Daisy Jones & the Six (Prime Video) is a ten-episode limited series adapted from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling 2019 novel of the same name and created for television by 500 Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Bootstraps, excess, heartache, talent: it’s all part of the alchemy that makes Daisy Jones & the Six the biggest thing going in the 1970s, until the landslide brings them down. Sound familiar? Riley Keough and Sam Claflin lead an ensemble cast, and perform their own vocals for the series and Aurora, its album tie-in.
Opening Shot: “Testing, testing.” Former band members are clipping on lapel mics and settling in to be interviewed. Separately. “Let me know when you’re ready,” Graham Dunne (Will Harrison) offers. “How long is this going to take?” asks Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin).
The Gist: It’s been 20 years since Daisy Jones & the Six fragmented after a sold-out 1977 show at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Back then, they were on top of the world, with a multi-Platinum album and ownership of the decade’s rock ‘n’ roll zeitgeist. But the documentary they’re sitting for now will be the first time anybody has spoken about the band’s big flameout. And we’ll go all the way back to the beginning to find out how it all went wrong.
In 1961, Margaret (Lorelai Olivia Mote) is just a kid singing along with blues records while her wealthy parents throw a shindig in their modernist Los Angeles spread. Her inattentive mom, martini in hand, shuts her down. “No one wants to hear your voice.” Fast forward a few years and a teenage Margaret (Amanda Fix) is sneaking into the Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, seeing shows by The Doors and The Who, mixing in with the lively party scene, and doing her own writing in a journal under the name Daisy Jones. For Margaret, re-christened as Daisy (Riley Keough), “writing felt better than drugs.”
In 1970 Pittsburgh, being a part of music is the singular focus of budding singer and songwriter Billy Dunne (Claflin), his guitarist brother Graham (Harrison), drummer Warren Rojas (Sebastian Chacon), and bassist Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse), and pretty soon their Sonics and CCR covers are getting them notice. But Los Angeles is where everything is happening, and they pack their gear and rock star dreams into Warren’s van to head for the coast, with Billy’s photographer girlfriend Camila (Camila Morrone) along as chronicler and voice of reason.
Billy, Camila, and the boys are fated to meet Daisy, and together they’ll make rock music history. But it’ll require the uneasy alignment of their various hustles and combustible personalities to make that happen.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The big business of country music and the push and pull between true talent and temptation is at the heart of the recent Showtime limited series George & Tammy. And the British series We Are Lady Parts (Peacock) recounts the adventures of an all-female Muslim punk rock band aiming to make it in the UK. And if you’re at all familiar with the making of Fleetwood Mac’s legendary Rumours LP, some of this will feel vaguely familiar.
Our Take: “The worst part is I let him take that song from me. That’s how little I thought of myself at the time.” The faux-documentary format of Daisy Jones & the Six, where the band members periodically appear in the present as they’re questioned by an unseen interviewer, feels like it will become more significant in later episodes, as the series confronts the group’s implosion. But while the contemporary cutaways can remove us from all of the action back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, it can also lend weight to what we’re seeing, like Daisy’s account of how she felt after a musician boyfriend heisted her lyrics for a hit of his own. From the minute we met her as a little girl, she was living up to her own expectations, no one else’s, and over the breadth of the decades Daisy Jones covers, we can see how this self-reliance defined her as a person and a performer. Letting that guy steal her song was a mistake. But it ultimately made her stronger.
Of course, we know Daisy will make more mistakes. And speaking of mistakes, from the moment we meet Billy Dunne, his mercurial energy is apparent, which pretty much guarantees his candidacy for the Too Much Too Young school of music self-destruction. Daisy Jones & the Six compresses its rock ‘n’ roll tale telling; it only has ten episodes to move its characters from hopefuls to heroes to survivors. But it’s already interesting to see how the hell tha happened, and to hear the characters’ perspectives in the longview.
Sex and Skin: Nothing explicit in the first episode.
Parting Shot: The contingent from Pittsburgh have arrived on the Sunset Strip in their trusty tour van, and it’s everything their dreams prepared them for. And meanwhile, Daisy has successfully confronted the voice in her head that’s been challenging her to publicly perform her own material.
Sleeper Star: It’s going to take a minute for this ensemble cast to find definition for their characters inside of the main narrative. But Camila Morrone and Sebastian Chacon make an immediate impression in the early going.
Most Pilot-y Line: Timothy Olyphant appears briefly in the first episode of Daisy Jones, done up in a glorious 70s wig and ‘stache as music biz veteran Rod Reyes. And Rod gives it to aspiring songwriter Billy Dunne straight. “Are you Bob Dylan? Are you Buffy Saint Marie? Enough with the political shit. It’s a new decade. No one needs reminding that the world is a mess. People want to feel good again. They want to feel hope. You can write a love song, can’t ya?”
Our Call: STREAM IT. Daisy Jones & the Six aims to wrap the entire musical, personal, and commercial narrative of rock music in the 1970s into the lives and work of one band, and that’s totally cool with us.
By: Ny Post