'Atypical,' Netflix’s New Comedy Series About Autism, Premieres This Summer
The eight-episode series follows a high school senior named Sam (Keir Gilchrist), who navigates dating, school and family as a teenager on the autism spectrum. The show also follows Sam’s parents Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Doug (Michael Rapaport) as they try to determine how to parent their son now that he is a young adult. So far, no one in the cast is confirmed to be on the autism spectrum.
The show’s creator, Robia Roshid told USA Today that while they cannot exactly reflect the life of every person with autism, they hope that they can unify under a common idea and broader story about family and coming of age.
While creating the show, Rashid said she consulted with a California State University professor who worked at UCLA’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment. Leigh, who plays Sam’s mother, added to Rashid’s statement about authenticly representing autism, telling USA Today, “Keir is really perfect. He never gets cute with it. … You feel like he’s very much in Sam’s shoes.”
“Atypical” joins the growing number of shows representing disability on major networks and streaming services. ABC’s “Speechless” follows J.J. DiMeo, a young man with cerebral palsy who uses a letter board to communicate. It stars Micah Fowler, who lives with cerebral palsy in real life. Last month, ABC announced it will renew “Speechless” for a second season.
Also joining ABC’s line-up is “The Good Doctor,” which features Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a doctor on the autism spectrum. Similarly to “Atypical,” it does not appear as if any cast members are on the autism spectrum.
All episodes of “Atypical” will be available to stream on August 11.