Fleetwood Mac-inspired rockumentary a satisfying soap opera of a story
Daisy Jones & The Six
Where: Prime Video
What: Miniseries, 10 episodes, 48 mins.
When: 3 episodes now, 2 new episodes Fridays
Rating: NNN (out of 5)
Why you should watch: A light, fun, somewhat corny and cliched look at ’70s rock and roll excess through the lens of a band based on Fleetwood Mac.
Ever notice in period films the old cars are always immaculate: no rust, no dents, no scratches like real cars, the owners happy to rent them to film crews but in no hurry to have them beat up for authenticity?
Movies about rock and roll excess are kind of like that too. Despite no sleep, ingesting sack loads of drugs, sketchy sexual partner decisions, minimal food consumption — and all food that is consumed is bad — the protagonists manage to stay beautiful and, except for the usual flashes of self-loathing, seem to function reasonably well, if slightly erratically, while fucked up.
Prime Video’s ultimately enjoyable-if-slight, new rock and roll mockumentary miniseries Daisy Jones & The Six is the latest to offer this prettied-up view of excess where nobody’s skin turns grey or ashen, weight stays consistent despite only ever ingesting cocaine, and hangovers and extended post-binge bummers are the things of mere mortals.
Daisy Jones & The Six is set in the U.S. in the ’70s and tells the rags-to-riches-to-spoiler-alert story of a band with a striking resemblance to Fleetwood Mac. We learn right off the top that the series is about a group that fold after selling out the biggest show of their career at Chicago’s Soldier Field. The story is told through present-day interviews with the principals mixed in with extensive flashbacks to the stories they share. (The series is based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 novel of the same name.)
It’s soap-opera-paced fun with clichéd characters and corny gonna-make-it-to-the-top dialogue that’s still an enjoyable ride. But the series is a slow boil with the first five episodes a hard slog compared with the relatively action-packed final five.
Sticking with Fleetwood Mac metaphors, the first half of the series is more Tusk while the second half is closer to Rumours.
The story twirls and spins — like a chiffon-draped Stevie Nicks on stage — between the lives of the embattled lead singers and songwriters in The Six, Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne.
Dunne (Sam Claflin) leads a Pittsburgh-based band called The Six, which includes one of his brothers, and they have an unlikely hit when a producer matches them with an attitude-laden emerging artist, Daisy Jones (played by Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough). She demands to stay in the band and after much hemming and hawing, Dunne begrudgingly agrees.
Dunne almost invisibly succumbs to addiction and is forced into rehab early in the series while Jones merrily munches on pills and hoovers lines with little to no ill effect except her tendency to get really annoyed easily.
The newly rehabilitated Dunne has a wife and young child and stoically marshals on with the band while muted sparks fly between him and Jones and the hits keep on comin’.
The songs are decent — you can listen to the soundtrack on streaming services — and the performance scenes and the band dynamics feel more authentic than typical rock flicks. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon served as a consultant on the series, and perhaps it’s her input that shows here.
Like a hit single relentlessly heading to the top of the charts, this series gets better with each episode and, by the end, we’re sorry to see the tail lights of the Daisy Jones & The Six tour buses disappearing into the night.