The Atlanta music scene is internationally famous, and with good reason. ATL has spawned such acts as Ludacris, Rae Sremmurd and OutKast. And now there’s a new kid in town – Earnest “Earn” Marks, who returns home just as his cousin, Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles, is about to crack the game.
Community star Donald Glover stars as Earn in the Golden Globe-winning Atlanta, a series that deftly combines comedy, drama and music into a TV show that is unlike anything you've seen before.
Here's five reasons you'll quickly fall for Atlanta:
It’s “Twin Peaks with rappers”
That doesn’t mean there’s a dead girl wrapped in plastic or a lady with a strange attachment to a log. The mood of Atlanta swings between hyperreal and surreal, exploring the grey areas of life in a situation that will be unfamiliar to most Aussie viewers – the African-American experience of life in a major US city. “The weirdness of the situation should speak to you at the end of the day,” series star Donald Glover told NPR when the show debuted in America. “That’s what makes me stick around, is something that’s going to capture the weird – the funniness.”
It’s also really funny
Don’t expect a Community type of comedy here – Atlanta is funny in the way all serious shows are, with a mordant and left-field sense of humour that kids on the square about real-life issues as much as it delivers toilet jokes. Darius, Paper Boi’s off-sider and drug dealer, is the immediate source of laugh lines, but there’s plenty of comedy to leaven the drama.
The music is cool as
Instead of having a traditional theme tune, each episode of Atlanta showcases the work of some cool performer in both its opening and closing songs. So even if you’re feeling shamefully clueless about what’s going on down there on the streets of Georgia, you can point Shazam at the TV and get informed. (It’s not all new music – Funkadelic and Bill Withers get a guernsey).
Childish Gambino himself, the man who first wormed his way into our hearts as Troy on Community, leads the cast here. As usual, he’s charming and talented as Earn, a Princeton drop-out who is trying to build a name for himself while living back with his parents (and occasionally the mother of his baby). He also created the show, plus he writes and directs parts of it, so it’s quality all the way down.
It’s real, authentic and drawn from life
Donald Glover grew up in Atlanta, so he knows these streets like the B-side of Because the Internet (yeah, I know – digital downloads don’t have B-sides any more than CDs do). That makes this the kind of personal, lovingly crafted project that comes from the heart, built as it was over the course of three years. “Television shows are like novels. You just got to invest in them,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “The tone of this, it’s going to take people time to figure out what's going on, which I think is a good thing.”
Atlanta debuts soon on SBS VICELAND.