New York City in the late 1970’s was a disaster: the city was nearly broke, flooded in homelessness, poverty, and disrepair. From these near-ruins, three vibrant musical genres were born—punk, disco, and, my personal favorite, hip-hop.
In Baz Luhrmann’s pricey new 12-part series for Netflix, “The Get Down”, set in the Bronx in 1977, the lives of a group of teenagers who give rise to the latter of these three genres are chronicled. Reports have production of “The Get Down” costing in the $120 million range, and leaving Luhrmann’s relationship with both Netflix and Sony Pictures, who produced the series, strained.
Variety‘s criticism of the show’s use of “gussied-up shlock” is no surprise, given Lurhmann’s resume (after all, this is the man who directed “The Great Gatsby” and “Moulin Rogue!”). Though I’ve gotten through but one episode myself so far, the show is interesting—and the music itself is fantastic. Granted, you’ll need some patience to get through the series premiere; at 90 minutes in length, it’s a lot to get through, particularly for a set-up episode.
The cast of “The Get Down” features Jimmy Smits, Shameik Moore, Jaden Smith, and Herizen Guardiola. In unusual fashion for a Netflix series, only the first six episodes of the show are currently available for streaming, with the second half of season one coming sometime in 2017.