“The Get Down” is unlike anything people might be expecting. It’s a fairytale through and through, and has enough charm and soul to make the wait for part two unbearable.
If you haven’t heard about Netflix’s new show, it’s about a group of teenagers living in the Bronx in the late 70s. The show is centered around the rise of hip-hop and its influence on dance, art, culture along with music and its effects on the main characters. While its first episode goes on a little too long, the strong performances and aesthetics draw the viewers in.
The show follows Ezekiel “Zeke” Figuero (Justice Smith) and Mylene Cruz (Herzien Guardiola) through their harsh upbringings in the Bronx. Zeke and Mylene are sort of like Romeo and Juliet.
Both want to be together, but can’t due to their different goals. Mylene wants to be the next disco superstar and Zeke wants to be the biggest MC out of the Bronx.
Zeke one day bumps into a legendary graffiti artist by the name of Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore). The two become inseparable and proceed to work together to make hip-hop global.
The heart and soul of the show lies with the powerful performances by the cast. Smith is a star in the making, delivering the most heartfelt scenes in the show. Smith’s character intertwines with all the characters, giving them motivation for all of their actions.
In addition, his ability to rap in a spoken word tone makes him a force to be reckoned with. Hearing him spit bars really brings a smile to one’s face.
Moore, who has already been critically praised by his mesmerizing performance in “Dope,” is nothing short of spectacular. Cruz brings a lot of sass and warmth to the show, moreover, her huge voice will leave viewers in awe.
The whole look and feel to the show truly makes it a unique experience. The clothing looks straight out of a disco fever dream, with bright colors and textures dominating most of the attire. It’s almost as if someone is watching an episode of “Soul Train.”
Music plays a huge part in “The Get Down,” and it’s no surprise that it’s truly top notch. Disco fills the air with its upbeat rhythm and huge vocals.
As the show progresses in the first few episodes, old school hip-hop begins to take form. Drums and turntables become more prominent and allowed space for people to rap over.
No show is perfect and “The Get Down” suffers from some flaws. Pacing is one of the biggest problems in the show so far. It takes a few episodes to pull the viewer in. Too much time is spent on the backstory of the Bronx or introducing a multitude of characters, it forgets that the viewer is even there.
Speaking of characters, there are too many. It takes a while to figure out the name of everyone who matters. Multiple storylines are introduced at once, making it feel clustered and unfocused at times.
Furthermore, the show uses old footage of the Bronx from the 70’s as its transitions between scenes, causing it to look grainy and cheesy.
If people are willing to endure the first few episodes, they’ll find a show that explores the emergence of hip-hop anda story with heart.