Prime Video has a huge hit with their new series Daisy Jones & The Six featuring great original music, fantastic performances, and lovable characters.
I read “Daisy Jones & The Six” for the first time on a cruise last summer. It was one of the few books that I remember exactly where I was and what I was thinking when I was reading it. As soon as I got back to service, I googled the book and realized that Reese Witherspoon’s production company had the rights to the book, and Prime Video was currently in post production on the series. I was initially terrified when this series was announced, but with the casting of Riley Keough (Zola) as Daisy Jones, I knew they were going in the right direction.
As Daisy Jones & The Six opens, we are told that this story is about a band that took over the world during the 1970s. They were selling out stadiums, and fans couldn’t get enough of the two lead singers, Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin of Enola Holmes) due to their sizzling chemistry on stage. After performing a sold-out show in Chicago, the band suddenly splits up and no one has talked about what happened since.
Now, decades after everything went down, all members of the band and people in their close inner circle have sat down to tell everyone exactly what went down, from both Daisy Jones’s claim to fame in Los Angeles and the Six’s humble beginnings in Pennsylvania to one of the most famous combinations in music history that will eventually destroy them both.
From reading the book, I knew one of the most important things Prime Video needed to get right about Daisy Jones & The Six was the right people to play all of these personalities. The show is quite fast-paced, but it is completely character driven, oftentimes having to juggle up to three different storylines and character motivations at once. Even though there are 10 episodes, the characters are so complex, that it still isn’t enough time to fully get to know everyone and what their emotional motivations are. Since Daisy Jones & The Six was perfectly cast, everyone was up for the challenge, making almost every character incredibly flawed but still portrayed with such empathy making this one of the best ensemble shows in years.
Even though every character and performance on this show are quite phenomenal, the three leads who get the most screen time are nothing short of brilliant, starting off with Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne. Claflin had one of the most difficult jobs out of any member of the cast. He has to play off this slow-burn emotional turmoil for the majority of the series, and he does so with just the look in his eyes. Claflin is able to portray so much pain and subtlety, and his performance has audiences hanging onto every last word, waiting for him to explode.
Even though Claflin is great on his own, his scenes with Riley Keough display such extreme tension and passion that they will have audiences screaming at their tv. Both Claflin and Keough have this unique chemistry that reminded me of some of the great Hollywood romances that we rarely see these days. In Daisy Jones & The Six, their characters have this magnetic connection, which is what ultimately drives the overall narrative, and if that connection hadn’t been believable, the show would have been a complete failure. Luckily their performances not only get us emotionally invested, but also break our hearts at least five different times throughout the series.
Finally, even though both Sam Claflin and Riley Keough are the leads of Daisy Jones & The Six, there would be no emotional stakes without Camila (Camila Morrone). Camila’s character is written as someone who is forced to be a viewer but refuses to not take charge of her own narrative. As Billy’s wife, she isn’t on tour with the band most of the time, and she’s extremely realistic about all of the temptations and pressures that come onto her family due to Billy’s fame.
Camila Morrone plays Camila with a precise amount of power and grace that we rarely see women portrayed as. For the majority of Daisy Jones & The Six, she could be identified as a stay-at-home mom, but she is just as if not more important to the overall story than the majority of the band members. Camila is the series’ heart and Morrone is perfectly cast and one of the best parts of the show.
Part of the reason I believe this show will be a massive success is that every single character is incredibly flawed. Since the series is told in an interview format, the characters have the benefit of hindsight which allows the audience to know that everyone has done something they are not proud of during the band’s rise and fall. It’s pretty rare to have a show where almost every character messes up in a big way somewhere along the plot.
Knowing what the characters regret doing after certain events happen makes them all seem so much more human and authentic. It’s why, if someone told me this was based on a true story, I would 100% believe them. Towards the end of the series, Billy says in an interview, “There’s the right thing to do and the right thing to do for yourself, and they are almost never the same.” Nothing describes Daisy Jones and The Six better than that quote.
Moving on, since this is about the peak of a band’s fame, the majority of this series takes place when they are on tour. Even though watching a band perform around 10 songs repeatedly, I was completely in awe every time Daisy Jones and The Six were on stage. The direction of the concert scenes reminded me a lot of Bradley Cooper’s masterful direction of A Star is Born, where there is so much life in every frame that it doesn’t feel like you are an audience member watching them, but you were right on stage with them, experiencing everything at the same time.
It also helps a lot that the original music that was produced for this show is nearly perfect as well. As someone who read the book, it is exactly how I imagined they would sound, and visually expressing these characters performing these songs knowing the context behind them was especially powerful.
Even though I believe Daisy Jones & The Six properly represents the peak television era we are currently in, it isn’t perfect. Within the first few episodes before Daisy Jones and The Six become the Daisy Jones & The Six, the pacing is sometimes off, going too fast across certain plot points such as Daisy and Simone’s relationship. Since film is an objective storytelling medium, sometimes there is an attempt at unreliable narration that doesn’t fully work as well as it should, but it doesn’t really take anything away from the show itself, just more of a stylistic issue.
Before I finish, I just want to emphasize the brilliance that is Riley Keough one more time. I have been a huge fan of hers since The Loge, and this is one of the rare times that I can say that she was truly born for this role. Daisy is such a free spirit that almost anything she says could be interpreted as pretentious, but Keough wears her heart on her sleeve and has this intoxicating ability to fall in love with her within the first scene that she is in. Adding Daisy Jones & The Six to her already extremely impressive resume, confirms that Keough is one of the greatest working actors today.
Ultimately, Daisy Jones & The Six is a show about time and passion. Every single character in this series is at a point in their life where they are experiencing every emotion with such intensity, and one mistake feels like the world is ending. Even though it is extremely unlikely that any of us will be in a world-famous band, or even become famous, I believe that we all have a time when we feel this way. Everything matters too much, and you know that nothing other than this exact moment will ever be more important. I have never seen these types of emotions portrayed on screen in such an authentic way and I fully believe that there will never be a show that captures this lightning-in-a-bottle moment this well again.