Transparent won the Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy last Sunday night, as well as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for the show’s lead, Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development).
In 2014, Amazon commissioned the original series for its online tv service, written and directed by award winning director Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, Afternoon Delight). Inspired by Soloway’s own father, Transparent follows Maura (formerly Morton) Pfefferman, a retired professor, who admits to her family that she has always identified as a woman.
The show isn’t just about Maura’s transition, with a supporting cast including Judith Light (Who’s the Boss) as Maura’s ex-wife Shelly, and Gaby Hoffmann (Louie, Girls) as one of Maura and Shelly’s three children, it is also her family’s transition. It is about how, when you discover something about your family history, you start to question everything you knew about your life, your family and yourself, and how this discovery can redefine you.
When writing the show, Soloway had always pictured Tambor playing the lead role. While it could be expected that a show like this would draw criticism, akin to the casting of Julie Hesmondhalgh as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street, for not employing an actual transgender actress for the lead, Transparent could never be accused of being discriminatory, as there are 20 trans people in the cast and crew, and over 60 trans extras. There are also two full-time transgender consultants, to ensure that the show doesn’t make any errors in its portrayal of the characters.
Soloway has stated “Transparent stands for gender freedom for all, and with that freedom we can find the grays and muddled purples and pinks, chakras that bridge the heart and mind, sexiness that depends on masochistic love or a sweeping soul dominance…”
Transparent received critical acclaim from the media for its first series, with Mark Lawson of the New Statesman saying that the show is “the most original, daring and confident piece of American TV since Breaking Bad” and immediately was suggested as being a contender for awards, such as last night’s Golden Globes.
The show is also nominated for two Satellite Awards, and three awards from the Writers Guild of America, and is also expected to be nominated for a number of Emmy’s later this year.
Transparent can be viewed on Amazon Prime Instant Video on a subscription basis.
– Alan Lambert