Netflix has done it yet again with the dazzling new original TV show “The Get Down”. Created by Baz Luhrmann, director of classics like Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, and Romeo and Juliet, The Get Down centers around young teens growing up in the fast and chaotic city of the Bronx in the late 70’s. The show immerses us into a world focussed around the beginnings of hip hop, while providing us with an inside perspective to the gang violence, drugs, politics, and teen love that were very prevalent at the time.
At first glance, the acting in the show can come off as cheesy and overdone, however, as Margot Wexler, avid Get Down fan says, “That’s the point”. As he has done with The Great Gatsby and Romeo and Juliet, Luhrmann ties this acting style together with the plot to create a unique experience that anyone can enjoy. According to Cynthia Littleton, a writer from variety.com, the total production cost of the show totaled over $120 million, making The Get Down the most costly original production Netflix has ever made.
The show fixates on a young group of teens from the Bronx in the late 70’s. One of the main characters Ezekiel “Zeke” Figuero, played by Justice Smith, is incredibly intelligent and talented with the written word, however, growing up in the Bronx, he does not have the outlets necessary to display these talents. Hip Hop becomes his outlet, allowing him to showcase his talents ,but it also throws him into a world of danger he never saw coming. Mylene Cruz, Zeke’s love interest, played by actress Herizen Guardiola. is another talented, bold, strong-minded teenager with aspiring dreams of becoming a big time singer. Her dream to make it big as a disco star conflict with the culture she is raised in as people in the Bronx at the time did not typically leave the Bronx. On top of all of this she is a conservative preacher’s daughter who is constantly thrown into this world of sex, drugs, and gang violence without her parent’s knowledge. Marcus “Dizzee” Kipling, played by Jaden Smith, is a young graffiti artist who is along for the ride. Hip Hop culture was not the only emerging art in the late 70’s, and Smith portrays this beautifully through his character. As you can imagine, graffiti is not well received by the predominately white leadership of New York City at the time. Being labeled as a criminal gets Dizzee in all sorts of trouble that he must overcome to pursue his passion. Characters such as Zeke, Mylene, and Drizzle are just a few of the many eccentric and gifted teens that the show follows throughout this invigorating plot that will surely leave you on the very edge of your seat.
All in all, The Get Down provides viewers with quality content, good character development, and a unique plot line that is the first of its kind. I give it a two thumbs up for showing me a world that I previously had little exposure too. Exposing viewers to this world of the Bronx in the late 70’s also allows viewers to better understand the struggles of certain communities in the world even today. Next time you are in need of a mental break from school work, be sure to tune into The Get Down for a good time.