The Best And Worst Shows On TV In 2016

8 of 21

Guy D’Alema/FX

4. Atlanta

If you didn’t watch Donald Glover’s Atlanta this fall, I must insist that you do so right this second. You won’t be disappointed. I absolutely guarantee it. Set in, well, Atlanta, Glover plays Earnest “Earn” Marks, an aspiring rap producer trying to get his only client and cousin, Paper Boi, discovered. Paper Boi is played by Bryan Tyree Henry, and he delivers one of the strongest performances of the season. Somebody give this man an Emmy nom.

Atlanta has the feel and grit of any cinematic effort, but it’s sneakily funny and heartfelt. It is, by far, one of the most surprising shows of the season, offering a very nuanced look at a city that grapples with dueling identities. I watched Atlanta with a sense of hometown pride (even though I live a little outside of Atlanta proper), feeling so enthused that this city was finally being treated with the respect and honesty it deserves.

This doesn’t mean that Glover pulled any punches or that Atlanta is a love letter to this city. Not at all. This show is a brilliant and frank look at the black experience, and it’s this sincerity that is so endearing about it. Sometimes it’s hard to watch, but Glover is adept at balancing just the right amount of dry humor with his, sometimes heavy, narrative.