Donald Glover can do it all. Not only is he a well-established actor simultaneously dropping woke rap cuts under the name Childish Gambino, but he’s also the creator, writer and star of one of the best series on air right now: FX’s Atlanta. In the last few years, Glover has proven that talented, ambitious entertainers can tackle anything. This is America, after all.
Atlanta is one of the most critically acclaimed shows of the moment. The series follows Earn, a basically homeless Princeton dropout who manages the career of his cousin Alfred, an up-and-coming MC code-named Paper Boi. While his self-titled trap anthem is blowing up the Georgian streets, the rapper is trying to figure out how stardom fits into real life and street life.
Glover’s show is anything but conventional, never shying away from full-episode diversions bursting in originality. Its humor is deadpan but it ebbs and flows, blending zaniness with cutting commentary on race and class in America, while showing the difficulties of being broke and black in the south.
There’s only two seasons to catch up on so far. Here’s how you can watch Atlanta streaming online.
How to Watch Atlanta Online & Stream the Complete Series
Among the streaming services, Hulu has exclusive rights to Atlanta. Currently only the first season is available on Hulu’s website and app, but the Robbin’ season (Season 2) is on FX’s platforms and can be watched by signing in with your Hulu credentials. There are a couple different options when signing up:
Hulu: If you simply want Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, which includes the first season of Atlanta, you can sign up right here. It costs $7.99 per month for the limited commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the no commercials plan.
Hulu With Live TV: If you also want to be able to watch new Atlanta episodes when they air, or other live TV, “Hulu with Live TV” is the way to go. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
Once signed up for either of the above options, you can watch the first season of Atlanta on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
For the Robbin’ season (season 2), you can watch on your computer via the FX website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FXNOW app. To watch this way, you’ll need to sign in to a TV provider, but you can use your Hulu credentials to do that.
How to Buy & Stream Individual Atlanta Episodes & Seasons
If you would rather own the episodes but still want to have a digital library so you can watch on different devices, you can purchase either individual episodes or seasons and then watch via Amazon:
Once you’ve bought an episode or season, you can either watch on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app, which is free to download on Apple TV, Roku, Android phones and tablets, iPads and iPhones, Fire tablets, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Smart TV’s and more. You can also watch on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV stick without having to download the app.
Where to Buy Atlanta Seasons on DVD
Another option, if you prefer being able to watch episodes without being reliant on an internet connection, is to buy individual seasons or the entire series on DVD. Currently, just the first season is available on DVD.
NOTE: Spoilers to follow
How Many Atlanta Seasons Are There?
There are only two seasons of Atlanta so far, and its second just recently wrapped up on FX. You’ll have to get halfway through Season 2 in order to find out why everyone’s freaking out about that Teddy Perkins episode, though.
Atlanta Season 1
10 Episodes | September 2016 – November 2016
Season 1 introduces us to Earn and Paper Boi as the duo begin navigating the rough-and-tumble hip-hop world in the deep south. That’s really all one needs to know in terms of plot. The show is well known for its loose structure and creative freedom. Episodes play out like 30-minute shorts, a trend that continues throughout the rest of the series. In the early installments, Earn and Paper Boi get arrested in connection to a parking lot shootout, Earn struggles to get money for his daughter and acceptance from his baby mama, all while Darius, a stoic and savvy stoner, provides comic relief. Earn freaks when he loses his bomber jacket after a night of partying. He desperately tracks it down because in its pocket is the key to a storage facility space he’s living in. This show can be incredibly witty and weird, but it can also get pretty bleak.
Atlanta Season 2: Robbin’ Season
11 Episodes | March 2018 – May 2018
Season 2 is subtitled “Robbin’ Season” after an actual time period around the holidays in which robberies rampantly increase in the city. Fear and uncertainty are common themes of the season, as Earn spends his time defusing his uncle’s domestic disturbance, dealing with racism when he actually has money to drop, and breaking up with Vanessa at a German festival. Paper Boi continues to struggle, trying to find his own happiness without compromising his street cred. And then there’s that Teddy Perkins episode…
What Are the Best Atlanta Episodes?
With its non-narrative structure, Atlanta is able to play with different tones and styles with each episode. This freedom from convention allows for a completely unpredictable dramedy that neither repeats itself nor settles down from week to week. Prepare to expect the unexpected.
Here’s a list of the best Atlanta episodes:
Season 2, Episode 6: “Teddy Perkins”
Darius answers an ad for a free piano and winds up at a mansion owned by a pale, maybe-murderous man named Theodore “Teddy” Perkins (played by Glover in prosthetic whiteface). These 35 minutes are bizarre af, unraveling like a feature-length film full of terrifying twists and turns. It’s got the eerie racism of Get Out, the sibling rivalry of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and is splattered with real-life elements of the Jackson family history. It’s a prime example of the far out detours that Atlanta isn’t afraid to make, and it’ll forever be one of the most talked about episodes ever. Simply put, it’s remarkable television.
Season 1, Episode 5: “Nobody Beats the Biebs”
Paper Boi and Earn hit up a charity basketball event where Justin Bieber’s obnoxious behavior rubs Paper Boi the wrong way. The show casted a black actor (Austin Crute) to play the obnoxious Canadian. This race swap forces us to view the Biebs with a different lens, not so subtlety pointing out the singer’s white privilege in how the public perceives him. Comparing himself to this other “black” musician, Paper Boi still resents the fact that Bieber is seemingly immune from judgement, when he’s always lambasted for his actions. Meanwhile, Earn seeks status in the management world and gets a strange intro to the big leagues after being mistaken for a former colleague of a hot shot agent.
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Club”
NBA star Marcus Miles is in the same club as Paper Boi, reducing his VIP status to nearly zero as the basketballer swipes all the drinks, women and fame. The club promoter tries to screw Earn out of Paper Boi’s appearance fee, causing Paper Boi to shake him down in order to get paid. A shooting happens outside the club which police try to pin on Alfred due to his “armed robbery” arrest earlier in the season. It never gets easy for these two.
Season 2, Episode 3: “Money Bag Shawty”
After establishing the hardships of being black and broke in America, Atlanta flipped the script. After Paper Boi’s single goes Gold thanks to a condemning angry white mother, Earn comes into some money and decides to take Vanessa out for a night on the town. As it turns out, being black with money is just as hard, as the two experience three separate bouts of racism, one of which accuses Earn of trying to use a counterfeit $100 bill. His pride shaken, Earn goes for broke (no pun intended) and challenges Michael Vick to a footrace.
Season 2, Episode 5: “Barbershop”
Alfred goes to his local barbershop to get his hair cut ahead of a magazine photoshoot and his day turns into a living nightmare thanks his inept barber Bibby. He gets dragged to Bibby’s girlfriend’s house, gets wrapped into illegally stealing lumber, and becomes part of a hit and run. It’s an episode that is equally infuriating as it is funny.
Who Are the Actors in the Atlanta Cast?
The cast nicely complements each other and the show’s surrealism.
Earn is equal parts cynical and intelligent, though he’s sometimes over his head when it comes to managing his cousin Alfred’s rap career. Glover wrote the role for himself after appearing in smaller roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Martian. He’s also well known as Troy from Community and for his own rap career under the name Childish Gambino.
Paper Boi is an up-and-coming rapper whose eponymous single starts tearing up the charts. He begins questioning his own identity and trying to figure out how to separate fame from reality. As his star status rises, he wonders whether Earn is the right person to manage his career. Henry has had stints on shows like Boardwalk Empire, How to Get Away with Murder and This Is Us.
Darius is Alfred’s friend and roommate. He refuses to let stress control his life, often beating to his own drummer. While he has an unusual humor, he’s actually quite smart. Stanfield has starred in some fantastic films including Short Term 12, Selma, Dope, and even portrayed Snoop in 2015’s Straight Outta Compton.
Vanessa is the mother of Earn’s daughter, Lottie. She’s a former teacher who often lets Earn freeload at her apartment despite the two’s on-again, off-again relationship. Beetz can be seen this summer as Domino in Deadpool 2.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Atlanta?
With a show centering around the music industry, we can only expect more big name guest stars as the show moves forward. Here are some of the best so far.
Michael Vick as Himself
The ex-NFL quarterback can be seen outside the club in “Money Bag Shawty” challenging party people to foot races.
Migos (Quavo, Offset and Takeoff) as Themselves
The real-life hip-hop trio from Georgia appear as Alfred’s drug suppliers, showing that despite his fame, Paper Boi is still working his street game. It’s a comedic cameo at first that turns ice cold once Quavo blows away a poor, sobbing sucker.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Atlanta?
This may be Glover’s baby, but he’s had serious help from younger brother, Stephen, among others.
Donald Glover: Atlanta Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director and Star
The soon-to-be Solo: A Star Wars Story actor is the architect behind Atlanta‘s design. Glover fuses cutting social commentary with surrealist comedy, with help from an all black writer’s room, a rarity in television. All of this while managing his own rap career. (Gotta respect that hustle.)
Stephen Glover: Atlanta Writer and Producer
Stephen was previously a songwriter before older brother Donald tapped him to write for Atlanta, Stephen’s first professional TV writing gig. Stephen wrote such episodes as “Sportin’ Waves,” “Nobody Beats the Biebs,” and “Go for Broke.”
Hiro Murai: Atlanta Director
Murai has previous experience working with Donald Glover, having directed videos for Childish Gambino’s “3005,” “Sweatpants,” “Telegraph Ave,” “Sober,” and the latest internet destroyer, “This is America.” Aside from Atlanta, Murai has also directed episodes for shows like Legion and Bill Hader’s Barry.
Where Atlanta Ranks in the Television Pantheon
In our current era where Black Lives Matter, yet the civil rights of many Americans still hangs in the balance, a show like Atlanta has never been more relevant or necessary. Post #OscarsSoWhite, the entertainment industry has made some strides on showing that representation matters, but we still have a long way to go. Atlanta, with its all black cast and writing team, is a step in the right direction.
The show was nominated for five Emmys for its first season, with Glover winning for Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. Critics rave about the show, so much so that you’d be hard pressed to find anything negative written about it among a sea of critical online opinion (…seriously, though).
Atlanta is doing what no other show dares to, yes, in putting racial issues front and center, but also with its non-linear style and surrealist nature. (Is it comedy or drama? Are these episodes meant to be separate shorts loosely strung together?) The show raises socially conscious questions yet doesn’t weigh itself down with an obligation to answer them, whether about blackness in America, its unpredictable narrative (often compared to Louis CK’s Louie), or hell, even with regard to the freakish Teddy Perkins. Atlanta holds a mirror up to society, as all great art should, showing us characters who are hustling to make their money and the desperation that sometimes comes along with that. By marrying reality with absurdity, the show remains one of the most entertaining—yet at times, puzzling—stories currently being told on television.