Season 2 of Atlanta is one of the best seasons of a TV show I’ve ever watched, and no one talks about its greatness. This isn’t something I say lightly. I rewatch The Sopranos once a year, and I loved The Wire, but something about Season 2 of Atlanta just felt different.
If you aren’t familiar with Atlanta, it’s the brainchild of Donald Glover. Some of you may know him from Community and some of you may know him as “Childish Gambino,” but either way, Atlanta is his finest work. Atlanta follows Glover as Earnest “Earn” Marks, his cousin Alfred or “Paper Boi” (Brian Tyree Henry), and Darius, played brilliantly by the genius Lakeith Stanfield. Earn attempts to get his cousin into the spotlight and paid as an up and coming rapper.
Season 2 starts out super strong. In the first episode entitled, “Florida Man,” Katt Williams makes a fantastic guest appearance as Earn’s Uncle Willy, who keeps a pet alligator in his kitchen that he named “Coach.”
The highlights of Season 2 are definitely Episodes 4 and 5, “Barbershop” and “Teddy Perkins.” “Barbershop” takes place during one afternoon as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles attempts to get a haircut from his regular barber”Bibby,” but things don’t go as planned as Bibby takes “Paper Boi” on a spree of unfortunate events. “Teddy Perkins” feels like Get Out. It’s creepy and haunting, and I’ve never seen anything like it on TV. Stevie Wonder provides the soundtrack to this episode that feels like a subtle jab at overbearing fathers like Earl Woods, Richard Williams, and Joe Jackson. Lakeith Stanfield should be one of the biggest stars on the planet. He carries this episode with the way he genuinely is interested in the story that Teddy, played by Donald Glover in white face, is telling. It sucks you in and and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I was told by a friend on Twitter that when the episode originally aired on FX it was broadcast uninterrupted, and I have to imagine that made it feel like a theatrical release.
While The Sopranos simplifies the mafia down to the normal everyday life of a family man, Atlanta gives you a peak inside of what it’s like to be a person of color in Atlanta just trying to make it.
Season 3 starts on March 25th. If you haven’t seen Season 2, I highly recommend you check it out, or, if you’ve never seen the show at all, it’s a fantastic watch.