The Best Streaming Show You’re Not Watching: Atypical

We just finished watching the third and most likely final season of Netflix’s show Atypical. I love this show so much. My husband insisted we only watch one episode a night so I could have a little treat every day instead of binging my way through it and running out of episodes in like two days. The show is a great character based dramedy focused on the Gardner family.

Keir Gilchrist plays their teenage son Sam who has autism. Although the show is a lot about how his autism affects the family all of the characters are fully formed and have their own personalities and lives in their own rights. The show is equally about his younger sister Casey who is a high school track star, who loves her brother but doesn’t coddle him. They have a fantastic brother-sister relationship that I love. She also has one of the best depictions of a high school kid questioning their sexuality that I’ve ever seen.

The parents played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rappaport also have their own drama. Elsa, the mother who has poured everything into raising a special needs child, is now facing no longer being needed as much as she once was as her kids are growing up. Their marriage becomes strained and much of the series focuses on them trying to come back from that.

The show never shies away from the difficulties Sam faces or the headaches he can cause for those around him, but it also shows his growth and the great things he also brings to other people. The relationships he has with his girlfriend Paige and his best friend Zahid are wonderful.

My only real quibble with the show, which isn’t a huge one is that for whatever reason they kept Sam’s therapist around after season 1 when things that happened during that season really meant she should have been gone. She shows up fairly sparingly during the third season, but every time she came back I wondered why. The creators must have really liked that actress.

All the relationships on this show feel so real, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s funny and heartfelt. It’s really just such a good show the likes of which are few and far between these days. I’m sadly betting that Netflix won’t be renewing it for another season. They seem to cancel a lot of things after 3 or 4 seasons these days and since I don’t know a single other person who watches this show I feel like it probably doesn’t bring them huge ratings and obviously isn’t bringing them much word of mouth. They did leave all the characters in a good place with the writers obviously sharing my presumption that this will be the end. There’s still plenty of story left to tell if Netflix doesn’t break my heart and actually renews it. Here’s hoping. Seriously go watch it right now and give them a reason to bring it back for a fourth season.

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