Sex, drugs and rock and roll. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Okay, maybe not so much anymore, but it sure is fun to watch it go down on the small screen. Especially when that small screen feels like a big screen, feature film offering. And now you know why there’s so much buzz around Vinyl, HBO’s incoming series that follows the life of a record producer (Bobby Cannavale) during the most stressful period of his life.
But believe us, that’s just the beginning of why this show is going to be TV’s next big thing.
1. Martin Scorsese directed the two-hour pilot
Yep, that Martin Scorsese. The very same one who helped the public to stop seeing Leonardo DiCaprio as a baby face and who has been nominated for several Academy Awards. His dark tone is present throughout the first two-hours, and really makes this feel like something special — and mostly CGI free.
“This is something that’s very natural to me, and it’s very close to my heart,” he says. “So I intend to continue to be very involved in as much of the episodes as possible and, I hope that I can work out the time to direct a few more.”
2. Mick Jagger adds to the star power
Sorry, The Rolling Stones frontman doesn’t actually appear in the series, but he’s a key executive producer since the script is largely based on his life. After all, the Stones were infamously tricked out of large sums of money for their work during that time period, forcing Jagger to learn more about the actual business.
3. Bonus points: Jagger’s son is in it
Introducing James Jagger, who plays Kip Stevens in the series. It’s not a huge part (yet), but when he is on screen he kills it alongside the rest of them.
“I kind of left him to his own devices. We talked a little bit about the backstory, different backstories that he could invent about the character a little bit,” Jagger says. “We talked a little bit about that era, about the attitudes and so on, but most of it I left to him, so it’s his invention, not mine.
4. There’s a pretty notable guy running the show
If we told you that Terence Winter was the showrunner, you probably wouldn’t think twice. But if we told you that Terence Winter, the same dude who was behind Boardwalk Empire cut his teeth on The Sopranos and who wrote The Wolf of Wall Street was in charge of this show, we’d bet that would change things, no?
5. The music is off the charts
There’s a great mix of actors playing notable musicians and completely new music on this series. The trick is that the new stuff is so great, even the staff couldn’t tell the difference.
“One of my proudest moments on set was in a scene that took place in a disco playing a song that was written specifically for the show,” Winter recalls. “The extras in the scene (there were dozens of them during the break), held up their iPhone app Shazam to try to figure out what song we were playing. And they were shocked to find out that they had never heard that song before. That it was written specifically for the show.”
6. The real characters they do call on are pretty legendary
We’ll just say this: you haven’t seen the last of David Bowie. Or we suppose, the essence of David Bowie.
7. Two words: Olivia Wilde
We all know that this is one actress who can do both comedy and drama. But she’s absolutely breathtaking in this pilot, especially during one particular scene that we really don’t want to spoil. It’s that good, we promise. But in the meantime, let’s just say that we would never, ever want to cross her and her children.
8. Bobby Cannavale is not your typical antihero
Let’s be honest: Richie Finestra is no Walter White or Don Draper, but that’s kind of the point. While there are certainly some likeable qualities to the man, he’s by no means a likeable character, and we don’t think you’re supposed to like him anyhow. You respect him because he’s terrific at screwing artists out of their money, but you don’t exactly feel bad for him when it all starts to fall apart.
9. Ray Romano is pretty effing great too
Actually, it wasn’t until we heard him speak that we actually recognized him in this role. And yes, we saw him in Parenthood. (Now how to avoid seeing him naked…)
10. The series is getting big screenings across the world
In keeping with that cinematic feel, Vinyl is unrolling with high profile screenings across the globe. Including one in Toronto at the Bell TIFF lightbox, where Mr. Martin Scorsese himself plans to be in attendance.
11. The costumes are incredible
We know, we know. With shows like Downton Abbey and The Americans it takes a lot to impress these days, but this is one show that brings it when it comes to dressing in the 70s time period. Actually, we wouldn’t be surprised if it begins to make a comeback in real life, too.
12. There’s lots of drama
We’re not talking monologuing characters with lots of exposition here guys, we’re talking explosions, murder and drug-addled rages. In fact the story itself is so good that even if it didn’t feature a top notch cast we’d probably still be intrigued.
13. Don’t forget the underdogs
We have a feeling that people are either going to love or hate the sandwich girl in this one, but one thing is for sure: people won’t be able to stop watching her no matter what camp they fall into.
14. It’s on HBO
Perhaps this is a little Captain Obvious, but when it comes to determining how much faith we have in a series, the network that’s airing it speaks a lot to our potential love. And knowing that this is the same network that’s brought up buzz-worthy series like Girls, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Sex and the City, we’re willing to give it a shot no matter what.