STARRING: Jennifer Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Amy Okuda, Michael Rapapor
GENRE: Dark comedy/Dramedy
PREMIER DATE: August 11
I can tell how good or bad a show is from the opening scene. And yes, perhaps that is not the best thing to admit as a reviewer, but I like to be captivated, intrigued and interested before the opening credits run. And within the first five minutes of watching Atypical, I knew the show is one of the few good ones.
Sam Gardner is an autistic 18-year-old boy (or an Atypical) who is encouraged by his therapist Julia to be more proactive in his life choices. Sam decides to get a girlfriend, but he soon learns that even in the typical world, getting a girl is not easy. Sam gets dating advice from his father, Doug, who has struggled to connect with Sam previously.
Sam’s friend and colleague, Zahid, is a self-proclaimed playboy, who really wants to help Sam lose his virginity. Sam later realises he’s fallen for his therapist Julia and decides to get a practice girlfriend before he approaches Julia.
Meanwhile, Sam’s mother Elsa is left feeling lost because of Sam’s newfound independence. Elsa spent most of Sam’s life being his caretaker. She ends up having an affair as she struggles to find herself. Sam’s younger sister Casey struggles with the living in the shadow of her big brother but she can’t help being his protection, too.
The plot, the pace, the twists of this show are what make it stand out, but it is the performance of Keir Gilchrist that makes us emotionally invested.
With a show highlighting an important subject matter such as autism, nothing is ever uncontroversial. However, Atypical clearly comes from a genuine place that allows us to see light in some dark moments in life.