Comedian and rapper, Donald Glover, has been working on the FX series Atlanta for several years (since 2013), and considering he grew up in the capital city, you could argue he’s been developing this series his entire life. Everything about the series feels real and lived-in. So real, in fact, that it becomes difficult to describe what type of show it is. Obviously, the critics have been going crazy about it–with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100% based on an early 39 reviews. And the show’s been met with universal, slightly uncomfortable, praise everywhere else.
And it’s well deserved, the show maintains a dark sense of humor while being both turbulent and chill. Is “mood-coaster” a genre of television? I guess for the sake of argument we’ll call it a black comedy–complete with the double meaning.
Atlanta does something that many other black dramas and comedies fail to accomplish: being real and being funny. While popular, current shows like Empire suffer from being little-to-no better than the mid-weekday soap opera genre, but slightly more unbelievable, somehow. While black comedies, with the possible exception of The Carmichael Show suffer from being relatively inscrutable to a mainstream audience, and also largely over-the-top and slapstick.
While it’s near impossible to put my finger on exactly what makes Atlanta feel so original, funny, and non-forced while tackling issues like law enforcement and poverty in a predominantly black community its honesty is sure to earn the ire of people looking for a fainting couch on which to collapse.
Perhaps just as noteworthy as the writing and production of Donald Glover, himself is the look and feel of the series, which can only be attributed to the artistic direction of Hiro Murai. And that’s why this article contains only links to his work, and no trailer for the actual series. Trailers and reviews of Atlanta won’t spoil anything, but they aren’t very helpful to prove the relevant point that this show can’t just be watched, it has to be experienced.
Atlanta airs on FX every Tuesday @ 10PM.