Daisy Jones & The Six: Tracks 1–3 Review

Sam Claflin (Billy), Josh Whitehouse (Eddie), Will Harrison (Graham), Sebastian Chacon (Warren), Suki Waterhouse (Karen) walking and carrying they're instruments from the van to the studio
Sam Claflin (Billy), Josh Whitehouse (Eddie), Will Harrison (Graham), Sebastian Chacon (Warren), Suki Waterhouse (Karen)

Prime Video’s adaptation of Daisy Jones & The Six will delight your eardrums if you’re a fan of the book no matter what critics say, but there are some things the book lovers might be confused about. I know I am.

Given that Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote the novel Daisy Jones & The Six through the eyes of a documentary viewer, you’d think it would be a relatively straightforward adaptation process for creative producers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. However, they have made some interesting choices. The conception of The Six is abbreviated by tying Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), Warren (Sebastian Chacon), and Eddie (Josh Whitehouse) together through high school, and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) begrudgingly joins. As book lovers know, The Dunne Brothers started as just Billy and Graham Dunne; then they acquired drummer Warren Rhodes, bassist Pete Loving, and rhythm guitarist Chuck Williams. They continued to perform as The Dunne Brothers for a while, and it makes sense because the band started as the two brothers.

Will Harrison (Graham), Sebastian Chacon (Warren), Josh Whitehouse (Eddie), Sam Claflin (Billy) by the tour van outside Chuck's house
Will Harrison (Graham), Sebastian Chacon (Warren), Josh Whitehouse (Eddie), Sam Claflin (Billy). Image Courtesy of Prime Video

I don’t know. I don’t understand why Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber changed how the band originated because it doesn’t add up how they named themselves The Dunne Brothers when only one brother was there from the start. I get why they would smash the Loving brothers together, Pete and Eddie; in the end, Pete wasn’t a crucial character, except he actually made the band six once Karen joined later. It feels a little messy how they clearly were trying to uncomplicate The Six’s conception, but they ended up muddling it further, in my opinion.

There’s also the issue with Chuck. In the novel, he’s drafted into the Vietnam war and dies. I found this a relevant plot detail to The Six’s character development; they were traumatised, like the rest of society, by the political crisis of the ’60s/’70s. However, in the TV adaptation, Chuck leaves for dentistry school right before The Dunne Brothers go on their first opening gig. It felt too trivial. Billy solves it on the spot, and Eddie is moved from rhythm guitar to bass—problem solved. Other than piling onto Eddie’s list of grievances against Billy, this plot point falls incredibly flat. I’m missing the grounding of these characters in the historical landscape they reside in.

I mean, why was this generation so desperate to escape their lives by diving into rock and roll and psychedelic drugs? Sure, Billy and Graham’s dad left when they were young, but their mom was a saint; they had a loving childhood. So, what were they escaping? That just doesn’t come through in their backstory. When Billy goes off the rails in Track 2, I get it, he’s scared, but he’s falling down the rabbit hole long before that. What pushed him, then?

Riley Keough (Daisy) smiling, walking out a the lounge she just played for three people at
Riley Keough (Daisy). Image Courtesy of Prime Video

With the origin of Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), it’s like they dared themselves to write through it as fast as they could. They try to reiterate that she is just a lonely rich kid with too much courage and money at her disposal, living a walking distance from the LA strip. I mean, fair enough, that’s the baseline. But she also got lost in it; it became all she knew how to do. This TV Daisy… she’s way more put together. So far! I’ve only seen three episodes, but in the book, by the time Daisy got to record “Honeycomb” with Billy, she was three sheets to the wind drowning in self-pity after being contractually tricked into recording a disco album she wasn’t allowed to write on. Her manager was pumping her with drugs and sleeping next to her at night; she was not in control of her life.

That mess is what pulls Daisy and Billy together. Like it or not, they’re incredibly similar with shared experiences and vices. But again, we barely see Billy at his worst on that first tour with The Six. We’re left to our imagination and make up our minds over what’s happening that Camille (Camila Morrone) can’t see while she’s waiting by the telephone, but I felt we barely got to dwell on it.

I’m trying to say that all of the moments of gravity that make this story relatable feel rushed over.

However, that’s not to say that I don’t like the adaptation!

Gosh, I’d be amiss if I didn’t enjoy watching these characters take form on the screen. Camila Morrone’s Camille is better than I imagined; she’s strong and complex, and I love that they made her a photographer. When Camila delivers the ultimatum or those cutting moments of unique wisdom, I feel it. Camille was written as an extraordinary woman, and it’s hard to believe they found someone to fill those shoes so brilliantly, but I’m in love.

Camila Morrone (Camila) putting photo prints into envelopes and on the phone
Camila Morrone (Camila). Image Courtesy of Prime Video

Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne were iconic when the pages hit shelves from coast to coast. Their will-they, won’t-they tortured love was so well captured in the novel. It was perfectly delivered as this artistic chemistry; their minds thought alike, and their voices melted together on every track. Taylor Jenkins Reid hammered it home with how these two souls sought each other.

Compared to that? Riley Keough and Sam Claflin are budding. At the end of Track 3, I’m smiling ear to ear with anticipation for what comes next. Their voices sound fantastic together; their bodies lean just so together and into the mic. Next to Claflin is when Keough lets her light shine through. I wondered why her delightful smile didn’t seem as sweet watching Track 1 and 2, but then she said, “I was just going to tell you I love your voice,” and it was magic. That’s the Daisy I read about.

This might sound weird, but I was kind of shocked when they cast Suki Waterhouse as Karen. Please don’t think me prejudiced or petty when I say this, but I was shocked because Suki seemed too classically pretty to play Karen. I had always imagined Karen as a little plain standing next to Daisy and Camille. However, there’s no hiding Suki Waterhouse’s beauty with a turtleneck; she’s essentially a British Serena Van Der Woodsen—old-money supermodel material. And with that being said, I think she has to play up the tomboyish nature of Karen more to try and downplay her looks—to the point where she may come across a little bit like a pick-me-girl at points. She grows on me, in any case.

Nabiyah Be (Simone) onstage, performing
Nabiyah Be (Simone). Image Courtesy of Prime Video

They’ve given Simone (Nabiyah Be), Daisy’s best friend, more to do, which is nice to see. I like that they’ve enhanced her character by making her a queer black woman. I think they’ve opened many doors for her character arc that way. Although, at the end of the day, she’s a black caretaker character for a white, rich girl (Daisy), which is trope-y. I hope they find a way to dissect that dynamic later. I also hope they find a way to give our girl Simone a happy ending because, my god, does she ever deserve one.

The rest of the cast—Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), Eddie (Josh Whitehouse), Warren (Sebastian Chacon), Teddy Price (Tom Wright), and Rod (Timothy Olyphant)—are reasonably book-accurate portrayals. I don’t think there’s a weak link among the cast. Tom Wright is exceedingly warm, paternal, and stern, which is precisely what the novel offers him—it’s sad knowing what happens. I’m confused why Timothy Olyphant has an “And” credit when he’s barely in the show… but I guess we’ll see if he makes a more significant impact. Sebastian Chacon is NAILING Warren! He’s so goofy and fun! It’s amazing!

Tom Wright (Teddy) in his office at the recod label , sitting at his desk and concentrating
Tom Wright (Teddy). Image Courtesy of Prime Video

Overall, I am delighted with the Daisy Jones & The Six adaptation by Prime Video. They’ve done a fantastic job bringing these characters to life and giving the audience what they want.

I can’t believe I’ve made it this far without discussing the music. It’s good. It’s really, really good. I can foresee myself blasting this soundtrack for years to come. It’s exactly up the alley of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Joni Mitchell that I know Taylor Jenkins Reid had flowing through her ears while writing the original material and lyrics. If you didn’t read the book, Reid took the time to write out the lyrics to most of the Aurora album and included them as a collection at the back of the novel. Hearing those words sung to ’70s Rock n’ Roll-inspired instrumentals really bring this story to life.  I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Written by Isobel Grieve

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