Now and then, a premiere of a TV show blows you away. FX's Atlanta, from the supremely talented Donald Glover, fits that criteria.
FX aired the first two episodes of the series back-to-back, and both were strong. Glover is the star and his well-known comedic timing is on full display from the get-go. He also wrote the first episode of the series with his brother Stephen penning "Streets On Lock".
Glover proves that his comedy doesn't have to be obvious -- like Community -- to be effective.
Atlanta centers on Glover's Earnest "Earn" Marks, an Atlanta native struggling to find a direction, his cousin Alfred (played brilliantly by Brian Tyree Henry) is about to blow up as the rapper Paper Boi and Alfred's sidekick Darius (Keith Stanfield is unreal). The first episode "The Big Bang" sets the scene and tone for the series incredibly well, with everyone in Earn's life questioning him, doubting him and, generally, not trusting him.
As a radio station employee, seeing Earn interact with the DJ was possibly my favorite scene of the entire first episode. Glover accomplishes something wonderful with this character and most of the characters in Atlanta's first two episodes: They feel like people you know. I've met guys like "Dave" and they are very real.
Possibly the stronger of the two episodes was "Streets On Lock". While trying very hard not to spoil anything, this is an episode where we see more about the world Earn and Paper Boi live in. We see Earn struggling with his lack of direction and we see Alfred aka Paper Boi struggle with his Atlanta fame. Being recognized picking up food, having kids imitate him, Alfred seems unsettle by all of this. Darius also shines in his brief moments this episode. While reading off headlines about Paper Boi, Darius delivers one of my favorite moments in the premiere.
FINAL RATING: 10/10 Darius Cookies
Atlanta is something different. It's something special. It is honest and real and hilarious all at once. It is cool without trying to be cool. Atlanta is exactly what it should be and it's incredible. Donald Glover hits another home run.