An MC with magical wordplay. A bad ass hustler. A prophetic graffiti artist. A gospel/disco star. The Get Down has characters that you’ll wish you knew in real life. The show is set in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, in the 1970s, during a time of artistic boom, the rise of fast dancing music, and yep—hella drugs. It follows a young black/Puerto Rican teenager, Ezekiel Figuero, who tries to balance his up-and-coming rap career with his family’s desires for him to attend college and move out of the hood. Not to mention, his romance with a budding disco star, Mylene Cruz. Together with his friends, he forms a hip-hop crew that will revolutionize the Bronx and makes these young black teens the pioneers of their own destinies.
Aired in on Netflix in August of 2016, The Get Down was created by Stephen Adly Guirgis and Baz Luhrmann. The show was renewed for a part two in April 2017, and it immediately became a fan favorite. But with dynamic characters and addictive storyline, how could it not? Here’s some reason why The Get Down is the best show on Netflix right now.
1. Shaolin Fantastic
Shaolin, played by Shameik Moore, is the group’s MC and best friend of Ezekiel Figuero. He has the style and the skill behind the group’s beats and knows a couple of moves with a samurai sword, too.
Born a hustler, Shaolin works for Fat Annie, a well-known pimp in the Bronx, as a drug dealer and in turn, she treats him like his own son…except for the fact that he’s pretty much her sex slave. While getting pimped out by his boss/mother, he navigates his way through the hood, selling drugs full time while trying to build an empire for himself and his group while holding on to the only thing he’s ever loved, hip-hop. He has a good heart, a strong mind, and even better, smile. *swoon*
2. Dope Music
As I mentioned before, the 70s brought rise to many genres such as disco music and hip-hop, and The Get Down portrays this cultural time perfectly. Between Mylene’s gospel and disco hits, and Ezekiel’s rap group, adequately named, The Get Down, and their fresh beats and rhymes. The catchy songs add a sort of flair to the show that every drama needs. The music is inspiring and will have you rooting for the show’s protagonists long before the season ends.
3. Culture and Spirituality
This is New York during the 70s, so of course, the show has some portrayal of subway graffiti. That’s where Dizzee comes in. Played by Jaden Smith, Dizzee is a free spirit to the fullest extent. Regardless of the city’s police arrest of graffiti artists, he does his thing and continues to make public art, even after his *ahem* friend Thor get arrested for graffiti. Hints are made at a possible love affair, and the entire concept is just AMAZING. An interracial and homosexual love affair? And I thought I couldn’t get any more in love with this series.
4. Ezekiel and Mylene
And there’s even more romance! Ezekiel and Mylene have the cutest love story ever with them both working on music in order to make their dreams come true while supporting each other’s dreams. It doesn’t stop there though. Ezekiel, frequently, writes her poetry and calls Mylene his “butterscotch queen” while they savor moments of romance in-between the drama and disarray. The couple is not only super sweet to each other but also honest and down to earth when it’s needed. When Mylene leaves for New York, Ezekiel promises to wait for her no matter what happens. I cried for like two hours straight after this episode.
5. Black Excellence
Now for the final reason why The Get Down is the best show on Netflix.
For all of its dynamic acting, three-dimensional characters, groovy music, and intense plot line, the show features a predominantly black cast which isn’t something you see often on live television or online shows. The cast is flawless, and they’re pioneering a type of genre in television that hasn’t previously existed. That’s pretty amazing. The hybrid between drama, musical, historical, and gang violence bridges the gap between so many aspects of black life as it has been in the past and as continues to be today. It’s such a good feeling you get from watching a show that’s inclusive and innovative. The Get Down is a cool glass of water in the midst of carbonated-sugary t.v. shows.