Here's my prediction of what Nas will look like while reading this:
Now I can binge with the best of them. I stayed up till 12AM Pacific Time to watch all of season Arrested Development Season 4. I've knocked down Daredevil S1, Jessica Jones, various seasons of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and Daredevil S2 in less than a weekend. Why is that important? It took me over a week to get through six episodes of The Get Down Part 1.
Welp! I have no complaints about Shameik's Shaolin Fantastic. Any part of the show that featured The Get Down Boys piecing together their routine was truly engaging. I will watch musicians perfect their craft no matter what!
I dug the world that was alluded to but never fully explored. For instance, when the crew had their Mufasa+Simba "Everything the light touches" moment and broke down the city's territories broken down by DJs.
I also looked forward to scenes featuring Herizen F. Guardiola's Mylene struggle to become the next disco sensation. As I said, I'll watch musicians. I don't care if it's not directly about Hip-Hop, I just love watching music being performed and made.
The problem was that I never got the sense the show knew what it wanted to be. Part of the blame falls on how Justice Smith's Zeke/Books was written. I'll acknowledge that this is where subjectivity plays a big part in this analysis. I will never be a fan of watching my protagonist not take control of a situation. Others may not have be so averse to characters like that.
Books is pulled in a bunch of different directions throughout the first 6 episodes and I never got a sense that he was truly committed to any of the directions. That's fine, but what did he want then? I can't get down with someone who squanders talent and just wants to half-heartedly do a bit of everything. I do enough of that for myself, I don't need to see it on TV.
Is Zeke going to prove his teacher and Mylene right and become the well spoken professional I guess I'm supposed to believe he can be? Or is he going to be a Hip Hop sensation played by Daveed Diggs with the voice of Nas for some reason? Oh. That's right we are being told the story from adult Books' stage.
If we already know Ezekiel "Books" Figuero is going to take his wordsmithing to 1996 where he's ostensibly headlining an arena show, maybe miss me with the internship sub-plot. Choosing between helping Mylene and working with the Get Down Boys is enough conflict and it keeps the focus on the parts of the show that work well.
I could also do without the weird torture scenes featuring kids and most of the Les Inferno plot, but I guess it gives Shaolin Fantastic more to do. Why that's necessary is for someone else to figure out I guess.
Otherwise, I always feel overwhelmed by his visuals and underwhelmed by his use of characters or just the dearth of emotional connection to the story being told.
I'm not writing this to bash the show so much as say that there is a lot to enjoy in this show as a music fan. Let's just hope the next batch of episodes can focus on that music as there is a lot to dig into. This show could be really good and I acknowledge I'm assessing an unfinished product! So I'm willing to focus on the positives of this show and look forward to more!