Though Netflix’s latest original series – a look back at New York City nascent hip hop and rap culture – has been compared to HBO’s Vinyl for its similar attempts to evoke roughly the same pop cultural epoch, The Get Down approaches its subject matter from a different angle.
Unlike Vinyl’s deranged record label owners and wannabe punk pioneers, The Get Down examines the lives of key protagonists in their youth, down and out and desperate to devise a scheme that will aid their escape from their dire circumstances.
We have mythical graffiti artist Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore), accidental rapper Ezekiel “Books” Figuero (Justice Smith) and aspiring singer Mylene Cruz (Herizen Guardiola), amongst many others, play significant roles in the rise of hip hop & rap from the ashes of a city on the brink of bankruptcy.
In the Baz Luhrmann-directed 90-minute pilot there is a sense of the fantastical, as the story unfolds like a fairy tale. Thrown into the mix, we have innocence, corruption, aspiration, violence and of course, urban music. The recreation of the late 70s is uncanny as the South Bronx landscape is turned into some kind of proving ground for our heroes.
Sure, the story takes a couple of leaps of faith with logic and the ending is pure theatre but all this is par for the course for a Luhrmann epic musical period drama. By the denouement, the viewer is primed for the story to truly begin.
The date is 12th August – when the first six episodes of the first season will be released.
… still there’s more …