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The Problem with—and Promise of—Donald Glover’s “Atlanta”

Editor’s note: It is my privilege today to introduce you to Christina Nicole, our newest Reel Georgia team member. I’d safely describe Christina as a junkie—a film festival junkie—and a finely tuned barometer of what’s good. She’s got excellent taste, a fantastic demeanor and a clarion way with words. -CM

“Atlanta” is not a comedy, but it is still good.

I have to shoot straight from the hip with this review. I didn’t like “Atlanta” the way I wanted I to. To quote “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” “It was cool for what it was, but it wasn’t all that.”

I am a Donald Glover fan. I like Childish Gambino, too, but I didn’t like the show. “Atlanta” is subtle. It is almost too subtle. You have to pay attention to catch all the political and topical references. I appreciated the intellect displayed in the writing, but the show as a whole fell short for me.

The show is marketed as a comedy, but it wasn’t very funny. I barely chuckled. There don’t have to be back-to-back jokes or gimmicks to make a show funny, but I expect to laugh when I watch a comedy. “Atlanta” feels like a stoned intellectual’s attempt to mix “The Wire” and “8 Mile” with subtle humor.

The first episodes of any show are full of set up. I commend the writers for introducing these complex characters in ways that make me want to watch more of the series. Enough questions were answered during the episodes to make the stories feel complete, while leaving the audience wanting more.

I fully intend to watch more “Atlanta.” I like the writing to an extent. I’m interested to see how the season and characters develop. Is it a good show? It’s dubious but intriguing.


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