Credit: FX

Review: Donald Glover does something very different—and very good—in 'Atlanta'

'Community' alum goes more serious and artful with FX series about hip-hop

"The thesis with the show was kind of to show people how it felt to be black, and you can’t really write that down. You kind of have to feel it."

This was Donald Glover a few weeks ago at the TCA press tour, trying to explain his new FX series Atlanta, which he created in addition to playing the lead role. It's not the sentiment you'd expect to hear from Glover if you're a fan of his role as weepy jock-turned-nerd Troy Barnes on Community, or his role as the astrodynamics nerd who saves the day in The Martian, or even his side job as rapper Childish Gambino. It's not just that Glover's onscreen persona (both on Community and in his time with the Derrick Comedy troupe) is of the black guy to whom white people can easily relate — who makes and gets the same references we do, and whose allusions to black culture can be perceived as having air quotes around them. (The Childish Gambino moniker, after all, came from an online Wu-Tang Clan name generator.) It's that, whether as an actor or writer (he was on staff for at 30 Rock for a bit), Glover is known not only for comedy, but an unapologetically silly and overt brand of it. A show about how it feels to be black, that's conveyed more in the feeling of it than what anybody says or jokes about — and add Atlanta to the list of recent half-hour series that are only sometimes interested in behaving like a comedy — isn't what most people would have assumed Glover's first post-Community series would be.

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<p>Atlanta, Westworld, Luke Cage, The Good Place, Pitch</p>

Atlanta, Westworld, Luke Cage, The Good Place, Pitch

Credit: FX/HBO/Netflix/NBC/FOX

20 new fall TV shows to get excited about

A much more promising fall season than a year

Once upon a time, conventional wisdom in TV suggested that any shows debuting outside of the fall were in some way lesser than the ones launching in September and October. Thanks to cable, streaming, and even a transformation of the way the broadcast networks schedule things, the roles have almost entirely reversed: now the really special stuff gets saved for January or later, while a lot of what's scheduled for a more traditional launch can be viewed as cannon fodder. This TV season, for instance, FOX is saving its revivals of 24 and Prison Break for 2017, and the CW is doing the same with its highest-profile new series, Riverdale.

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Credit: Warner Bros.

Programming note: Last days of summer vacation

I'll be back next week, but a few things will post in my absence

It's the last days of summer, and that means I'm taking a much-needed week off to take care of home and family business before the post-Labor Day period brings with it the launch of approximately 8,000 new shows, plus the release of TV (THE BOOK).

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<p>The night Of</p>

The night Of

Credit: HBO

Review: What's the verdict on 'The Night Of' finale?

Were the resolution to the mystery, and the trial, satisfying?

A review of The Night Of finale coming up just as soon as I forget my hat...

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<p>TV The Book</p>

TV The Book

Credit: Grand Central

TV Trivia: Answer correctly and you could win a signed copy of ‘TV (The Book)’

A contest via Twitter over the next week

On September 6th, TV (The Book) — my reunion with former Star-Ledger partner Matt Zoller Seitz, in which we picked the top 100 American sitcoms and dramas of all time, ranked them, and wrote essays about them — will be released. You can pre-order it now via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or your favorite indie bookseller. Matt and I are really proud of the thing — which, beyond the top 100, also features essays on TV's best miniseries and movies,  the best current shows (since, with a few long-running or on-hiatus exceptions like The Simpsons and Louie, we considered current series ineligible for the top 100), live broadcast plays of the '50s, and various sentimental favorites that we couldn't resist writing about — and we can't wait for the public at large to get a look at it. (Or, if you prefer the audiobook version — recorded by us, which means you will get to at times hear our poor vocal impressions of Homer Simpson, Don Draper, and Leslie Knope, among others — give it a listen.)

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Ask Alan: Where does 'The Office' series finale rank?

Ask Alan: Where does 'The Office' series finale rank?

Thomas Gibson's job prospects, when actors change roles on the same show, and 'Night Of' finale expectations

Happy Friday, everybody! Time for a new installment of Ask Alan, in which I discuss Thomas Gibson's job prospects post-Criminal Minds, look at the illustrious history of shows recycling former guest stars into new roles as cast regulars, discuss where The Office series finale ranks in the last decade of comedy series endings, and speculate on The Night Of's conclusion.

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<p>John O&#39;Hurley as J Peterman on Seinfeld</p>

John O'Hurley as J Peterman on Seinfeld

Credit: NBC

'Seinfeld' bosses, ranked

In a couple of weeks, TV (The Book) will be in stores (though you can pre-order it now), featuring my and Matt Zoller Seitz's top 100 list of American TV shows and essays extolling their greatness. Most of the book was assembled with a Talmudic level of thoroughness. But scattered throughout are some shorter, sillier lists, which we assembled more on instinct and/or what made us laugh in the moment, on subjects like TV's best spies, best mustaches, and most important articles of clothing.

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<p>Carly Chaikin as Darlene in Mr. Robot</p>

Carly Chaikin as Darlene in Mr. Robot

Credit: USA

Review: How does 'Mr. Robot' get through an entire episode without Elliot?

Darlene takes the spotlight in 'Successor'

A review of tonight's Mr. Robot coming up just as soon as I create an Angelfire fan page...

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Credit: Sundance

Review: Is 'Gomorrah' really Italy's 'The Wire'?

A Naples mob drama moves slowly with thin characters, but pays off well at times

The Italian mob drama Gomorrah was first described to me as "Italy's The Wire." That's an unfair label to hang on any new show, and one that for the most part doesn't even really fit, as Gomorrah is a much more traditional crime show, without most of the larger sociological interests that made The Wire one of the best series in TV history. But as I watched the early installments of the series, which makes its American debut tonight at 10 on Sundance with back-to-back episodes, I experienced the same two feelings I often hear of from people watching The Wire for the first time:

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<p>Halt and Catch Fire</p>

Halt and Catch Fire

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Halt and Catch Fire' heads to Silicon Valley at the start of season 3

Joe turns heel, Cameron lives with the Clarks, and Ryan wants people to appreciate his genius

Halt and Catch Fire is back for its third season. I published my review yesterday, and I have some spoiler-y thoughts on the season's first two episodes coming up just as soon as I laugh at your robot butler...

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