Based pretty faithfully on the excellent epistolary novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, DAISY JONES AND THE SIX (Amazon Prime) is about a fictional 1970s rock super band that rocketed to stardom and then suddenly called it quits at their last concert, with the band years later finally telling the inside story. The adaptation was done with obvious love and it grew on me, though it veered into TV tropes when it shouldn’t have.
The story focuses on Billy Dunne, the front man of a hardworking rock band that is starting to go somewhere when Billy takes some time off to go to rehab to clean up his act, coming out of it an artist afraid to take risks. Seeing big potential, an enterprising producer convinces him to join forces with Daisy Jones, a young woman with arresting charisma and brimming with raw, unbridled creativity. Their personalities clash until the two discover they perfectly complement each other to make great music, resulting in tension both within the band and in Billy’s marriage.
The show leans on the unrealized romance angle of the book to the point of trying to convince viewers to get behind it, but I found their relationship utterly toxic. Daisy’s kind of a spoiled and nasty person in pretty big ways, while Billy’s flaws are out there while appearing more tempered. Honestly, the subplot of the romance between the guitarist and the keyboardist struck me as far more compelling and fun to watch. Otherwise, the show writers veered off the book–at least how I remember it now–to make a few of the characters do some really over the top stuff, like a wife suspecting her husband might be cheating going out and cheating on him, and this is presented as empowering for her. Uh, good job?
The acting and direction are terrific, with energetic performances by Riley Keogh (channeling Steve Nix as Daisy), Sam Claflin (Billy), and the rest. The concert scenes are packed with energy but not overdone. The only drawback on this side of things is the original music produced for the show is fine if not good, though hardly super band material. (You just have to run with it.)
Overall, I was impressed with the adaptation, which was pretty faithful, had a terrific energy, portrayed the 1970s as a real time real people lived in, and overall showed a lot of heart.