Netflix today debuts the most expensive television show ever made, but it's not faring well in early reviews.

The first six episodes of Baz Luhrmann's new show The Get Down begins streaming today, a drama charting the rise of hip-hop in New York in the late '70s.

With colourful backdrops, faithful recreations of New York icons and big set pieces, the show is considered to be the most expensive ever made, with each of 12 episodes costing US$10 million to make.

Luhrmann, who has big budget movies like Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge! under his belt, reportedly spent 10 years developing the concept, before finding a home at Netflix.


But first reviews say the show hasn't been worth the time and money spent on it.

Variety reviewer Richard Lawson called it "a blurry and jumbled hodgepodge that more than anything else feels like a missed opportunity".

He wrote: "Luhrmann tries to tap into the kinetic vibe of the time and place - lively, dangerous, teeming with rot and possibility - but renders too much of it with a toothless whimsy ... It's fake grit, the Bronx as a less-popular area of Disney World."

Time agreed, saying it was like "a verse crammed with three too many syllables (and) seems not to have been subjected to editing".

Reviewer Daniel D'Addario said it "offers some of the more transcendent moments in recent TV memory, but to reach them viewers must slog through some of the dullest".

Many compared it to HBO's failed Vinyl project, a period drama which charted the music industry in the '80s and also had a large budget but was scrapped after one season.

Collider said its opening 90 minutes "rivals HBO's Vinyl in its manic and disjointed excess" and called it a "messy musical spectacle".

Others had more positive things to say, with The Wall Street Journal saying "the show's freneticism is part of its appeal" and Deadline said it had "a lot more hits than misses".

The New York Post also wrote that the first episode was "gorgeously directed by Luhrmann".

Luhrmann is known for pushing up the budgets on his movies, reportedly campaigning to move The Great Gatsby's budget up from $88 million to $115 million

Australia in 2008 was, at the time, the most expensive local movie ever made.

The second half of The Get Down will stream in 2017.