‘Atlanta’ is Back, and May be the Best Show on TV

‘Atlanta’ is Back, and May be the Best Show on TV

It’s been four long years since season 2 of Atlanta wrapped. After what’s seemed like an eternity of waiting for Atlanta fans, season 3 finally premiered on FX on March 24. 

Atlanta always stood out as a show that blends comedy, drama, horror and surrealism. Add all of these genres to a unique and engaging story about an aspiring rapper (Paper Boi) and his cousin (Earn) working tirelessly as Paper Boi’s manager in an effort to help propel him to stardom, and you have all the makings of a classic show.

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Leading up to the premiere of season 1 of the show, Donald Glover said to Vulture, “I just always wanted to make Twin Peaks with rappers. Television shows are like novels. You just got to invest in them. The tone of this, it’s going to take people time to figure out what’s going on, which I think is a good thing.”

The surrealism of Atlanta blows your mind at times. Like when an invisible car takes out an entire group of people or a hermit reminiscent of Michael Jackson ends up haunting us for an entire episode. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re watching Atlanta, but one thing is for certain: You’re going to get some well thought out storylines with layers of meaning that will keep you engaged from start to finish. 

In a recent interview leading up to the season 3 premiere with The Wrap, Glover highlighted why comedy and horror are able to work so well in Atlanta.  “I think funny and scary touch very much. We’ve always kind of been into dream logic because dreams always feel like something bad can happen, even when nothing bad happens.”

“The first two episodes of season three cement Atlanta‘s reputation as a classic-in-progress and one of the most daring and imaginative shows on television, period,” says Michael Martin, a critic for AV Club. In season three, Paper Boi is on a headlining tour in Europe. In the first and second seasons of Atlanta, Paper Boi is working to become a rap star, so this transition to international stardom makes for a far different dynamic than before.

However, the season 3 premiere takes a huge risk by not featuring the main Paper Boi and Earn storyline. In fact, the premiere doesn’t feature the Atlanta cast at all. Instead, it is a retelling of the incredibly tragic story of Devonte Hart. This risk by Glover and the writing team demonstrates how much the show cares about sharing meaningful stories that provide a commentary on society. Think about that for a second: Four years have passed since Atlanta last graced our television screens, and the show decided to highlight a story that had nothing to do with the main characters. That decision shows the importance of what Glover is trying to convey to the audience in this Hart retelling. This episode is one that zeroes in on horror, but it actually has a happier ending than what happened to Hart in real life.

“Season 3 is about curses and the curse of whiteness,” says Stephen Glover (Atlanta writer and Donald Glover’s brother) to Cheat Sheet. “I can’t remember the guy’s name on CNN, but he had that speech where he talks about white people freeing themselves from the curse of racism, and we talked about that in the writers’ room a lot. And I think you’ll see that in a lot of the episodes, this idea.”

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Now let’s circle back to the cast. Atlanta helped launch the careers of Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield and Zazie Beets. Since the premiere season 1, Henry starred in Godzilla vs. Kong and The Eternals; Stanfield starred in Uncut Gems, Knives Out and Judas and the Black Messiah; and Beets starred in Deadpool 2 and Joker. It’s pretty incredible to see all that star power sharing the screen together in season 3 of Atlanta (along with superstar Donald Glover). 

The Atlanta cast is unparalleled, and no one else is telling stories like the Glover brothers right now. 

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