Since it first made a move into original programming, Amazon has tried its best to match Netflix's string of critically acclaimed and binge-worthy shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. But nothing's worked — until now. Thanks to Jill Soloway's Transparent, Amazon says it's finally produced a hit of its own. With a cast led by Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent became the top-ranked series on Prime Instant Video soon after debuting on the service, Amazon announced today. Reception has been so strong that the company has already greenlit season two.
And once they start watching, viewers are sticking around for more than one episode. Nearly 80 percent of all viewers watch two or more episodes of Transparent in the same day, a statistic that Amazon says makes it "the most binge-watched TV series on Prime Instant Video." So it sounds like Amazon is indeed having its Netflix moment, though in typical fashion, the company isn't providing specific numbers on how many people actually streamed one of the 10 first season episodes.
But by all accounts, viewers and critics alike are loving Transparent; Amazon is pointing to its 98 percent rating on the Tomatometer and Metacritic rating of 91 as proof that this is on par or better than anything Netflix has come up with. Tambor has been heralded for his career-defining performance as Maura, who undergoes gender change in retirement after decades of living as the family's patriarch. And Soloway — a veteran Six Feet Under writer — is earning raves for her strong work writing and directing a series centered on gender and identity. If you're a Prime subscriber, you should be watching, and Netflix should probably be on guard. A real battle in quality TV between these two behemoths, networks, and HBO has finally begun, and that should mean only good things for viewers.