The Best Show On TV Right Now Is One You're (Probably) Not Watching

But you definitely should be.

Atlanta Teddy Perkins
FX

There's so much TV these days that it's impossible to keep up. The wealth of content on Netflix alone could keep a viewer satisfied for months, but add in the growing catalogues of Hulu and Amazon Prime, established cable giants like HBO and AMC, and the traditional networks like NBC and Fox, it's really quite insane, with around 500 scripted shows set to air over the course of 2018.

Within all of those, everyone has their favourite: the series you must watch, the best show on TV, the next big thing. And when everything is must watch, the best, and the next big thing, however, it tends to mean very little of it, if any, actually is. It's actually quite a freeing realisation when you accept that you can't possibly see everything and that is OK.

So with all that said... FX's Atlanta is absolutely must watch, the best show on TV, but probably not the next big thing, because not all that many people are watching it.

The brainchild of Donald Glover, and with the elevator pitch "Twin Peaks with rappers", the show is fascinatingly human, timely, weird, and utterly brilliant. The basic concept is that it follows Earn (Glover), a can't-do-right guy who, well, tries to do right as he navigates life in the titular city, and attempts to manage his cousin Alfred (who goes by the moniker Paper Boi)'s burgeoning rap career.

To an extent, that IS the show, especially in the first season which followed a slightly more straightforward narrative. It constantly played around with formula, but key elements like Paper Boi's career and Earn's relationship with Van (Zazie Beetz) were regularly at the forefront, and it worked fantastically well. The series tackled race, black culture, gender, and class in its own unique way - never preachy, never pandering, but just simply by presenting it as it is - and combined with its humour, pathos, and surrealism, it made for the beginning of something special.

That's now being better realised by Season 2, which is titled Atlanta Robbin' Season and offers more a series of vignettes about these characters and their lives, rather than a completely serialised story. And it's in this that it allows its characters and titular setting to truly shine.

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TV Editor
TV Editor

NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.

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