Amazon has mostly produced series that are okay, with the exception of Transparent. Season one was as good as any series on television and made us hope that Amazon would produce other new series which were better than okay. With the possible exception of The Man in the High Castle, Amazon is still lagging behind the other streaming services. However, Transparent is back for a second season and I’m sure it is also excellent. Watch it all.
This post is about the first season of Transparent and it assumes you’ve watched all ten episodes.
When I was young, I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents because I felt like they didn’t know me. Eventually I stopped visiting my parents because I thought they knew me all too well.
Most of us spend a lot of time in our lives cultivating the various personae that we present to the world; to our parents, to our friends, to our colleagues at work, to our lovers. There is overlap, to be sure, but we don’t show everything to anyone. At the base, those personae all feature who we are, the qualities and failings that we developed under the care and neglect of our parents. Our parents may not know the details but they know enough.
Transparent is the story of a family. The simple summary is that it’s the story of a father who comes out as transgender to her grown children, but that is too simple. Mort Pfefferman’s (Jeffrey Tambor) transition to Maura Pfefferman is that event that begins the story but what is just as interesting as Maura’s experience is how her announcement affects the children.
While this year’s round of Amazon pilots is underwhelming, Transparent from last year was brilliant. The complete ten episode first season arrived September 26 for Amazon Prime members. The critics are nearly universal in their praise.
Also, Alan Sepinwall interviewed star Jeffrey Tambor, James Poniewozik interviewed Tambor and series creator Jill Soloway, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote about Soloway’s views on transgender issues and John Horn also spoke to Soloway.
You may have heard that there was an announcement yesterday that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is going to buy the Washington Post for $250 million. It is a huge story for a number of reasons and everybody who cares about this news (and who wants page hits) is weighing in. Since I care (and I want page hits) I’ve decided to mention what I want from the new owner.
Last Friday, Tim Goodman had a post called “Lost in the Supermarket: How to Survive When There’s Too Much Good TV”. Tim’s point is that there is a lot of great series that should be watched but not everyone watches because there is too much to choose from. “Freedom of choice is gumming up the works.” This is similar to what Alan Sepinwall posted in April and echoes what a lot of people feel. Naturally, I have some thoughts.
A number of years ago I was corresponding with a friend about the current golden age of TV drama and I gave him my opinion that Oz on HBO was the series that started it all. About a year ago I started toying with a post about where all this good TV came from, using IMDB to trace the careers of various showrunners. It didn’t really come together in the way I wanted so I left it in drafts and moved on to other things.
It turned out that not only did I never have to finish the post and if I had waited I could have just sent my friend a copy of The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall, which came out in November. Sepinwall agrees that Oz was the series that made The Sopranos possible and Sepinwall further traces where those shows came from much better than I ever could. I enjoyed the book and I think it will be one of those books that I will revisit from time to time to remind myself about this era.