We all know Idris Elba the actor, he first grabbed our attention in The Wire and he continues to impress in series like Luther and films with his role in the Thor franchise. The man from London has another talent that he isn’t as well known for, he is also a DJ. Turn Up Charlie is a new Netflix comedy/drama series which is Idris Elba, the actor and the DJ.

Turn Up Charlie follows Charlie Ayo, Idris Elba, a one-hit wonder DJ who lives with his aunty. Set in London, Charlie’s best friend David (JJ Felid) returns to live in London with his daughter, Gabby (Frankie Hervey), and wife, Sara (Piper Perabo) who is a world famous DJ/music producer. Gabby continuously manages to have her nanny leave and her parents ask Charlie to be Gabby’s new nanny and will help Charlie rebuild his music career in return.

The very first thing I like to crtique when it comes to TV shows or films about music is the music itself. When that music is original it means that the music is so much more important. Films like Bohemian Rhapsody are examples where you know the music is going to be good so you don’t mind too much or you know the music already. Shows like Turn Up Charlie which has original music can be a make or break element of the show. I’m happy to say that the music in Turn Up Charlie is actually worth a listen, I’ve been listening to the main song LUV quite a few times throughout the week. The rest of the show’s music, whether new or just well selected songs, fit the show’s style and even manage to make the show feel a lot more energetic than it is at times.

Now Turn Up Charlie isn’t exactly a laugh out loud comedy, I didn’t go in thinking that it was going to be. There are times when you’ll laugh but the series’ main focus is on it’s short, sweet and fast story. Throughout the eight episodes, you are quickly taken from Charlie simply trying to get by in London to Charlie maybe making it and it all happens quite quickly.

Despite the speed that the show goes through it never seems to miss a bit. Unlike a lot of shows, you don’t have to fill in any gaps in time that are missing. Its simple story allows you to just relax and simply enjoy what is happening before you. There are recurring beats in the story that make you wish it would just move on and there are some bad decision making which can feel a little forced. Characters might pop in and out as the main focus tries to stay on Charlie but overall everyone is likeable and all the actors do a great job.

The series is really well shot and greatly benefits from real locations, mainly around London. It gives the show a great feel and vibe as you can just relax and easily binge the eight episodes, something I’m sure Netflix was hoping for. At less thanthirty minutes an episode, Turn Up Charlie manages to cram a lot of cool and well thought out moments with the brilliant acting of newcomer Frankie Hervey really shining alongside the always great Idris Elba.

The series isn’t going to be a smash hit, and with it’s release date and the amount of other content launched on the same day, I don’t think Netflix think that it’s going to be either. Turn Up Charlie certainly has a lot of potential and it is a great, and in my opinion better, alternative to shows like Empire. Turn Up Charlie could’ve easily been overdramatic and focus too heavily on it’s music but chooses to focus on the caring relationship of it’s two main characters Charlie and Gabby. A second season would be more than welcome in my opinion as Charlie and Gabby are a delight to watch and Charlie’s or Idris Elba’s music is pleasing to listen too.

Score: 3.5/5

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