Sunday, February 21, 2016

Prematurely eulogizing HBO's VINYL.

On paper, VINYL seemed surefire.  1970s rock and the record business examined through an East Coast lens.  Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger as co-producers.  A cast including Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Juno Temple, Olivia Wilde and Max Casella (channeling Joe Pesci).

And the Scorsese-directed pilot was generally good--though, at two hours, a bit less effective than the 90-minute opening episode of BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Then, the second episode.

All the flaws (awkward time-shifting, overflowing cast,  off-kilter/unintentionally amusing imitations of Famous People, anachronistically backdating punk rock to 1973, an unfortunate re-use of the BOARDWALK pilot's kill-a-character-and-hide-the-body motif and general difficulty empathizing with most of the fuck-snort-and-betray male characters) of the pilot were magnified x100.

I'll probably struggle through the third installment, but VINYL has already become a white elephant on the scale of LUCK, which had the David Milch/Michael Mann pedigree--but similar problems with sprawling story plus not-interesting-enough characters.

And, as with LUCK, HBO has given VINYL two seasons as a declaration of faith in its A-list Talent.

Since VINYL, unlike LUCK, doesn't use horses in the show (with animal deaths causing premature cancellation), it's safe to expect the network to honor its commitment to a 21-22 episode run even if just a few hundred thousand people tune in or watch online.

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