Howdy ladies and gents, and after how many months away welcome back to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. I feel terrible for leaving this series dormant for several months now, but work, life, timing and effort were all factors that prevented me from coming back to this. But since I’ve gotten a little spare time recently I had to talk about some TV. So with week 23, I’m gonna talk about two of the shows I recently finished; The Get Down and Luther. Oh and careful for minor spoilers below…
The Get Down (Part 1)
So The Get Down is a show I’ve been excited about for ages since I heard about it online many months ago, the concept of the show just intrigued me with the 70’s setting and birth of the hip hop genre amidst the all the drama, crime and violence. I finally saw it last week over the course of one day and really enjoyed it.
At first I wasn’t keen on the more fantastical/otherworldly nature of this show, it seemed to ride this line between realism and fantasy and sometimes with the way certain scenes were framed and the use of sound effects took me out of the show on a good few occasions. That being said, once the show got going it became really fun, interesting, and engaging. Regardless of how true to life this show is in terms of the depiction of the time period, disco and the early phase of hip-hop, DJ scratching and being an MC, this show did a great job at showing the origins of these elements with an interesting cast of characters in the main and secondary cast. The show has a great sense of fun, pride and drama, and while some of the characters and story elements aren’t as compelling as other. Once the six episodes are over you really want to see more. The best part was seeing Ezekiel’s journey, seeing Grandmaster Flash and following the formation and adventures the Fantastic Four Plus One. This was my favourite material as it was really engaging, fun, fabricating and felt really realistic to a degree. I also liked seeing the state of New York during the 70’s with pop culture, crime and the difficulties that people faced. The cast is solid and really bring these characters to life. Firstly there’s Justice Smith who’s great as Ezekiel “Zeke” Figuero, Zeke is an interesting character because of he’s a smart,talented ad yet conflicted and has struggles with his future, love interest and friends. Shameik Moore who I loved in Dope was pretty good as Shaolin Fantastic, this was a very different side of Moore than what I’ve seen, Fantastic was strange, cocky and made questionable decisions, but he was an endearing and stylish dude. Jaden Smith as Marcus “Dizzee” Kipling was good, I know these days it’s cool to hate on Smith because of his acting and questionable comments on social media, but Dizzee felt like a role that was made for Smith, he’s artistic, otherworldly and not everyone gets him, but he’s spiritual and pretty cool. Skylan Brooks was really good as the level-headed Ra-Ra Kipling, and T. J. Brown Jr. who initially annoyed me ended up being cool as Boo-Boo Kipling.
The one weak link for me was Herizen F. Guardiola as Mylene Cruz, and it wasn;t so much Guardiola’s acting, she was great in the role, but it was the character I couldn’t get on board with. She had such a hot and cold attitude with Zeke and her quest to become a famous singer in the disco genre just wasn’t as compelling as the Fantastic Four Plus One, however, her story definitely gets better in the later episodes.
Jimmy Smits was really good as Francisco “Papa Fuerte” Cruz, I wasn’t sure what to expect from him in this show but he ended up being one of the most engaging characters because of the balance he had to do between his business and personal life. From the recurring cast Giancarlo Esposito was fantastic as Pastor Ramon Cruz, he was scary, ferocious and felt like he was channelling a bit of Gus from Breaking Bad. Also Mamoudou Athie was really cool as Grandmaster Flash and finally Kevin Corrigan, who I’ve loved since Fringe and Comminuty was one of my favourite people as Jackie Moreno, he played a record producer who had a lot of bad habits but was also brilliant at his job. I’ve enjoyed this show so far and I can’t wait to see season 2.
Luther (Seasons 1-4)
So Luther, that British TV show from the BBC that a lot of people have been going on about for years, I only got around to watching it in the last week. Yeah it has taken me that long to check it out haha. I can see a lot of people being surprised by this but there’s a legit reason. During its initial run I wasn’t too interested in a lot British TV and didn’t commit to shows that were longer than 30 mins. However after I was exposed to all of the US TV I binged during uni, I became open to watching longer TV like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Sherlock and so on. This show has been on my watch list for years (mainly the last two), but I’ve had a lot to check out and after finishing The Wire in July, Luther was next. So how was Luther? Pretty darn good, but not without its issues.
What was notable straight away was how engaging things were from the first episode. From the beginning the stories featured a variety of scenarios relating to DCI John Luther and the crimes he investigates, these stories are full of danger, mystery, intrigue and drama. The cool thing about these stories was that they were captivating and entertaining in the best possible way with some episodic adventures and some that were in two or more parts. And while most episodes focused on the police cases normally involving murder, they were times when the show deviated away to Luther and his personal life or side cases, and some of the best episodes involved stories involving crazy or creepy murderers and/or Luther’s personal life. That being said, what surprised me about this show was how ridiculous it got. Some of the stories, dialogue and character motivations stretched the realm of realism and the term suspension of disbelief comes to mind. With each season the scenarios got more and more ambitious and absurd, however, after a while you do adjust the over-the-top and silly nature of some of this show as it becomes part of the fun and crazy rollercoaster of an adventure.
It also helped that the show was shot very well, the cinematography was lovely and this show does a great job at showing off London in all its beautiful and not so beautiful scenery. But it is the characters that make the show super fun and engaging to watch. Firstly there’s Idris Elba as DCI John Luther and Elba is great, along with Stringer Bell from The Wire, this is the key role that shows why people love Elba as an actor because of his dramatic range, likeability and screen presence. The next key performance in this show comes from Ruth Wilson as Alice, she’s introduced early on as a dangerous, unpredictable and unlikable character, but over time your grow to appreciate her, and after a while you can’t get enough of her and that is due to Wilson’s performance that is so captivating, creepy and sexy all at the same time. Other great characters include Dermot Crowley as DCI/DSI Martin Schenk who initially is a stern and douche-like character and then becomes one of the key people in Luther’s circle of people, Warren Brown as DS Justin Ripley is another great character who is Luther’s partner and friend and has some really key moments in the show, and some other notable people I liked were Michael Smiley as Benny ‘Deadhead’ Silver, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Jenny Jones and Rose Leslie as DS Emma Lane. As an overall show it is good but flawed due to the fact season 1 and 2 were great, season 3 wasn’t as good but still enjoyable, and the two-part season 4 was interesting but felt hollow and inconclusive. I do hope that Luther will get a proper ending because this fun show deserves it.
Well that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of these shows? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watching too. Until next time, laters! 😀