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Netflix Announces Return Date for Second Season of 'Atypical'

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This article was updated Aug. 20, 2018.

Season two of Netflix’s “Atypical,” which premiered in 2017, will arrive this fall. The streaming service announced Tuesday via social media that its original series will return on Sept. 7.

The series follows 18-year-old Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), who is on the autism spectrum, as he figures out who he is in the world while searching for love. Meanwhile, his family, including parents Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Doug (Michael Rapaport), have their own identities to sort out.

Though Robia Rashid, the show’s creator, said “Atypical” draws from the experiences of real people on the autism spectrum, neither Rashid nor Gilchrist are on the spectrum. Only one character, Christopher (Anthony Jacques) — a minor character who appears in one episode — was portrayed by an autistic actor in season one. 

“We did our best as a show to have people in the autism community involved,” Rashid told The Mighty in 2017. “We have several crew members who are parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We had an autism researcher and expert on staff who read every outline and script and watched every cut to give notes. It’s something we feel very strongly about and are always working on.”

Season one of “Atypical” received mixed reviews from the autism community. “Overall, I think ‘Atypical’ did a fairly decent job,” Lamar Hardwick, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2014, told The Mighty when the show first premiered last year. “Of course, my assessment is based on the first episode, but the concept of the show being driven by a first-person account pushes the show in the direction of being more authentic.”

One common criticism was that Sam’s character stereotyped autism. Haley Moss, an autistic Mighty contributor, wrote:

[H]e’s a perfect stereotype. Nobody is a perfect stereotype in real life. Sam simply misses every social cue, finds every excuse possible to talk about penguins and Antarctica, and appears inherently selfish and inconsiderate. He becomes the joke. He knows he’s weird, and he doesn’t really care, except when it comes to his quest to have a girlfriend and have sex. He ignores people’s feelings, and every line of dialogue he has somehow involves a social misstep.

While autism is a prominent aspect of the show, Rashid said the show’s central theme is one anyone can relate to: What does it mean to be normal?

“Yes, our main character has ASD and that obviously informs his experience. But the things he’s dealing with are things everyone cares about,” Rashid said. “That’s an important distinction to me because I think it’s easy to discount someone’s story if you think you can’t possibly relate to them.”

Catch all 10 episodes of “Atypical’s” second season on Netflix this fall.

Header image via Netflix.

Originally published: August 14, 2018
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