Atlanta, a new FX show from the mind of Donald Glover, is about two cousins: College dropout Ernest “Earn” Marks and rising hip hop artist Alred “Paper Boi” Miles, as they navigate the business of making music. Here are 5 reasons why Atlanta is a show you should be watching.
1. Doesn’t take itself too seriously
I was worried that Atlanta was going to be this serious drama. Despite the fact that I knew Donald Glover is a comedic actor, I just thought maybe he’s going to try a dramatic role. Thankfully he stuck to what he knows and what he knows is exactly how to make me laugh.
Atlanta isn’t afraid to cut up tense scenes with sharp bursts of humour. Like a stoned friend tripping about having Déjà vu just as a gun fight is about to take place. Or an entire police station making fun of a guy for not knowing his girl is actually a guy. Atlanta is one of the funniest and smartest shows on TV right now.
2. Donald Glover
I can’t express how much I admire Donald Glover. He is literally one of the most talented people in the world. 30 Rock writer, Community star, blockbuster movie credits like The Martian and Magic Mike XXL, and a growing rap career as Childish Gambino. The only way forward was to do a little bit of everything and Atlanta is that and more.
Serving as creator and writer was not enough. He had to star in it as well. And with that, he brings the boyish charm and likeability coupled with great characterisation. Glover is a very understated actor, and has brilliant chemistry with Brian Tyree Henry (Alfred ‘Paper Boi’ Miles) and Keith Stanfield (Darius). Atlanta is Glover’s passion project and he does a perfect job in every aspect of it.
3. Dope soundtrack
It goes without saying that Atlanta, a show about an up-and-coming rapper and his wannabe manager cousin, would need to have an awesome soundtrack. Southern rap comes to the fore, with Atlanta hip hop artists given prominence with one episode actually featuring an appearance by Georgia rap group Migos.
Everything from George Benson to Nappy Roots to Bill Withers; Atlanta has a rich sound that adds so much to the story. I guarantee you will be bobbing your head to a few scenes and even scour the internet for that Postal mixtape by Paper Boi.
4. Leaves you wanting more
Half hour shows are bittersweet. I am always left wanting more, but I think that’s the beauty of this show. It gives you twenty something minutes of quality TV and does not allow fatigue to set in. You’re begging them for more minutes, which is a whole lot better than checking to see how many minutes is left before the episode ends.
But it’s not just that it’s a half hour long. It’s that the show is so well-written and engrossing that you genuinely long for the story to continue just a little further. I was pretty sad to realise the first season only has 10 episodes, but a second season has been announced!
5. Not afraid to experiment
I said this on social media but not all of you follow me (for shame!!!) so I will say it again: Episode 7: “B.A.N” is arguably one of the best episodes of television ever. To summarise, the episode features Paper Boi on a late night talk show on Black American Network, talking about transgender issues and being confronted about saying on one of his songs that he would not have sex with Caitlyn Jenner.
What I enjoyed about this episode is that not only does it feature controversial subject matter in a satirical way, but it even includes fake commercials and cheesy theme music for the faux late night talk show “Montague.” The only primary cast member is Paper Boi, with Earn only mentioned and appearing off screen (Donald Glover directed this episode). With all of these elements; something that probably should not have worked, actually became the best episode so far.
Even Episode 6: “Value”, primarily focussing on Vanessa, Earn’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, was a huge shift in what we had seen so far in the series, proving that Glover and his writing team are not afraid to think outside the box and experiment with different ideas, while also avoiding fatigue to set in with the two (arguably three if you include Darius – which I do) main characters in the show.
Atlanta is one of the freshest shows on TV right now. It’s funny and is not afraid to experiment; and with the talented Donald Glover behind the project, it is destined for big things.
What did you think about Atlanta so far? Have you been watching? You should be.
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