Atypical is a coming-of-age television series created by Robia Rashid for Netflix. It focuses on the life of 18-year-old Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), who is on the autism spectrum. The first season was released on August 11, 2017, consisting of eight episodes. The ten-episode second season was released on September 7, 2018. In October 2018, the series was renewed for a third season of ten episodes.
Why It Rocks
- It has a very accurate representation of autistic people. In fact, Sam, the main character of the show, is very likable.
- While the show itself focuses on other people, it, at least, does give Sam at least some spotlight.
- The soundtrack is pretty well-made, even by drama-comedy standards.
- Very dramatic moments such as Elsa cheating on her husband or Sam having a breakdown due to his crush (who is a counselor) rejecting him.
- Decent acting.
- Season 2 has more actors and writers with autism, which is very interesting.
- The Season 2 finale had Paige defending Sam due to someone signing something mean on his yearbook.
- Most of the characters are very unlikable, especially Casey, as she keeps having emotional outbreaks in nearly every episode.
- Season 1 lacked autistic actors and writers, and it also focused more on romance.
At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the first season received a score of 66, based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews", and a score of 77% at Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5.32 out of 10. The acting, including Gilchrist's performance, was generally well-received,although Gilchrist's portrayal received criticism from some quarters for being inaccurate and stereotypical. The lack of autistic people in the cast was also questioned.
Sara Luterman of The New York Times writes that the second season improves on the first. Sam's decision to go to art school deviates from common depictions of autism, and his autism is no longer "the source of [his family's] misery". Luterman praises the involvement of more autistic people as writers and actors, but criticizes that Sam's misogyny is unaddressed and that he is "still portrayed as more of a checklist than a person". Lorraine Ali of Los Angeles Times lauds the show's continuing "unique perspective, sharp humor and empathy", and describes the show as a "wonderfully atypical family drama" with "many moving and awkward moments".