Atlanta is one of the most populous and riveting cities in the American south. As the state capital of Georgia, it has become a cultural and economic hub, drawing in thousands of new residents. Atlanta is also a city full of diversity, with individuals from all walks of life and industries converging to create society brimming with art, music, and cinema.
Atlanta has always been known for its music scene; famous names including Toni Braxton, Jermaine Dupri, TLC, Ludacris, and Usher all hail from this southern city. However, over the last decade, Atlanta has had a marked presence on the silver and small screen. Here are some of the best television shows set in Atlanta:
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is one of the most famous shows to use Atlanta as its backdrop. The infamous Season-One poster featuring a pileup of abandoned cars departing the city uses the rotting skyline to indicate the depth of the issues the characters face immediately following a zombie apocalypse.
Faithful followers of the show know that former cop Rick Grimes and his band of misfits made their way out of Atlanta during the fourth season (the show is currently in its seventh season); however, the show is still filmed in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Fans can even tour several of the famous locations in the area.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Bravo’s Real Housewives series added Atlanta as the third installment in October 2008. Currently in its ninth season, RHOA is still going strong, featuring six female cast members balancing careers, family life, and hectic social calendars.
Current cast members include Kandi Burruss, a singer-songwriter and former member of the girl group Xscape; Sheree Whitfield, a socialite and fashion designer who briefly left the show then returned; Porsha Williams, a model and ex-wife of NFL player Kordell Stewart; Phaedra Parks, an attorney and businesswoman; Kenya Moore, a former Miss USA and actress; and Cynthia Bailey, a model and actress.
The show does not shy away from portraying the conflict between the cast members their friends and families. The show takes place in Atlanta, as well as several of the surrounding suburbs, and films the cast members in their homes, at the office, and out on the town.
Fresh off a critically acclaimed first season, including two surprise Golden Globe wins (one for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and one for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for Donald Glover), the cast of Atlanta is riding high.
Donald Glover, formerly of Community fame, plays Earn, a Princeton dropout who reconnects with his cousin to navigate the trials and tribulations of the Atlanta rap scene while trying to provide a better life for his daughter and ex-girlfriend.
The show tackles serious and pertinent social issues, including transphobia, police brutality, drug use, social media bullying, and mental illness.
The Rap Game
The Rap Game is a battle rap competition game show produced by legendary musician Jermaine Dupri. The competition, which is set in Atlanta, pits five young rappers against each other as they try to win a recording contract with Dupri’s label, So Def Recordings.
The young competitors are mentored by several rappers and music producers, including Rick Ross, Fabolous, Da Brat, Kelly Rowland, and Bow Wow. The show, which is currently in its third season, introduced a new twist this season by bringing back a cast member from season two, Tally, to compete against the new rappers.
The season three cast is rounded out by Nova, Deetranada, Flau’jae, and King Roscoe, and the rap battles are fiercer than ever.
Designing Women was one of the first and most popular television shows set in Atlanta. The show centered around four women and a man working at an interior design firm called Sugarbakers & Associates.
Designing Women starred Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, and Meshach Taylor. Although the show is considered a comedy, it broached several controversial topics, including homophobia, AIDS, racism, and spousal abuse, many of which had not been addressed on television before.
In its later seasons, Designing Women became just as famous for its behind-the-scene conflict, with several major cast members publicly replaced.
The Quad centers around the trials of newly elected president of Georgia A&M, a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). Played by Anika Noni Rose, Dr. Eva Fletcher must navigate the intertwining of her professional and personal lives both on and off campus. Eva’s daughter is an aspiring rapper and freshman at Georgia A&M who is determined to make her mark at the school, though it leads her into some troublesome situations. Eva also reckons with the longtime head of the prestigious school marching band and its football coach.
There are several great television shows about Atlanta, each highlighting a different perspective of life in the city. Whether it’s culture, family, careers, or all three that you are looking for, there is no shortage of content available. Virtually all these shows also incorporate the dining and nightlife scenes, as well as all of the other fun things to do in Atlanta.