“Daisy Jones and the Six” is a refreshing change of pace

Based on the novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, “Daisy Jones and the Six” made its television debut on March 3. 

Published in 2019, the novel quickly received unanimous praise and was named one of The New York Times’ most anticipated releases in March of the same year. Amazon’s adaptation was already in the works long before the book was released, with producer Scott Neustadter determined to bring the story to life since he first laid his eyes on it in 2017.

Production on the series began pre-pandemic, but it wasn’t until December 2022 that Amazon announced its official release date

Set in Los Angeles in the 1970s, the mockumentary-style series focuses on the rise and fall of a fictional rock band during the height of their fame. Lead singer Daisy Jones (played by Riley Keough) and frontman Billy Dunne (played by Sam Claflin) are at the center of it all. 

The first episode, titled “Come and Get It,” opens with a montage of scenes from the band’s short-lived run of electrifying performances following the release of their award-winning album “Aurora.” This montage is also mixed with clips of the members in the 1990s — nearly 20 years after the events that transpire in the show — preparing for their first in-depth interview about the circumstances that lead to their eventual break. This episode does a wonderful job of setting the stage for the rest of the series by introducing the audience to each member of the band and the people associated with them. 

We see Daisy Jones as a young girl, striving for recognition and success. Although she comes from a wealthy Californian family, her parents often neglect her. She spends her teenage years going to various clubs and parties around Sunset Strip where she meets life-long friend Simone Jackson and eventually begins writing her own music. 

Simone is also a musician, singing backup for another artist when she meets Daisy, and later reveals she is working on a solo album. In Reid’s version of the story, Simone acts mostly as a side character offering support for Daisy. However, the TV adaptation seems to give her a subplot of her own, titling her a “disco pioneer.” 

While Daisy and Simone find their paths in California, Billy Dunne is seen across the country in the suburbs of Pittsburgh where he forms his own band with his brother Graham Dunne and friends Eddie Roundtree, Warren Rojas and Chuck Loving. They quickly find local success as the Dunne Brothers and are eventually convinced to relocate to Los Angeles by tour manager Rod Reyes along with Billy’s girlfriend, Camila Alvarez.

The audience also gets a brief introduction to Karen Sirko, a keyboard player who joins the band in a later episode after meeting them at a show in their hometown.

The episode is visually stunning, transporting viewers directly into the world of 70s rock and roll. Yet, some of the sudden jumps between scenes of the band in their prime and clips from their aged-up retelling can be a tad jarring, removing the viewer from the moment as it transpires. 

The soundtrack also serves as a key component, featuring a variety of classic tracks from artists like Carole King and Patti Smith. Later episodes are even set to feature songs from the original album “Aurora,” which was adapted from Reid’s lyrics found in the novel. 

Reid claims “Daisy Jones and the Six” was inspired by Fleetwood Mac and the drama that surrounded the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham during their time in the band. While it is difficult to replicate the tension and mystique of their relationship on screen, Keough and Claflin provide standout performances as the main characters of the series. 

Though we have not yet seen them on screen together, the parallels between the two in the first episode do a good job of building on the excitement of their eventual meeting. Neither Keough or Claflin were trained musicians before working on the show, yet their voices individually mesmerize the audience. 

As a whole, the first episode of “Daisy Jones and the Six” is a promising sign of what is to come in later episodes, captivating viewers with compelling characters that leave you yearning for more. Though not the best book-to-movie adaptation I’ve seen, the series is a refreshing change of pace from the slew of superhero and action movies that seem to plague the media. If you’re looking for an emotional and dramatic romance, Daisy Jones is the series you’re looking for. 

Rating: 8/10

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