Many have dubbed television the “golden age of art.” With many big names such as Matthew McConaughey and Benedict Cumberbatch using the format – rich in exploration and character develop – to hone their craft. As much as it pains a film-lover such as me to admit, at the moment, television is producing the truly great dramas, interesting thrillers, and have the episodic nature to explore in depth storylines.
Out of these series, this excellence, a show can be birthed that is wildly outrageous and marries the brash, visual sublime aesthetics of movies with the energetic borderless nature of television.
That show is Vinyl.
With a story by Rich Cohen, Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, and Terence Winter, Vinyl revolves around Richie Finestra is President of American Century Records. On the verge of making the biggest sale of his career, Richie has a flash of panic and inner revolt as he loses a grip on why he made a record business in the first place. Turning to drugs and gambling with profits, Richie sets upon a destructive path to find himself and save his company. Problem is, in his whirlwind of drugs, he accidentally kills someone and pushes his wife Devon away. Can Richie find himself on top again?
It is really hard to root for unlikeable characters such as Richie. Played by Bobby Cannavale, superbly shooting up the character with a concoction of vulnerability, ferociousness, and destruction, Richie is – to put it bluntly – a dick. He rushes through deals, snorts everything he can, and puts his wife through hell because he has a wanting to be on top that burns holes in his morals and soul. For every bad decision he makes, the more he tries to push us away, and the more we have to watch. Yet rushing around with Cannavale’s spirituous, quaking, unbinding and you can’t help but be enthralled by every move he makes.
Directed by the likes of Scorsese and Jon S. Baird, two accomplished directors in making anarchic characters affable and understandable, Richie and his crew become much-watch characters on a tapestry of musical tunes and big faces that appear. Supporting by Ray Romano, Juno Temple, and Olivia Wilde, the cast all spark a ferociousness that compelled and enthralled you.
With powerful musical history and a twisting plot that makes it harder to support Richie and yet impossible not to, Vinyl was a tantalising show brimming with promise as it heads to Season 2, hopefully. Though it feels flashy in certain episodes, especially when they trot out the superstars of the seventies era, Vinyl certain sticks to the era tuneage and epic aesthetics.
As the future of our characters are left spinning on the turntable of doubt, Vinyl could come back roaring and we’ll accept it; sweat pouring down our faces, heart-racing in our chests, and guitars ringing in our ears.
VINYL IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW!