Sometimes you see a show on cable and say “Man, there’s no way this show could ever be on network TV.”
Then you see a show like Amazon’s new and brilliant “Transparent,” and say, “I can’t believe this show got made, because even cable wouldn’t take a risk on airing it.”
“Transparent” is different from any other show you’ve seen. It stars the always-great Jeffrey Tambor as a divorced man in his 60s who after years of suppressing his feelings, decides to begin the transformation of becoming a woman. In going from “Mort” to “Maura,” he encounters wildly different reactions from his three children, played by Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and the scene-stealing Gabby Hoffman.
“Transparent” doesn’t make fun of Maura, doesn’t try to sensationalize his feelings, and doesn’t go for cheap laughs. It’s a smart, funny, surprisingly warm show that Amazon hopes becomes its first major hit show, so it can compete with Netflix.
Like Netflix does with its shows, Amazon released all 13 episodes of “Transparent” at once; I’ve seen 4 so far and each one has been as good as the rest.
If you want to see a show that’s pretty different from anything you’ve seen, definitely give it a shot.
**Next, I haven’t written a lot about the 2014 midterms coming up next week, partly because I’m a depressed Democrat who feels like the Senate is sure to slip into Republican control, and partly because I haven’t had the time to follow this cycle as closely as I usually do. (And honestly, even if the GOP takes the Senate 52-48 or something, it’s not like anything’s going to really change in the next 2 years. Shoot, Congress can’t get anything done right now with a Democratic-led Senate.)
But I’ve been happy to see that Fox News, that bastion of journalistic integrity, continues, as it has ever since it was born, to just make shit up.
Specifically, around election time they love talking about voter fraud. What’s extremely scary is that GOP governors all around the country have used this B.S. “voter fraud” idea to drastically reduce early voting days and hours for citizens, because again, as I’ve said hundreds of times before, if fewer people vote, Republicans think they’ll win. And isn’t that just so damn democratic of them; let’s have less people vote!
Anyway, Rachel Maddow tore down just a small piece of Fox News propaganda the other night, with this scare piece run about Colorado’s “print-at-home” ballot, which of course doesn’t exist.
When the truth doesn’t work for ya, just make stuff up. Fox News, I bow to your greatness in this area.
**Finally, a few words about the “Boardwalk Empire” series finale from Sunday night. (SPOILERS AHEAD, STOP READING IF YOU’RE A B.E. FAN AND HAVEN’T WATCHED YET).
I’ve loved this show from the start, even through some of the bumpy patches in Seasons 2 and 3, when it wasn’t quite confident enough to go away from main character Nucky Thompson and focus on the way-more interesting and charismatic characters like Al Capone, Nelson Van Alden, and Chalky White.
The last two seasons of the show have been sensational, and Sunday’s finale was a really satisfying conclusion. The major storylines wrapped up the week before, with Nucky’s financial downfall, and empire, taken over by Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano, Van Alden trying to strangle Capone and go out in a blaze of glory (yeah, not so much), and Gillian rotting away in a mental institution.
But with much settled, Sunday still was a fantastic episode. I know a lot of people on the Internet guessed that the teenager who suddenly appeared a few episodes back would turn out to be Jimmy Darmody’s son, and he’d take revenge on Nucky, but it still shocked me a little to see the final bullet fly from his gun into Nucky’s face.
And there were two gorgeous, heartbreaking scenes I loved: Capone, knowing he was about to go to prison, having a heart-to-heart with his deaf son, and in the 1897 flashback, watching young sheriff Nucky decide to “give” 15-year-old Gillian to the lecherous, disgusting Commodore, knowing what she was in for but wanting to please his boss and move up in power.
It was a wonderful, explosive, beautifully acted show, and I wish it went on for more than five seasons. But it went out on a really terrific note