Transparent, which debuts Friday, is not just Amazon’s first great series, but it’s fall’s best new show. At TCA, I spoke with creator Jill Soloway and star Jeffrey Tambor for this Quartz piece about this important, moving series, and why Amazon was the only place for it:
“We have this absolutely unprecedented amount of creative freedom. So Amazon to me wasn’t necessarily like a TV network, it was a really vital and vibrant distribution system that would be able to get the stuff to the people quickly,” said Soloway, who was a writer and co-executive producer on Six Feet Under. “It feels more like I got to make a five-hour movie that already had distribution in place than it did like anything I would ever do for CBS that’s an episode to episode deal. There was none of that [network] interference: these stop signs that you constantly have to deal with, that really interrupt your flow and your connection to your inspiration, in any kind of TV. This is nothing like TV! It’s not TV, it’s not HBO, it’s Amazon!”
Soloway was also frank about being wary of Amazon’s decision to release Transparent’s entire first season at once, Netflix-style.
“That was Amazon’s decision,” said Soloway. “In some ways, I was excited because it makes us like House of Cards or Orange, and I’m happy to be compared to shows like that. But I think as a showrunner, I have to get over the idea that there’s not going to be a, ‘And then next Friday, they’ll see the next piece!’ That’s different.”
You’ll also want to read what prompted Tambor to channel his Larry Sanders Show alter ego, Hank Kingsley. But even more importantly, make sure you watch Transparent!