Donald Glover has created one of the most interesting television shows this year, and this has been one spectacular year for television. Atlanta follows Earnest "Earn" Marks played by Glover as a college dropout who helps his cousin Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) to develop his rap career. The show doesn't follow any set plot with just the idea of promoting a rap career in the background as each episode follows different characters as they go through entertaining everyday trials and tribulations.
Earn also tries to make money for his child and her mother Van (Zazie Beetz). Van gets her own hilarious episode where she tries to fool a drug test with baby urine to hilarious results. Each episode walks the line between humor and seriousness without being too goofy or preachy. The show explores issues but adds in jokes that always keeps it lighthearted when it threatens to go down a depressing trail. This show is a critical darling and should be set up to win several awards.
As a former resident of this Southern city, many of the areas look familiar and the lifestyles of the characters felt similar to actual people I once knew. I think the show will have a universal quality that will stretch far beyond the city and into other cities across America. There are moments of absurdity that were pulled off so well that I couldn't help but burst into laughter, one exception surprise with an invisible car was so funny.
Another great character from the series is Paper Boi' friend and roommate Darius (Keith Stanfield) who has a unique perspective on life that leads to a lot of amusing situations and great dialogue. The show never seems to have a purpose but is way more entertaining than a lot of shows with elaborate plots. I hope this show gets renewed for several seasons to come and that the episodes grow longer. I found myself never knowing what to expect as I started a new episode and would find myself wanting more as the show ended.
The show also used different styles with beautiful cinematography under the direction Hiro Murai and Glover. The city looks beautiful but doesn't shy away from some of the harsher aspects of the reality of the city. I'm glad that the show has received such critical success and I hope it achieves the ratings needed to keep it going. I don't know where it would go but that adds to the excitement of the show as opposed to something that one could know exactly what would happen next. I'm glad a city I lived in has inspired such fine art on one of my favorite channel, FX.