REVIEW: ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’

Prime Video's 'Daisy Jones and the Six'
(Image credit: Prime Video)

Daisy Jones and the Six, about how the fictional biggest rock band of the ‘70s rose to prominence, then gave it all up, debuts on Prime Video. Riley Keough and Sam Claflin are in the cast, playing band members Daisy and Billy. 

Episodes are listed as Tracks. Track One is entitled “Come and Get It,” and shows the rock band the Dunne Brothers, including Billy, brother Graham, and some other teens from their Pittsburgh neighborhood, playing sweet sixteens and weddings. There are two options for young men in their area, Billy shares. The war or the mill. 

Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, Daisy is the only child of wealthy but indifferent parents. When she’s old enough, she ventures down to the Sunset Strip to check out the latest up and coming band, be it Led Zeppelin or Cream, playing the Whiskey A Go Go or The Troubadour. 

Adapted from the inventive novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which has a unique oral history setup to tell the story of the band, the series has the band members in the present day, reflecting on their time as rock stars. 

Daisy thinks back to her teen years on the Strip. “People said I was naive,” she said. “I wasn’t naive. I was a baby.”

Young Daisy jots lyrics in a journal, and sees a variety of boyfriends–a songwriter, a screenwriter–steal her words for their artistic pursuits. The screenwriter refers to her as his muse, but Daisy is not having it.  

She eventually finds herself on stage. 

Timothy Olyphant plays sleazy band manager Rod, who checks out the Dunne Brothers in Pittsburgh, and tells them to give him a call if they find themselves in Los Angeles. They do, and they do. 

Just before the van leaves Pittsburgh, Billy’s girlfriend Camila decides to jump in for the trip out west, setting up a tricky love triangle down the road with Daisy 

As Track One ends, the Dunne Brothers’ van rolls into Hollywood as Daisy walks down the sidewalk. 

The second episode, called “I’ll Take You There,” sees the boys look up Rod, who isn’t all that helpful, but does get them a non-paying gig at Filthy McNasty’s. It’s not the Whiskey, but it’s on the Strip. And so they play. 

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, a record producer named Teddy Price has a long history of hit records, but is stuck in a cold streak, and is feeling the heat from the label bosses. He checks out a Daisy performance, but the headstrong young artist has heard such invites from men before. 

The Dunne Brothers, for their part, have long seen Price as the key to their success. Billy approaches Price in a convenience store, and the reluctant record exec agrees to check out the band.

Good things follow for the group, now known as The Six. (They have five members, but The Five was taken, they say, by the Jackson Five and the Dave Clark Five.) They record an album. Just before heading out on tour, Camila tells Billy she’s pregnant. 

His drinking and drug use escalates on tour, and their relationship starts to crumble. As the second episode winds down, he has not yet met Daisy, which is when the Billy-Camila partnership undergoes its greatest strain. 

Camila Morrone, Will Harrison, Suki Waterhouse, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be and Tom Wright are also in the cast. Reese Witherspoon is an executive producer. 

Have Reese and the producer gang successfully brought an inventive novel to screen? It appears so. Daisy Jones effectively depicts the ‘70s–the cigarette smoke, the shaggy hair, the clothes (a New York Times story reported of the main characters needing 1,500 wardrobe changes in the first half of production (opens in new tab), which at times needed 250 outfits a night for the entire cast).

Jackson Browne and Marcus Mumford are among the songwriters, tasked with composing the ‘70s rock radio standards that people of a certain age cranked out of their car’s cassette player. The songs work well, as do Claflin and Keough in their rock-star roles. The Six has a Laurel Canyon vibe with some grit tossed in. 

Daisy Jones and the Six offers plenty of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, and mostly steers away from the cliches. It makes for an entertaining look at a band that never existed. But if it did, you’d have their concert t-shirt stashed somewhere in your closet. ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.