In light of the second season of director Baz Luhrmann’s hit musical drama The Get Down premiering April 7th, I thought it would be a good idea to review and call attention to the (in my opinion) best and most underrated Netflix original show to date.
The Get Down is a somewhat historically accurate 6-part drama that chronicles the lives of the mostly Puerto Rican and black population of the South Bronx during the creation of hip hop in the 1970s. The show’s main character, Ezekiel Figueroa, is a high school aged boy at a crossroads between staying in the Bronx and pursuing hip hip with his friend and mentor, Shaolin Fantastic, or taking an internship with the very people who burn down his city and put his community in jail, all while making millions off of it.
And, as most shows do, Zeke has a love interest.
Mylene is a girl the same age as Zeke, with one big dream for herself: move to Manhattan and become a disco star. One of the biggest conflicts of the show is the “will they or won’t they” conflict between Zeke and Mylene. Zeke’s friends also add to the situation because Mylene strongly disapproves of the people Zeke hangs out with, and the shady things they often do.
The show is as dramatic and eventful as you would expect something directed by Luhrmann to be, but without losing any of its value or making it seem corny in any way. This is also helped by the phenomenal acting done by the cast. I really can’t tell you how many times I have teared up just at the emotion on Zeke’s face during some scenes.
Despite the incredibly powerful poems and songs, drama, and acting, I think the best thing about the show has to be its intersectionality. In TV history, POC representation has been lacking to say the least. And, when there is a POC character, they are often the only one on the show, or aren’t being portrayed accurately or fairly. The Get Down doesn’t have any of these problems. The show sheds light on the post-civil rights era where things were claimed to be equal, but in reality the oppression of POC was just as rampant as ever. The Get Down deals with the destruction of the South Bronx in the 70s. Often times the show’s songs mention the “Bronx burning”, referring to the arson of buildings, planned by the insurance companies who would get money from this, and perpetrated by gang leaders getting paid by these companies, but taking the fall for it. While some things in the show are obviously fictionalized, unfortunately the oppression of the South Bronx community is not one of them.
The representation of POC is extremely important because it not only calls attention to the events that happened, but a popular and successful show featuring an all-POC cast makes studios more likely to make shows and movies about a wider variety of people.
Overall, “The Get Down” is a powerful look at a topic often looked over. If you like drama, music, amazing acting, history, or social justice, this show is definitely for you!