Transparent (TV series)
Transparent is an American comedy-drama web television series created by Joey Soloway for Amazon Studios that debuted on February 6, 2014. The story revolves around a Los Angeles family and their lives following the discovery that their parent (Jeffrey Tambor) is a trans woman named Maura. Transparent's first season premiered in full on September 26, 2014, and its second season on December 11, 2015, third season on September 23, 2016, and fourth season on September 21, 2017.
|Created by||Joey Soloway|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||41 (list of episodes)|
|Production location||Los Angeles|
|Camera setup||Jim Frohna|
|Running time||27–31 minutes (102 minute finale)|
|Original network||Prime Video|
|Picture format||4K (2.00:1 UHDTV in high dynamic range)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||February 6, 2014 –|
September 27, 2019
Amazon picked up the series for a fourth season ahead of the premiere of the third. The fourth season premiered on September 22, 2017. Shortly before the premiere, Amazon renewed the series for a fifth and final season, which ultimately took the form of a feature-length finale with the subtitle Musicale Finale, which was released on September 27, 2019.
At the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, the show won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, while Jeffrey Tambor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. This is the first show produced by Amazon Studios to win a major award and the first show produced by a streaming media service to win a Golden Globe for Best Series.
On November 19, 2017, Tambor announced that he was leaving the show, stating: "I don't see how I can return to Transparent", after two sexual harassment allegations were made against him. He was officially fired from Transparent on February 15, 2018.
The Transparent: Musicale Finale treated the death of Tambor's character, Maura, and the musicalization of the Pfefferman's life through the lens of Maura's former spouse, Shelly (Judith Light). The Finale, featuring music and lyrics by Faith Soloway, was developed through a series of concerts at Joe's Pub and guest starred actors from those performances (Shakina Nayfack, Lesli Margherita, Erik Liberman, and Jo Lampert), in addition to recurring characters from the show's first four seasons.
|Maura (né Morton "Mort") Pfefferman||Jeffrey Tambor||Main||Stand-in|
|Sarah Pfefferman||Amy Landecker||Main|
|Josh Pfefferman||Jay Duplass||Main|
|Ari (né Ali) Pfefferman||Gaby Hoffmann||Main|
|Shelly Pfefferman||Judith Light||Main|
|Rabbi Raquel Fein||Kathryn Hahn||Recurring||Main||Guest||Main|
|Ella Novak||Abby Ryder Fortson||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Julia Butters||Does not appear||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Ashley Silverman||Does not appear||Recurring||Supporting|
|Connie||Michaela Watkins||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Yetta||Does not appear||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Marcy||Bradley Whitford||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Magnus Hirschfeld||Does not appear||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Elizah Parks||Alexandra Grey||Does not appear||Recurring||Does not appear|
|Tammy Cashman||Melora Hardin||Recurring||Supporting|
|Syd Feldman||Carrie Brownstein||Recurring||Supporting|
|Len Novak||Rob Huebel||Recurring||Supporting|
|Zack Novak||Zackary Arthur||Recurring||Supporting|
|Ed Paskowitz||Lawrence Pressman||Recurring||Supporting|
|Rita Holt||Brett Paesel||Recurring||Supporting|
|Pastor Gene||Brett Rice||Recurring||Supporting|
|Kristin||Deborah S. Craig||Recurring||Supporting|
|Leslie Mackinaw||Cherry Jones||Recurring||Supporting|
|Gittel (né Gershom)||Hari Nef||Recurring||Supporting|
|Dr. Steve||Jason Mantzoukas||Recurring||Supporting|
|Buzzy Rackless||Richard Masur||Recurring||Supporting|
|Duvid Ovadia||Kobi Libii||Recurring||Supporting|
- Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman (Seasons 1–4), a retired college professor of political science at UCLA who finally opens up to her family about always identifying as a woman.
- Amy Landecker as Sarah Pfefferman, the oldest sibling. She is married and has two children. She leaves her husband for Tammy, a woman she fell in love with in college. She is initially the most accepting of Maura's transition. Kelsey Reinhardt portrays Sarah as a teenager.
- Jay Duplass as Josh Pfefferman, the middle sibling. A successful music producer who has troubled relationships with women. He seems to have a hard time accepting his father's transition at first. Dalton Rich portrays Josh as a teenager.
- Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman, the youngest sibling. She is perpetually unemployed and has a tendency to be immature for her age. Hoffmann also plays Maura's mother Rose in flashbacks. Emily Robinson portrays the younger version of both characters. In the series finale, Ali has come out as non-binary and changed their name to Ari.
- Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman, Maura's ex-wife and the mother of Sarah, Josh, and Ali. She has been aware of Maura's desire to express her inner femininity for years.
- Kathryn Hahn as Rabbi Raquel Fein (recurring Seasons 1–2, main cast Season 3, Film), Josh's ex-fiancée and rabbi at the Pfeffermans' synagogue.
- Melora Hardin as Tammy Cashman, Sarah's ex-flame
- Alexandra Billings as Davina, an educator at an LGBT center and Maura's best trans friend
- Trace Lysette as Shea, an educator at an LGBT center and one of Maura's friends
- Ray Abruzzo as Sal, Davina's boyfriend
- Carrie Brownstein as Syd Feldman, Ali's best friend with whom she begins a sexual relationship
- Kiersey Clemons as Bianca, Tammy's daughter from her first marriage
- Rob Huebel as Len Novak, Sarah's husband and father of Zack and Ella
- Zackary Arthur as Zack Novak, Sarah and Len's son
- Abby Ryder Fortson (Season 1), Julia Butters (Seasons 2–3), and Ashley Silverman (Season 4) as Ella Novak, Sarah and Len's daughter
- Lawrence Pressman as Ed Paskowitz, Shelly's second husband.
- Amin Joseph as Mike
- Noah Harpster as Francis
- Brett Paesel as Rita Holt, the Pfefferman kids' former babysitter and Josh's ex-flame
- Jenny O'Hara as Bryna, Maura's sister
- Alex MacNicoll as Colton, Josh and Rita's biological son
- Brett Rice as Pastor Gene, Colton's adoptive father
- Meagen Fay as Blossie, Colton's adoptive mother
- Cleo Anthony as Derek
- Deborah S. Craig as Kristin
- Sawyer Ever as Zack
- Bradley Whitford as Marcy (Season 1)/Magnus Hirschfeld (Season 2)
- Alison Sudol as Kaya, Josh's ex-girlfriend and ex-client
- Cherry Jones as Leslie Mackinaw, an academic with whom Ali wants to study
- Anjelica Huston as Vicki, a cisgender woman who forms a connection with Maura
- Hari Nef as Gittel (born Gershom), Maura's aunt who never made it out of Berlin
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Chaim, Maura's grandfather
- Michaela Watkins as Connie, the wife of a crossdresser (Season 1)/Yetta, Maura's grandmother (Seasons 2–3)
- Jason Mantzoukas as Dr. Steve, the Pfefferman kids' marijuana dispenser
- Tig Notaro as Barb, Tammy's second ex-wife
- Jiz Lee as Pony, a professional dominatrix
- Luzer Twersky as Mendel
- Alexandra Grey as Elizah Parks (Season 3)
- Richard Masur as Buzzy Rackless, a synagogue board member
- Kobi Libii as Duvid Ovadia, the cantor at the synagogue
|1||10||February 6, 2014 (premiere)|
September 26, 2014
|2||10||November 30, 2015 (premiere)|
December 11, 2015
|3||10||September 23, 2016|
|4||10||September 21, 2017|
|Film||September 27, 2019|
Soloway felt inspired to create Transparent after their parent came out as trans. They created the pilot for Amazon.com, which became available for free streaming and download on February 6, 2014 as part of Amazon's second pilot season. Amazon Studios picked up the pilot for Transparent in March, 2014, ordering a ten-episode season.
Tambor had previously portrayed transvestite judge Alan Wachtel on the police procedural television show Hill Street Blues in the 1980s. Soloway wrote Hoffmann's role after seeing her performance on Season 3 of Louis C.K.'s show Louie.
Transparent premiered all ten episodes simultaneously in late September 2014. In Canada, where Amazon's video streaming service was not available, the series premiered on the Shomi platform on January 23, 2015.
The series depicts several Jewish characters and deals with spiritually and culturally Jewish themes. Joey Soloway, the series' primary creator, is Jewish and consulted Rabbi Susan Goldberg of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. They also sought advice from Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie of New York, describing him as "a God-optional patriarchy-toppling Jewish modern mind. There’s a mandate among religious and spiritual thinkers to be thinking about the binary, the gendered, the feminist, the goddess, and Amichai reminds me of that every day."
Soloway said that they hoped to use the series to explore ideas of gender identity through a "wounded parent being replaced by a blossoming femininity" and that they pictured Tambor as Maura when writing the character.
Soloway, the writers, and the cast developed, workshopped, and rehearsed both seasons with consulting producer Joan Scheckel at Joan Scheckel Filmmaking Labs.
As part of the making of the show, Soloway enacted a "transfirmative action program", whereby trans applicants were hired in preference to cis ones. Over eighty trans people worked on the show, including Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, trans consultants and co-producers.
On November 19, 2017, Tambor quit the show amidst sexual harassment allegations made against him.
|1||98% (59 reviews)||91 (28 reviews)|
|2||98% (40 reviews)||94 (28 reviews)|
|3||100% (35 reviews)||90 (15 reviews)|
|4||90% (20 reviews)||74 (10 reviews)|
|5||65% (23 reviews)||55 (13 reviews)|
On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season held an approval rating of 98% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 8.83/10. The site's consensus read: "As much about a change in television as it is about personal change, Transparent raises the bar for programming with sophistication and sincere dedication to the human journey, warts and all."  On Metacritic, the first season received an average rating of 91 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Alan Sepinwall from HitFix named Transparent the best new show of the Fall 2014 season and Amazon's "most impressive volley yet". He added:
"... [The] show looks gorgeous and displays an instant command of both tone and this particular pocket of life in Los Angeles; Soloway is incredibly confident in introducing us to the parts of the show that are more universally relatable (a marriage gone sour, a disappointing child), knowing that we'll then follow her into more unfamiliar territory—not just with Maura, but the many disreputable behaviors her kids get tangled up in."
The second season of Transparent received a 2015 Peabody Award. The second season held a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 9.17/10. The consensus read: "Transparent's second season ups its dramatic stakes while retaining the poignancy and humor that have made the series such a consistently entertaining example of the best that modern serial drama has to offer." On Metacritic, the second season received an average rating of 94 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The third season held a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 8.44/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Uniquely its own, and compelling and poignant as ever, Transparent continues to transcend the parameters of comedic and dramatic television with sustained excellence in its empathetic portrayal of the Pfefferman family." while Metacritic granted the season an average rating of 90 of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
The fourth season held a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 7.92/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Transparent's fourth season forsakes tight narrative discipline for an absorbingly unwieldy continued exploration of the show's uniquely ambitious themes." while Metacritic granted the season an average rating of 74 of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Transparent: Musicale Finale held a 65% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 5.62/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Though it won't be for everyone, Transparent's singular musical finale grants its audience closure while giving its groundbreaking characters something they never expected: something resembling a happy ending" while Metacritic granted the finale an average rating of 55 of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".
On December 11, 2014, the series was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best TV Comedy. On January 11, 2015, Transparent won two Golden Globe awards for the first season of the series. Tambor dedicated his win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to the trans community, while Soloway dedicated their award to the memory of Leelah Alcorn.
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