If you have not been watching new episodes of Atlanta on FX, Thursday nights for the past few weeks, then you have been missing out.
Atlanta in its first season won multiple awards, including two Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for Donald Glover and two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for Donald Glover. Glover is the first African-American to win an Emmy for directing a comedy series.
Atlanta’s second season, titled: Atlanta: Robbin’ Season premiered March 1 and has been receiving rave reviews from critics week by week. It has an average rating of 9 out of 10 based on Rotten Tomatoes critics and has zero rotten (negative) reviews so far from any critics on the website.
Critics praise the show for its sparse focus on narrative structure week to week. Of course, the episodes are connected, but attention is given to different stakes each week. As a show, Atlanta is very different from the novels that increase tension in a chapter by chapter format.
“If Atlanta were a book, not only would it not be a novel, but it might not even be a book of short stories,” said Linda Holmes, an NPR reviewer. “It would be a book of poems, sketches, verses written in different colors of ink.”
On its surface, Atlanta is a comedy series. Peel off this surface and it’s very clear that this show is more than just funny. It can be terrifying, dreadful and depressing. It’s something that has never been on television before.
“Glover has conceptualized Atlanta so that he can do with it whatever he wants; he’s not bound by traditional sitcom rules or limitations,” said Adam Graham, a Detroit News critic. “That’s the fun of it. It’s his ride, and where he goes is anyone’s guess. But it will be worth the trip.”
The show is very relatable even if you’ve never been to Atlanta or if you’re not even a member of the African American community. It has this intriguing strangeness that can pull viewers in. It’s very reminiscent of past shows such as The Twilight Zone, Twin Peaks and Lost. It’s more entertaining than Riverdale and more thoughtful than Black Mirror. It’s not trying to teach its audience a lesson but is simply presenting the complexity of answering questions.
“The ecstatic pleasure of Atlanta is how it grounds nigh-Lynchian strangeness in addictive specificity: stylish visuals, fully realized characters, a feeling for the modern African American experience,” said Darren Franich, an Entertainment Weekly critic.
The episode-centric focus of Atlanta allows viewers to start viewing the show at any moment in its narrative. You can start watching the past episodes that you missed, once you’re tired of endlessly laughing and less absorbed into the episode that originally introduced you to the series.
Atlanta is a show that usually cannot be spoiled but for clarity sake, no spoilers ahead!
So far in season two, there have been suburban alligators, fast-food restaurant heists, racist movie-theaters, ping pong battles with real-life stakes, an odyssey led by a thrifty barber, houses haunted by former celebrities, New Year’s Eve with Drake, a forest that makes people face their inner demons, White fraternity boys who support the Confederate flag and hip hop, and middle-school peers who dance on a line from praising you to bullying you.
The episodes tend to be pretty satisfying but if there has to be a standout in season two then it’s episode six, “Teddy Perkins.” This episode is one of the least comedic episodes of the series so far but does not lack in depth nor emotion.
Perfectly titled Robbin’ Season, every episode someone is getting robbed. The season concludes this Thursday night on FX. Start watching Atlanta or keep watching Atlanta, one thing is certain, none of its episodes will rob you of your time.