Unlike HBO’s Vinyl, which was canceled after one season, and The Get Down, a $120 million gamble from Netflix that isn’t paying off, Atlanta is a music-heavy show that’s also a hit. According to FX, Donald Glover’s deadpan comedy about two cousins trying to make it in the rap scene — I still have Paper Boi’s song in my head — “scored the best audience of any basic cable primetime scripted comedy in over three years in the key 18-49 demographic. On a Live+3 basis, the total audience delivery for the series premiere telecast and encore airings was 3 million Total Viewers and 1.9 million Adults 18-49.”
The premiere was also the most-watched debut, in both Adults 18-49 and Total Viewers, for any FX comedy since Wilfred in 2011, and the second episode impressively held on to 90% of its audience. That’s a lot of words and numbers to say one simple thing: Atlanta is really popular. And really good. (FX also boasts that the show is Metacritic’s best reviewed comedy of the year.)
I can think of three reasons why this is:
1) Vinyl and The Get Down were set in the stale past, but Atlanta feels vital. It’s a show that could only be made in this moment in time.
2) People really like Donald Glover.
3) People really like Darius and/or cookies.
It’s that last reason most of all.