All ten episodes of this series were screened for review.
From the start, Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) knows who she is, proudly proclaiming: “I’m not the muse, I’m the somebody.” And Daisy’s so much of a somebody, she becomes the star member of a band she’s not even in.
Daisy Jones & The Six, Prime Video’s miniseries based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel, follows a fictitious band’s journey to stardom in the 1970s. “Journey” is the key word: the destination is where their story begins. The framing device is a documentary following the band twenty years after their dissolution. As you may have guessed, the titular band draws narrative and historical inspiration from Fleetwood Mac, particularly Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
Daisy, a free-spirited singer/songwriter, collides with the newly-emergent band The Six in the early 1970s. (Allusions to Keough’s real-life musical lineage are reductive; she holds her own with impressive vocals.) What’s intended as a one-time collaboration turns The Six into Daisy Jones and The Six, leaving Daisy to share the spotlight with lead singer Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin). Billy’s ambitious, argumentative, and newly married to Camila (Camila Morrone), who’s determined not to let fame ruin their relationship.
As for the rest of The Six, there’s Karen (Suki Waterhouse), the driven keyboardist; Billy’s brother Graham (Will Harrison), the lead guitarist; drummer Warren (Sebastian Chacon), who enjoys the perks of fame; and Eddie (Josh Whitehouse), the bassist with a simmering grudge. They’re intriguing and fun but hardly given as much attention as Daisy, Billy, or Camila. Of the secondary members of The Six, Waterhouse is the standout, portraying Karen with steely drive.
The series shines when it focuses on the music—concert scenes in particular are thrilling and vibrant. Claflin and Keough are electric together; their intimacy is never stronger (or less subtle) than when Daisy and Billy share a microphone. Offstage, the show belongs to Camila. She’s patient and graceful and has the self-awareness to know that neither of those virtues makes her a doormat. Camila’s refusal to play second fiddle to Billy’s career is what keeps her from being a victim of the long-suffering wife trope. She’s the glue that keeps Daisy Jones & The Six together, sometimes literally, even though she’s not in the band.
The rest of the cast is excellent but underutilized. Daisy’s best friend Simone (Nabiyah Be) is a singer with her own romantic subplot that would make for an intriguing series on its own. Timothy Olyphant, always a welcome presence onscreen, has the necessary swagger to play The Six’s manager, but rarely appears. Even the band’s adored producer Teddy (Tom Wright) is an afterthought, only central to the narrative when the story demands it.
And what of the documentary, that device that draws these characters together? It’s an intriguing concept, and one taken from the novel. It’s not employed as often as it deserves, leaving the interviews to feel like disjointed commentary from the future. These interviews barely indicate that they take place decades later; the characters appear to have changed hairstyles but are miraculously ageless. In the novel, this framing device showed when the characters’ perspectives conflicted; the series does not use this angle to its potential.
Within the story, Daisy Jones & The Six is briefly the biggest band in America. Offscreen, Phoebe Bridgers and Marcus Mumford are among the real musicians who contributed to Aurora, the band’s singular album. The album has been produced in its entirety, with “Regret Me” and “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)” released several weeks prior to the series premiere. The songs are attributed to Daisy Jones & The Six as the recording artists rather than under the actors’ names. They’re worth a listen, and sure to generate fans of their own.
Beginning March 3, Daisy Jones & The Six is sure to please fans of Reid’s novel. The series strikes familiar chords but is worth the watch—and certainly worth the listen.
Featured images courtesy of Prime Video
Daisy Jones & The Six premieres March 3 on Prime Video, releasing multiple new episodes weekly until March 24.
'Daisy Jones & the Six' - 7/10