Nas’s look back at the birth of hip hop had a lot of posivtives but never found an audience
Nostalgia has been the biggest thing in tv and film for a couple of years. Netflix know that as well as anyone. Superheroes and the immenstly successful ‘Stranger Things’ squeezing what they can from people’s childhoods, a show about the birth of hip hop seemed like a sure thing. With Baz Luhrmann and Nas producing it seemed all set to be one of the best pieces of tv to come out of 2016.
Unfortunately the cards were stacked against ‘The Get Down’ from the start. Production problems and delays had been rumored from early on. Rewrites and reshoots apparently continued through production. Even these wouldn’t have been too difficult to overcome but the show’s timing was terrible. It released right before ‘Stranger Things’ which dominated Netflix for months, pushing all its other productions into the background. With the nostalgia market being eaten up by the Stephen King/The Goonies inspired show, it didn’t leave much room for a show about the birth of hip hop which already had a more specific appeal. You already needed to care about hip hop to care about it, but for ‘Stranger Things’ you just needed to have been a kid.
Even for the audience it should have reached it met probably its biggest hurdle; ‘Atlanta’. Black cinema and television is seeing one of its most creative and critically received periods. As with any renaissance, the focus on now is much more important than the throwbacks. This may not have been a problem either but despite ‘The Get Down’ having a talented cast and some really great production, ‘Atlanta’ is just a better show.
Lurhmann spoke out about the show and said that despite the cancellation, it has a life of its own now. Read his post here and catch the trailer.