Atlanta

S1 – 9.5/10 / S2 – 8.2/10

Atlanta follows Earnest “Earn” Marks (Donald Glover) & his cousin Alfred as they try to make it in the_ATL_hip-hop_scene.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Best Episodes: 1. Streets On Lock, 2. Nobody Beats The Biebs, 3. The Streisand Effect, 4. Juneteenth, 5. Money Bag Shawty, 6. The Big Bang, 7. Sportin Waves, 8. Teddy Perkins, 9. Woods, 10. The Club

S1 – 9.5/10

Atlanta was a bit of a sleeper show when it was announced, a must-watch for fans of Donald Glover, better known as rapper Childish Gambino, but not much else was clear other than that or to the mass appeal of the show beyond musicians and rap fans in Atlanta. However, when the reviews started to come out and it was getting things like a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, the hype started building up, and for good reason: Atlanta is a hilarious, different take on television from the unique artistic mind of Glover, who created the series, exec produces, and stars in it, a crazy combination that, in addition to his well-off musical career, showcases his talent in the arts.

The comedic aspect of the show just works on so many levels. You have satire of the Atlanta rap scene, race relationships, the come-up, and other common everyday struggles, all thrown together but eliciting many laughs every episode. Earn is hilarious in his own right, skillfully acted and portrayed by Glover to be the prototypical poor-dude-trying-to-make-it-as-a-rapper, but Brian Tyree Henry as Glover’s eccentric and sassy rapper cousin Alfred/Paper Boi makes the show in my opinion. He just gets so mad about everything and has exceptionally-written one-liners that always hit the comedic mark and establish a great tone for the show.

Besides the comedic aspect, the show also has other great things to offer. For one, the music is amazing. It’s not just hard ATL modern mumble-rap like one might think but also working in different kinds of rap and R&B and even classics like Outkast as well as jazz, in a way that just feels natural and flowing in the show, not forced. Also, the writing and acting are once again amazing, especially in the title characters but also even in supporting characters like Darius and Van and cameos in a character dynamic that just feels extremely life-like.

Finally, the social commentary on race, society, fate and other existential topics is thought-provoking and makes the show deeper and richer than just a comedy for laughs. Really wish the season was longer, as with only 10-episodes of ~20-minutes each the story is kind of bare and short, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed in Season 2.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

S2 – 8.2/10

Positives: Crazy opening sequence, same great music of all genres but focused in hip-hop, great cinematography with artistically set up shots even in the urban and city environments, phenomenal acting by Donald Glover and the rest of the crew especially Darius who’s too funny and hipster and given a much bigger role this season as well as Van is, slow start and hugely inconsistent but gets its legs into the 2nd episode and its good episodes are all-time great like eps 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10, crazy fun gags like the college episode, wildly creative and out-of-the-box going in the direction to make each episode a completely different story basically that just keeps the same characters ranging from comedy to serious relationship drama to even pseudo-horror/tension-filled eps like Ep. 6, great new characters introduced like Randy who’s hilarious with his waves and phenomenal guest appearances like with Katt Williams, Michael Vick’s cameo, and Teddy, much wider range of storytelling techniques and styles of episodes each one being vastly different and in some cases different genres entirely from horror like terry to comedy  like usual to adventure like the woods, explores some serious themes like family ties, bullying, the music industry, etc., cool easter eggs like earn walking past people doing the job he quit at the airport effectively creating another earn, great finale and final stretch of episodes that seems to resolve some of the tension but still leaves a bucnh of questions unanswered and doesn’t correct the dark tone for a comedy

Negatives: huge inconsistency – have all-time great episodes like eps 2, 3, and 6, but head-scratching ones like eps 1 and 5 and just plain awful ones like ep 4 as well. Way less consistent than season 1 where every episode was high-quality – perhaps the idea of each episode being different is going too far with them, weird ugly grey tint in the cinematography that parallels the bizarre cold serious tone which for a comedy is a big problem, doesn’t explain why al and darius were fighting, a lotttt of drama and tension for a comedy,

Overall Rating: 8.2/10