Part 2 of our first look at TV in 2016 looks at the most exciting series back for another round.
Intimacy is a difficult thing to film. Rather, it’s difficult to film well. You can capture two people clutched closely together, in a vulnerable moment, so that it feels as if the camera is encroaching on their privacy, an intruder. You can film in close-up, for a more practical intimacy, catching every hair and freckle. But to really feel like you’re getting a close understanding of the characters onscreen, there’s no list of actions one should take. Jill Soloway has figured it out.
I imagine my feelings after finishing Transparent’s incredible first season were much like many people’s feelings after Orange is the New Black premiered. It is wholly original and seems to exist as a result of the ways online streaming has opened up the medium of television to previously unrepresented characters. I was enamored both with the show’s characters and the way it approached issues of gender identity and sexuality. I needed to keep binge watching.
Transparent follows the Pfefferman clan, a tightly knit Jewish family living in Los Angeles, as their lives are changed by one member’s brave announcement. Maura (Jeffrey Tambor) comes out to her family as a woman, despite being their father and going by the name Mort for all of their lives. Pfefferman matriarch Shelly (Judith Light) confronts this new knowledge as well as her new husband’s mortality. Eldest daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker) reignites a flame with a college ex-girlfriend after realizing how unhappy she is with her husband. Middle child Josh (Jay Duplass) seems to be on the verge of a midlife crisis as more and more romances fail in spectacular fashions. Youngest daughter Ali (Gaby Hoffman) is adrift in both her professional and personal life.
With the recent release of House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, Netflix has established serious interest in the original programming market. Amazon, another major player in online streaming services with Prime Instant Video, has made the first major step to follow suit. Late last week, 16 pilots were made available for free streaming on Amazon – 8 comedies and 6 children’s series.