For those looking through the Golden globes coverage today, a few thoughts might cross your mind; you'll find yet another reason to envy Lorde, you may marvel at the ginger triumvirate of Chastain-Adams-Stone and you perhaps will ponder if it's okay to touch Eddie Redmayne and his velvet suit. You're also probably going to be looking over the winners and wondering which of them you recognise.
You might glance at the Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy nominees and wonder if there is even such a thing as a worthwhile comedy musical on TV. The answer, of course, is no. However, you might wonder just what in damnation is Transparent? The winner of that category.
The answer is that it’s officially Amazon's biggest series after it entered the original series game. It was already the best in the channel's young stable and now it's about to gain a bigger audience.
Transparent stars Arrested Development's Jeffrey Tambor as Mort Pfefferman, who announces to his grown kids that he's actually transgender and intends on living out his remaining years as Maura Pfefferman. Maura is clearly a different person compared to Mort. Where Mort is uncomfortable and unusual, she is peaceful and content.
The show reflects the experiences and issues that many trans people may have to go through upon “coming out”, a topic that isn’t explored much on television.
This reveal comes at a tumultuous time for her children, who have their own issues to deal with. Eldest daughter Sarah is considering leaving her husband for a lesbian lover, thirty-something Josh has gotten a young co-worker pregnant while youngest Ali is jobless, floating through her own life with no clue where she is going.
Elsewhere, the kids' birth mother is struggling to care for her second husband since he is suffering from a form of dementia rendering him unable to speak.
While Transparent sounds like a rough watch, or soapy even, it's really a lovely look at a family that feels real in the best way possible; yes they have problems, but none of them have forgotten the love and camaraderie they have with each other. Some of the most sparkling parts of the show are the family hanging out while sifting through the odd parts of their lives.
It also delves into the past, giving us flashbacks to a middle aged Mort embarking on discovering Maura for the first time with an acquaintance in a similar situation (played by the ever reliable Bradley Whitford, best known for The West Wing).
It's the best Tambor has ever been, a sensitive performance with a harmless light touch that was awarded a Globe for Best Actor last night too.
Sarah, played by Amy Landecker, is the stand out of the adult children as the eldest in what is her first major regular role after popping up in various shows over the years.
Gaby Hoffman (Ali), meanwhile, brings that naturally eccentric nature we saw glimpses of in her appearances on Girls. Rounding out the main cast is Mark Duplass, who had little of note on his CV other than the John C. Reilly film Cyrus, but there's no whiff of an amateur here. Every member of the cast are on form.
What's really notable about the series, though, is how it balances the tone between comedy and drama, especially considering the subject.
It's garnered superb reviews so far, and comes from the experienced pen of Jill Soloway, who previously wrote for the acclaimed Six Feet Under as well as the little seen but excellent United States of Tara. Soloway based Transparent on her own father coming out as a trans person, and the experiences between her and her sister.
The show also has the benefit of coming along at the perfect time. In 2014, we saw issues concerning the portrayal of those outside the gender norms repeatedly coming to the fore, including Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox, so Soloway and Amazon have let Transparent out into the world at the right time.
If this came out a few years ago it might have sunk, a few years from now and it mightn't be as impactful. But, right now, it manages to show the human side to an issue we've seen a portion of and will no doubt see far more of as time goes on.
Transparent deserves its win for its ten brilliant episodes that clock in at roughly five hours. Before now, the main way to sell it was to point to its 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A Golden Globe will serve as a handy addition to convince people.