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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Review: “Daisy Jones and The Six” transports its viewers back in time

Phenomenal casting and original music provides a compelling peak into the lives of six fictional, world-famous bandmates.

Review: Daisy Jones and The Six PNG (3/28/23)

My review for the TV adaptation of “Daisy Jones and The Six” must begin with an important caveat: I have not read the book. And while I know you may think it a great sin for me to write this review, what I lack in book background knowledge I promise I make up for with a healthy appreciation for Fleetwood Mac, Free People and messy relationships. Additionally, my review will judge the show based on its merit alone without comparing it to its beloved predecessor. 

“Daisy Jones and The Six” is successful in countless ways, but its greatest strength began at its inception: its casting. The cast makes this show. At first, I was uncertain if the actors, who have limited musical backgrounds, could accurately portray a band who was renowned worldwide for their talent. However, the cast was committed to the show’s success: during the COVID-19 lockdown, many practiced their instruments and hired music tutors. The actors’ dedication to learning new instruments elevated their performances on the show. 

Actress Riley Keough embodies the hippie energy of the character and protagonist Daisy Jones. Keough artfully adds depth to Daisy’s character by juxtaposing her carefree attitude with a desperate desire to belong. She also has fantastic chemistry with love interest Billy Dunne, played by Sam Claflin. Their relationship is toxic, and there isn’t much to like about Billy other than his gorgeous looks and perfect wife. His wife, Camilla Dunne, is played by Camilla Morrone. While Morrone may have had a limited discography prior to this show, she played her character with  impressive vulnerability and care. Her gentle attitude is contrasted by her ferocious loyalty, and her storyline was rich and complex, making her the most interesting character in the entire show. I am a Camilla Dunne supporter until the day I die. Camilla’s strength as a character causes a problem to the plot: Billy and Daisy, the two main characters who are meant to be the prominent love interests, weren’t that likable in comparison. They were selfish with their love, and I never cheered for them to be together. 

As Daisy and Billy were an unlikeable pair, the show often felt too focused on their relationship, rather than the music or the band. I felt that more focus should have been on the band: their rise to fame, their recording process, their tour, etc., rather than the relationship between the two lead singers. I am not calling for a total omission of Daisy and Billy’s love, but as the series is limited in nature, attention should have been paid to other aspects more equally.

The strength of the casting does not end with the love triangle. Other members of “The Six” came to life in the hands of these actors. Suki Waterhouse portrayed Karen Siko as a cool, charismatic woman who accidentally fell in love. I could feel her fear of commitment, her refusal to settle for mediocrity in her life, and her love for the band all in a single look of sorrow during the final episode. Both Josh Whitehouse, playing Eddie Roundtree, and Will Harrison, playing Graham Dunne, also portrayed interesting characters who showed their emotional depth upon their upsetting decision to leave the band. Lastly, Sebastian Chacon added the much needed character of Warren Rojas, who never experienced the same trauma as his band members. He just lived for the music, and there was something so pure in him. It made it all the more painful, to see that hope leave him, when the band decided to split up. Each actor enhanced the complexity and depth of relationships between the characters in “The Six.”

Throughout the entire show, each character is dressed phenomenally in period appropriate clothing. Daisy’s looser, bright clothing — tropical caftans in Greece, shiny gold capes on stage, bright red hair in loose waves, embodies hippie chic and reflects her free spirit. Camilla is always put together, as she transforms from girlfriend, to wife, to mother, with her style evolving with each role she fulfills. Even Billy’s costuming, in his boring denim and leather, proves that he is the face of masculinity and strength, the head of the band and the captain of the ship. Amazon Prime’s large budget is clear in the costuming: the characters are dressed to the nines, and it serves the story well. 

“Aurora” — the soundtrack of the show — has already dominated my spotify “On Repeat” playlist, with songs like “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)” and “The River” being my favorites. “Look at Us Know (Honeycomb)” may come across as a love song, but the lyrics strongly emulate the trajectory of the band. Lyrics like “we could make a good thing bad” and “this thing we've been doin' ain't working out, why can't you just admit it to me?” foreshadow their tumultuous rise to fame — getting everything they had ever wanted — and the subsequent unsustainability of their relationships. The lyrics are meaningful and interesting on the first go-round, but show interesting depth upon a second listen. 

Both Keough and Claflin recorded their own parts, creating beautiful songs with limited experience, once again showing the cast's dedication to performing their respective roles. It is no surprise that  “Aurora '' is so phenomenal — it was written by legends of the music industry, including my personal favorites Marcus Mumford and Phoebe Bridgers. The music is transportational, taking the listener into the 70s with prominent instrumentation and Fleetwood Mac-esque lyrics. Fans are already begging for a tour, and I would be first in line to buy tickets. 

“Daisy Jones and The Six” stands on its own. While I am sure reading the book may enhance the viewing experience, I found myself falling in love with the show’s characters on their own. I cheered for their successes, and I felt heartbreak at their failures. While the limited series left something to be desired — I could have used a further look into both Daisy and Billy’s struggle with addiction — it was a phenomenal watch that kept me engaged at every second. The show ended exactly where it should have, and while I am sad there is no second season, the finality of the show is part of what makes it so strong. 

Rating: ★★★★★