Get Down with The Get Down
Created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Get Down is Netflix’s newest binge-worthy series. Luhrmann has been developing this musical series for the past ten years, and, boy, has it paid off.
The Get Down is a story about the birth of hip-hop in 1970s New York City. It centers around Ezekiel (Justice Smith), a teenage orphan in the Bronx. He’s in love with his friend, Mylene Cruz (Herizen F. Guardiola) who is a pastor’s daughter and dreams of becoming a Disco singer. He is also a budding poet. Ezekiel (Zeke to his friends) is recruited by Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore), a man of the streets who is trying to become a DJ, but needs a “wordsmith”. Zeke and his friends (a wonderful cast of friends: Skylan Brooks, Tremaine Brown Jr., and Jaden Smith) become a DJ-crew with Shaolin. Peppered with other notable faces (Giancarlo Esposito, Jimmy Smits, and, Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs), The Get Down is a kinetic, must-see show.
Here are a few reasons why we love The Get Down:
New York City in the 1970s. The graffiti-covered subway cars. The burned down buildings of the Bronx (when burning buildings for insurance money was an epidemic). The Disco clubs. The secret parties where hip-hop began. The clear divide between socio-economic classes and races. Everything is brought to light in The Get Down. From the set to historical footage, the show evokes the city of that era.
The music. Since this is a musical series, the music HAD to be good. The Disco-singing Mylene has a beautiful voice that captures not just the characters in the story, but also the viewers watching. Zeke’s rhymes are hypnotic–especially when paried with Shaolin’s beats. The Get Down pulses with music, and, in turn, with life.
The stylization that is very Baz. When most people hear the name Baz Luhrmann, they can clearly picture his style. We saw it in Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby. The hyper-stylization, bursts of color, and frenetic energy are all present in The Get Down. It sets it apart from any other type of storytelling.
Zeke’s coming-of-age story feels universal. He is trying to make something of himself and is faced with the decision of leaving everyone and everything that is familiar behind…or ignoring all that to stay stuck in a beaten-down neighborhood. His struggle to discover who he is, what he is capable of, and what he believes in, are all universal experiences. Not to mention, his love story with Mylene expresses the ache and joy of young, life-changing love (another theme of Luhrmann’s previous work).
These, along with many other fantastic pieces of the show (the storytelling, the costumes, the acting, etc.) are why you shouldn’t miss out on The Get Down. Check out Part 1 on Netflix (Part 2 will be released in 2017).
Photo Credit: Netflix