Netflix has made steady inroads as an original content provider over the last few years, with shows like Orange Is The New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt proving themselves capable of standing proudly alongside network and cable fare. But it’s hard not to feel that there’s been something missing from the streaming company’s output, some enigmatic but ubiquitous element that it lacked. Something familiar and comforting, without which TV could hardly be said to be TV. It was missing, yes, but no longer: Jimmy Smits has finally arrived.
Netflix announced this week that Smits has signed on for The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann’s new series about the rise of hip-hop, disco, and punk in 1970s New York. Smits will play Papa Fuerte, a political boss who both cares for and lords over the citizens of the show’s South Bronx setting, providing them with favors and fighting city government on their behalf. It’s under his watchful eye that Luhrmann’s young cast will strike out in the interest of self-expression, exploring new musical and artistic spaces and basking in his Smits-ian glow.
Other casting news for The Get Down includes the reveal that Grandmaster Flash, previously announced as an associate producer and adviser on the project, will also appear as a character, played by newcomer Mamoudou Athie. That’s good news for anyone who was hoping that The Get Down would deal with the actual history of the New York music scene, and not just the beautiful, glitter-covered dream children who exist in Baz Luhrmann’s bountiful imagination.