“Atlanta,” on Hulu FX, is a show that is surreal and real at the same time. If you watch the show you know what I mean. Created by Donald Glover, also known as
Childish Gambino, the show touches on issues people of color face in modern day America and the world, in an exaggerated way that could sometimes be funny or sad.
The show in the first two seasons focuses on the main four protagonists, Earn (played by Donald Glover), Alfred/Paper Boi (played by Brian Tyree Henry),
Darius (played by LaKeith Stanfield) and Vanessa (played by Zazie Beetz). While the third and fourth seasons continued this focus, it also included other anthology-like episodes. This was genius because many shows have problems when doing this.
The cinematography done by Hiro Murai makes every episode seem like a short film. The improvement in his work is seen throughout the entire show and the
final season really shows it. Murai’s visual manipulation of the camera is very poetic, the emotions that he conveys to the viewers with the visuals. Atlanta excels at presenting real issues in a way that is funny but serious. In the first and second season, the show focused on the grind of entering the music industry and the issues within it. In that progress, you see Earn’s desperation to make money by any means necessary. Whereas in the third and fourth season, we see the protagonists confront themselves and question what they really want.
One of the aspects that stand out, other than the stunning visuals, is the soundtrack, which is made up of original music from Childish Gambino and Atlanta-based artists. Many fans are hoping that there would be an official soundtrack released for the show but Gambino remains silent on that. Darius has to be the best character in the entire show because his personality and perception is unlike any other character. He seems to understand the world that he’s in and when he explains it to the other cast members they just think of it as “Darius is saying some weird shit again.” He’s more aware than others in the show.
In a later episode, Liam Neson shows up at a bar in Amsterdam talking to Alfred about how the internet reacted after he made racist comments on live television. Alfred asks him, “But you learned right?” and Nelson responds with, “The best part about being White, is that you don’t have to learn anything if you don’t want to.” It’s scenes like that throughout the show that leaves you thinking about these issues relating to White privilege.
In how they executed storytelling, Atlanta is one of those series that other shows will try to copy, which is good and also bad because major studios will try to
milk it to the point it becomes a cliche. I recommend this show to people who appreciate good TV. All seasons are available or streaming on Hulu.