Netflix has canceled Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down after only one season. The big-budget musical drama marked Luhrmann’s first foray into television, and stemmed from a concept he’d been working on for more than a decade. Its six-episode part 1 debuted last August, then followed with a five-episode second half in early April. Both outings, though ambitious, failed to attract the same sort of buzz as the streaming giant’s other projects.
The show centered around the hip-hop/disco clash of 1970s New York, following a group of South Bronx teens coming of age amidst the gritty streets of the city. The main cast was comprised of mostly newcomers, though there were plenty of big names attached: Will Smith’s son, Jaden, played graffiti artist Dizzee, Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs narrated, Nas was an executive producer, and a number of other rap icons served as consultants.
Deadline was first to report that the series had been canceled, though the news hardly comes as a surprise. According to Variety, the first part of season 1 drew in 3.2 million U.S. adults ages 18 to 49 in its first 31 days — roughly one fifth of the viewers for Orange is the New Black season 4 in the same time frame.
Netflix rarely cancels a show so early on, but its hard to justify a meager fan base when the price tag is so high. The Get Down was one of the company’s most expensive original efforts to date, with the 12-episode first season coming in around $120 million. It was also riddled by a slow, costly, and difficult production process. Over the two and a half years it was in development, Luhrmann went through two showrunners, numerous writers, and several script overhauls. In fact, the show stopped and started so much that some of the team reportedly took to calling it “The Shut Down” on set.
The ever-changing creative direction sparked major tension amongst Luhrmann, Sony TV, and Netflix, and at one point, Luhrmann said he considered abandoning the project altogether. In an interview with Vulture last month, he announced plans to scale back his involvement should the series get a season 2, though he also revealed they’d already begun thinking about it and that all parties involved were eager to move forward. Alas, it seems things have since shifted, and The Get Down has seen its final days.
The Get Down season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.
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