Last August, Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby) translated his filmmaking chops to the small screen for The Get Down, a big-budget musical drama produced for Netflix. The series followed a group of South Bronx teens coming of age amidst the gritty streets of ’70s New York, where hip-hop and disco sparred.
With a reported budget of roughly $16 million per episode, the show came at a hefty price tag for the streaming giant, though whether it was worth the payout remains to be seen. The first six episodes brought in mixed reviews from critics, with many praising its dazzling visuals and vibrant music but knocking its melodramatic sub plots. Nonetheless, the second half of the season is yet to come, and with another batch of episodes due April 7, The Get Down still has time to hit its stride.
Its Part 2 trailer, released on Thursday, seems to strike the same balance between navigating big dreams and innercity struggles. As Ezekiel (Justice Smith), Mylene(Herizen F. Guardiola), and their respective musical troops begin to find success, they'll have to decide who they want to be, how they want to get there, and what they're willing to risk in the process. As the official synopsis reads:
"Part Two of The Get Down picks up in 1978, one year after the events of Part One. The sweeping upheaval of late 70s New York City finds an as-yet-unnamed new pop cultural force striking a new beat in the Bronx, while disco still reigns supreme. Our young lovers Books and Mylene are caught in the swirl of a looming cultural revolution destined to change everything about their world – but they have this moment to make their mark. Amidst the backdrop of a bankrupt New York City, ruthless gangsters and money-hungry record label bosses, they discover it’s only their creativity and love that will carry them through — and that they’ll sacrifice everything for their music, and each other."
Based on the description, the second half of the season will tackle similar but elevated stories, which makes sense for continuity but may not be the push the series needs to win over a more mainstream audience. Netflix certainly has room for more left-of-center efforts in its ever-burgeoning original lineup, but perhaps not when its comes at such an elaborate cost. That puts a lot of pressure on these next episodes to rake in more attention. So far, it hasn't shown much evidence of hitting that benchmark, but here's to hoping The Get Down can find its footing the second time around.
The Get Down Part 2 hits Netflix on April 7.