Donald Glover has a lot to live up to entering season two of his FX dramedy “Atlanta,” titled “Atlanta Robbin’ Season.” The first season received critical acclaim and won Glover two Golden Globes (Best Comedy Series and Best TV Comedy Actor) and two Emmys (Best Comedy Actor and Best Comedy Directing for the episode “B.A.N.”). If that wasn’t enough he also won a Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Redbone” from his album “Awaken, My Love!” which was nominated for Album of the Year. Oh, and he’s also co-starring in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” as Lando Calrissian this summer. No pressure.
So does “Atlanta” avoid the sophomore slump in its return to FX on March 1? It does according to critics. The new season has scored 97 on MetaCritic based on 16 reviews. That’s well above the score of 90 for season one, though that was based on 36 reviews. The new episodes are “just as sharp and insightful and funny” as season one. It’s also “wonderful, surreal, hilarious.” Set during a period of heightened crime in the title city during the weeks leading up to Christmas, the second season “ably surfs the line between laughter and furious annoyance” in the face of racial inequality. It avoids the “trend of sophomore slumps for auteur-driven television shows.”
Time will tell if the show will be welcomed back just as warmly for awards later this year, but there is room to breathe with “Master of None” not returning with new episodes this season and reigning Best Comedy Series Emmy champ “Veep” on hold while star Julia Louis-Dreyfus has undergone cancer treatment. Crime doesn’t pay, but “Robbin’ Season” might pay off for Glover and company when the TV awards season kicks into gear.
Are you excited for the return of “Atlanta”? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more in our TV forums.
Melanie McFarland (Salon): “I can’t think of another show that finds a way to wring laughter and physical humor out of a character having a gun shoved in his face. Or that ably surfs the line between laughter and furious annoyance at witnessing a depressing truth about how having money doesn’t translate to better treatment for a black man.”
James Poniewozik (New York Times): “In ‘Atlanta Robbin’ Season,’ which begins Thursday on FX, the mystery begins with the title. Is this simply Season 2 of ‘Atlanta’? Is it an entirely new series? It is the same. And it is different. And that’s a wonderful, surreal, hilarious thing.”
Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture): “Created by and starring actor-writer-musician Donald Glover, this FX comedy about black strivers on the edges of Atlanta’s entertainment scene is a rare work that seemed fully formed right out of the gate … Few shows are as good at building to dizzying heights of weirdness without clueing you in that anything out of the ordinary is happening.”
Allison Keene (Collider): “The unhurried stories are just as sharp and insightful and funny … It’s clear that Glover knew what worked in Season 1, which already came out of the gate as a bold and confident series, and Season 2 is a continuation of that, bucking a trend of sophomore slumps for auteur-driven television shows.”