Music. Music that invades every pore and sinks right into your soul. Music that defines every important moment in your life. Music that has the power to transform. Music that shakes the foundations until walls come crumbling down. That’s rock and roll.
Tonight, my love for rock and roll marries my love for television with the premiere of Vinyl, the new HBO series from Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Rich Cohen and Terence Winter. A tale of the music business in 1970s New York City, the first episode introduces us to Richie Finestra, a record company president trying to save his company — played to perfection by Bobby Cannavale — when something cataclysmic both shatters his personal life while rekindling his passion for music. It’s two hours of cinematic perfection that is dark and bleak yet hopeful and invigorating at the same time. I am excited to embark on this musical TV journey, and reminded of some of the other music-centric TV series that I’ve loved over the years. If you’re craving more rock and roll in your TV-watching life, here are the other shows you should add to your list.
An HBO docuseries that I’ve likened to a religious experience, Sonic Highways follows the Foo Fighters on a musical pilgrimage to eight U.S. cities. They explore what shaped the music scene and created each destination’s unique sound. This culminates in a song inspired by each stop, creating the Sonic Highways album. Patron saint of Rock and Roll Dave Grohl has an enthusiasm and a passion that you can’t help but be affected by. In June of 2015, Grohl confirmed that a second season is coming, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Everyone loves a comeback story. FX’s Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll tells the tale of The Heathens, a band that imploded in the early ’90s when their career was about to explode. The band broke up when Heathens’ lead guitarist Flash (John Corbett) finds frontman Johnny Rock (Denis Leary) in bed with his wife. Johnny is continuing to live like a rock star while never achieving success, and when things are looking bleak, a rising star named Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) comes along with an offer to put the band back together. The catch: she wants to be the lead singer, and she’s Johnny’s daughter. Season 1 delivers good tunes, plenty of laughs, and even a few heartwarming moments. Catch up now, since a second season is on tap for later this year.
Yes, Californication is the story of Hank Moody (David Duchovny), a literary rock star, but when his world collided with the actual world of rock and roll, it created some of its finest moments. Season 2’s arc with Lew Ashby (Callum Keith Rennie … yowza!), a music producer that hires hank to write his biography, is my fave season of the series. Plus, arc with the likes of Marilyn Manson and Rick Springfield give Californication its rock cred.
The award-winning boys at Banger Films know how to do a rock doc, with Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, and Super Duper Alice Cooper to their credit. With filmmaker and anthropologist Sam Dunn at the helm, Metal Evolution breaks down metal to its most intricate parts, delving into the history and exploring each subgenre, from glam to grunge. It’s now available in its entirety on YouTube (embedded below).
What shows would you add to this list? Share them by commenting below!