Atlanta is created by Donald Glover for FX. Glover plays the lead role as Earn, an Atlanta native. Managing his cousin, an up and coming rapper known as Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry). the show follows Paper Boi Along side Paper Boi’s friend Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) as well as Earn on their quest to gain fame and fortune in the hip hop community.
Each episode tends to cover a bit of a social justice issue in the episode while also maintaining humor. The series pilot has what in my opinion may be the strongest network pilot since Breaking Bad. Drawing in the audience immediately from the start with a gritty shootout. From the start the show does a great job of establishing the stakes. While tonally the show has a tone of comedy, it maintains that the stakes are real. And that death could be around the corner.
The show’s strongest trait is how each episode clearly establishes its own mood and context while still fitting in the greater context of the show itself. A key example of this is episode seven, where Paper Boi is interviewed on a parody of a talk show. The episode while being one of the most lighthearted in the show, maintains a strong grasp on the nature of the shows social agenda.
Each character in the show, to me, tends to be pushing a personal agenda. Earn is on a redemption story, trying to prove his self-worth to his girlfriend and daughter. In a dead end job going back and forth between homelessness. While Earn seems to be doing his best as Paper Boi’s manager, his primary interest clearly is personal financial gains. Glover’s strong portrayal of Earn, a character that seems incredibly down to earth at times but is also so incredibly selfish.
Stanfield’s portrayal of Paper Boi’s struggle between a building a rough reputation as a “real” rapper but toeing the thin line towards a convicted criminal. While he is putting on the tough guy persona needed to maintain a reputation, he shows a softer side when encountering children. I believe this internal struggle between a public persona and inner self will play a big part as the series continues.
All in all this is a fresh outlook on television showing something we as viewers have not necessarily seen before. With strong emotional and comedic performances Atlanta keeps you guessing with something new always around the corner. Atlanta is an absolute must watch for both drama and comedy fans. A fantastic show overall, give it a watch Paper-boi