Review: Atlanta (Season 1, Episode 1)

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80%
80
Excellent

Laugh out loud jokes and a stellar cast make Atlanta a highly promising and exciting new show.

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From the opening moments of FX’s new Donald Glover-driven comedy Atlanta, there’s an undeniable feeling that this show is cool. I mean damn cool. Atlanta sprints out of the gates, dropping us right into the world of Earnest “Earn” Marks (Glover himself), a down-on-his-luck young man with family and financial problems to boot. Earnest soon discovers that his cousin, Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), has his life heading in quite the opposite direction, with his new mixtape quickly gaining traction and attention in the local community. Seeking to help his cousin and himself, Earnest makes a move to be Paper Boi’s manager in a bid to get into the music industry.

But what is it that makes Atlanta so damn cool? Well, there’s a number of reasons: the characters are given such well thought out dialogue and lingo, the actors control their scenes with charm and confidence, and the soundtrack is simply the definition of the word. Obviously, given his status as the show’s creator, Donald Glover has the luxury of being able to play to his strengths in both the writing of his character and of the overall show. And boy, does Glover deliver. Earn’s a tremendously quick-witted and likable lead, surrounded by strong performances from Brian Tyree Henry, Keith Stanfield (as Alfred’s right hand man Darius), Zazie Beetz (Vanessa, Earnest’s friend and mother of his daughter), Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Myra Lucretia Taylor (Earnest’s parents). But in regards to the writing, it’s the humour which really hits the mark. With an often dry and straight-laced delivery blending with the dynamism of the characters dishing it out, the wit and intelligence of Glover’s writing shines through, resulting in many a laugh out loud moment – including the best Flo Rida joke of the year.

The show’s premise may be set up in a rather ham-fisted way, seemingly a break in the flow of the episode when we really start to get into it, but regardless the episode is exactly what you would want out of a comedy pilot. Likable characters? Check. An exciting premise? Check. Hilarious humour? Double check. Atlanta‘s pilot isn’t an episode without its faults, but it is nonetheless a lively, vivacious and highly promising debut for the show.

Atlanta airs on FOX UK on Saturdays.

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The Edge's Film Editor 2017-2018, David has an unabashed love for all things Dave Grohl, Jack Black and Lord of the Rings. A compulsive liar who shouldn't be trusted, David once beat legendary actor David Hasselhoff in a hot dog eating contest and is best friends with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, they speak on the phone three times a week.

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