As a hip-hop head who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, I pretty much consume all things related to the time period. If there’s a documentary about hip-hop, I’m watching it. I devoured Netflix’s bank-busting The Get Down and loved the first half so much that I implored everybody to get down with The Get Down. The second half wasn’t nearly as good, though it seemed to be infinitely more expensive. Point is, though, the show was rooted in the beginnings of hip-hop in the South Bronx in the ’70s. I’ll be on time for that.
Similarly, way back yonder in 2016, when I began seeing promos on VH1 for a new movie called The Breaks, I was all in. It was positioned as a period piece that coincided with hip-hop’s move from the late ’80s into the early ’90s, starring Wood Harris, Tristan Wilds, Method Man and random other people who showed up in The Wire, and Afton Williamson as the headstrong D.C. girl who moved to New York City with her boyfriend determined to get into the game and make a name for herself.
VH1 played the shit out of us with the original movie, which debuted in 2016 and was really a series opener masquerading as a stand-alone movie. When the movie concluded, I remember feeling like ... wait, THAT’S IT? THAT’S THE END??? No way. The movie, which premiered on Jan. 4, 2016, set the stage for a television series that didn’t actually debut until FEBRUARY 2017. To say that VH1 fucked the dog here would be an understatement. In January 2016, we actually had no idea if the show was even going to be made.
I suppose enough of us watched the movie that VH1 decided to go ahead and order a season of episodes. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that by the time the show came back around an ENTIRE year plus some later, most folks forgot the original movie even existed. But here I was waiting for it. I was excited to get back into the story of Nikki, Barry Fouray, DeeVee, Dave, etc.
So what happens?
We get eight episodes of a show that ALSO ends on a cliffhanger of sorts as Dave’s father (Dave is the boyfriend of Afton Williamson’s Nikki, who is an aspiring radio DJ who is also trying to get folks onto hip-hop), distraught over the recent murder of Dave at a hip-hop show and looking for some revenge, makes a discovery that looks primed to change the entire industry. See, he’d just purchased the musical rights to David Axelrod’s catalog. Well, DeeVee (Tristan Wilds) is a producer working with an MC named Ahm, a surly motherfucker for certain, and one of their songs samples a David Axelrod song. Dave’s father, an industry exec, figures out how to screw the hip-hop industry.
That’s where the season ends. Except it didn’t seem like a reasonable place to end a series. In fact, for the next month, every Monday I’d check for a new episode. We got nothing. The information for the last episode didn’t even say, “On the season finale” or anything. The show just ... stopped. No mention of it at all. Like it just disappeared with the only proof of it ever existing in my DVR list.
According to the world’s most accurate source of information, Wikipedia, the show was picked up for a second season by BET in April 2017. I don’t remember hearing that, but maybe I missed it. That’s fine. What’s more important is when in the hell it will actually be showing back up. Look, I’m just one man who really enjoyed a show. I get it—I’m not moving any needles. My issue with The Breaks is actually a larger one: WHO THE HELL HANDLED THE EXECUTION OF THE SHOW?
How does a show that starts with a movie and gets decent ratings disappear altogether before debuting an entire year later with only eight episodes, only to just disappear again? It wasn’t the best show on earth, but wow, was it handled terribly. People enjoy shows nowadays with tremendous vigor, but VH1 and whoever produced it (Atlantic Pictures) did a TERRIBLE job with the rollout and anticipation. It was a good-enough show to draw viewers in. And then it just poofed.
As somebody who really enjoyed the show because it took me back to my childhood and my own discovery of hip-hop, I’m annoyed that whoever is in charge handled this show so poorly. But mostly, I just want to know what the fuck is going to happen. There is NOTHING more irritating than television shows that leave these cliffhangers because the networks decided to bail on the show.
Do you remember Kevin Hill? Taye Diggs’ first real lead television role where he was a playboy womanizer who somehow got left with, I think, his sister’s newborn baby after she died? Probably not, because the show was scrapped, and I still don’t know what happened. All I remember was he only dated white or light-skinned women and Leila Arcieri.
These long gaps in showtimes are better than nothing, but they don’t help for continuity or attention. As of now, all I know is that the hip-hop industry is about to catch that first lawsuit fade, but how? Then what? What happens with Ahm? How does Nikki recover from the death of Dave? How much more cocaine can Barry Fouray inhale? When will it be coming back on air? WILL IT be coming back on air? All of these are questions I need answered!
What the hell happened to The Breaks?