Madison Gallup ’17/ Emertainment Monthly TV Section Editor
Up to this point, there has been only one truly valid excuse for not venturing into the Netflix original show; only half the season was on the site. Part one of this spectacular show, helmed by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Guirgis, consists of 6 hour-long episodes which look into the origin of hip hop in the Bronx through the lens of a fictionalized up and coming DJ, Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore), and his group, The Get Down Brothers, led by Ezekiel “Books” Figueroa (Justice Smith) who is considered the wordsmith of the operation. Viewers who watched these first six episodes had to wait months for the next five which would complete season one. For this reason, some people chose to wait for all the episodes (impatience is a very prominent symptom in the TV world) before delving into the rich and gripping world of The Get Down.
To the viewers who patiently waited and to those who have never heard of this show, welcome to one hell of a ride. Between the jammin’ soundtrack, incredibly talented cast, stylized directing and cinematography, and consistently well-written plotlines, The Get Down is not a show to fly over any media lover’s radar. There’s plenty to be found for music, film, TV, comic, art, and literature enthusiasts (essentially every section of Emertainment Monthly– this show would likely make a spectacular video game as well).
The creative and technical behind the scenes talent for this show is off the charts and, fortunately, they work with a cast which amplifies all their hard work. Each and every inspired costume is inhabited by an actor who embodies and respects their character. None of the cast members have been in huge franchises or taken on any iconic parts before this show, so they’re really able to fully become these characters and showcase their many talents. Shameik Moore brings Shaolin to life with all his dance talent and charisma. Justice Smith poetically raps his way into all of our hearts as Zeke. Herizen Guardiola uses her powerful vocals and strong attitude to rocket Mylene Cruz to stardom. Apart from this primary trio, a couple highlights include future K-Pop star Jaden Smith as Dizzee Kipling, providing some visual artistry and LGBT representation into the show, and the wonderful Jimmy Smits as the arguable heart of the show, Papa Fuerte. Each and every cast member, aided by strongly written scripts, makes their character feel so essential to this show. It isn’t uncommon at all for viewers to be entranced by even the most sinister characters, such is often the case with Yahya Abdul- Mateen II’s portrayal of Cadillac.
Set aside an hour to dive into the first episode of The Get Down. It will feel like a Baz Luhrman film. This is exciting for some and overwhelming for others. Either way, if you like what you see at all, stick with it. The story only becomes more gripping and a bit less intensely stylized after Luhrmann’s first directed introduction into this show he helped create. Here’s hoping that this talented white Australian man brought a show into the world which will last for a long time to come and inspire other content creators to make much more work like it. Happy viewing!