Amazon’s “Transparent” is currently the toast of Hollywood, as its second season premieres Friday (Dec. 11) hot on the heels of strong showings in both the SAG Awards and Golden Globe nominations.
The show finally made inroads at the SAG Awards after being inexplicably snubbed last year. Guild voters made amends by nominating the show for Best TV Comedy Ensemble and Jeffrey Tambor as Best TV Comedy Actor.
Last year, "Transparent" won both Best TV Comedy Series and Actor at the Golden Globes and it is back to defend those titles. And TV vet Judith Light contends in the competitive catch-all Best TV Supporting Actress category. Compare that haul to last year's big drama winner "The Affairs (series, lead actress) which was shut out save for a supporting bid by Maura Tierney.
The Broadcast Television Journalist Association will have their turn on Monday when nominations for the Critics' Choice TV Awards are announced. According to our exclusive odds, show and star are both ranked in first place with 6/1 in their respective categories. The eligibility period for these kudos is abbreviated as it is being combined with the film awards for the first time.
In the spring, “Transparent” won Best TV Comedy Actor and Bradley Whitford took TV Comedy Guest Actor. The show was nominated for Best TV Comedy Series (it lost to HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Light was nominated for Best TV Comedy Supporting Actress (which she lost to awards juggernaut Alison Janney for “Mom”).
“Transparent” put Amazon on the awards map. After its success at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice TV Awards, “Transparent” went on to nab a jaw-dropping 11 Emmy nominations, winning five for Tambor and Whitford as well as for creator/showrunner Jill Soloway’s direction of the pilot, the show’s costumes and the main title theme music. It was pipped for Best Comedy Series by HBO’s “Veep,” but many pundits were convinced that was a close race.
It is sure to be a strong contender at the next Emmys, as the TV critics endorse this sophomore season, with it scoring an impressive 92 at MetaCritic. Among those giving it rave reviews are some of the nation's leading TV critics including:
Robert Bianco (USA Today): "'Transparent' feels more than ever like a drama this season. There are amusing moments and asides, because life is seldom just one thing or one tone, but they evolve naturally out of the dramatic arc of a family nearing crisis."
James Poniewozik (New York Times): "Season two broadens its focus to the vast extended Pfefferman mishpocheh: children, in-laws, exes and long-gone ancestors. And it’s all the richer for it."
Maureen Ryan (Variety): "Just a few of the series’ many charms are its nimble energy and its ability to hopscotch between sadness and silliness without missing a beat; there are also scenes of pure joy, like a road-trip sing-along to the Indigo Girls classic 'Closer to Fine.' 'Transparent' is also ridiculously funny at times, and quite willing to send up the self-absorption of its characters while never losing sight of their pain and aspirations."
David Wiegand (San Francisco Chronicle): "It is every bit as powerful, moving and surprising as the first season, and just as transformative in its own way, as it belies the notion that second seasons of great high-concept shows are rarely as good as first seasons."
Molly Eichel (Philadelphia Inquirer): "'Transparent's second season is even more visceral, real, and funny than the first."
Having seen all of season two, I can attest that “Transparent” has not lost any of the wit and heart that so attracted critics and fans alike to its first season, as we join the Pfefferman family at the loud and chaotic wedding of eldest daughter Sarah (Amy Landecker) to the woman she left her husband for (played by Melora Hardin). It’s a great first episode to a strong second season, as each family member navigates old family dramas, crises of conscience and their identities. And dare I say it, amongst all of the angst these people suffer with, the show is funnier this season, which should go some way to satisfy those that questioned whether the show was a comedy at all.
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Photo: "Transparent" Credit: Amazon.