Vinyl (2016)

When you see Martin Scorsese’s name attached to a project, it’s guaranteed to be a hit, right? Well, that unfortunately wasn’t the case for Vinyl, the HBO series created by Scorsese, Rich Cohen, and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Set in the 1970s, it followed a New York music executive as he attempts to find the next biggest and brightest stars, all while dealing with his own personal problems and relationship with drugs and alcohol. The show had a star studded cast, with the protagonist Richie Finestra played by Bobby Cannavale, and featured Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, Ray Romano, Jack Quaid, Paul Ben-Victor, and more.

The show was wild from start to finish, infusing a sometimes trippy, psychedelic way of filming, with a fast pace and insight into the craziness of the music industry, especially during that time. Although the story did go this way and that, and sometimes Richie was not a very likeable person, you couldn’t help but wonder what could’ve happened if it stuck around for a second season, or even more. I feel like it could have found its footing if it returned, because the way it ended set it up to be an incredible story going forward. They couldn’t even tie up all the loose ends, probably because they thought they had a chance of continuing it. But alas, HBO pulled the plug and the Scorsese-produced show was no more.

If I were to be honest, I had decided to watch the show because of Olivia Wilde. I knew Bobby Cannavale from other smaller roles, and was familiar with Ray Romano’s work, but it was Wilde who got me to add it to my “to watch” list. Yet, Bobby Cannavale made me continue watching it, because he was absolutely incredible in this role. And with how the show ended, I really had hoped to see more of him in this insane world that is the music industry. I learned things I had no idea about, and who knows if they were all entirely based in truth or not, but it was surreal to see some of the things that would happen. Not only that, but the show explored addiction in a wonderful way, especially since it was and is so prominent in the industry. The show also integrated the crime world into it, creating quite a mixture of chaos and conflict for its ten episode stint.

Vinyl is a show for people who love music and want to know more about the intricacies behind people being cherry picked for stardom and what it takes to make something that shifts culture as we know it. You can watch the one and only season on HBO Max, and I know for sure that if you do, you are about to go on one hell of a ride.

Isabel Maina

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