In this age of increasingly dark, high-stakes drama, coupled with one global disaster after another, I would rather not watch TV to be reminded of all that’s gone and going wrong (and if I am going to be so reminded, it had better be really good). Instead, I’m looking forward to stories that bring me joy, entertainment, and/or characters I can become invested in.
And if, like me, that’s what you’re after, 2022 looks like a fantastic year for television. Stranger Things is coming back after those season 3 cliffhangers, Julian Fellowes is premiering a Whartonesque drama, The Gilded Age, at the end of the month, Bridgerton is to deliver a second series that looks as bingeable as the first. More speculatively, Good Omens might drop a second season this year too, if Neil Gaiman’s Twitter is anything to go by, and Conversations With Friends is likely to be released this year as well. And as much as I’m looking forward to avidly watching (and probably rewatching!) all of these, my most anticipated show is actually based on a book I read last year.
You don’t have to be on Tiktok for the books that become famous on the platform to reach you – it’s so ubiquitous that multiple bookstores now have tables dedicated to books that have gone viral on the platform. One such novel is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Fleetwood Mac-inspired Daisy Jones & The Six – the story of the rise and fall of a 1970s California rock band, told as an oral history. Having read it twice, I’ve fallen for the characters, the aesthetics, and the songs.
But the rough thing about reading about fictional musicians is that their music doesn’t exist, and that you can’t see them perform. You can read the lyrics at the back of the book all you want, but you can’t blast the album on your streaming platform of choice as you drive, walk to lectures, or dramatically do your grocery shopping.
It’s not only about bringing the music to life, though: the adaptation looks like a genuinely good time
Enter Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Teamed up with Amazon, they have filmed a series adaptation of the novel. The series will include recordings and performances of the songs that form a crucial part of the book’s story, and it is more than plausible that an album of the songs could be released.
It’s not only about bringing the music to life, though: the adaptation looks like a genuinely good time. Jenkins Reid is producing (I see it as a very promising sign when writers are closely involved with the adaptations of their work) and the set photography indicates that the production team has done its best to bring the characters to life as they were depicted in the novel. The costuming is pure 70s groove, in the best way – though three years at Durham couldn’t get me to invest in a pair of flares, Daisy Jones & The Six just might.
Bringing melodies to the lyrics Jenkins Reid wrote will likely heighten them and make the story all the more immersive
All this – the aesthetic, the promise of the music – would be enough to make one look forward to Daisy Jones & The Six arriving on our screens, but it would be remiss not to mention the cast. Riley Keough, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, is playing the eponymous role. Though I was apprehensive when I first heard the novel was being adapted – who could bring Daisy to life as complex yet loveable as she was in the book, while delivering the powerhouse vocals the role required? – a clip of Keough singing has convinced me that she’ll do a fantastic job. And the rest of the ensemble is just as promising: among them are Sam Claflin (of The Hunger Games fame) taking on the role of band leader Billy, and independent-movie actress Camila Morrone.
As a writer and a big reader, I love it when an adaptation provides the opportunity for a story to be told even better than it was on the page. For Daisy Jones & The Six, there’s the possibility to expand upon the oral history format of the book (which provides ample opportunities for snappy dialogue) and show us more of the characters beyond their voices, and the events beyond each character’s recollections. And as I said earlier, bringing melodies to the lyrics Jenkins Reid wrote will likely heighten them and make the story all the more immersive.
In the end, it’s the sheer potential of Daisy Jones & The Six that has me so excited for its release. I, for one, can’t wait until the play now button shows up on my Amazon Prime homepage.