Amazon Is Making “Transparent” Free To Binge-Watch This Saturday

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Transparent': Amazon to Stream Entire Season Free for 24 Hours.

Amazon is celebrating its two Golden Globe wins for its original series Transparent by making all 10 episodes of the show available for streaming without the usual requirement that you be an Amazon Prime subscriber. There’s also something hugely interesting by the democratisation of success approach that Amazon takes to its pilots – even if that has the potential to end with ‘lowest common demoniator’ shows (like Two And A Half Men) further down the line.

Still on its Golden Globes high from a couple of weeks ago, Amazon wants more people to get acquainted with its half-hour dramedy about a middle-age transgender woman and her family. But the company’s generosity will be short lived: The offer starts at 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time this Saturday, January 24, and it ends at 11:59 PM the same day. Currently, the show is available to Amazon Prime customers (who pay $99 a year for the privilege of instant video and free shipping), but the rules will loosen for one day only.

The already-renewed show from Jill Soloway stars Tambor as an L.A. patriarch who reveals to his three self-obsessed grown children that he’s transgender, and also features Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass. “We’re incredibly proud of everyone involved in the making of Transparent — the team took a risk and it paid off,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “Big kudos and congrats to Jill, Jeffrey, and all the cast and crew.” On Saturday, the platform is also offering a 25-percent discount to new subscribers of Amazon Prime, on which Transparent is usually only available, at $72 for one annual year. During this same period, new subscribers will be able to sign up for Amazon Prime subscriptions for $72—a $27 discount off the regular subscription price. Amazon has reportedly seen viewership of its original TV series Transparent increase by 250% following its recent Golden Globe victory in both the “Best TV Series—Comedy or Musical” and “Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series—Comedy or Musical” categories. The show, written and directed by Jill Soloway and starring Jeffrey Tambor, has been the recipient of critical acclaim and praise from the LGBTQ community recently. Transparent can be streamed for free on Saturday using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/Transparent.

It follows a transgender parent (Tambor) in his quest to come out to his self-absorbed family, who (naturally) are strugglng with some secrets of their own. The first show to really make the breakthrough this way was Transparent, the wonderful Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) vehicle in which he plays Maura Pfefferman, a transgender woman whose admission affects her family in different ways. And the Seattle-based company is hoping users will be impressed enough to come back for more of it (and its other offerings): the company, also on Saturday, is making Amazon Prime available for $72–the membership usually totals $99. Tambor rightfully picked up a Golden Globe for his performance and the show itself claimed the Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy – a fantastic achievement for a company which had only started making original programming two years before.

In addition to its big night for “Transparent” earlier this month, Amazon also announced it plans to acquire and produce about a dozen “original, prestige” films a year. In a world overflowing with television it’s difficult to keep track of everything and shows inevitably fall through the cracks – Transparent got added to the great list of shows to catch up with later. Considering other less-than-stellar Amazon developments this week- including the self-imposed cancellation of both Amazon Wallet and Amazon-branded diapers—Jeff Bezos could end it on a good note with a bevy of new customers. Drawing on her own family experiences, writer/director Jill Soloway makes an audacious debut with this bittersweet comedy, set in the suburban hell known as the San Fernando Valley. But it’s one of the new shows that has just been released which I think may move Amazon from retailer to creator in everyone’s minds – and that show is The Man In The High Castle.

The pilot revolves around two characters, Juliana Crain and Joe Blake, who both end up transporting a copy of a film called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. It would seem that the company wants to use this Saturday as an opportunity to get its customers hooked on the show, thus increasing the likelihood of growing their base of Prime members. There had been rumours for years that the likes of BBC and SyFy would look to adapt Dick’s novel, but it says something that Amazon not only did it, but knocked it out of the park.

Following in the footsteps of Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, online-only content providers like Amazon are capturing the attention of viewers and critics alike. Jill Soloway’s show tells the story of Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor), a 70-year-old transgender woman coming out to her family and taking her first steps to a new life. This is not an excuse for audiences to ogle Maura but an honest, sharp-witted take on the reality of starting anew at a time when most people are winding down. That’s saying a lot coming from the man behind “Hey now” Hank Kingsley and George Bluth Sr., but his own transformation as a dramatic actor is as astonishing here as Bryan Cranston’s was from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad.

The sponging Ali who thinks nothing of hitting her father up for cash at just the wrong time; self-obsessed man-child Josh is unable to see beyond his next hook-up, yet remains strangely convinced he’s God’s gift to both women and music production; and Sarah, casually, obliviously cruel to both her husband and lover Transparent’s magic is that we still care for these people despite their awful personalities. Hollywood Reporter critic Tim Goodman calls Transparent “one of those rare shows that alters the complexion of the landscape with its quality.” It all starts with Soloway’s writing but extends to the commitment from the entire cast. And throughout the everyday rhythms of Judaism play out, from Ali’s constant lament about her missed Bat Mitzvah to the funeral in the final episode.

When Maura lights the candles on Shabbat it’s not a joke or a punchline but a warm, tender moment that provides another small insight into the character. The show’s treatment of Judaism, always present, never forced for plot development, is as smart and involving as the dialogue; a thousand tiny references adding up to one cohesive whole. Not just Maura’s own quest but issues about how Sarah sees herself, why Ali feels so confused, what’s behind Josh’s love-’em-and-leave-’em style.

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