'Atypical' explores autism via mostly ordinary Netflix show

Keir Gilchrist in Netflix's "Atypical."

(CNN)"Atypical" is actually pretty typical by TV standards -- a bittersweet Netflix series about an autistic youth, powered by Keir Gilchrist in the central role and Jennifer Jason Leigh as his struggling-to-cope mother. Watchable but inconsistent, the half-hour series dilutes its genuine pathos and strengths with characters and situations that seem to have parachuted in from a different show.

Gilchrist turned out to be the best thing about Showtime's "United States of Tara," and he impressively follows up on that with his performance as 18-year-old Sam, who is awkwardly seeking to navigate the bridge fro