This weekend I’ve watched Atypical, a Netflix original drama about a teenager with autism. It’s been on my radar since its launch, but I never managed to have time for it, but now I’m glad I gave it a chance.
Sam, an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum, decides it’s time to find a girlfriend, a journey that sets Sam’s mom on her own life-changing path as her son seeks more independence.
It’s not everyday that you see a show with a different and interesting idea, and that’s what makes Atypical shine. With a compelling story, relatable characters and a wonderful execution, the show succeeds in grabbing the viewers’ attention and keeping it during the whole season, consisted in 8 episodes. I got hooked since the first few minutes, and after each episode, I wanted a little more of it.
With each episode being around 30 minutes long, the duration of the season and the episodes was a fantastic choice. By extending the usual 20 minutes that sitcoms usually have (not that this show is your regular sitcom anyway), the show can go a little deeper, adding more drama to the situations, and make the characters more real and relatable. Also, cutting out 15 minutes of a 45 minute format prevents it from dragging and being boring.
About the characters, that’s another thing this show did extremely well. They, and their actions, are not just black or white, usually falling in a more grey area. We can see what their motivations are, and everyone here does things that are in the opposite sides of the spectrum. Even Sam is not safe, as the show doesn’t allow his condition to be used as an excuse for shitty behavior towards people who care about him, even if it does have to do with it.