(This article contains SPOILERS)
I was lucky to attend the Vynil premiere that was held in the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, few days before the official release on HBO, on February 14. The event was organized by two French TV players: OCS (operated by Orange, a telco operator) and Canalsat.
The pitch? The series follows Richie Finestra, a New York music executive who tries to make a career out of the music industry, in the 70s. What will he chose between business priorities and going off the beaten track? The series is quite expected because of the people who are behind it: Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter. Hence, it is already labeled a must-see show.
My opinion? The story is interesting, the pilot introduces the panel of characters and the stakes. Even if Richie Finestra was at the center of the pilot (Bobby Cannavale is excellent in the role, nice hair cut^^), it is quite obvious the others are on the verge of going through big changes. I hope we can see them much more in the next episodes because even though Finestra is an attractive character, there were sometimes too many Finestra scenes in the pilot. There can be a lot to do with the other heroes : the young assistant (Juno Temple) who is aiming at climbing the social ladder in Richie's label, the young singer (James Jagger) who will surely stand out, Richie's wife (Olivia Wilde) who, I think, will balance between being a housewife and seeing her husband going on a slippery path, and the former promising blues singer (Atto Essandoh) who had been "betrayed"...
The series offers a neat reconstruction of the 70s, in terms of what New York and the music industry looked like back in the day (my ears suffered from some musical moments that were too loud but I really liked the blues songs). The production paid a particular attention to the details and it turns out viewers could immerse themselves in this atmosphere, especially in the dark side of it (I did not imagine decadence could reach that level...).
Well, this series is truly "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" with funny quotes and situations, and is worth trying. The downside of it lied in the length: some elements were not necessary, others rang a bell, like the accidental involvement of Finestra in a sudden and violent disappearance (I thought about Lucious Lyon who had to handle some obstacles to his success himself). I'm not a big fan of rock, I don't know if we can call this series a masterpiece, from the sole first episode, but I admit this was a nice experience that makes us remember how music was good in those days.
The project was born in Mick Jagger's mind 15 years ago. He wanted to make a film about a record label and reached out to Martin Scorsese to share his idea. The two came up with a film that would last three hours. It finally became a series years later.
The story begins in 1973. This year has been chosen because it has been a great year for music. Moreover, having the 1970s as historical background allowed the production to create a story arc in which criminal organizations could be involved, indeed, back in the day, New York faced a high criminality rate.
Below one trailer: