Netflix Review: ‘Skylines’ is a Perfect Blend of Rap and Crime

The range and the extent of the material available on Netflix is overwhelming. The streaming service has upped its game and is keeping itself versatile by not only making high-profile shows that bring in a good number of Emmys but it also continues to churn the series that cater to the massive appetite of binge-watchers. In the English language category, the number is pretty high, which means you will find everything from mind-blowing series like ‘Unbelievable’ to not so impressive endeavours like ‘The I-Land’.

However, for its foreign-language shows, Netflix is still at the stage where it has to be very choosy about what it wants to serve to its audience. It prefers quality over quantity here, and perhaps, this is why these shows turn out to be more successful than their English counterparts. Take, for example, the German section of Netflix. It’s first original, ‘Dark’, is such a mind-bending experience that it easily finds a place in one of the best sci-fi shows of recent times, if not of all times. Building upon the legacy of such a series is a difficult task, and the streaming giant doesn’t want anything to tarnish that image.

With a couple of German TV shows in the pipeline, Netflix has begun to diversify the stories and is ready to explore everything- from the life in metro cities to the tales that go back hundreds of years. In ‘Skylines’, it ventures into the world of rap and crime to tell a compelling story. With the episode count of six, the series doesn’t wait around to lay a solid foundation for the events to follow. In addition to that, it doesn’t rush anything either.

The plotline of the series is intricately laid out. The writers have given ample time to the characters to introduce themselves and give the audience a sense of what they really want from life. Steadily, they get entangled in each other’s business, and by the end of the season, we have an intricately woven web that paves the path for a follow-up season which, if it lives up to the potential, would be even better than this one.

‘Skylines’ makes excellent use of its time and characters. Nothing is irrelevant here, and no one is disposable (not right away at least). Every character serves a purpose that might seem minor, maybe even unnecessary, at the moment, but look at the bigger picture and you realise the importance of that piece of the puzzle. The actors do an excellent job of bringing their roles to life.

In Jinn (Edin Hasanovic), we meet a young man full of dreams and talent. Just when he has all that he ever wanted; he is thrown into a war that is still in its preliminary phase. The innocence of his hopes is washed away one episode at a time. He loses friends, family and the true purpose of his life. In Sara (Peri Baumeister), we meet a woman who is struggling to prove her worth in the department she has given her everything to. She has a family but doesn’t spend much time with them. At times, it seems like she has become so used to the taste of the action that normal life doesn’t fit her bill anymore. When she picks up on the secret drug trade taking place in the cover of Skyline Records, she throws herself into it so hard that eventually, flies too close to the sun and endures physical and emotional damage.

Kalifa and Ardan are the set of brothers who would have done anything for each other in the past. But they have spent a lot of time apart, and their different opinions about what they want to do with the company create a ridge between them. A similar variation appears in the portrayal of the criminal informants. While one is overenthusiastic about his job, the other is cautious. One is overconfident and doesn’t have a limit when it comes to exploiting the information he has; the other takes slow steps and wants to be done with it as soon as possible. He wants money but still values his life over it. Their situations and motivations are different, and the addition of Jinn in this list brings another edge to the story.

Overall, the series is very well made. It creates a perfect blend of the reverie of music and fame to the raw, unforgiving world of drugs and crime. The plot is concise and rarely loosens up, which means that the viewers should brace themselves for spending a good part of their day in front of Netflix. Rap is the backbone of the show and the music is pretty great. It sets the mood, and if not for the story itself, you might want to continue the series just for the music. The finale ends at a point of no return for its characters and leaves the audience in a state of anticipation that won’t be quelled until the second season arrives.

Rating: 4/5