The 50 best TV shows of 2017: No 10 Transparent
The transgender drama kept its radical edge by focusing on the younger generation of the Pfefferman family – pointing a way forward after off-screen concerns threatened to derail its trailblazing run
A cloud hangs over Jill Soloway’s dazzlingly intelligent and timely Amazon series. The show, which follows a transgender woman named Maura – played by Jeffrey Tambor – and her family, is known for its inclusive production methods, with Soloway implementing a “transfirmative action” programme that led to the employment of more than 80 transgender people. Then, in November, two of them – actor Trace Lysette and Tambor’s personal assistant called Van Barnes – accused Tambor of sexual harassment.
The actor denied the allegations, but quit the show nonetheless. The news seemed achingly ironic – Transparent fought hard in its storylines to challenge the dehumanisation and fetishisation of trans people, but has seemingly been blighted by those same evils. Strangely, it wasn’t impossible to picture the show continuing to thrive without its protagonist.