Sunday, June 23, 2024

‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ series review: An easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy watch

A still from ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’

A still from ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’
| Photo Credit: Prime Video

Despite its syrupy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ending, and uneven pacing, Daisy Jones & The Six is an easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy watch. The costumes are so good that you are willing to forgive the time lapses and the bald stereotyping for another look at those cowboy boots paired with denim shorts or those delightfully flowy tie-dye kaftan dresses that combine boho with rocker chic. Yum.

Daisy Jones & The Six season one (English)

Episodes: 10

Run time: 46–66 minutes

Creators: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Cast: Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone, Suki Waterhouse, Will Harrison, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be, Tom Wright, Timothy Olyphant

Storyline: The tale behind the stratospheric rise and catastrophic fall of a 1970s rock band

Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s eponymous novel, Daisy Jones & The Six starts at the band’s final performance in Chicago on October 4, 1977. Fast forward to 20 years later and the band — singer-songwriter Daisy (Riley Keough), Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), also singer-songwriter and keyboardist Karen (Suki Waterhouse), lead guitarist and Billy’s brother, Graham (Will Harrison), bassist Eddie (Josh Whitehouse) and drummer Warren (Sebastian Chacon) agree to talk about what caused the band to implode for a documentary.

There are other talking heads, including Camila, (Camila Morrone) band photographer and Billy’s wife, disco pioneer and Daisy’s roommate and friend, Simone (Nabiyah Be), producer Teddy (Tom Wright) and band manager Rod (Timothy Olyphant).

The show follows the band from its humble beginnings as ‘The Dunne Brothers’ in Pittsburgh to the move to LA and the toll of relentless touring and the drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Simultaneously, there is poor little rich girl, Daisy, who loves music and spends her teenage years on the Sunset Strip for the music, not the boozy good times. Daisy decides to write out her pain even as Billy, after a stint in rehab is looking at conquering the Billboard.

Teddy finds something lacking in Billy’s songwriting and sees Daisy’s lines filling the gap, setting the stage for a tumultuous partnership and the successful Daisy Jones & The Six. Reid’s novel looked at the British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac for inspiration and Daisy’s superstar wardrobe has drawn quite a few threads from the band’s singer songwriter, Stevie Nicks.

Despite being about the music scene of the 70s, the show is basically a soap opera about these people who just happen to be musicians. If you are looking at a Bob Dylan-Joan Baez-Sara style love story in Daisy, Billy and Camila, you are bound to be disappointed. There is no ‘Diamonds and Rust’, ‘Positively 4 th Street’ or ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’, in evidence here. Nor are you going to get brutally honest lines such as ‘You can never be wise and be in love at the same time.’ Sigh.

And that is completely all right. The original songs for the show grow on you even if ‘stumble on sublime’ seems just that bit random and trying too hard to be profound. Though Keough and Claflin inhabit their roles competently, that wild, unfettered abandon that we have been trained to expect from any documentation of rockstars is missing. And I have to say the glamourisation of drug abuse is irresponsible.

The stereotyping is annoying with all characters easily being formulated in phrases. From Daisy, the wild child/pixie girl, Camile, the suffering wife, Billy, the angst-ridden artist torn between desire and duty, good guy Graham and envious Eddie to tough Karen, easygoing Warren, smarmy Nicki (Gavin Drea) and eager beaver reporter (Nick Pupo), they are all stick figures. With 10 episodes to tell the stories of these people, slightly more in-depth characterizations and situations would have been welcome.

Everything is either/or (wife or lover, success or love) with no space for nuance. This is a movie treatment over 10 hours which does make you feel like they kind of wasted your precious time. 

Daisy Jones & The Six is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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