Sneaky Pete has taken many forms on the way to finally being seen — literally and figuratively. Debuting on August 7 on Amazon, the pilot for the con man drama written and executive produced by Bryan Cranston and David Shore was originally ordered at CBS. After the network passed in May, Sony TV took Sneaky Pete out to others. The blooming streaming service picked it up in June for series consideration with some further tweaks and reshoots. Now, the Giovanni Ribisi-starrer may not be the most original show you’ve ever seen, but as my video review above says, it is a solid effort well worth checking out and seeing more of.

Amazon logoIn case you don’t know, Amazon puts pilots online for everyone to watch for free. The Seth Gordon-directed Sneaky Pete will be joined on Friday by the pilot for Casanova from EPs Jean Pierre Jeunet (who directs), Stuart Zicherman (who wrote the pilot), and Ben Silverman. The streaming service ostensibly determines who gets the nod to full series based on viewership data and customer feedback.

The guest appearance in the pilot by Cranston will undoubtedly draw in some curious Breaking Bad fans, but that’s a bit of shell game to be honest: Ribisi’s role as the fast-talking Marius is the real attraction. Fresh out of jail and trying to avoid some very bad men he owes $100,000, the character adopts the identity of his former chatty cellmate. Showing up at the home of the real Pete’s beloved but long-unseen grandparents (played by the versatile Margo Martindale and Peter Gerety), he ironically becomes a skip tracer in their bail bonds business.

As I said, not that original and even less so with the primary plot conceit and the almost stock character cast — from the cop cousin to the troubled teen cousin and the single mom cousin played by Marin Ireland, whom Marius/Pete essentially partners with in the family business. You can see how this almost had a home at CBS — it’s pretty standard network procedural stuff just dressed up at bit. But the thing is Sneaky Pete has a drive and certain panache, especially from Ribisi and Martindale, which makes it intriguing.

Take a look at my Sneaky Pete review and tell us what you think? Will you be checking out the pilot? Would love to know what you think of that too.