You know that feeling when you’re walking down the street and you see your favorite artist’s name up in lights on a marquee sign — big bold letters in the sky and they exist for you to witness in real time?
The first guitar strums echo in a crowded room, screams erupt and a thrill bolts through your body. Tears perhaps pierce your eyes.
That’s similar to how I felt when I saw the first three “Daisy Jones & the Six” episodes on Amazon Prime Video March 3. It was electrifying.
“Daisy Jones & the Six” is a 2019 book by author Taylor Jenkins Reid that is now being adapted as a 10-episode show released over the course of 4 weeks on Amazon Prime Video (episodes 1-3 on March 3, episodes 4-6 on March 10, episodes 7-8 on March 16 and episodes 9-10 on March 23).
Told through interviews, it details the rise and fall of fictional rock n’ roll band “Daisy Jones & the Six” throughout the ‘70s. The band led by Daisy Jones (Riley Keough, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) were on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. However after a sold out show in Chicago in 1979, it all came crashing down. 20 years later, band members (including Suki Waterhouse as Karen Sirko, Will Harrison as Graham Dunne, Sebastian Chacon as Warren Rhodes, Josh Whitehouse as Eddie Roundtree and Camila Morrone as Camila Dunne) and people close to them are finally speaking on record about what led to their infamous split.
The first three episodes started the mystery behind the band’s breakup and provided backstory on how everyone came together. Keough as Daisy Jones grew up on the ‘70s LA Sunset Strip finding her voice. The Six were growing their band in Pennsylvania, finding their sound and eventually moving out to Los Angeles.
It was a great setup for all that’s coming.
Spoiler alert warning:
A perfect medium
Book-to-screen adaptations happen all the time. Some grow as momentous hits and others quickly fade away like they never existed. It can be difficult to know which ones will hit the ground running and stay with us. I don’t think we have to worry about this one quieting down on us just yet though.
I finished the book in early February 2023, and it easily became my favorite. There’s something so real about “Daisy Jones & the Six” – the nostalgia, dialogue, yearning for something you can’t have – that hits perfectly.
The book captured the human experience of love, regret and self discovery all wrapped together through fictional transcripts 40 years after the band rose to fame (though the show is set only 20 years later). That narrative device ground the story and made it powerful. It was the best dialogue I’ve ever read. Characters’ inconsistencies made the fictional band feel real, because of course they wouldn’t remember things exactly as they happened and of course they would hide the full truth from the fans (and even the person interviewing them *wink wink).
The cool thing with doing it as a television series is that we can watch their interviews, but we can also see what really happened. Book fans can enjoy the ride they initially loved, but they can also get a complete taste of the truth they missed the first time around.
There’s also the added element of sound. “Daisy Jones & the Six” isn’t just about the characters’ experiences and addictions. It’s also about the music they create.
We can finally hear what they sound like. We can hear the yearning when they sing to each other. We can hear the pain and love in their voices. We also just get to rock out to some great tunes. I’ve personally had their album “Aurora” on repeat since it came out March 2.
The book was great (seriously, it’s my favorite), but I think TV is truly the perfect medium for this story.
A new sound
With any adaptation though, things are bound to change.
There were a few changes that stood out to me the most. The first was Chuck. I’m at a loss with this one.
The change with Chuck’s character really took me by surprise. In the book, Chuck had to leave the band because he was drafted in the Vietnam War where he died a couple months later. However, Chuck left to attend dental school in the show. It almost seemed like a joke to me at first.
Chuck wasn’t in the book much anyway. Why did they feel the need to change why he left the band? His moment in the book was one of the first times I really felt something. It’s one of those moments where we’re hit with the setting “Daisy Jones & the Six” takes place in.
The Vietnam War is happening. There are these huge social, international events going on, and Chuck being drafted in the war and dying in Cambodia really let me know that this band was trying to find refuge in this world they existed in. “Daisy Jones & the Six” is a really emotional story. It has a lot of dark themes to it. Beginning with Chuck’s storyline — even if it was a small portion of the book – was a good way to set the tone early on for the darkness fans could expect.
I also thought they had set it up with the show too with one of Claflin’s first lines as Billy.
“There were two options for the kids in my town,” Billy said six minutes into episode one. “There was the mill or there was the war. I always dreamed of something different.”
Perhaps they changed Chuck’s storyline to make it more dismissive, so the show could focus more on the music and the band.
The second very noticeable change was the sixth band member in The Six. Pete, I miss you.
Pete Roundtree, Eddie’s brother, doesn’t exist in the show. His character was cut out completely, with Karen including Camila as an honorable sixth band member in the show instead.
I’m personally not very bothered by this change. I was just confused by it at first. Pete didn’t add to the band’s drama in the book. He was just there to help with the interviews, so I can see the showrunners wanting to focus more on the story’s bigger hitters.
This change also allowed the show to reveal just how important Camila is to all of their success and to make it a fun bit when they’re asked why there’s only five of them.
The next change was Daisy’s backstory.
Show-Daisy has a very different relationship with her parents. Whereas, book-Daisy was completely neglected by them (they didn’t even realize she had moved out of the house and in with Simone), show-Daisy’s parents verbally abuse her on a regular basis.
Daisy is really fighting to get her voice back in the show, which could make her a more tame and relatable character in this version. However, I also love book-Daisy with all my heart.
I also want to note that Camila was introduced as “Billy Dunne’s wife” in the book but was introduced as “photographer” in the show. What’s going on with that, huh? I’m excited to see if that leads to anything.
“Invisible string” by Taylor Swift is Billy and Daisy’s song, so of course I had to use it as a subheading about them. It only made sense.
I was very excited going into these first three episodes, but I also went into these first three episodes knowing I was going to look forward to the other ones more. I knew that a lot of these episodes would be focused on backstory and separate storylines for Daisy and Billy, and in my heart I am a Billy and Daisy shipper (no hate to Camila, all love).
I was really curious to see how the show was going to set up their storylines and bring them together. Something I thought the show did so brilliantly was connecting them together.
Even before they met, there were these moments that tied them together (like an invisible string, one might say).
We first saw that connection at the end of episode one. The Six is driving down the Sunset Strip for the first time just as Daisy is walking out of the bar she just sang in. They’re both feeling accomplishment and joy within themselves. Time slows down, and Billy looks out the window towards Daisy on the sidewalk – smiles plastered on both their faces. They’re in the same place at the same time, looking towards each other, which was really fun.
The second thing that stood out to me was in the second episode. The Six is at the same diner in LA that Daisy works at. As Daisy walks past them putting her apron on, Billy turns to watch her walk away but then Camila takes his arm and pulls him back.
After that, there’s a scene where Billy is back on the Sunset Strip with the band looking longingly at the Whisky a Go Go. That marquee sign is reflected in his sunglasses, which is a fun nod toward Daisy since that was her favorite place to spend time at.
I also have to note Camila’s daisy flower crown and bouquet during her wedding with Billy.
As a book fan, this next detail really excited me. One of the Dunne Brother’s songs in episode three (“Flip The Switch”) references Daisy’s bloody feet on page 182 of the book.
“When she dances over that broken glass / While you’re searching for her shoes / Is that the version of an indentation / That you wish you could refuse?” – The Dunne Brothers “Flip The Switch”
Daisy steps on broken glass when she’s barefoot at a pool party on page 182 of “Daisy Jones & the Six.”
So much of Billy’s journey in the first three episodes truly felt like it was building up to him finally meeting Daisy. Their stories were always connected and tied together, even if they had never heard their names before.
I love how the show is building on these characters. The first three episodes of “Daisy Jones & the Six” ignited the spark of the explosion we’re going to see and I cannot wait.