Is the “New Daisy Jones and the Six” Show as Good as the Book?


Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly (Fair Use)

Riley Keough and Sam Claflin star in the Amazon Prime series as Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne.

The 70s were known for their wild celebrity scene, crazy rock bands, and a wide variety of music. Daisy Jones and the Six is an amazing reincarnation of this era retelling the creation of the fictional band Daisy Jones and the Six in both a book and now a show.

The author, Taylor Jenkins Reid, set up the book in a unique interview format making the story primarily dialogue. The book consists of 12 sections ordered in a chronological style to help the reader understand the formation of the band. These sections flip back and forth from the upbringing of the lead singer, Daisy Jones, and the beginnings of The Dunne Brothers, later named The Six. The two plot lines slowly blend together as Jones meets the Six and they begin collaborating.

The casting for the show was impeccable, the actors were perfect representations of their characters, and the band had amazing chemistry. Additionally, the acting, singing, and overall performance value was top tier. Each actor lived their part and was dedicated to becoming a performer. The band is made up of lead singer Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), frontman Billy Dunne (Sam Claflinhis), his brother, guitarist Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), keyboardist Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse), drummer Warren Rhodes (Sebastian Chacon), and rhythm guitarist Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse).

The show consists of ten episodes in a similar style to the books. The episode release dates are spaced apart to allow the watcher to really enjoy the show and savor the new music from every episode. Each episode roughly follows a chunk of the book’s chronological order so the reader can follow along as the band members progress throughout the series. Along with the ten episodes the actors recorded an album based on the songs of “Aurora,” the band’s hit album, written down in the book. Additional songs in the episodes were also released, just not on the album. Many of the songs released were rewritten by Blake Mills and Marcus Mumford, some still had the main idea but many titles and most of the lyrics were changed from Reid’s original plan. Many fans were confused why they changed the already-written songs, but the album ended up being great doing a fantastic job bringing back the 70s soft rock vibe of music.

When adapting any book into film there are definitely going to be stylistic differences. One of the most significant changes between the book and the show adaptation was the intensity of specific topics from the show. Some of the most noticeable ones were Billy’s struggle with addiction, the relationship Billy and Daisy form, and consequently Camilla and Billy’s marital infidelity. Billy and Daisy’s relationship is a focal point of the story: their hatred, their passion, and their all too similar personalities. Like the book, this was an issue because Billy was married to Camilla, although the show went about this storyline slightly differently. The gravitational pull Daisy and Billy had with each other was a lot more aggressive in the show, and this led to infidelity on Billy’s part. However, Billy isn’t all to blame; a strong addition to the show was the relationship between Camilla and bassist Eddie. Their childhood history, and hints of them cheating in episode six, help reveal a depth to Eddie’s character not seen in the book. All of these overwhelming issues eventually cause Billy to relapse; this event is prominent in both the book and episode ten of the show, but Billy is much more aggressive with it in the show while in the book he barely takes a sip before he stops himself.

A slightly different approach to the character Teddy Price, the band’s producer, proves an interesting plot change. In the book, Teddy’s sudden death causes Billy to spiral and relapse but the show has Teddy suffer from a heart attack and later mentions his death after the band breaks up. This change allows for Billy’s relapse to be caused by his marriage issues and struggling relationship with Daisy rather than the loss of a mentor.

Another change was the removal of the character Pete Loving. In the book, Loving was the bassist for the Six and the brother of Eddie Loving, the rhythm guitarist. Pete wasn’t an integral part of the plot so nothing was missing with his absence but it was still noticeable that he was not present. The main issue with his disappearance was that there were not six members of The Six. Some fans have gone on to say that Camilla Dunne (Camila Morrone), married to Billy in the show, is the honorary sixth member of the band.

Lastly, an important character change was the depth the show brought to Simone Jackson. She kept her role as a disco singer who befriends Daisy; they become family, practically sisters. An important distinction between the book and the show is Simone’s sexuality. In the show, she gains a more resonant meaning with her enlightenment of how it was being a queer black woman in that time period.

I’m a sucker for a book adaptation but I rarely like it more than the book and for this show, I have to go with my gut. Although it was amazing, nothing will top the amazing story Reid gave me first. I did thoroughly enjoy most of the character changes and the music these actors created, but there were also many changes I felt stretched too far from what Reid portrayed in the book.