While STRANGER THINGS grabbed a lot of attention on Netflix this summer, another amazing Netflix original blew my mind even more: THE GET DOWN. I loved every minute of it.
THE GET DOWN is a six-part musical drama set in the South Bronx in the late 1970s. Described as a “mythic saga of how New York … gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco,” it focuses on two teenagers, Ezekiel (Justice Smith, who devours the role) and Mylene (the stunning Herizen F. Guardiola), each with great musical talent. Ezekiel, a wordsmith who writes poetry that later becomes rap lyrics, wants to find himself and remake the Bronx. Mylene, a beautiful choir singer who wants to sing disco, yearns for a life outside the Bronx.
Set in Bronx housing projects, the SoHo art scene and the World Trade Center, THE GET DOWN is a time machine to New York in 1977. It attacks issues like class, poverty, drugs, gangs, city politics, neglect of the Bronx, and historical events like the blackout, weaving them into the story without making them the story. The main issues center on the characters finding and expressing themselves through art–graffiti and music. The characters are all wonderfully flawed yet extremely likable. The musical scenes are powerful. The series has an emotionally satisfying conclusion with a montage that serves as a stirring homage to New York City.
Two big thumbs up for this culturally rich drama. I’m looking forward to the second season.