Imagine how much of a loser I’m going to look like when one of my top bands of the year is fictional. And yet, Daisy Jones and the Six has just been adapted for television, and the fictional band has risen to the top of my “On Repeat” playlist.
Daisy Jones is a television show that just recently released its final episodes to Amazon Prime. It’s based off of a novel of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid, an author who has seen a spike in popularity recently after her three most recent books have been trending on BookTok: Malibu Rising, Daisy and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. The book is written fully through an interview format as if the reader is following along with a transcript of a documentary. The story is set in the 1970’s and follows the rise to fame of Daisy Jones and the Six, a fictional rock band.
The real appeal of the story comes from the characters. Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) is the lead singer of the band. He’s married to Camila (Camila Morrone), a girl from his hometown near Pittsburgh that he fell in love with and had a child with quite young. Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) comes into their lives later, joining the band and co-writing the album AURORA with Billy. Her joining the band is what makes them a huge success.
But through all of this, there is clear chemistry between Billy and Daisy, all the while he’s still married to Camila. It keeps viewers and readers torn — do they want Billy to cheat on his wonderful wife? Do they want him to leave Daisy and the band behind?
I first read Daisy Jones in 2020, and the novel left me crying alone in my bedroom. I had expected the TV show to not be as emotional since I’d already read the book and yet… the finale left me crying alone in my bedroom.
The show followed a weekly release model that had all ten episodes out after one month. This gave the show just enough time to gain hype in between episodes while not making the viewers wait too long for the finale. The strategy, unlike other shows who have had delayed releases (I’m looking at you, You), was extremely successful. It built up just enough excitement to have new viewers starting the show every week, but didn’t make viewers wait too long. The modern day attention span is short — and with an album being released along with the show, it was important that the music was getting streams without it being staggered too far so that listeners got bored.
The music is likely another huge reason why the show was successful. The cast members of the show all worked for years (some as early as 2019) to perfect their instruments — some, like Sam Claflin and Riley Keough (who play Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones respectively), having never made music before their time on the show. Their work clearly paid off, as the album AURORA already has about fifty million streams on Spotify. This success has even garnered rumors about the actors coming together as a band to go on tour.
Overall, the show translated perfectly from page to screen. The interview format of the novel lended its hand perfectly to a docu-series, one that flows seamlessly in and out of scenes and talking head interview moments. The contrast between the band in the future and the past also keeps the audience on their toes; we’re constantly reminded that the band has a future beyond The Six, and that we will see their last performance play out. This adds to the overall suspense between each episode.
The series also has excellent production design and costuming. Daisy’s descent into addiction is clear, the toll it takes on her arguably clearer than it was in the book. If you compare how she looks in episode three vs. episode nine, it’s obvious how much she’s been affected by the drugs. At times, it’s even hard to watch — purposefully so. The show handles its difficult topics with grace.
Readers of the book and people who are new to the material alike will fall in love with the cast of Daisy Jones and the Six, rooting for them even through their faults. Their imperfection adds a relatability to the characters so that, even when they make obvious mistakes, you’re itching for the next episode to find out their fate. Here’s to hoping that somehow there’s a season two, and that Taylor Jenkins Reid will be on board to write it.
Meg Handley is a Senior Television-Radio major who is determined to be front and center whenever Daisy Jones and the Six go on tour. They can be reached at [email protected].
Art by Julia Young.