With a perfect mixture of music, romance, drugs and ‘70s nostalgia, Daisy Jones & the Six beautifully encapsulates the ups and downs of fame during the peak of rock ’n’ roll.
At this point, I’m sure we’ve all seen our fair share of lousy book-to-screen adaptations — films like Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) or Eragon (2006) immediately come to mind. Luckily, Daisy Jones & the Six, based on the 2019 book of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid, does not find itself as part of this list.
Developed by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the Amazon Prime Video miniseries consists of 10 episodes. The story follows wild child “Daisy Jones” (played by Riley Keough, none other than Elvis Presley’s granddaughter), a singer-songwriter who desperately wants her chance on stage, and a small band of childhood friends unofficially led by lead singer “Billy Dunne” (Sam Claflin).
The story is loosely based on the rise and fall of band Fleetwood Mac, while recounting the story of how the band came to be and how they prematurely crumbled to the ground.
Episodes one and two of the show are quite slow and simply act as setting — establishing primers that beg the question of when the main storyline will begin. Billy’s Pittsburgh-based band — made up of Billy himself, Billy’s brother and lead guitarist “Graham Dunne” (Will Harrison), bassist “Eddie Roundtree” (Josh Whitehouse) and drummer “Warren Rojas” (Sebastian Chacon) — decide to try their luck in Los Angeles after finding local fame. The band, originally titled the “Dunne Brothers”, are accompanied by Billy’s girlfriend “Camila Alvarez” (Camila Morrone) and eventually joined by keyboardist “Karen Sirko” (Suki Waterhouse).
Soon after changing their name to “The Six” – in the book there actually are six people in the band, but in the show Camila is considered the band’s honourary sixth member – the band is signed to a record label and goes on tour after producing their first album. The tour, however, is short-lived after a now-married Billy decides to enter into rehab following the birth of his and Camila’s daughter.
Meanwhile, yet to cross paths with The Six is Daisy, a singer-songwriter who, although coming from a wealthy family, grows up neglected by her parents. Daisy ultimately spends her teenage years and eventual adulthood attending music clubs and parties on the Sunset Strip until being discovered by “Teddy Price” (Tom Wright), the same music producer who signed The Six.
And just like that, Daisy Jones & the Six finally come together as one.
Following their assembly, viewers are then met with both incredible music and incredible drama as the band quickly finds their muse and rises to fame.
This excitement especially kicks off in episode three when Billy and Daisy are placed together in the same room for the first time and are forced to collaborate on Billy’s new song “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)”. Right off the bat, the tension between these two characters is undeniable, and the steamy love-hate relationship between the two singers makes for great music and a great plot device in the story.
In the show, “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)” is a hit soon after its release (I personally still listen to it five times a day), which is great for everyone’s career but unfortunate for Billy and Daisy as they’re forced to meet again and again as the single quickly rises to the number one spot on the charts.
Soon enough, the popularity of the single leads to the band’s first studio album, Aurora, and eventual world tour. This only causes tensions to rise as Graham and Karen soon jump into a secret love affair of their own. Meanwhile, Eddie, who’s always held a not-so-secret disliking towards Billy, continues to do so while pining over Billy’s wife Camila. Warren, on the other hand, continues to be his cool and unproblematic self. The biggest aspect of the drama, however, is Billy and Daisy’s changing relationship as the two move from hating each other to being the best of buds to a quite heated moment mid-way through episode six.
I’m not one for the glorification of affairs and cheating in the media, however the undeniable chemistry between Keough and Claflin — both musically and onscreen — makes it extremely difficult not to root for their characters to end up together.
Despite this, Marrone’s portrayal of the sweet but forceful Camila results in viewers not being able to stop themselves from rooting for her as well, as she continues to stand by Billy while repeatedly putting him in his (well-deserved) place.
This causes an extremely messy love triangle as viewers struggle to decide whether Billy should end up with Daisy or Camila (or if he should walk away all by himself). Despite its messiness, the music that comes out of it is well worth the chaos, and only leaves viewers begging for more.
But what really makes this show — and what also made the book — is how the story is told. The plot is recounted 20 years after the band’s dismantling through numerous interviews of the bandmates and those closest to them, creating a sort of documentary as viewers are thrown back and forth between the then and the now. The documentary-style narration makes for eye-opening twists and turns as viewers slowly unravel how and why the band broke up to begin with.
With some small differences from the book it’s based on, Daisy Jones & the Six stands out on its own, making it both an incredible book-to-screen adaptation and a stand-alone show.