Transparent Title Card.jpg
GenreComedy drama
Created byJoey Soloway
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes41 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerVictor Hsu
Production locationLos Angeles
  • Catherine Haight
  • Annette Davey
  • David Bertman
  • Hilda Rasula
Camera setupJim Frohna
Running time27–31 minutes (102 minute finale)
Production companies
DistributorAmazon Studios
Original networkAmazon Prime Video
Picture format4K (2.00:1 UHDTV in high dynamic range)[1][2]
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseFebruary 6, 2014 (2014-02-06) –
September 27, 2019 (2019-09-27)

Transparent is an American comedy-drama streaming television series created by Joey Soloway for Amazon Studios that debuted on February 6, 2014.[3] The story revolves around a Los Angeles family, the Pfeffermans, and their lives after learning that their parent (Jeffrey Tambor) is a trans woman named Maura.[4] Transparent tells the story of Maura's coming out, as well as her family's personal journeys in discovering their own identities and coming to terms with Maura's identity. Transparent moves away from a solely transition-centred narrative and represents Maura's story in her role as a trans parent, grandparent, professor, partner, ex-spouse, sibling, and as an older person transitioning.[5] Transparent also holds space for other queer representation in the Pfefferman family. Sarah (Amy Landecker) explores her sexuality and works through relationship dilemmas throughout season one while Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) explores their gender and sexuality.[6] Transparent's first season premiered in full on September 26, 2014,[7] and its second season on December 11, 2015,[8][9] third season on September 23, 2016, and fourth season on September 21, 2017.[10][11]

Amazon picked up the series for a fourth season ahead of the premiere of the third.[12] The fourth season premiered on September 22, 2017.[13] Shortly before the premiere, Amazon renewed the series for a fifth and final season, which ultimately took the form of a feature-length finale with the subtitle Musicale Finale, which was released on September 27, 2019.[14][15][16][17]

At the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, the show won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, while Jeffrey Tambor won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. This is the first show produced by Amazon Studios to win a major award and the first show produced by a streaming media service to win a Golden Globe for Best Series.[18]

The series began airing on Sundance TV starting August 9, 2017.[19]

In November 2017, Tambor was accused of sexual harassment on the set.[20] On November 19, 2017, Tambor stated, "I don't see how I can return to Transparent" after a second sexual harassment allegation was made against him.[21] He was officially fired from Transparent a few months later, on February 15, 2018.[22]

The show had faced earlier criticism regarding the initial casting of Tambor, a cisgender, heterosexual man, in the role of a trans woman.[23]

The Transparent: Musicale Finale addressed the death of Tambor's character, Maura, and examined the lives of the Pfefferman family life through the lens of Maura's former spouse, Shelly (Judith Light), and through music. The Finale, featuring music and lyrics by Faith Soloway, was developed through a series of concerts at Joe's Pub and, in addition to the regular and recurring cast, featured performers Shakina Nayfack, Lesli Margherita, Erik Liberman, and Jo Lampert.[24][25]


The cast of Transparent. Clockwise from top left: Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffmann
The cast of Transparent. Clockwise from top left: Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffmann


Character Played by Seasons Film
1 2 3 4 Musicale Finale
Main characters
Maura (née Morton "Mort") Pfefferman Jeffrey Tambor Main Stand-in
Sarah Pfefferman Amy Landecker Main
Josh Pfefferman Jay Duplass Main
Ari (né Ali) Pfefferman Gaby Hoffmann Main
Shelly Pfefferman Judith Light Main
Rabbi Raquel Fein Kathryn Hahn Recurring Main Guest Main
Recurring characters
Ella Novak Abby Ryder Fortson Recurring Does not appear
Julia Butters Does not appear Recurring Does not appear
Ashley Silverman Does not appear Recurring Supporting
Connie Michaela Watkins Recurring Does not appear
Yetta Does not appear Recurring Does not appear
Marcy Bradley Whitford Recurring Does not appear
Magnus Hirschfeld Does not appear Recurring Does not appear
Elizah Parks Alexandra Grey Does not appear Recurring Does not appear
Tammy Cashman Melora Hardin Recurring Supporting
Davina Alexandra Billings Recurring Supporting
Shea Trace Lysette Recurring Supporting
Sal Ray Abruzzo Recurring Supporting
Syd Feldman Carrie Brownstein Recurring Supporting
Bianca Kiersey Clemons Recurring Supporting
Len Novak Rob Huebel Recurring Supporting
Zack Novak Zackary Arthur Recurring Supporting
Ed Paskowitz Lawrence Pressman Recurring Supporting
Mike Amin Joseph Recurring Supporting
Francis Noah Harpster Recurring Supporting
Rita Holt Brett Paesel Recurring Supporting
Bryna Jenny O'Hara Recurring Supporting
Colton Alex MacNicoll Recurring Supporting
Pastor Gene Brett Rice Recurring Supporting
Blossie Meagen Fay Recurring Supporting
Derek Cleo Anthony Recurring Supporting
Kristin Deborah S. Craig Recurring Supporting
Zack Sawyer Ever Recurring Supporting
Kaya Alison Sudol Recurring Supporting
Leslie Mackinaw Cherry Jones Recurring Supporting
Vicki Anjelica Huston Recurring Supporting
Gittel (née Gershom) Hari Nef Recurring Supporting
Chaim Michael Stuhlbarg Recurring Supporting
Dr. Steve Jason Mantzoukas Recurring Supporting
Barb Tig Notaro Recurring Supporting
Pony Jiz Lee Recurring Supporting
Mendel Luzer Twersky Recurring Supporting
Buzzy Rackless Richard Masur Recurring Supporting
Duvid Ovadia Kobi Libii Recurring Supporting

Main cast

Recurring cast


Main article: List of Transparent episodes

Series Episodes Originally released
1 10 February 6, 2014 (2014-02-06) (premiere)
September 26, 2014 (2014-09-26)
2 10 November 30, 2015 (2015-11-30) (premiere)
December 11, 2015 (2015-12-11)
3 10 September 23, 2016 (2016-09-23)
4 10 September 21, 2017 (2017-09-21)
Film September 27, 2019 (2019-09-27)


Soloway felt inspired to create Transparent after their parent came out as trans.[26] They created the pilot for, which became available for free streaming and download on February 6, 2014 as part of Amazon's second pilot season.[27][28] Amazon Studios picked up the pilot for Transparent in March, 2014, ordering a ten-episode season.[29][30][31]

Tambor had previously portrayed transvestite judge Alan Wachtel on the police procedural television show Hill Street Blues in the 1980s.[32] Soloway wrote Hoffmann's role after seeing her performance on Season 3 of Louis C.K.'s show Louie.[33]

Transparent premiered all ten episodes simultaneously in late September 2014.[34] In Canada, where Amazon's video streaming service was not available, the series premiered on the Shomi platform on January 23, 2015.[35]

Religious themes

The series depicts several Jewish characters and deals with spiritually and culturally Jewish themes. Joey Soloway, the series' primary creator, is Jewish and consulted Rabbi Susan Goldberg of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. They also sought advice from Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie of New York, describing him as "a God-optional patriarchy-toppling Jewish modern mind. There's a mandate among religious and spiritual thinkers to be thinking about the binary, the gendered, the feminist, the goddess, and Amichai reminds me of that every day."[36]


Soloway said that they hoped to use the series to explore ideas of gender identity through a "wounded parent being replaced by a blossoming femininity" and that they pictured Tambor as Maura when writing the character.[7]

Soloway, the writers, and the cast developed, workshopped, and rehearsed both seasons with consulting producer Joan Scheckel at Joan Scheckel Filmmaking Labs.[37]

As part of the making of the show, Soloway enacted a "transfirmative action program", whereby trans applicants were hired in preference to cis ones.[30] Over eighty trans people worked on the show, including Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, trans consultants and co-producers.[30][38] However, the main character Maura was played by the cis male actor Tambor. Soloway said the casting of a cis male in this type of role is unacceptable and they would not make the same casting decision again because of how trans women would feel about watching a cis male portrayal.[39]

In 2014, Our Lady J was chosen as the first openly trans person to be a writer for the show.[40] All the bathrooms on set were gender-neutral.[41]

The original pilot made available in February 2014 (with Gillian Vigman in the role of Tammy) was partly reshot after the series was approved.[42]

On November 19, 2017, Tambor quit the show amidst sexual harassment allegations made against him.[43]


Critical response of Transparent
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
198% (59 reviews)[44]92 (29 reviews)[45]
298% (42 reviews)[46]94 (28 reviews)[47]
3100% (38 reviews)[48]90 (15 reviews)[49]
491% (22 reviews)[50]74 (10 reviews)[51]
568% (25 reviews)[52]55 (13 reviews)[53]

On Rotten Tomatoes it received an overall score of 91%, and an overall score of 85 on Metacritic.[54][55]

Season 1

On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season held an approval rating of 98% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 8.8/10. The site's consensus read: "As much about a change in television as it is about personal change, Transparent raises the bar for programming with sophistication and sincere dedication to the human journey, warts and all."[44] On Metacritic, the first season received an average rating of 92 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[45]

Alan Sepinwall from HitFix named Transparent the best new show of the Fall 2014 season and Amazon's "most impressive volley yet".[56] He added:

"... [The] show looks gorgeous and displays an instant command of both tone and this particular pocket of life in Los Angeles; Soloway is incredibly confident in introducing us to the parts of the show that are more universally relatable (a marriage gone sour, a disappointing child), knowing that we'll then follow her into more unfamiliar territory—not just with Maura, but the many disreputable behaviors her kids get tangled up in."[56]

Season 2

The second season held a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 42 reviews, with an average rating of 9.2/10. The site's critical consensus read: "Transparent's second season ups its dramatic stakes while retaining the poignancy and humor that have made the series such a consistently entertaining example of the best that modern serial drama has to offer."[46] On Metacritic, the second season received an average rating of 94 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[47]

Season 3

The third season held a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 38 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Uniquely its own, and compelling and poignant as ever, Transparent continues to transcend the parameters of comedic and dramatic television with sustained excellence in its empathetic portrayal of the Pfefferman family."[48] while Metacritic granted the season an average rating of 90 of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[49]

Season 4

The fourth season held a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Transparent's fourth season forsakes tight narrative discipline for an absorbingly unwieldy continued exploration of the show's uniquely ambitious themes."[50] while Metacritic granted the season an average rating of 74 of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[51]


Transparent: Musicale Finale held a 68% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Though it won't be for everyone, Transparent's singular musical finale grants its audience closure while giving its groundbreaking characters something they never expected: something resembling a happy ending"[52] while Metacritic granted the finale an average rating of 55 of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[53]

International broadcast

In Australia, the first two episodes of the series premiered on the Nine Network on January 27, 2015, and all subsequent episodes premiered on streaming service Stan upon its launch.[57]

As Prime Video was not available in Canada at the time, the series launched on the Shomi platform.[58]


Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Transparent

On December 11, 2014, the series was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best TV Comedy.[59] On January 11, 2015, Transparent won two Golden Globe awards for the first season of the series. Tambor dedicated his win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series to the trans community,[60] while Soloway dedicated their award to the memory of Leelah Alcorn.[61]

See also


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  5. ^ Hess, Linda M. (January 24, 2017). ""My whole life I've been dressing up like a man": Negotiations of Queer Aging and Queer Temporality in the TV Series Transparent". European Journal of American Studies (in French). 11 (3). doi:10.4000/ejas.11702. ISSN 1991-9336.
  6. ^ Gregory, Drew Burnett (September 23, 2019). ""Transparent" Changed Me (And TV) Forever". Autostraddle. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
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