Netflix's "Atypical" is now streaming on the platform. The eight-episode comedy series centers on a teenager with autism who is trying to navigate high school as normally as possible.
"Atypical" stars Keir Gilchrist as Sam, who considers dating for the first time. But unlike any normal teenage boy, Sam has quirks and obsessions as he has been diagnosed with autism as a child.
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays Sam's protective mom, Elsa, who patiently guides her son as he encounters typical problems teenagers face. Michael Rappaport plays Sam's dad, Doug, who connects with his son in a new way now that he's a teenager with growing desires.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the show can be predictable yet heartwarming. The publication stated that "Atypical" strongly compounds on human qualities, where the characters are messy but relatable.
On the other hand, Vogue commended the performances of the cast. Gilchrist doesn't have autism in real life but the publication said he plays the part with thought and care.
According to The Wrap, "Atypical" gives people with special needs a voice, when those with autism often lack representation in the media. But more than a show tackling autism, it's still about romance and family.
A person who deals with autism first-hand also wrote a review of the show via The Week. The critic shared that the show should have given more focus on Sam's parents and found "Atypical" to tell its story typically despite the stellar performance of the cast.
An autism expert told The Herald Sun that a show like "Atypical" might have difficulty translating its intention in a mainstream medium. A boy with autism hitting puberty is not something most real families with a special needs child talk about.
"I could imagine a lot of families saying 'That's not my child with autism,' and that would be true. It's challenging to describe what it is like to live with autism," Michele Villalobos of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's TEACCH Autism Program said. "[Adolescence] is an often unspoken topic in the disability world and one that parents struggle with because it happens."
"Atypical" is from Robia Rashid, who wanted to do a coming-of-age story from a different perspective. Netflix launched the first season of "Atypical" on Friday, Aug. 11.