Why Atlanta is the Best Show Out Right Now by Ismael Bustelo
Atlanta is a comedic drama starring Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz airing on FX and Hulu. The show features various characters struggling to come up in the city that they reside in. While at first glance the premise may seem ordinary, the show executes these stories in a way that is anyway but. Since the pilot the show has been full of surrealism as a way to intrigue the audience as well as add a layer of complexity to otherwise grounded storytelling. However in the new season the writers and directors have doubled down on many of these aspects and succeed in rewarding the audience for being invested in the stories told by the end of each episode. The writing succeeds in subverting expectations but still ensuring the audience is satisfied with the pay off. While most of the conflicts in individual episodes may not be solved by the end, they highlight the issues that led to the conflict in the first place, a common thread that guides this season's storytelling.
The show consistently hits the audience with uncomfortable topics on race, inequality and class and how they relate to the individuals. The new season features a new format with an array of standalone episodes that don’t tie in to the main plot or feature any of the protagonists. These episodes are structured and given the same attention as a short film. The mix between surrealism and satire make the standalone episodes feel like excerpts straight from a horror movie. The first episode of season three is based on a true account and tackles the very hard-to-grasp and horrifying Hart family story. In real life the Hart family adopted multiple black children in order to get money from the state, and when it was revealed they were abusing the children they drove off of a bridge. In the show the children survive and find peace instead of the tragedy their real life counterparts faced. The show does so in a way that honors the victims but is still able to satirize and dive deeper into the larger implications that case has on the state of America today.
A handful of episodes feature cameos from big names such as Liam Neeson and Chet Hanks who in a way satirize themselves by playing an exaggerated version of their own personalities and flaws. In both cases their appearances seem much more introspective and in some cases as a way to atone for their shortcomings. Yet above all else the part of the show that is most inspiring is its ability to take risks.
Donald Glover, creator of the show and one of the main cast, frequently states in interviews how he believes that the problems with most TV today are the writers inability to take risks in fear of getting their show canceled. In an age of art being so commercialized and taken advantage of Atlanta stands boldly above the rest. It seems that this is one of the many reasons why Atlanta is so well regarded as the best show on television and consistently lives up to those high expectations.