Amazon Picks Up Trans-Themed Comedy Transparent for 10 Episodes
BY Parker Marie Molloy
April 01 2014 4:58 PM ET
Streaming television is about to get more Transparent, as Amazon Studios announced Monday that it picked up the family dramady about a late-in-life transgender woman struggling to come out to her grown children. Written, directed, and produced by Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, The United States of Tara) and starring Jeffrey Tambor as Maura, Transparent will see a full 10-episode run, available for purchase or streaming on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.
In February, Amazon Studios released a series of TV pilots, leaving their fate in the hands of viewers — those pilots that received the highest ratings and most positive comments would be picked up for a full season. Now that the reviews are in, Amazon announced earlier this week that Transparent, along with five other series, had been officially picked up for a full season.
While hiring a cisgender (nontrans) actor to portray a trans woman often sparks harsh criticism, Transparent creator Soloway acknowledges the critique head-on.
"It's a line to walk," Soloway told The Advocate in a February interview. "But I feel like it's a bit of a safe space for the reality that a lot of older trans women don't necessarily medically transition. I think there's a story we can tell here. ... For Maura's journey and where she's going to go, particularly a her age — whether or not she's going to medically transition is something we can play with."
Soloway enlisted the help of LGBT advocacy groups, noting that GLAAD cochair Jennifer Finney Boylan and academic and trans activist Z. Drucker were both directly involved in the pilot's creation and made cameo appearances there.
"We've had trans people involved in the process all the way through," Soloway said, noting that her own understanding of trans issues has broadened as a result. "I'm so inspired by taking all of the aspects of the conversation and being able to treat them with the fullness of having a series set around these questions. I don't even think most American people would be able to explain the difference between what they would call a cross-dresser and a trans woman — somebody who has socially transitioned or medically transitioned."
Additionally, Soloway has committed to introducing a number of trans characters, specifying that they will be played by trans actors.
Watch a clip from the pilot below.