By Galilea Oregon
“The Get-Down,”is a new Netflix Original Series directed by Baz Luhrmann, director of “The Great Gatsby” and 1992 “Romeo and Juliet”. Released on August 12, 2016, “The Get-Down” is a messy perfect concoction of music, dance, and lively colors that are the reminiscence of youth in the Bronx splattered with drug and gang-related violence tied in by the blinding extravaganza of disco.
The story follows Ezekiel, “Zeke” Figuero, an African American teenager of Puerto Rican descent and his ragtag group of friends in the southern Bronx in 1977, as they witness and take part in the birth of hip-hop under the wing of Shaolin Fantastic- “the lady-killing romantic,” and his mentor, DJ Grandmaster Flash.
In the pilot episode, Zeke, a tenderhearted orphan living with his aunt, chases after the “love of his life” and childhood friend, Mylene, an aspiring disco star who happens to ironically be the daughter of a pastor who condemns the supposedly “unholy” music genre. In hopes of getting her to love him back, Zeke steals her favorite record, an extremely rare remix of a Misty Holloway song. As he is chased by the antagonists of the episode, members of the Savage Warlords gang, Zeke meets Shaolin Fantastic, propelling him and his friends into the underground world of gangs and drug cartels in the attic of the Les Inferno nightclub.
Living in a place where buildings are falling apart and drug lords are running amuck, one would expect this show to be a dark and gloomy representation of the era, but with the somewhat sheltered point of view of teens combined with Luhrmann’s extravagantly enticing characterization of the 70’s, the show becomes a whimsical West-Side Story inspired narrative complete with musical numbers, dancing, as well as elaborate and authentic costumes true to their time period.
‘The Get-Down,” although a story centered on the birth of hip-hop, also narrates the hopes and dreams of teenagers in a place where all dreams seem to die. It is truly a story of hope and adventure and excitement in which hip-hop serves as the colorful and exciting background. “The Get-Down” is really a metaphor for life, as presented by Grandmaster Flash: the sweet spot of a vinyl, the get-down is the individual’s purpose in the world, whereas the rest of the music is “wack.” Luhrmann’s creative storytelling encapsulates this concept in what appears to be an action packed show, but really, it is so much more. So “get-down” to this new show, it is definitely not a waste of your time.