Love, sex, drugs and a dose of nostalgia for 1970s-style psychedelia make for a heady cocktail in Prime Video’s 10-episode series Daisy Jones & The Six. Headlined by Sam Claflin and Riley Keough, the show charts the rise and fall of a fictional rock band with a mix of original compositions and other tracks picked from the classic rock songbook, spiced with disco and punk rock strains. Here’s what we loved about the show.
A rock band synced in with its time
A sprawling adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling page-turner Daisy Jones & The Six, loosely based on the fortunes of British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, the Prime Video show tracks a fictional rock band, The Six, from its inception to dissolution all through the tumultuous 1970s.
Billy Dunne (played by Sam Claflin) and Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), siblings from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, form The Six along with their friends from the neighbourhood. They take a leap of faith to move to Los Angeles (LA) along with Billy’s photographer girlfriend Camila Alvarez (Camila Morrone). After grinding it out in the club circuits for quite some time, they finally get a shot to impress big-shot music producer Teddy Price (Tom Wright), who hands them their first break. A solo artist, Daisy Jones (played by Riley Keough), is persuaded to join the band and after joining he helps them get their first hit. The band rises to dizzy heights and then goes downhill following their biggest live performance in Chicago, Illinois. But the fame comes at a cost — it takes a toll on their personal lives, culminating in the eventual disintegration of the band.
Struggles with addiction, infighting and instant fame
When Billy’s longtime girlfriend Camila gets pregnant, the lead singer-songwriter of The Six wants to escape from the responsibility thrust upon him. He gets into addiction and results in a setback, preparing the path for Daisy Jones to join the band. However, Daisy’s inclusion sparked Billie’s creative faculty and he reinvents himself as a musician. Their understanding of each other’s frailties blossoms into a complicated romance. Through a series of meticulously crafted live performances, focusing mainly on Billy and Daisy, the series recreates nostalgia for the 1970s and at the same time shows how instant fame got to the head of each band member and created a rift among them.
Documentary-style narration through flashbacks
After Rob Reiner’s irreverent 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, which satirises the rock culture of the ’70s with hilarious behind-the-scenes footage of a fictional band, it’s difficult to sit through any film or show on rock music with a straight face. Daisy Jones & The Six works around this problem by a brilliant device — the show adopts the documentary style of Reiner without the acid and keeps the illusion of reality all the while. It begins with the band members recounting their journey several years after the band’s disintegration. Their stories merge with flashbacks of the typical rock-n-roll lifestyle, depicting broken shards of lives lived in a purple haze, with period-appropriate music.
Daisy Jones gets an origin story
The James Ponsoldt, Will Graham and Nzingha Stewart directorial also takes a deeper interest in the women of the time. Billy’s photographer wife, Camila Alvarez, moves to LA with the band to make a name for herself but has to cope with an unexpected pregnancy and Billy’s absence. She is shown to have made things easier for Karen Sirko (played by Suki Waterhouse), who is the first female member of the band. Camila also took the first steps to make amends between Daisy and Billy after the duo started on the wrong foot.
Daisy Jones also gets an origin story to justify her erratic behaviour. Her severe lack of self-worth comes from a deep sense of abandonment that she felt because of a traumatic childhood with unsupportive parents. The show also explores New York’s burgeoning queer disco scene through Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be), Daisy’s best friend and a lesbian African-American singer, who helps Daisy realise her potential and gives her a sense of belonging for the first time.
That ’70s sound
What’s a music drama without music? The hardest part for any project where actors play rock stars from another era is to create believable, even passable, period music. And that too without being ironic or outright trash. It’s interesting to see Keogh, who is Elvis Presley’s granddaughter and no less, and Claflin singing their hearts out in each and every episode of this 10-hour-long show. Amazon has spared no expense in creating a distinct ’70s soundscape with 24 original tracks composed exclusively for Daisy Jones & the Six. These tracks have been written by Grammy-nominated producer Blake Mills along with a number of musicians like Phoebe Bridgers. Apart from these original tracks, we get to hear classic rock staples like Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot, Goin’ Back by The Byrds, Trouble No More by The Allman Brothers Band and Crazy on You by Heart and Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman.