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The best show to binge right now is not on Netflix

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(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Update: Atlanta season 4 trailer teases the finale this series needs.

The days are ticking away, and one of the best shows on Hulu is almost back. That said, it's not only on Hulu. And this is why I'm encouraging you watch this show now, because there's little better than watching a show as it airs. 

Unlike the best Netflix shows, which often drop all at once, weekly shows are much easier to manage — you're not dealing with all the spoilers living on the web a lot and chasing the finale. Oh, and one more thing: it's not a Hulu original, either.

FX's Atlanta, about to come back for a third season, though, is the kind of series that makes a very strong case for cord-cutters to get a Hulu subscription.

Take a trip to Atlanta to meet Earn and Paper Boi

This week marks the return of Atlanta (arriving on FX on March 24, and on Hulu March 25), one of the most compelling and unique dramas of the last six years. Originally, Atlanta was just known as "that show Donald Glover left Community to work on," but as soon as people saw it, Glover became more than a respected rapper and solid TV actor. He became a critically beloved creative visionary.

The series follows Earnest "Earn" Marks (Glover) who is trying to find his way in life. But, being a college dropout doesn't help his fortunes, and his desire to manage his cousin Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles (Brian Tyree Henry) into a successful rapper is constantly besieged by everything around them. That often includes Darius (LaKeith Stanfield). While Earn is trying to take things seriously, he often makes mistakes by trusting the wrong people, or not being as street smart as those around him.

Donald Glover stars in Atlanta

(Image credit: FX via Twitter)

If you've not seen Atlanta, but kept your eyes on pop culture in the last five or so years, Glover's above co-stars may be enough to get you to try the show out. Henry was maybe one the best parts of Marvel Studios' Eternals (available on Disney Plus), and consistently turned in great supporting performances in a wide range of movies, including If Beale Street Could Talk (also currently on Hulu (opens in new tab)) and Godzilla vs. Kong (HBO Max). 

Stanfield has also grabbed attention, with his excellent work starring in Sorry to Bother You (currently on Netflix) and Judas and the Black Messiah (on HBO Max (opens in new tab)). But as the constantly spaced-out Darius, Stanfield has a whole different situation to paint an interesting character.

Atlanta's also a tragic love story

Earn is also a father, but he and his currently-off-again girlfriend Vanessa Miles, who goes by "Van," are constantly unable to make things work. The two rarely share a roof, and because of this Earn has had to deal with his own poverty and homelessness throughout the series. 

Donald Glover and Zazie Beetz star in Atlanta

(Image credit: FX via Hulu)

Earn and Van seem like a great fit, but everything keeps going wrong for both of them. Most notably, there's an episode where Earn's unable to pay for a date night meal, and the tension and emotional turmoil of those moments is still fresh in my head all these years later.

I won't spoil Earn and Van's many trials and tribulations, but I will note that season 2 ended on a particularly strong gut-punch moment. And on top of that, it set up a season 3 that it wouldn't make sense to see Van in. But we know thanks to images from the Atlanta season 3 set that she's in the show — so I'm curious how the series makes it happen.

Atlanta's weirdest episodes are some of the best ever

People who have watched Atlanta will probably never forget the mysterious recluse named Teddy Perkins. They'll also probably remember the episode where we saw a different shade of Justin Bieber. Then there's the frat house trip from hell, and that time Paper Boi had his own version of the Sopranos classic "Pine Barrens."

Atlanta is far more than the four adventures that I've just described in rapid-fire, but those are some of the better episodes of television that have been made on any service in ages. I'm not sure why Atlanta doesn't get its due respect, though I feel like it may have done better on HBO Max. Cable TV shows somehow rarely break through the cloud streaming shows that are constantly discussed. But let's discuss why Atlanta isn't getting all of the flowers it deserves another day. Right now? It's time to catch up before season 3.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.