REVIEW: Atlanta S2E1 is nothing new–– and that’s a good thing.

Atlanta S2E1 is nothing new–– and that’s a good thing… for now at least. This is a first impressions review of the Atlanta S2 premiere.

A few minutes ago, I finished watching Atlanta’s first episode of its second season. What I thought about it? Well, it wasn’t shockingly bad or shockingly good, it’s what you’d expect, but let’s talk about it anyways.

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Atlanta is an FX original series created by Donald Glover (AKA “Childish Gambino”) and directed by Donald Glover and Hiro Murai (mostly.) The first season was critically beloved pulling in not just a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes but also a 90 on Metascore, which is a remarkable score. Beyond that, it has grown a strong fan base and has helped the careers of its actors. For example, the hilarious Lakeith Steinfield (who plays the bizarre Darius) has since starred in the hit horror flick Get Out. Donald Glover has gone on to achieve his dream role as “blue-lookin’ Egyptian motherfucker” in “Awaken, My Love!”

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I thought the first season of Atlanta was a light 8/10, so definitely above-average with its weak spots. I may be a little harsher than what most people think of the show, though, as a lot of our other contributors to this blog have hailed it as near-perfection. It is one of Jon Huskin’s favorite TV shows.

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ATLANTA — Pictured: (l-r) Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks, Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

Alright, but now for the important shit: how was this first episode?

I liked it. I think it was a weird jumping off point for the series, as it portrays a fairly simple plotline with very few characters. This is an unusual approach for the first episode of a season. Usually, they would want to set up the stakes of the season, build the characters to completion, and start constructing the overall arc of the characters. Of course, this episode did all of that, but the main plotline was focused on Earn’s uncle and aunt in a predicament with the cops… what? Paperboi was only in a few scenes! Get me my boy Paperboi back in the fuckin’ show! As usual, though, the show delivers on its humor that seldom gets in-your-face. You got Darius making some snacks, Earn keeping his humble and refined sense of humor, and Paperboi smoking weed on his couch. Unfortunately… no Van in this one. That was disappointing.

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ATLANTA — “Sportin’ Waves” — Season Two, Episode 2 (Airs Wednesday, March 8, 10:00 p.m. e/p) Pictured: Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Guy D’Alema/FX

That said, there are a few glaring differences, the first of which is the budget. The budget on this one, just telling from this opening episode, is so much bigger than the first season. This isn’t a bad thing. Obviously, the executives saw the overwhelming critical success of the first season and decided that it would probably benefit them to let the filmmakers have more money for their project. You can see the budget increase with the riveting cold open and with the… how should I put this without spoiling stuff… the animal towards the end. Yeah, that was pretty damn funny. Another hilarious bit was the genius “Florida Man” segment. What a good idea. There is one bad difference about this episode (compared to the first season) though, and that is the obvious product placements and sponsorships. You’ve got Earn unnaturally eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos so the bag’s logo is positioned directly towards the camera. In this scene, there’s this unpleasantly unnatural conversation about “what flavor is a Flamin’ Hot® Cheeto?! Oh, well it sure tastes spicy!!!” Man, stop.

Sure, there are some bad parts, but for the most part, I am very excited to see where they take this season. Fans of the first season will NOT be disappointed. Already it has its perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and a mind-blowing 97 on Metacritic, but for now, I’m going to give this episode a light 8/10.

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-Jackson

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