Definitely different, this TV series shines a light to the fascination many of us have with the idea of earth people forming a colony on Mars, but... this show lacks heart. The pacing is wrong. It seems too quick and jagged. The scenes lack detail, often just skimming the surface. However, the parallels between documentary-style 2016 and fictional 2033+ show an interesting comparison to what may be in our near future, based on factual events that are happening today. Today's facts, which are revealed in the documentary by interviews and actual news footage, foreshadow the fictional future in a way I've never seen depicted with a television series.
I admire the boldness of this series. It's just misses the mark and lacks emotion. It's as cold as space.
Keir Gilchrist gives a sensitive portrayal as Sam, an 18-year-old high-functioning autistic boy who is in his senior year of high school. As an amateur screen writer, I understand how enormously difficult it is to write about an autistic child without having clichés. Atypical does not make the viewer suffer through stereotypical clichés, and gives a fresh view on kids who suffer with autism.
Sam obsesses over penguins; he knows when he's being bullied but doesn't understand why; he feels love but cannot define it. He wants to get laid. Sam speaks in a deadpan emotionless drawl, and is often brutally honest. His best friend looks like a nerd with a mop of black hair and too-big glasses, but he walks around as if he's a super cool stud, and he blows kisses at women who roll their eyes at him, and gives Sam's mother hugs that are too long.
Sam's mother, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh (who was a teen-actress in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High') is too tense and uptight, living only to care for her autistic son, often ignoring or taking for granted her healthy 15-year-old athletic daughter. She is taken for granted by her teen-aged kids, which is rather typical, but thus begins an affair, which seems out of character, because she seems to live for her son.
Sam's father is a big teddy-bear-of a goof. He seems mentally challenged a bit, out of it, sweet but stupid, but over-all a good guy. He "gets" his daughter, where his wife does not.
The most interesting and unique character is Sam's little sister Casey, a sophomore and an athlete. She can be tender-hearted and cruel. She punches a high school bully, then yells at Sam's friend when she fears this friend may abandon her brother. She tells her mother she's lame, but then confides in her that she is not having sex with her boyfriend. She teases her brother and pushes his buttons to the limit, but lets no one else do this. She's hard to get with her boyfriend, then is so very vulnerable to him. She lets no one walk over her and doesn't take any crap, but then she cries when her friends pull a mean stunt on her. She's convincing in her role. She's tough, vulnerable, kind, brutal, and smart.
I was immediately drawn into this show due to the depiction of the four family members. I also enjoyed the clingy but endearing and sincere girl that Sam gets close to. I did have a problem with Sam's therapist. She seemed too young to give such advise, and she did a role-reversal half-way through the first season (must omit... no spoilers here).
All in all, I enjoyed binge-watching 'Atypical.' I started watching it Friday night and finished the first season Saturday around midnight. At first, I thought this show was a drama, but then it seemed to be more of a comedy. It kind of toggled between the two. But I'm glad that I finally found a show that isn't too dark so I can fall asleep, and isn't too dumb like too many shows are, and also, it gives some insight into the world of autism. I anxiously wait for Season Two.
The 100 caught my attention with its Lord of the Flies flavor (with teens instead of kids) (teens who rule over adults, which is getting old), but it tries too hard. It is stressful and too intense, showing a gasping thrill every five minutes. First, we fear 100 kids may die as they journey from a space station to earth, then they get speared by cavemen called Grounders (who happen to speak English), then some of them kill off each other, then the most civilized people on the planet suck the kids bone marrow for medicinal reasons ahhhhhhh! Not to mention dirty bloody faces with sparkling gleaming white teeth... men falling ten feet down, landing on their back, and then they're fine ten minutes later... and teens getting beaten to a pulp, and they're fine a day later. I need to take a tranquilizer after watching this show. My blood pressure is high enough, thank you very much. Theres never a down moment. Theres never a calm atmosphere. I cant breathe. I cant relax. Its suspense on steroids. Enough!