‘Atypical’ Season 5 Is Not Happening—Here Are 4 Shows to Watch Instead
Fans of the Netflix TV series Atypical were disappointed to find out that it won’t reach past season four. The series follows the life of Sam Gardner (played by Keir Gilchrist), an art-loving teen on the autism spectrum. It came to a heartwarming conclusion with the release of the final season earlier this month. Here are four similar series we think you’ll like.
The show’s creator hopes ‘Atypical’ made an impact
Series creator Robia Rashid said that, while the beloved show came to an end, she hopes it’s seen as a ‘tool for change.’
“I hope Atypical is remembered as an extremely funny show that’s about something important that people love and relate to,” Rashid told Bustle in June. “I hope it further normalizes the casting and representation of people with disabilities. I hope it’s remembered for making people feel heard. And I hope it reminds people that comedy is a powerful tool for change.”
Thankfully, shows about people on the autism spectrum are no longer a rarity. The proliferation of series that address life on the spectrum is a reflection of what’s happening in society. Rashid said she was inspired. “I was very aware that more people were being diagnosed with autism, and it was interesting to me that a whole generation of kids were growing up knowing that they were on the spectrum and wanting independence,” she told Vulture in 2017. “That point of view seemed so interesting to me — and such a cool way to tell a dating story.”
While Sam’s journey wraps up with him seeking independence with a new apartment, HBO’s On the Spectrum follows its characters deep into adulthood. Amit, Zohar, and Ron are roommates, all three in their late twenties, and all three diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The ten-episode, award-winning Israeli series, which stars Niv Majar, Naomi Levov, and Ben Yosipovic, has received mixed reactions. But the release of its first five episodes on World Autism Awareness Day in April, coupled with the fact that it was inspired by series’ creator Dana Idisis’s brother, means it comes from a place of authenticity. An English remake is also reportedly in development at Amazon.
‘The Good Doctor’ also features a teen on the spectrum
ABC’s The Good Doctor, perhaps the most widely recognizable television series about life with autism, has a strong following. Dr. Shaun Murphy (played expertly by Freddie Highmore) represents a unique slant on autism–he’s a savant whose gifts make him an integral part of the surgical team at the fictional San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. Similar to Atypical’s Sam, teen Shawn tackles romance, work, and past trauma; but he does it through the lens of savant syndrome, as well. Shawn’s hyper-focus and monotone make him a potently believable character who is on the spectrum.
It’s worth noting that the popular show is based on an earlier effort–the 2013 South Korean drama series also called The Good Doctor.
Some series explore autism in childhood
Leave it to Sesame Street to lead the way in inclusivity. In 2015, the beloved educational series introduced Julia, a 4-year-old, orange-haired girl with autism. The muppet character was so well received since her introduction, that she’s since appeared on 60 Minutes in a formal debut in 2017 and was featured in a series of YouTube videos for Sesame Street. Julia is especially empathetic and accessible to little ones who may be dealing with the diagnosis of a family member, or for themselves.
BBC One’s series The A Word, while not for kids, is about kids. The drama tackles the question of what happens when a young child is diagnosed with autism, and the immediate aftermath. When 5-year-old Joe Hughes (played by Max Vento) begins to show possible signs of autism, his family must come together to adjust to their collective new reality. The series started in 2016 and is now in its third season. BBC heads have yet to confirm whether a fourth season will commence, but in the meantime, you can watch The A Word on SundanceTV.