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story.lead_photo.caption Donald Glover’s innovative comedy/drama Atlanta returns for a second season at 9 p.m. today on FX.

There are several series premiering or returning today and Friday that cover a number of interests. They run the gamut from comedy to cooking. Let's get to the brilliant stuff first.

Atlanta Robbin' Season is the official title of the second season of Atlanta, the quirky, acclaimed comedy/drama from Donald Glover. It returns after more than a year at 9 p.m. today on FX. Expect something different and creative.

How acclaimed? The first season won two Golden Globes, a Peabody Award and two Emmys for Glover -- one as outstanding lead actor in a comedy and another for directing.

How do Glover and crew follow up a sterling freshman year and avoid a sophomore slump? They sort of reinvent themselves.

The show's basic premise remains the same: Two cousins are working through the Atlanta rap music scene hoping to improve their lives.

Glover plays Earnest "Earn" Marks, the young manager of Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), a hot new rapper just making his mark around town.

Lakeith Stanfield plays Darius, Earn's right-hand man and purveyor of Yoda-esque wisdom. Zazie Beetz plays Van, Earn's best friend, former girlfriend, and baby mama to his daughter, Lottie.

At the core of the comedy is Earn's attempt to make something of his life in order to redeem himself in Van's eyes and in the eyes of his parents.

Earn dropped out of Princeton and alternates between staying with his parents and Van. By reconnecting with Alfred, Earn hopes to make it big when Paper Boi makes it big.

So, what's with the title change?

Executive producer/writer Stephen Glover (Donald's younger brother) told that the title refers to a period each year in Atlanta just before Christmas when there's a marked increase in criminal activity.

"There's a lot of robberies going on because people have nice stuff at the time," Stephen said. "Or trying to make money for Christmas. [It's] kind of like a vibe in Atlanta during that time."

Fans learned in Season 1 to expect the unexpected. Storylines would come and suddenly disappear, and street violence would be cloaked in surreal humor. The tone and experience were unlike anything else on television.

"It's a different show all the time," Stephen said. "But when you set that up with the first season, keeping [viewers] off balance becomes harder to do. They are already expecting it and we didn't want to just re-mine the same stuff for the second season."

This season, the series will focus on more linear narrative and storytelling. Paper Boi, who is on the verge of breakout stardom, will wrestle with his growing fame, which has begun to hamper his ability to sell marijuana. Earn will expand his role as Paper Boi's manager.

Music City debuts at 9 p.m. today on CMT. It's an eight-episode unscripted "docu-series" from Adam DiVello, creator of The Hills and Laguna Beach. There's a local connection.

If you love the series Nashville (it's one of my favorites), CMT says you'll love Music City. The series documents the lives of five rising artists -- Kerry, Rachyl, Jessica, Jackson and Alisa -- as they "chase their dreams of music, success, fame, and romance in Nashville." Drama ensues.

Note: Jessica is 30-year-old singer/songwriter Jessica Lauren Mack ("JMack"), who is originally from Little Rock. She has been in Nashville for almost five years.

Gotham returns for the second part of Season 4 at 7 p.m. today on Fox. In the episode, "A Dark Knight: Pieces of a Broken Mirror," Detective James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is called in after Cosmo Krank, aka The Toy Maker, is hired to assassinate one of Gotham's doctors.

Showtime at the Apollo is a new weekly series debuting at 8 p.m. today on Fox. The ubiquitous Steve Harvey is the host of the weekly show that features established stars in comedy and music, as well as up-and-coming artists.

Once Upon a Time is back for the second half of Season 7 at 7 p.m. Friday on ABC. I confess I got lost and gave up on the show several seasons ago. Regular fans will know what's up with The Evil Queen, Captain Hook and Rumpelstiltskin.

MasterChef Junior kicks off Season 6 at 7 p.m. Friday on Fox. It'll be a two-hour episode as 40 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 13 try to impress mordant host Gordon Ramsay. The survivor wins a trophy and $100,000 (to pay for therapy, I'm betting).

B: The Beginning is a new original 12-episode anime series on Netflix that's available for streaming on Friday. The basics: B is a serial killer. Keith is the police investigator in Cremona, an archipelagic nation in a world powered by advanced technology. There are lots of characters in the fortified city that's beset by Killer B and a chain of crimes.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend on 03/01/2018

Print Headline: Season 2 of Atlanta begins, Music City premieres

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