“Neon” is the story of 20-year-olds trying to make it in the music industry.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Although it’s not particularly original, the Netflix series has an easy charm.
Created by journalists Shea Serrano and Max Searle (“Dave”), the show follows three Gen Z friends who leave their hometown of Fort Myers, Florida and head to the bright lights and big city of Miami to pursue success. Let’s go.
The group of friends includes ambitious talent manager Ness (Emma Ferreira), wannabe reggaeton artist Santi (Tyler Dean Flores), who has a viral song and the personality of a golden retriever, and Santi’s creative director, Felix (Jordan Mendoza).
There are over a dozen shows about young people trying to make it in the same industry, but it’s notable that in “Neon,” the three friends aren’t all aspiring singers competing with each other. They are each pursuing different aspects of the music business and they are all invested in Santi’s success. It has a less cut-throat experience compared to other shows of its kind.
Emma Ferreira (from left) as Ness, Tyler Dean Flores as Santi and Jordan Mendoza as Felix. Francisco Román/Netflix © 2023 Santi (Flores) is a musician who smiles more than worries. Francisco Roman/Netflix © 2023
The three leads are relatively unknown, but “Neon” features some big actors in supporting roles, including “The Fast & Furious” franchise’s Jordana Brewster as Gina, a socialite with shady business deals, and Santiago as a musician. Cabrera (“Heroes”). Executive.
There are also several cameos from actual artists, including Xyko, Ken-Y, Jon Z and Jota Rosa (Daddy Yankee and notorious talent manager Scooter Braun are also among the show’s executive producers).
Flores (from left), Jordana Brewster as Gina and Jordan Mendoza as Felix. Francisco Roman/Netflix © 2023 Brewster (left) and Ferreira. Francisco Roman/Netflix © 2023
Naturally, when three friends were planning to start their path to stardom in Miami, everything didn’t go according to plan: Their first apartment was uglier than the photos they saw online (the always optimistic Santi Smiles and insists, “It’s okay!”). Santi’s public relations “relationship” with pop star Isa (Genesis Rodriguez) goes awry. The group’s initial meeting with a record executive is not what it seems.
The show falls victim to some clichéd “artist tries to make it big” moments, including the overdone scene where Santi hears his song on the radio for the first time and yells to his friends, “This is it, This is destiny!”
“Neon” isn’t reinventing the wheel, and it’s not the only series to feature these kinds of moments in the past few months. Prime Video’s “Daisy Jones and the Six” was a similar “performer rises from obscurity to fame” series with similar characteristics, and many of the same scenes were in HBO’s controversial show “The Idol.”
Mendoza. Francisco Román/Netflix © 2023 Mendoza (left) and Flores. Francisco Roman/Netflix © 2023
However, “Neon” differentiates itself by focusing on the reggae sub-genre, with dialogue and lyrics often featuring plenty of Spanish as well as English. It’s also not concerned with following its main characters as they grow tired or “fall” in line with their rise.
Santi smiles more than he thinks.
While “Neon” sometimes leans too far toward absurdity for the sake of comedy, it doesn’t lose sight of the story’s underlying core thread: the friendship of the three.
Rodriguez (from left), Flores, Mendoza and Ferreira. Francisco Roman/Netflix © 2023
With brisk half-hour episodes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and it provides laughs and heartfelt moments in equal measure.