Donald Glover is back on TV. He left NBC’s Community after four and a half seasons to pursue his Childish Gambino project, and though that’s still thriving with the debut of new music at his recent three-day event PHAROS over Labor Day weekend, he returned to the tube last night with FX’s Atlanta. Glover grew up in the nearby Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain and has been influenced by the many different scenes that have arisen out of the Southern cultural hub. That experiences informs his new series, but maybe not like you’d think.
Glover describes the show as “Twin Peaks with rappers,” and though that may seem like a lofty or cocky description, it surprisingly shares some similarities in a weird way — especially when you consider Glover’s mission statement for the show: “The thesis with the show was kind of to show people how it felt to be black… It’s very easy for white people to know [about black culture] because there’s Vine,” he said at a TCA press event. “[The] Nay Nay [dance] came out and then your grandma’s doing it two days later.” Viral cultural exports like that exist in the periphery of Atlanta, but it mostly focuses on normal people trying to get by, exploring surreal elements in daily life with the help of Hiro Murai, Glover’s longtime Childish Gambino video director.
The first two episodes aired last night, and they were excellent if I may say so. Today, FX uploaded the pilot episode to their YouTube account. Watch it below.