
  #9  
Moderator
 
dex14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26,939
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

This was renewed for a second season....thankfully.
dex14 is online now  
Old 01-14-16, 04:32 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
cultshock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: True North Strong & Free
Posts: 11,954
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Great news, I really enjoyed this show.
cultshock is offline  
Old 02-19-16, 08:31 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
dgmayor's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Posts: 2,034
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Just finished this today (watched it this week), and I absolutely loved it. Even the body swap episode cracked me up. The kid playing David did a great Richard Kind impression.

It really did a great job of capturing the 80's feel without overdoing it IMO.
dgmayor is offline  
Old 02-19-16, 08:39 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
E Unit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Behind Wolf in the Situation Room
Posts: 12,763
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I think I'm going to see this next. Just finished up a couple of other shows and have been looking for something different and funny.
E Unit is online now  
Old 02-19-16, 09:04 AM
  #13  
Moderator
 
dex14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26,939
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Everyone should check this out.
dex14 is online now  
Old 02-19-16, 09:24 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Marina Del Rey, California
Posts: 9,710
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Yeah, I can't recommend this highly enough. If Amazon would release a home release on Blu-Ray I might faint.
starseed1981 is online now  
Old 07-07-16, 07:06 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
lwhy?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Nashville and Crossville, TN
Posts: 4,427
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I just finished the first season today and I think it's the best streaming series that I have ever seen. I can't wait for season two!
lwhy? is offline  
Old 07-07-16, 11:04 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,740
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Ah, I knew the kid from Fundamentals of Caring looked familiar, forgot I saw this pilot.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 08:41 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Marina Del Rey, California
Posts: 9,710
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Bump just because more people should watch this.
starseed1981 is online now  
Old 07-10-16, 04:53 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,740
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

I started watching this again because of this thread, really enjoying it. Glad they did a random as hell body switch episode. Glad it got renewed.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 07-10-16, 07:54 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 3,785
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Gotta get this in this summer...
mphtrilogy is offline  
Old 07-11-16, 11:02 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Posts: 12,092
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Was looking for something to watch, so I gave this a shot.

Very glad I did. What a great little show. Really enjoying it so far. I've got 2 more episodes to go.

However, I wasn't a big fan of the "Body Swap" episode. I really didn't understand the point of doing that.

Originally Posted by dgmayor View Post
It really did a great job of capturing the 80's feel without overdoing it IMO.
I was going to post the exact same thing. I was in highschool during the 80's and this show probably does the 80's the most realistically. Most shows/movies get carried away with the 80's feel and especially the look/fashion. They seem to forget that the 70's still lingered into the mid-80s.

Can't wait for S2.
Coral is online now  
Old 07-13-16, 08:44 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 1,825
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Originally Posted by Coral View Post

I was going to post the exact same thing. I was in highschool during the 80's and this show probably does the 80's the most realistically. Most shows/movies get carried away with the 80's feel and especially the look/fashion. They seem to forget that the 70's still lingered into the mid-80s.

Can't wait for S2.
I agree with you both!

I checked this show out because of this thread and I'm now starting the last third of season 1 and enjoying it a lot. Thanks for the recommendation!
kitkat is offline  
Old 07-17-16, 06:01 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Orange County
Posts: 4,912
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Originally Posted by Coral View Post
However, I wasn't a big fan of the "Body Swap" episode. I really didn't understand the point of doing that.
Watched all 10 eps this week and LOVED it. Phenomenal cast, and Paul Reiser especially is fantastic.

Didn't dig the body swap either (although I enjoyed seeing Heckerling's name attached). I get that it was a 30-minute take on all those body-swap movies of the '80s and '90s, but it didn't fit at all in the larger narrative. And contradicts the show runner's "five-hour movie" approach.

They also should have cut the bit with Skye kissing her dad's co-worker. That thread went nowhere and kind of sullied her character. (That actress was totally channeling Ally Sheedy in that role.)

Other highlights:

The stock footage of a grittier NYC during the NYC episode.

The relationship between Wheeler and Misty. The actors totally nailed their roles.

Paul Reiser is fantastic, and Josh Myers as Barry and Ennis Esmer as Nash are standouts.

Great soundtrack too.

Can't wait for season two.
TimeandTide is offline  
Old 08-07-16, 12:20 PM
  #23  
Moderator
 
dex14's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 26,939
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Season 2 - 11/11/16
dex14 is online now  
Old 08-07-16, 11:17 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: MI
Posts: 686
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Watched this last week and really enjoyed it (even the body switch episode). It definitely lives up to all the recommendations in this thread. Looking forward to season 2.
birdseye is offline  
Old 08-08-16, 08:56 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Marina Del Rey, California
Posts: 9,710
Re: Red Oaks (Amazon Prime) - Series Thread - from Greg Jacobs, Soderbergh, Green

Originally Posted by dex14 View Post
season 2 - 11/11/16
yes!
starseed1981 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.