Netflix Setting Musical Bar High With ‘Moulin Rouge’ Director

Netflix is jumping on the musical drama bandwagon. The streaming service has just issued a straight-to-series order for The Get Down, a new hip-hop-themed show created by Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby director, Baz Lurhmann.

The Get Down will take place in the broken-down, violent streets of 1970s New York. It will follow a group of South Bronx teenagers, who end up changing the city and the music industry, despite having no one to rely on but each other and nothing but their verbal games, improvised dance routines, and spray cans to keep things interesting. Through their eyes, the show chronicles the rise of hip-hop, punk and disco in the then financially distraught city.

The 13-episode series will be Lurhmann’s first ever television series. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the prolific director and producer will helm the first two episodes, as well as the series finale. He will also executive produce alongside Emmy nominee Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Terriers). Paul Watters (Australia), Thomas Kelly (Copper), playwright Stephen Adley Guirgis, and Marney Hochman (Terriers) will also executive produce.

In addition to marking Luhrmann’s small screen debut, The Get Down will also be his first musically driven endeavor since Moulin Rouge. The show has been a long-time passion project for the director and was first set up at Netflix over a year ago. Though its only just received a green light, the series reportedly has already hired casting directors to find contenders for the young leads.

“In this golden era of TV, the Netflix culture puts no constraint on creative possibilities. So it is a natural home for The Get Down, a project I have been contemplating and working on now for over 10 years,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “Throughout, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of how a city in its lowest moment, forgotten and half-destroyed, could give birth to such creativity and originality in music, art and culture.”

News of Netflix’s pickup comes just as musical dramas are having a major moment on television. Fox recently found huge success with their hip-hop drama, Empire, created by the Oscar-nominated Lee Daniels. VH1 is also readying its own similarly themed drama, The Breaks, based on Dan Charnas’s best-selling book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. HBO also several musical period shows in the works, including a rock n’roll-themed dramafrom Martin Scorsese, a music video comedy from David Fincher, and a classical music show produced by Elton John.

Considering this trend, it’s no surprise that Netflix — which is continuously aiming to challenge traditional television formats — is also looking to make its mark in the genre. With a known visionary like Luhrmann at the wheel, The Get Down could be the right entry to do just that.

The Get Down is scheduled to hit Netflix in 2016. In the meantime, the service has plenty of other new original series headed our way, including the Kyle Chandler drama Bloodline, The Crown, Grace and Frankie, and the Tina Fey-produced The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

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