In the much-anticipated return of trans web series Brothers, the second season's premiere delves deeper into the life of Max, the sensitive teacher whose emotional struggle to access chest reconstruction surgery struck an early chord with audiences.
Brothers, which broke scripted television ground last year in depicting the lives and loves of a fictional group of four Brooklyn-based trans-masculine friends, has kept up with trans rights victories in the real world: Max can now have his surgery covered by health insurance, after New York declared in December that health insurers can no longer discriminate against trans patients.
Still awaiting surgery, now Max's worries have moved to a much more intimate place: the bedroom.
As Max tackles how to disclose his trans identity to a new lover and negotiate sex, the web series poignantly shows the collisions of medical, legal, and social transition as they play out in an act so simple — and complicated — as dating. It's a place that narrative storytelling can often go more deeply than other kinds of media, says Emmett Lundberg, the show's out trans writer and director.
Lundberg explained that he created the series last year to show "what it's like to live day-to-day as a trans person, but not be overly educational." He has seemingly succeeded: viewers have kept asking for more, and the show was named one of IndieWire's "10 Best Indie Series of 2014" in December. Within the first season alone, Max (Will Krisanda), Jack (Emmett Lundberg), Aiden (Hudson Krakoswki), and Davyn (Jaime Casbon) — all portrayed by trans male actors — were able to explore the intricacies of friendship, partnership, break-ups, queer sexuality, self-harm, medical care, and work... all within eight short episodes.
For Brothers's second season, Lundberg reveals each episode will focus more closely on the story of one trans man at a time. The show has also matured in its look and feel — and even caught the notice of the streaming television world.
Following the success of Amazon's hit trans-themed dramedy Transparent, Lundberg happily shares with The Advocate that he and producer Sheyam Ghieth have been approached by a distribution company that considers Brothers a "good fit" for streaming on Amazon Prime. The indie show will begin streaming its first season in the site's Instant Video section in the coming months.
The good news comes amidst a boom of trans storylines within TV and film this past year. This progress is not lost on Lundberg, who particularly cheers the creation of other trans-themed works by transmasculine artists, including Seven King's web series Eden's Garden and Jake Graf's short film Brace.
"Trans men ... can finally see themselves in a realistic and positive way on-screen," Lundberg marveled to The Advocate last year."That is why [Brothers] was created in the first place. I wanted to see myself in narrative stories and knew I couldn't be the only one who felt that way."
See one of those stories below, in the show's Season 2 premiere.