Okay, let’s talk.If you have not or are not watching Netflix’s “The Get Down”, you need to remedy that now.
As in, right now.
I know it’s weird for me to start off a post like that before even telling you about this phenomenal series, but perhaps because I did that you’ll get a sense of my love for it.
Now that I’ve gotten that action item assigned to you and checked off my list, let me tell you about “The Get Down”. (Working backwards is fun!)
The Baz Luhrmann-created series takes place in the Bronx in the late seventies, just as disco is dying out and hip hop is rising. It focuses mainly on a bunch of teen boys (Zeke, Shaolin, Dizzee, Boo-Boo, and Ra-Ra) who run wild in the streets in between working on their DJ and MC skills and consulting with Grandmaster Flash (yes, THE Grandmaster Flash, portrayed like a Jedi Master by Mamoudou Athie. I need for him to sit with me and tell me stories).
There are girls too, of course. Mylene and her best friends Yolanda and Regina have a story about Mylene’s desire to become a disco star that intertwines with the boys and their passion for hip hop.
I won’t spoil it for you, I won’t. But here are some specific things about this show that I adore:
1. I really like Baz Luhrmann. If you have seen other Luhrmann films (like “Moulin Rouge”, “The Great Gatsby” or “Romeo and Juliet”), you already have an idea of what his style is like. It’s loud, colorful (nearly gaudy at times), and completely fast-paced. I love the visuals. He directed the pilot so that’s the episode that’s the most “Bazzy” (I just made that up). If you don’t like Luhrmann’s work, hang on until episode two when things grow a little more calm, editing- and cinematography-wise.
2. “The Get Down” is fictional but has real pieces of stories sprinkled throughout. In addition, there is real life video footage that has been edited seamlessly into what was shot specifically for the series. Seeing the World Trade Center twin towers was a little emotional for me; they were less than a decade old during the time the series takes place.
3. I love that the only actors I personally recognize in this series are Jimmy Smits (yay! “LA Law” FOREVER and yes I totally know he was also in “NYPD Blue” and “The West Wing” but yay Victor Sifuentes!) and Jaden Smith, whose papa must be so completely proud of this particular gig his son nabbed.
4. The soundtrack is INCREDIBLE. I love disco, I love hip hop. “Hey, you got disco in my hip hop! No, you got hip hop in my disco!” (another 70s reference modified for my own purposes. Get it?) LOVE THE SOUNDTRACK. Someone even created a “The Get Down” playlist on Spotify, and I thank him for doing the work for me. I’m following it now.
There’s more, so much more. I’ll stop now so you can just go watch for yourself. Part one of first season of “The Get Down” is made up of a 93-minute pilot and five 53-minute episodes after that. You can (and will want to) watch it in two days, maybe one if you’re really ambitious and have someone making you snacks. It’s the perfect balance to all that outside time you’ll enjoy this Labor Day weekend. Now go! Enjoy! I need to go make a countdown calendar for Season one, part two.