A New Kind Of TV Family Is Coming To Netflix

by Caroline Gerdes

Netflix's new series Atypical premieres Friday, Aug. 11 and depicts a family raising a teen on the autism spectrum. Because the show tackles serious themes about what it's like for an autistic individual to go through high school and how a diagnosis can affect family relationships, Atypical has already been generating a lot of buzz, both positive and negative. There are few shows that put this kind of material at the forefront, which might be an indicator that Atypical could return for Season 2.

There has been no announcement from Netflix yet about a second season for the family dramedy, starring Kier Gilchrist as Sam, who's ready for a girlfriend, and Michael Rapaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh as his parents, who have their own issues. But prospective fans looking forward to watching Atypical at least know that they're getting eight episodes right away. Though Netflix used to be loathe to cancel its original series, the hammer has fallen lately on a few. But some of those departed shows — like The Get Down and Sense8 — look much more expensive and difficult to produce than Atypical. The show's suburban setting could make it an easier renewal choice for the streaming service.

Another reason Atypical could stick around is its solid cast of industry veterans. You're probably familiar with the previous work of most members of this new TV family. While you wait for news on Atypical's renewal, throw it back to where you've seen the actors playing the Gardners before:

'United States Of Tara'

Keir Gilchrist got his start as Marshall on the Showtime series United States Of Tara. Marshall was basically the fan favorite character on the show about a family coping with mom's (Toni Collette) dissociative identity disorder. So, the bar is set pretty high for his Atypical performance.


While Jennifer Jason Leigh broke out as a movie star in the '80s (hello, Fast Times At Ridgemont High), Atypical isn't her first time gracing small screens. Leigh played Nancy Botwin's straight-laced sister Jill (well, before Nancy got to her) on Weeds.


After Weeds, Leigh had an arc on ABC's soapy drama Revenge as Kara Wallace Clarke.

'Twin Peaks'

This year, the actor playing Sam's mom also played the evil Chantal Hutchens on the Showtime reboot of David Lynch's Twin Peaks.


While Michael Rapaport has an impressive television resume after decades in the business, you may remember him mostly from his role as Phoebe's cop boyfriend Gary on Friends. The couple almost moved in together, but things ultimately didn't work out. The last straw was when Gary shot a bird in cold blood in front of the vegetarian.

'Boston Public'

One of Michael Rapaport's early starring TV roles was on Fox's '00s series Boston Public, where he played a teacher named Danny Hanson.

'The War At Home'

Rapaport also landed his own family comedy on Fox, The War At Home. You may have forgotten this series, which lasted for only two seasons in the mid-'00s.

'Prison Break'

The actor also played Agent Don Self on the Fox drama Prison Break, during its original run.

Brigette Lundy Paine rounds out the Gardner family, playing Sam's sister Casey. This is her first major TV role.

If Atypical makes it to Season 2, perhaps audiences will get to meet even more of the Gardner family.