Musical dramas are becoming a rare commodity in the OTT space after their evident extinction from mainstream cinema.
Netflix has always taken the lead in producing content hovering around singers and their journeys.
Neon is a new TV series, now streaming on the platform. It revolves around an aspiring musician’s journey to the skies of popularity.
The American show comprises eight episodes culminating in a runtime of almost four hours.
In my review of Neon, I will explore its standout qualities and the aspects that may leave it falling short.
Santi, a rising Reggaeton star, wants to make it big in Miami. His team includes only two people who also happen to be his childhood buddies.
The singer’s road to glory is not a definite ride and several roadblocks mark a dent in it.
Created by Shea Serrano and Max Searle, Neon stars Tyler Dean Flores (Santi), Emma Ferreira (Ness), Jordan Mendoza (Felix), and Courtney Taylor (Mia) in lead roles.
Daddy Yankee makes a curtailed appearance in the series.
What Works for Neon?
Carving a story out of a struggling modern-day Reggaeton singer’s life, Neon pushes an idea that’s less likely to find a mass audience.
However, the series devises a way that makes it appear arousing and lively.
There is a lot of color in the show to get rid of blandness.
Not only visually but also verbally, the sparkles of style, glamour, and extravaganza keep the story alive with Spanish undertones adding a refined touch.
Santi, an emerging singer, is accompanied by his manager and creative director on a trip to Miami, the city of music.
However, these individuals are more than just professionals working together – they are childhood friends with a shared dream of achieving greatness.
So, while one would expect a struggling Santi, bleeding around in a glittery world, the personal development of the other two individuals is equally filled with hustle.
Neon’s music gives the show an energetic rhythm even though largely relying on less-than-expected fresh beats.
The series’ light vibes evoke fun. They are a result of the bonhomie the characters bring along.
It pushes the screenplay to flow vibrantly, eventually earning a jubilant viewing experience.
Additionally, Neon maintains a brisk pace throughout, leaving no room for disappointment.
When you combine this swift storytelling with the series’ concise duration, it results in a highly satisfying and enjoyable package.
In the end, the final upside comes from the show’s last few minutes, which act as an uplifting ride. Neon leaves a mark and a very positive one as well.
The lack of drama, excessive shenanigans, and deplorable one-liners give Neon an indestructible boost.
Also, Daddy Yankee’s cameo is quite a soothing sight for the audience.
Evaluating the Performances
Tyler Dean Flores takes on the role of Santi, the series’ lead protagonist. His youthful appearance enables the character’s naivety to resonate with the audience.
The actor’s vivacious performance, amidst all the flamboyance, demonstrates his commitment to the role, imbuing it with intricate depth.
Santi’s theatrics demanded a spry portrayal, and Tyler skillfully conveys this through his expressive body language
Emma Ferreira as Ness is the foundation stone of the series. Her natural instinct visibly fuels the narrative while the cheerful expressions keep dullness at bay.
She builds on the sketch and then fosters the true nature of Ness which is both mature and inane at the same time.
When Emma takes on the leader’s hat, the impact of her portrayal is enhanced further.
Jordan Mendoza depicts Felix in Neon. He plays more on spontaneous abilities than the orthodox mechanism of fluid aptitude.
It helps him to bring the casual arc to the table that is invigorating, relatable, and blunt.
Courtney Taylor assumes the role of Mia in Neon. She desires for the stars and ultimately attains them through her uninhibited performance.
Her initially ostentatious traits gradually give way to a more nuanced and appealing character transformation as the narrative unfolds.
This evolution makes Taylor’s character even more endearing and relatable within the story and beyond.
What Doesn’t Work for Neon?
Struggles are not highlighted or emphasized much in Neon. Hence, the cinematic elevation that should have fueled inspiration doesn’t arrive in the end.
Yes, you will leave the screen with a happy face but the inspiration that a story like this should have transported to an aspiring singer is slightly lacking.
This was the reason I pointed out early on that the concept would not resonate with the masses.
Moreover, music should have been more prominently used in Neon. Though it works well in the present state, I feel a slightly higher number of original compositions could have ameliorated it further.
Stream or Skip?
Neon is a fast-paced and well-intentioned series. Since there are eight episodes with half of the number of hours, I would suggest you watch it on Netflix.