Just as Netflix announced that it would be expanding into 130 more countries, yesterday the online streaming provider dropped the first trailer for its long-awaited (ten years in the making) hip-hop musical drama The Get Down. With Baz Lurhrmann (The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge) at the helm of the series, we were more or less guaranteed that it wouldn’t disappoint, and thank god the preview hasn’t either.
As the Big Apple, on the brink of bankruptcy crumbles into urban decay, the saga follows a group of South Bronx kids at the epicentre of a seismic change in American – and soon global – culture: the birth and rise of hip hop, disco and punk in 70s New York. “The pale faced media tells us we’re all going to hell,” the trailer voiceover declares. “But maybe we’re just the first ones to light the fire.”
The ragtag group of teenagers– played by Dope’s Shameik More, Jaden Smith, Tremaine Browne Jr, Justice Smith and Skylan Brooks – move from their Bronx tenements to the SoHo art scene, from CBGBs to Studio 54, in the 13-episode drama that weaves together graffiti, sex, and violence, with music standing in as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Parallel to the dominant narrative, The Get Down offers a sub-plot with Herizen Guardiola playing a tenacious girl with a kickass voice and big dreams of becoming a disco star, contrary to the wishes of her uncompromising, religious family.
Granted, the Netflix drama bears a similar resemblance to HBO’s upcoming series Vinyl, soaked in the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll of 70s NYC – a doubtless contender with Terence Winter (Sopranos), Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) and Mick Jagger in charge – but fingers crossed Luhrmann won’t let us down.