Want to know what to expect from the new season of Atlanta? Brush up on your early-’90s cartoons.
After a year-long hiatus, the Emmy-winning FX comedy finally unveils its much-anticipated sophomore season — full title: Atlanta Robbin’ Season — on Thursday, March 1 at 10/9c with 11 new episodes. And at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday, star/creator Donald Glover cited a surprising influence for the new season.
“‘How I Spent My Summer Vacation’ by Tiny Toon [Adventures], which is a show we all liked,” he told reporters, adding: “You all laugh, but…” As executive producer Stephen Glover explains, that particular stretch of Tiny Toons — a syndicated cartoon featuring the next generation of Looney Tunes stars — was “broken up into a bunch of episodes… but you watch them all together, and they were a movie.” And Atlanta‘s second season will follow suit, Donald Glover says, with the episodes all combining to form one big story: “You enjoy them more when they’re together, but you can also enjoy them in little bits.”
Season 2 will be “a little more cohesive,” EP/director Hiro Murai hints, saying the writers went in with “an idea of what we want the whole season to feel like.” But there’s still plenty of room for “weird, experimental stuff,” he assures us, with the show’s creative staff “constantly making ourselves feel a little uncomfortable.”
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So where does Season 2’s subtitle Robbin’ Season come from? Turns out it’s a real thing in Atlanta, according to Stephen Glover, who says it’s “a time in Atlanta before Christmas and New Year’s, where a bunch of crime happens,” with people buying — and stealing — holiday gifts. He calls it “a very, like, tense and desperate time… We wanted to make that the backdrop to this season.”
The year-long layoff — which saw some of Atlanta‘s cast members rocket to newfound fame — plays a role in Season 2 as well, star Brian Tyree Henry (Paper Boi) explains: “To come back to these characters… a lot happened in a year. And we don’t shy away from that,” adding that Paper Boi is “going through some s–t this season.” The huge expectations surrounding Season 2 seep into the show’s plot, too, Donald Glover reveals, with Paper Boi’s fans demanding big things from his sophomore mixtape: The first one was good and all, they say, but “the second better be f–king better.”