The best. We are all looking for it. Whether it’s sports, media, music or food, we all strive for the best things. The culture is built on this craze for comparisons, Michael Jordan v Lebron, Top 5 rappers of all time, Versus battles, our culture is even built on moms making the best food. But the best on TV? Well, who knows. You have your sopranos, your offices, even your friends, but nobody really has that one, that show that you can say is definitely the best. In November 2020, Donald Glover took to Twitter to say that the third and fourth seasons of Atlanta (the latter will conclude the series) are “some of the best TV shows ever made” and “the only Sopranos that can tell us anything.” to touch”. As the show comes to an end on November 10, I’d like to show everyone why: Atlanta is better than the Sopranos. But more importantly, why Atlanta is the greatest show in television history.
The TV shows and movies have not represented black culture or real culture itself in one way or another. Most sitcoms repeat the same jokes, talk about the same things, and have the same endings, but Atlanta? Atlanta is different. Atlanta is best described by a line from Donald Glover when he hosted SNL describing himself “Most people like to call me a triple threat, but I like to think of myself…just a threat.” I say this because this show embodies, portrays and stylizes a huge range of things in 4 seasons. Comedy, drama, surrealism, thriller, action, this show is it all. It focuses on feeling black in America, black culture, and life in America without electricity. Atlanta somehow has commentary and opinions on almost everything, but never stops to preach. That’s the thing about Atlanta, it won’t bombard you with details, it’ll show you what you need to know, what you need to see, and then the episode ends leaving you thinking about what it all really means. Glover has a knack for it, his music video for “This Is America” blew up because he showed what he felt, and how he felt and didn’t explain it. It was up to us as viewers to interpret what we saw and felt, and that goes for Atlanta as well.
Season 1 of a show is the starting point, shows like The Office, Bojack Horseman and The Wire only get better after that starting point. This first season sets the ground rules for the show, the solid foundation underlying the rest of the show, but Atlanta is different. This first season, with its first episode, shows you exactly what it’s all about. Season 1 tells the story of Earnest “Earn” Marks (Donald Glover), intermittently homeless and struggling to make ends meet, he becomes the manager of his cousin Alfred Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), better known as his rap alias Paper Boi. Earn’s on-and-off relationship with the mother of his child, Vanessa “Van” Keefer (Zazie Beetz), is explored, and Darius Rucker (LaKeith Stanfield), Alfred Miles’ psychedelic right-hand man and housemate, helps explore the weirder side. of the Atlanta world. With no episodes exceeding 25 minutes, they often feel more like shorts than your typical TV episode. From police brutality, social media, racism, sexism and homophobia, there is nothing Atlanta avoids. This harsh realism is mixed with surreal comedy and a cinematic shooting style.
My favorite episode of season 1 is tied with episode 10 “The Jacket”. The Jacket, on the other hand, shows a beautiful staging and the feeling of pure panic that sets in. Earn wakes up in a strange house, the site of which was an out-of-control party the night before, but his only concern right now is finding his jacket missing and something valuable that was in a pocket. An unconventionally beautiful Atlanta is the backdrop for this episode, with the sun changing the color and light of the neighborhood’s many streets. The whole episode has him running around Atlanta looking for that jacket, his life turning into panic-inducing nightmares. Season 1 is an incredible start, delving into the realistic yet bizarre world of Atlanta.
Season 2, aptly named “Robbin’ Season”, is where things seem to focus on that panic situation our four main characters always seem to fall into. We delve deeper into the larger world that is “Atlanta” with thoroughly bizarre introspective episodes that show us that Glover wants us to feel what he feels: fear.
Episode 1, “Alligator Man” shows us a Florida man in a short scene, the Florida man who is causing all the headlines being a mythically destructive man who does whatever he wants. The world outside of Atlanta is scary, but what’s scary isn’t that Florida Man is the human manifestation of some of the most bizarre news headlines in the state’s recent history, it’s scary because it’s more of a mental thing than a physical one. You don’t see Florida Man, not his face at least, and our main characters don’t either, but that’s the thought. The idea that one man could do all these horrible things in both the Atlanta world and our world is what makes it scary.
The 3rd season takes place in Europe, with the characters in full European tour. European cities featured throughout the season include Amsterdam, London and Paris. The season also explores events taking place in America outside of the main characters in several standalone episodes with a vignette format. Fans and critics have speculated that these episodes are depictions of Earn’s dreams. These episodes take place in Atlanta and New York. The 3rd season delves into the world of Atlanta instead of the characters, and how we perceive the experiences and lives of others.
Atlanta Season 4 was sadly the last season of this amazing show and I refuse to spoil even an ounce of any episode. This show is personal to me, it helped me a lot and made me better both mentally and emotionally. Sharing my feelings towards this amazing show is something I’ve been doing for a while, but showing that it’s the greatest TV show of all time is right in its first episode. He’s not trying to make you laugh or understand or even think to any degree, he just wants you to see and listen because that’s all you have to do. Shameless, no drama or particular tone, amazing writing, acting, directing, directing, everything about this show is amazing. You connect with the characters and the story, and you feel something when you start seeing the world through a deranged mirror version of itself called Atlanta.