Earlier today, it was reported Fox’s Empire rose yet again in the ratings to an eye-ball shattering 4.6 in the 18-49 demo with 11.47 million viewers overall. Considering the audience potential, it’s no surprise other networks are now trying to get into the hip-hop series game. Enter, The Get Down.
As of today, SVOD giant Netflix has issued a direct-to-series order for The Get Down, a hip-hop based 1970s period drama from creator Baz Luhrmann - director of such films as Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby - and executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Unit). The first season of the series will consist of thirteen episodes, set to debut sometime in 2016 (most likely in the first quarter, between January and March)
The Get Down will focus on 1970s New York — broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped — dying. Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them — except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGBs to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco — told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world … forever.
Luhrmann first began taking the series – his television debut – around to networks back in December 2013. However, part of what most likely pushed the series order at Netflix was that there are now two solidly performing hip-hop related series on the small screen (Empire on Fox and Power on Starz), with an additional third, The Breaks, setting up for a forthcoming debut on VH1. While the genre remains one of the top games in music, it’s only now that television has begun venturing out into the world. Where Luhrmann’s drama will have a leg up, however, is in uniqueness.
Both Empire and Power are modern-day set explorations into the hip-hop scene, whereas The Get Down is going to be tapping into the early days of the genre. If tackled correctly, the series will also have a chance to explore 1970s New York City in a way that has yet to be seen on television – and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that Netflix shines best when tackling worlds rarely seen in the medium (or finding new spins to put on ones seen before a la House of Cards).
While there’s much anticipation for Daredevil and the rest of the upcoming Marvel slate, Netflix is in need of a new original that will once again cement its status as one of the best in the business - and The Get Down might indeed be that. It’s got great talent behind it but more importantly, it will have hunger behind it. Luhrmann’s been sitting on this series for over a year; with any luck, it will be that anticipation that allows him to knock this one out of the park.
Stay tuned for more on The Get Down as it develops.