It is a cruel, cruel world out there for a couple of multi-racial kids trying to make it big in the South Bronx during the summer of 1977. The city is dying, poisoned by gangsters, crime, drugs, violence and prostitution. In Netflix’s latest original series, The Get Down, the local youths’ love for music and art is the only thing keeping their city alive.
The show centers on Ezekiel, a young aspiring poet trying to pursue his passion in a place where dreams do not come true. Zeke’s struggle with his desperate, undying love for his friend Mylene makes his character someone you can not help but root for. He gets an opportunity to show off his skills with words when he meets an infamous graffiti artist known as Shaolin Fantastic. Ezekiel, aided by his artistic friends and mentor, is given a new outlook on life in New York City.
The Get Down is at its’ best when the music takes center stage. Artists such as The Rolling Stones, KC and the Sunshine Band, James Brown, The Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder have songs which can all be heard on the show. The Netflix original artfully illustrates the death of disco culture and the emergence of hip-hop and rap culture with gusto and spunk. For music lovers, this show is a must-watch.
When you watch anything directed by Baz Luhrmann of The Great Gatsby and Romeo + Juliet fame, you expect a few things: stunning visuals, tales of love and loss, and a carefully curated soundtrack. The Get Down is certainly no exception. While the muted colors and mild tone of the show’s less action-filled scenes may seem out of character for Luhrmann, his colorful style appears every so often reminding the viewer exactly who helmed this project. The transitional shots of technicolor ‘70s fashion, vintage footage of kids playing on the streets of the South Bronx, and speeding trains decorated with graffiti giving messages of hope are totally Baz.
The fact that the show is set nearly 40 years ago, does not make it any harder to relate to the characters. The performances by the cast as a whole are not exceptional, but still pretty great. If you are sick and tired of the same old shows being done over and over, The Get Down is a refreshing change of pace. The club scenes are exhilarating, the music is lively, the cast is enjoyable, and because it is set in 1977, there are plenty of Star Wars references. If you have not already, I highly recommend that you get down with The Get Down.