While preparing to post about the just-shared second trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down, I ran into a bit of a dilemma — picking the right screen-cap proved difficult, as every frame was considered, dramatic and aestheticized to perfection. At least from this trailer, this show looks like perfectly vital, captivating television. Luhrmann, it seems, is breaking form by focusing on a particular musical moment rather than applying a pastiche of history-transcending popular tunes to period narratives, as in Moulin Rouge or The Great Gatsby — and it looks like its working.
The trailer shows glimpses of the lives of the teens at the center of this story set in South Bronx in 1977, with a focus on Justice Smith’s character Ezekiel and Dope‘s Shameik Moore as his best friend, Shaolin Fantastic. There’s also a glimpse of Giancarlo Esposito — Breaking Bad‘s Gus Fring — as a Pentecostal pastor.
There’s always something exhilarating and about watching people unknowingly experiment with the newness of something that’d later become so engrained in the way the world works. Seeing a group of kids casually contribute to the beginnings of hip-hop is a pretty rapturous thing. And seeing a series appear to get so deep into a story that’s gone pretty under-examined in mainstream film and TV — because, of course, the two have focused so stubbornly on white middle/upper classes — is equally exciting.
Watch the trailer:
The first six episodes of the series (there are 13 in total for the first season) will be available on Netflix on August 12.