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Donald Glover Wants ‘Atlanta’ to Be ‘Way Better’ in Season 2

Variety logo Variety 6/6/2017 Michael Tedder
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Last night at New York’s Carnegie Hall, FX held an FYC screening and Q&A session for its celebrated comedy “Atlanta.” There, series creator and star Donald Glover spoke with Variety about his plans for a second season.

“I just hope it’s a way better show, and more cohesive. I’m really touched that people are connecting to it and like it, but …” he said, before finishing his thought. “I want you to be able to watch the first season and be like ‘Wow, I like that season, but the second one is way better.’ I want that debate happening.”

Paul Simms, one of the series’ executive producers and a comedy veteran who has worked on everything from “NewsRadio” (which he created) to “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Flight of the Conchords” and “Girls,” first came on board the show after his agent suggested he get lunch with Glover. Simms said that there were jokes in the sometimes surreal series that “I’m surprised the audience responded to.”

Simms recalled, “There are times I thought ‘That’s a really funny thing, but that’s maybe for five people,'” but FX executives always supported supported Glover’s vision. “Once they bought into the idea that the show was going to be weird, they never hesitated. In fact, at one point [network president] John Landgraf said, ‘The parts you think we might be worried about, lean into those parts and go even further.'”

Glover is currently working on the “Star Wars” Han Solo spinoff, in which he plays a young Lando Calrissian, but should start filming the second season in the fall, he said.

Though Atlanta has become a popular place for TV series to film because of tax breaks, “Atlanta” is the rare series to attempt to capture the region’s specific flair. His goal, he said, was to capture the details about how people in the city live, in hopes of making something unique enough to stand out in the current tv line-up.

“None of them had the perspective that we had, POV television,” Glover said. “If you give something that is super specific, it becomes super general again.” That focus, he said, is what makes his show stand out.

“All stories are the same. You want to watch the hero go through the journey, but nobody had the perspective we had,” he said. “As much as it seems like everything’s been done, it’s just really about how you decorate it.”

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