Atlanta became required appointment television when it debuted in September 2016. Since then, the show has also transformed into one of the most celebrated and talked-about shows in recent memory, leaving viewers with plenty to say week after week. The past three seasons gave us so much to discuss, question, and laugh about, as we learned more about Earn (Donald Glover), Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), and Van (Zazie Beetz.) The story started off with Earn beginning to manage his cousin Al’s rap career after dropping out of Princeton, and the experiences and situations they all find themselves in as they try to make it in the music industry.
But those who watch the FX hit series know that Atlanta is more than just its basic storyline—it also provides social commentary, humor, and necessary history lessons. Donald and his team, including his brother Stephen Glover, writer and producer Stefani Robinson, directors like the talented Hiro Murai, and the cast have created a world within and outside of Atlanta, Georgia that is unlike anything TV fans have ever seen before. The episodes are often drenched in surrealism and leave you guessing between what is real and what isn’t, what’s a dream and what is actually happening. Many of the stories they have told in the past three seasons also bury themselves in your mind long after you turn off your TV. Episodes like “Teddy Perkins” and “Tarrare” were just two of the most WTF moments in the show’s history, and are likely to haunt you forever.
Atlanta has successfully utilized its characters, its guest appearances, and the topics they cover to make fans question society and the world in which these characters and we, as viewers, exist, making it one of the most impactful series of this generation. Whether its racism, reparations, the Black experience, the dangers of fame, or therapy, there is an Atlanta episode inspired by it. Check out our ranking of Atlanta’s best episodes so far. These are subject to change as Season 4 continues and as we near the series finale coming later this year.