‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ Episode One: Review
Every band — even a fictional band — has an origin story.
For the ‘70s rock group Daisy Jones & the Six — the focal point of Daisy Jones & the Six, a limited musical-drama series premiering March 3 on Amazon Prime — their starting point is built on big dreams.
As with many bands, however, these big dreams eventually go up in smoke: The series says up front that Daisy Jones & the Six broke up after a sold-out 1977 show at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The reasons how — and why — the band reached that breaking point drive the ten-episode series, which is structured like a Behind the Music-style documentary flashback, where the group members are gathering for the first time in 20 years to look back and hash out their sordid history.
With this format, the parallels to Fleetwood Mac are hard to miss. For starters, the flashback takes place in 1997, the same year Fleetwood Mac came back together for The Dance, and the look of Daisy (Riley Keough) in these scenes is very Stevie Nicks-circa-late-‘90s.
The scenes set in the 1960s and 1970s, however, are very true to the era’s styles and sounds, which ends up a major plus.
Future lead co-vocalist Daisy starts hanging out at shows on LA’s Sunset Strip while still a teenager, finding glamour, debauchery and the occasional lowlife jerk in the smoky clubs. Secretly, however, she writes lyrics and sings—impressing at least one man, who steals her words and writes a hit song with them, much to her anger and dismay.
Thankfully, Daisy finds a kindred soul in fellow aspiring vocalist Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be) who becomes her friend and ally as she finds her voice and stops being taken advantage of by men.
Meanwhile, across the country, a band called the Dunne Brothers start forging their own path in the decidedly more low-key Pittsburgh music scene.
Led by heartthrob Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) and his brother Graham (Will Harrison), the group impulsively chases their musical aspirations to California after a chat with grizzled tour manager Rod Reyes (Timothy Olyphant).
Along the way, Billy starts dating a neighbor named Camila (Camila Morrone)—who hops in the van with the band—and encounters musician Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse) playing with another touring group.
Future episodes in the series are stacked with original music, although this first one has plenty of delightful retro songs, starting with the show's recurring theme, Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot.”
The Dunne Brothers perform tunes like the Creedence Clearwater Revival-popularized “Suzie Q” and the Sonics' “Have Love Will Travel,” while Daisy sees the Byrds at the Whisky A-Go-Go in 1968 and waxes ecstatic about Carole King’s Tapestry.
Appropriately, the first episode ends with King’s “I Feel the Earth Move,” not long after Daisy pours her heart out at the piano in an empty bar, singing a song about empowerment.
It’s a breezy but effective introduction to the rest of the series—and foreshadows the drama and triumphs yet to come.