Published on September 18th, 2016 | by Alan Cross6
Why Can’t Anyone Make a Proper Goddamn Music Industry Drama for TV?
I had such high hopes for Vinyl when it premiered back in February. I mean Scorsese and Jagger were behind it, fer crissakes! Terrance Winter–Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire–was the showrunner. The full pallet of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll to choose from for characters and storylines. Set in the anything-goes 70s!
But right from the start, ratings were tepid and the critics were often vicious, especially how the writing played fast and loose with real historical events. HBO bailed after one season.
Okay, fine. At least there was Roadies. Cameron Crowe! Executive produced by Pearl Jam’s manager, Kelly Curtis! Bad Robot Productions! Tons of real-life guest stars! And more sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!
Roadies was a much more gentle show, a dramady more than anything else. It could be a little naive and schmaltzy–the a few of the characters really drove me crazy (except Phil, the grizzled senior roadie, a character that was highly under-used) and the show never became appointment viewing for me, but I still recorded and watched every episode.
No one cared and now Showtime has axed it after its initial order of ten episodes. Just like Vinyl, Roadies is done after one season.
This means the only thing we’re left with is Denis Leary’s half-hour comedy, Sex&Drugs&Rock’n’Roll, a program that has its moments, but frankly, I’d forgotten that the second season had started. I haven’t seen a single episode of the new series.
Hang on? Isn’t Empire still on? I honestly have no idea. If it is, it’s really nothing more than a bad soap opera. I made it through season one and the first few shows of season two, but I don’t need it taking up space on my PVR anymore.
So here’s the question: What is it about TV shows set in the music industry? Why can’t TV–even HBO and Showtime–manage to create a show that people will watch? Is the subject matter too difficult? Is it something audiences just don’t want to see? Do producers and writers and networks just keep getting it wrong? Does no one care how the sausages are made when it comes to popular music?
Music documentaries are HUGELY popular. I can’t keep up with the number on Netflix. Why not music dramas?
I mean if Martin Scorsese and Cameron Crowe can’t do it, who can? And you can bet that with all the money HBO sunk into Vinyl ($100 million, at least) and what Showtime spent on Roadies (certainly a goodly sum), you can bet that no one is going to underwrite anything similar soon. And that makes me sad.
Oh, well. Maybe there really will be a lot of crazy sex in Westworld