Citing strong ratings performance and critical response for Transparent, Amazon Studios has renewed the freshman comedy for a second season to air in 2015. It is the second Amazon series to receive a second season order following Alpha House.
The pickup of the dark comedy created by Jill Soloway and starring Jeffrey Tambor comes as Amazon has been outlining to the creative community its future comedy plans. Transparent illustrates the type of projects the company continues to be very high on — comedies from indie-type writer-directors that explore grounded worlds in a cinematic way. Amazon also is open to big, event-type serialized comedy series. It is committing between $2-4 million for a comedy pilot but could go higher on a big, action-adventure half-hour.
As is the case with all digital streaming services, Amazon is not providing ratings data to illustrate the success of Transparent but says that the comedy has “smashed Prime Instant Video records,” ranking as the No. 1 series since its premiere. Amazon also says Transparent is the most binge-watched TV series on Prime Instant Video ever with nearly 80% of all viewers binging on two or more episodes in the same day. The series also has been hailed as a game changer for Amazon as it has drawn universal critical acclaim.
“Our goal is to create series that customers love, so it’s great to hear that Transparent has not only risen to the No. 1 series on Prime Instant Video, but that it’s deemed ‘binge worthy’ as well,” said Roy Price, VP of Amazon Studios. Given all this great feedback, it only makes sense to bring the Pfeffermans back next year in season two.”
Written, directed and executive produced by Soloway, Transparent stars Tambor as Maura, who has spent her life as Mort—the Pfefferman family patriarch. When she reintroduces herself to her family, everyone’s secrets finally start to come out. This includes her ex-wife Shelly (played by Judith Light), and their children—meandering Ali (Gaby Hoffmann), record producer Josh (Jay Duplass), and sexually conflicted Sarah (Amy Landecker). Each family member spins in a different direction as they begin to figure out who they are going to become.
Transparent is the first of four new series to emerge from Amazon’s second development season. Coming up are the premieres of comedy Mozart In The Jungle and dramas Bosch and The After.
Amazon just made decisions on its third batch of pilots, with one comedy, Red Oaks, produced by Steven Soderbergh, getting a series pickup, and another, Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans, getting an additional script order. (Drama Hand of God also received a series order.) Amazon’s fourth pilot season, now under way, includes comedies Salem Rogers, Down Dog and Just Add Magic.