Streaming service Netflix just hit a home run with its nostalgic trip to the '80s in Stranger Things — so now fans will see how Netflix fares in the '70s.
The streaming service will be releasing the first six episodes of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann's new series, The Get Down, on Friday. The series focuses on the rise of hip-hop in the South Bronx, in New York City, through the lens of a few aspiring artists.
Ahead of its premiere, here's what you need to know about the series.
The narrator's rhymes were written by Nas, and the narrator is Hamilton's Daveed Diggs. Some of hip-hop's "founding fathers" were advisers on the series, including Grandmaster Flash who was, essentially, the incumbent fact-checker for the key narrative elements, according to NME.
"It's somewhere between pure rap narration and a sort of Greek chorus comment, and we use it a lot throughout," Luhrmann said, according to Rolling Stone.
It was extremely expensive. Netflix is notoriously secretive about its ratings and finances. However, according to Variety, The Get Down broke the bank for the streaming service as its most expensive series to date, reportedly costing $120 million total. To put that in perspective, Marvel's Deadpool had a budget less than half of that.
Suffice it to say, Netflix should have a lot riding on the success of The Get Down — or, at the very least, the future of musical dramas. Case in point: HBO's expensive '70s rock 'n' roll series Vinyl tanked with its ratings and was subsequently cancelled before it could produce a second season.
The reviews have been mixed. With that price tag in mind, the early reviews for The Get Down are likely not what Netflix was hoping for. If anything, the reviews demonstrate the show has room for improvement. The series' sprawling pilot — which is 90 minutes long — is a jumbled slog, which some critics warned might turn off viewers.
"The Get Down, especially in its early episodes, is a chaotic mess spiked with rare flashes of fantastic," Willa Paskin wrote in a review for Slate. "Its first episode is flat-out disastrous. But you can't take its premise away from it: It's great. No one on The Get Down ever walks quietly through the street, or thinks on the subway, when he or she could be strutting to a pumping soundtrack, preferably intercut with three other storylines."
However, as Tim Goodman noted for the Hollywood Reporter, it gets a lot better after the pilot — with fewer hints of Luhrmann's creative influence.
"It suffers from a 90-minute pilot that will be divisive in its aesthetic choices — think West Side Story, not Spike Lee — but rises again in the next two episodes to give all the crazy a chance at becoming something really good," Goodman wrote. "The saving grace for The Get Down seems to be getting rid of the driving force that helped get it made in the first place: Luhrmann."
The first six episodes of The Get Down arrive on Netflix Friday.