Transparent: Amazon’s first must-see streaming TV series

It makes for a cute story that Amazon Studios chose to greenlight Alpha House and Betas as its first two streaming TV series. Cute, but ultimately irrelevant.

That’s the perception of Amazon’s TV department, because really, when do you ever hear anyone talking up an Amazon series? Netflix has the Emmy cache already. Hulu has buzzy names and ownership collaborations with the broadcast networks. What does Amazon Studios have? Before the online retail giant burned through all of the Greek alphabet looking for answers, it had to deliver a series that viewers absolutely must want to and need to watch exclusively on Amazon.

That day has come, with the premiere of the first season of Transparent, from creator Jill Soloway and starring Jeffrey Tambor.


Watching the pilot is free. Watching the first 10 episodes requires an Amazon Prime subscription (free trials are offered).

Tambor plays┬áMort, a father of three grown children in a Los Angeles family of secrets, and he’s tired of living with his own secret — that he identifies as a woman. So Mort becomes Maura, and we follow her journeys and see how the world around her and the family brought up by her reacts and unravels, by different turns. Amy Landecker, playing Mort/Maura’s eldest child, finds her own secret from her past is awoken in the pilot episode. Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffman play the other two adult children in their own various stages of arrested development. Judith Light plays their mother. With featured supporting roles for Kathryn Hahn, Carrie Brownstein and Rob Huebel, among others.

Deep. Sincere. Transformative.

Transparent is a more fulfilling half-hour than anything the broadcast and cable networks are offering up this fall.

Bet all of your “Price is Right money” on it.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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