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Photo: ‘Atlanta’

The time is here, and the wait for season three of Donald Glover’s brainchild, ‘Atlanta,’ has finally ended. This show is more than simply the average comedy or drama found on television today. It represents the very essence of life, and the struggle of being human. Particularly, the struggle of life for Black people, and their place in society. This is the primary representation pictured in ‘Atlanta,’ as the show is created by Donald Glover and his brother, Stephen Glover, who are both Black men. The show concerns itself with the societal issue of race, and while that is one of its most defining themes, it attempts to achieve more than to solely be a philosophical discussion about race in America.

Through the characters portrayed in the series, ‘Atlanta,’ the show considers the lives of ordinary people and the reality they face. It depicts drama, not for its dramatical theatricality, intending to draw the viewer in, but rather in order to show the reality of life and the drama that naturally exists within human interaction and relationships. The show’s sense of humor lies in this same sphere of naturality, allowing the viewers to determine for themselves what they find humorous within the comedic dynamics and dialogue that the writers create. ‘Atlanta,’ in its first two seasons and now with the beginning episodes of its third, has consistently proven that it is one of the best series on television to date.

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Why Did The Show Go on A Four-Year Hiatus?

With season two of the show ‘Atlanta,’ coming out in 2018, it has been more than four years since a new season has begun to be released weekly. Finally, the wait has ended and fans of the acclaimed series can rejoice, though it begs the question, why has it taken four long years for such a popular and successful show like ‘Atlanta,’ to finally be released? The answer is a multifaceted one. With the success of the series and the public and critical acknowledgment of the cast and those involved with the making of this cinematic wonder, the conflict between schedules and other side projects is one that has greatly affected the casts’ focus on this show. Creator, writer, director, and lead actor, Donald Glover, has been pulled in many directions with his growing list of accomplishments and the heightened public recognition for his incredible work.

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In 2019, the year after season two of ‘Atlanta’ had ended, he was “busy releasing his second album, writing and producing the musical film Guava Island, and voicing Simba in The Lion King remake. Glover’s complicated schedule and other priorities in his personal life, including injuries he was dealing with, further contributed to the Atlanta production delay.” When production was set to resume in 2020, the world was hit with the COVID Pandemic and all work and production on the show came to an immediate and sudden halt. Previously to this discontinuation of production, the CEO of FX, John Landgraf, announced that season three would premiere in January 2021. With the occurrence and widespread effect of the global pandemic, this target date for the show was made impossible. Although, reportedly during these two years under the full effect of the pandemic, creator and writer for the show, Donald Glover, was able to write both the third and fourth seasons for the series. Production for the show resumed in April 2021, and finally, almost a year after that date, the third season of ‘Atlanta,’ has just started to be released.

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A Series Fully Based in Black Representation 

The series ‘Atlanta’ defines itself through its representation. The entirety of the main cast and stars of the show are Black people. This is the intention of the show and its creator, Donald Glover. Being a Black man himself, and by using his talent and vision, Donald Glover has created a show that has become more than just about the sole on-screen representation of Black people. ‘Atlanta,’ has become a visual expression for those who in the past and for so long in America’s and the world’s history were negated, subjugated, oppressed, and silenced. Now, today, their on-screen depiction can be celebrated and is a prime example of how the existence of societal oppression is slowly beginning to change.

One of ‘Atlanta’s’ greatest strengths is giving a voice and platform to those who have been silenced in the past. That is a message that is at the heart of the show, and is something that is deeply reflected in the first episodes of the new season. With the first episode of season three being inspired by the actual real-life events of the Hart family murders, ‘Atlanta,’ pushes this thematical interpretation of reality by connecting it to its storyline in order to create a show that mirrors the tragedies and complexities of human existence. In the second episode of season three, which was released immediately following the first episode, the main characters are confronted by the blatant racism still practiced in European countries that celebrate Sinterklaas, and his helper in Black Face, Black Pete.

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The shocking truth of this tradition and the racism that lies at its heart, is that it is still practiced and a part of the cultural celebrations of certain countries in Europe, today. ‘Atlanta,’ uses this tie to reality and history, designed to expose this insidious racism that has been ingrained in the culture. By doing this, ‘Atlanta,’ ensures the education of ignorance, promoting and creating a public insight into race and culture through the eyes of the very people that it aims to represent.     

‘Atlanta’: Does It Live Up To The Greatness Of Its Previous Two Seasons?

With the beginning of the third season of ‘Atlanta,’ it is clear that this series shows no signs of diminishing in quality. It is in every sense of the word, excellent. While some episodes are more surrealist and experimental in nature, they do not draw away from the main message or the primary storyline and characters. If anything these exploratory parts, such as the first episode of season three, “Three Slaps,” which exists as a dream of the main character Earn, serves as more of a metaphysical interpretation of the show, highlighting its key points and themes in general. Episodes like these do not take away from the quality or focus of the show or its characters because they consistently retain the viewer’s interest, and always in some way relate back to the true intention of the series.

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The writing of the show as well as the acting is superb. The believability of the characters and their decisions is one that is never questioned. The dynamics and hijinx of the characters and their lives have an innate sense of hilarity. This is something that essentially ties back to the writing of the show, and its creator’s (Donald Glover’s) natural sense of comedy and his clear sense of the humor that life can have. ‘Atlanta’ in its third season only seems to be hitting its stride and it continues to improve with each episode that passes. If the first two episodes of season three are any indicator, this upcoming season will be the greatest one yet!

Directors: Hiro Murai, Donald Glover, Amy Seimetz, Janicza Bravo 

Cast: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz, Khris Davis, RJ Walker, Harold House Moore, Matthew Barnes, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Cranston Johnson, Griffin Freeman, Derrick Haywood, Brandon Hirsch, Diane Sellers

Producers: Stephen Glover, Donald Glover, Dianne McGunigle, Hiro Murai, Alex Orr, Paul Simms, Kaitlin Waldron, Tim Honiball, Stefani Robinson, Peter Oberth, Kazha Hornsby

Writers: Donald Glover, Jamal Olori, Stephen Glover, Ibra Ake, Taofik Kolade, Stefani Robinson, Fam Udeorji

Cinematographers: Christian Sprenger, Stephen Murphy

Editors: Isaac Hagy, Kyle Reiter, Ivan Victor

By Thomas Jacobs

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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Author

  • Thomas Jacobs is an avid writer, Cinema aficionado, and filmmaker. He graduated with Dean’s Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in Film and Digital Media. His passion is directly tied to the appreciation and creation of film and television, and this fact is reflected in his intent to be a writer for the acclaimed entertainment journal, The Hollywood Insider. His beliefs mirror the core goals and mission statement of The Hollywood Insider by sharing an admiration for quality entertainment as well as bolstering a sense of positivity and equality among all humans. Thomas believes that Cinema is an advantageous promoter of civil and social empowerment, and he shares a mutual societal view with  The Hollywood Insider, that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

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