Why You Need To Watch: Atlanta
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If Donald Glover’s double Emmy win this week is the first you’re hearing of Atlanta, you really have been missing out!
Thankfully, the FX comedy drama only has 10 half hour episodes to its name so far, so you can catch up pretty quick. Here's why you definitely should.
You might know Donald Glover as Troy from Community, or perhaps by his alter-ego Childish Gambino the rapper, but Atlanta is where he brings together comedy and the rap world. Glover plays Earn Marks, who hops on his rapper cousin “Paper Boi” (Brian Tyree Henry)’s rise to fame.
Alongside stoner friend Darius, played by the now-iconic Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) and Earn’s baby-mama Van (Zazie Beatz), the gang get themselves into all sorts of trouble.
The comedy is brilliantly timed and precise in its motive, as is the entire show. The plot of each episode serves to highlight an aspect of life specific to the black community in Atlanta. Issues of race, class, poverty, relationships and parenthood all play an integral role in the punch-up humour.
It’s not preachy, it’s just comedy for woke people.
The settings range from clubs to prisons to uncomfortable plantation mansions, and the characters each bring something unique and somehow manage never to stray into the territory of stereotype.
The episode Glover won the Emmy for directing is indeed the standout episode of the season — a bottle episode involving Paper Boi in an almost surrealist TV interview. The episode includes parody advert breaks and critiques capitalism and racism amongst other social ills, all whilst being one of the boldest and funniest thirty minutes of television you’ll ever see.
As an actor-rapper-writer-director, Glover really is one of the most brilliant creatives producing content right now, and his style and voice is wonderfully unique. On screen, though, it’s hard for him to steal the show from all the other cast members, who shine in their own right.
Glover is currently filming the Han Solo Star Wars prequel film as Lando Calrissian, and has also been cast as Simba in the ‘live action’ remake of the Lion King. Lakeith Stanfield has had a brilliant year with Get Out, and Zazie Beatz has recently been cast as Domino in Deadpool 2.
Since the cast are all so busy climbing new heights in the industry, Season 2 is due for release in 2018 … so you have plenty of time to catch up!
Atlanta airs on FOX in the UK.