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Transparent Season One

transparent-poster

This weekend I watched all ten episodes of the new Amazon Studios series, Transparent. This show was picked up for series last year after tremendous success of the pilot, shown on Amazon Prime. Amazon is doing things in a smart way, letting the viewers vote on what they want to see. After watching the Transparent pilot, I immediately voted for something online for pretty much the first time. I felt like I, no we, needed to see more of this show. Transparent was dropped into our laps and minds and souls on September 26th and all ten half-hour episodes are currently streaming on Amazon Prime, including the slightly tweaked new pilot.

The trailer above gives you the basic premise of the show and I do not want to give any more away because I found great joy in watching things unfold as they are meant to. This Los Angeles family, the Pfefferman’s, have a lot of secrets and the patriarch of the family, Mort (Jeffrey Tambor) has the biggest secret of them all. As he begins to reveal himself to his family as Maura, the rest of the family starts to come apart. I am fairly certain that Transparent is better than anything you are watching on your television at this moment. Shows like this only come around once in a while.The show never devolves into a gimmick but rather treats hard and sensitive subjects with love and tenderness and honesty. It feels important. Maybe it is not, but to me, it feels important. This show has so much heart and soul and it will make you laugh and cry, cringe and think and love. That to me sounds like important television.

Jeffrey Tambor is revelatory. I have seen that word written in numerous reviews, but I have never really understood exactly what was meant by it. Now I do. Tambor made me laugh and made me cry, often times without even speaking a word. One look and I could feel what he was feeling. I felt with him and for him. If it was just Tambor’s work, I would say watch the show just for that. However, the entire cast is phenomenal. Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass and Amy Landecker play the Pfefferman siblings to perfection. It was good seeing Judith Light, who has been busy directing television, back on my screen playing the matriarch of the family. Everyone cast on this show no matter how large or small the part felt perfect. The guest cast includes Melora Hardin, Carrie Brownstein, Kathryn Hahn, Bradley Whitford and Rob Huebel just to name a few.

All ten episodes are amazing. Every episode moves along at a nice pace and the writing and directing never slack off. My personal favorite after the first marathon 5 hour viewing session is probably Episode 8, told almost entirely in a flashback. You have spent 7 preview episodes with this family and this one gave some great insight into a time that was a turning point in the lives of every member of the Pfefferman family. Transparent was created by Jill Soloway who also had a hand in some other favorites of mine, United States of Tara and Six Feet under. Jill Soloway also won the Director’s Award at Sundance a couple of years ago with the film Afternoon Delight. I have been following her career for a while now (which is how I found this pilot in the first place last year) and I feel like this work is even better than all those other things that I love. Jill wrote and directed a number of these season one episodes. Not only that, she compiled a fabulous team of writers and directors to fill in the gaps. So, in conclusion, stop what you are doing right now and watch this show. No Amazon Prime? No excuse, use your free 30 day trial. Let me know if you have watched and what you think. StephersRG

SIDE NOTES:

  • This is the second show in a couple of weeks that I have reviewed that was shot in Los Angeles and that makes me very happy and proud.
  • Gaby Hoffman will blow you away. Jeffrey Tambor steals the show but Gaby quietly and meticulously wins the day with her heart wrenching performance of Alli, the youngest Pfefferman trying to find her place. Gaby has been around forever. You may remember her from Sleepless in Seattle. Come on, you know you saw it.
  • The opening credits are beautiful. The music on this show feels so perfect, including tracks from Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and the Cave Singers just to name a few.
  • Now we all being the long wait for more episodes, which is what happens now with the plopping of all the episodes at once. At the time, I couldn’t stop watching and I was grateful to have them. But today, in the aftermath, I am regretting it and missing the Pfeffermans already.
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About stephersrg

I'm a total nerd for all things nerdy! . I would die without the cinema. And I collect things. Nerdy things. Comic book things. And comedy rules all life. I think people should be kind to each other. I am a dreamer.

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This entry was posted on September 28, 2014 by in Television and tagged , , , , .
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