Review: Le Monde de demain

Falcon Rating: 4.5/5

Benny Ross, Contributing Writer

In the last 50 years, hip-hop has spread to almost every country. France, with the second largest hip-hop market in the world, is no exception. Now, Netflix has brought an important piece of French hip-hop history to the screen: the rise of Suprême NTM. Le Monde de demain (The World of Tomorrow), named after the group’s first single, follows members Kool Shen and JoeyStarr on their journey from teenagers in the Parisian suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis to French rap royalty. 

Le Monde de demain is everything you can hope for from a Netflix mini-series.

The six episode mini-series brings us back to the early 1980’s when American hip-hop and breakdance crews were beginning to tour France. After witnessing one such act dancing in Paris, Didier and Bruno, two boys from the same neighborhood, create their own breakdance crew. As the series progresses, we see their fascination with hip-hop deepen as they become obsessed with graffiti, and eventually begin rapping under the names JoeyStarr and Kool Shen. All the while, the boys confront familial issues along with other struggles that come with growing up. In parallel plots, the show also follows DJ Dee Nasty in his quest to popularize hip-hop in France, and Virginie Sullé as she carves her own path in the culture.

 The show does not idealize these characters’ lives, nor does it shy away from serious topics like child abuse and substance abuse. However, the plot feels very triumphant overall as we see two kids beat the odds to find success in the music industry. Even if you have no interest in hip-hop, let alone French hip-hop, you can’t help but smile when Didier and Bruno win a breakdance battle or record their first single as NTM.

Le Monde de demain is everything you can hope for from a Netflix mini-series: it’s well written and has high production value that immerses the audience in 1980’s Paris. Additionally, the cast is wonderful. In particular, Melvin Boomer, who plays Didier, and Laïka Blanc Francard, who plays Virginie, are amazing. Both of them deliver believable, emotional performances which help drive the story along. 

And then there’s the music. Depending on what you like, the soundtrack of mostly 1970’s funk and 1980’s hip-hop could be hit or miss. While it may not be everyone’s favorite, it truly adds to the atmosphere in the context of the show. 

It should be noted that I watched the show with English subtitles, which I could tell, even with my limited French, were often quite different from the original dialogue. However, I think a lot of this had to do with the desire to make certain jokes and sentence constructions make sense to anglophone audiences, but I don’t think the show suffered as a result.

Altogether, Le Monde de demain has been recognized as an excellent show. It won the Grand Prize at the prestigious 2022 Séries Mania festival and was selected by Le Monde as their favorite TV show of 2022. Along with many other fans, I am desperately waiting (and hoping) for season two.

This article also appears in our March 2023 print edition.