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Sunday 11 October 2015

TV show generating buzz: Transparent

Posted in: Television
By staff - 23rd September 2014

A new web-only TV series which revolves around a Los Angeles family as a parent comes out as transgender is gathering rave reviews in the US. Its creator has a trans parent of her own.


It stars Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame, who is finally coming to terms with being a transgender woman, in a wonderfully dysfunctional family.

Among the rich characters is Sarah, played by Amy Landecker, who is married to a dull man while she still has a thing for her ex – a woman who has a wife and children.

In the vein of Netflix with Orange is the New Black, the show is original content from Amazon and is online-only.

David Wiegand at SF Gate says it’s “brilliant dark comedy” while Brian Lowry from Variety says it’s destined to put Amazon on the map when it comes to original programming: “Delicately dealing with the transgender issue, the show features a familiar device — dad’s changed life has ripple effects — but establishes its ensemble as one worth watching (or bingeing) over 10 episodes.”

Jill Soloway

One of Creator Jill Soloway’s own parents came out as transgender several years ago, but she’s told NPR's Arun Rath she started thinking and writing about these issues long before that.

"For me to find out that after probably three decades, if not four decades, of struggling with questions about gender, it was actually kind of exciting and kind of freeing to know that I had this legacy of gender queerness in my family," she’s said.

Soloway says there has been a lot of scrutiny and she is thankful for the vocal feedback, and says the production team also hired transgender consultants and trans people to work on the show.

"The world knows so little about being trans, and I know very little about being trans — I just know what it's like to be the child of a trans person. But there's so little trans representation [and] so few trans people who are creating content, so we really depend on the trans community to help us get it right," she says. "We're happy to be corrected."

Soloway has also acknowledged criticism that the a trans person is not in the lead role.

"There are just so few trans people playing trans people," she says. "It's really a shame that there wasn't that trans actress that I could have cast in the role in that moment."

The show does feature trans actors in over a dozen other speaking parts, but she says she understands why casting Tambor was criticised.

You can watch episode 1 here free if you can access Amazon TV

The rest of the series is out on Friday night. staff - 23rd September 2014

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