Among the highly promoted scripted dramas on Apple TV + like The Morning Show and Defending Jacob, there are wonderful documentaries on Apple TV +. Among them, Visible – on TV.
“Visible” – Explore representation on the most powerful media
Visible tells the story of LGBTQ representation through the most powerful medium – television. He presents a coterie of stars, from Wanda Sykes to Neil Patrick Harris, from Billy Porter to Ellen DeGeneres. Other big names like Laverne Cox, Rachel Maddow, Caitlyn Jenner and Sean Hayes are also featured, as are some high profile activists who tell their stories.
[Apple Announces LGBT Documentary ‘Visible: Out on Television’]
The series begins with “The Dark Ages” – unpacking a time when LGBTQ people barely appeared on television. If they did, they were mostly depicted as deviant and homicidal maniacs. Television has however become a major tool for activists wishing to raise the problems encountered by the community. Few of them were deeper than the AIDS epidemic, the details of which are described in episode three. It is a powerful, painful and important watch.
Slowly but surely, we move forward and arrive at… The Puppy Episode. It was the code name given to the episode of Ellen in which the eponymous sitcom star would emerge in the character – Ms. DeGeneres had done so publicly before the episode aired. As she looks back at that moment, the feeling of relief is still visible. just like the feeling of pain that everything was taken away from him. Episode four also highlights other defining moments such as Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Noah’s Ark, Will and Grace and The L Word. It ends on a high note, with Ms. DeGeneres at the top of the world as the host of an extremely popular daily talk show.
The series finale examines how current creators have built on all of this progress, and what remains to be done and how to better reflect people of color, trans people and others often overlooked on television.
Some missing elements
Much of Visible – Out on Television is informationve and moving. Other parts are very funny. All of this is impeccably produced. However, this does not mean that nothing is missing. With the exception of Transparent (Amazon Prime Video), and a few nods to Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Apple seems reluctant to recognize shows broadcast on competing streaming services.
There are also other obvious omissions. For example, when the representation of bisexual characters is analyzed, Detective Rosa Diaz of Brooklyn 99 is not mentioned at all. (She’s only seen for a fleeting moment at the end of the series.) Similarly, during the discussion on the cover of the shooting of the Pulse nightclub, Anderson Cooper describes how he delivered his powerful report. However, the equally deep coverage of Rachel Maddow is reduced to a small excerpt from the series, without any reflection of the broadcaster during prime time, despite the fact that she was interviewed for the series.
Visible – Out on Television shows how powerful Apple is starting to produce content. They got each big star to dive deep into a topic that most other content producers wouldn’t put resources on. This is the type of TV that Apple could make.