DAISY JONES & THE SIX (2023)
Limited Series [Premiere]
Aired On: Prime Video
Release Date: 03/03/23
"Following the rise of rock band Daisy Jones and The Six through the '70s LA music scene on their quest for worldwide icon status."
Daisy Jones & The Six is a mini series based on the book of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid. For those who have read the novel, it’s natural to be simultaneously eager and hesitant to watch the ten episode series. Adaptations can be tricky, especially with a book that has such fervid fans and is loosely inspired by Fleetwood Mac. But the first episode starts off strong and sticks very close to the book.
The episode begins with each band member being introduced as they prepare for documentary-style interviews. There’s Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), the charismatic singer with a dazzling smile and fiery red hair and Billy Dunne (Sam Clafin) the other singer with a chip on his shoulder. We also meet Karen (Suki Waterhouse), the British keyboardist, Graham (Will Harrison) the guitarist and Billy’s kid brother, Eddie (Josh Whitehouse) who is relegated to bass player and is constantly at odds with Billy, and Warren (Sebastian Chacon) the easy going drummer with a mischievous smile. And finally there’s Camila (Camila Morrone), Billy’s girlfriend and the band’s unofficial photographer. We meet each of them in turn as they talk about the band’s beginnings and add commentary as the scenes unfold.
In order to discuss the origin of the band, we go back in time to Daisy and Billy’s childhoods. Daisy is a rich kid in California with parents who don’t seem very inclined to get to know her and a long history of men using and abusing her. Billy and his brother Graham live in Pittsburgh in a working class neighborhood. Graham convinces his older brother to join his band with Eddie and Warren. Like most bands in their infancy, they play any gig they can get and garner a small following in their hometown. After a run-in with their estranged father, Billy becomes determined to take the band all the way to the top.
As Billy and Daisy’s childhoods fade away they’re both left with an intense desire to prove themselves and a passionate love affair with music. When the band is introduced to a tour manager they decide to pick up and move to Los Angeles and make their dream into a reality. At the same time, Daisy gets the courage to play a song she wrote to a nearly empty bar for the first time. The episode ends with the band arriving in Los Angles and Daisy poised to take her songwriting seriously.
There’s an awful lot of ground covered in the first episode so it can at times feel a bit rushed. But while the plot condenses a lot of the early origin story, it hits all of the high points that shape the members of the band. The early songs are surprisingly catchy but take a backseat to the more personal storylines. For those concerned about casting choices, this initial hour will ease your worries. Claflin and Keough are completely perfect, each capturing their characters’ angst and restlessness while being magnetic on screen. The other band members could have easily faded into the background but Harrison, Whitehouse, and Chacon hold their own. Waterhouse is poised to become a fan favorite with a British dry humor that keeps you engaged. And although Morrone doesn’t have much to work with during the first episode (other than falling in love with Billy), fans of the book know her character becomes more complex and there are inklings early on that Morrone will be more than up to the task.
This is an intriguing premiere and the 1970’s era aesthetic is fun to watch. For those who haven’t read the book, it might not be as compelling but die-hard fans will be satisfied. It provides a solid taste of what’s to come and hooks you into the story as you wait to see how Daisy and the band come together. At one point in the episode Daisy is fighting with some guy she’s sleeping with who is pursuing a career as a singer. Keough’s face is flushed with anger as she fires out, “I’m not the muse. I’m the somebody.” And after just one episode, it’s hard to disagree.