‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Review: Faux Docu-Series About Fake Band Is Real Good

Adding actual music — and the captivating Riley Keough — to Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel about a '70s rock band helps make this Amazon series work.

From left: Sam Claflin (Billy), Josh Whitehouse (Eddie), Will Harrison (Graham), Sebastian Chacon (Warren), Suki Waterhouse (Karen) in ‘Daisy Jones & the Six.’ Lacey Terrell/Prime Video

Writing about music is inherently difficult because nothing beats hearing an actual song, especially if the band doesn’t actually exist. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 novel Daisy Jones & the Six, about a fictional ‘70s rock band who break up at the height of their fame, recounted a compelling story but lacked that immersive, sonic experience. It’s for this reason that the ten-episode adaptation of the book, created for Prime Video by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, is so effective. 

The episodes unfold in a documentary format, which reflects the novel, written as a fictional tell-all interview from the various band members. Here it’s like watching a docu-series, where the characters offer exposition and insight to camera as the story plays out onscreen. A captivating and believable Riley Keough is Daisy Jones, a drug-addled singer and songwriter looking for a way to share her music. Sam Claflin, finally getting his due, is Billy Dunne, leader of Pittsburgh rock group the Six, who are missing a key piece of the puzzle. After moving to Hollywood, Billy connects with big-time producer Teddy Price (Tom Wright), who orchestrates a collaboration between Daisy and the Six. 

The ensuing drama is, of course, what drives both the novel and series. Daisy and Billy have a contentious relationship that leads to impassioned songwriting—and to Daisy being officially added to the Six. Although Billy is married, to a photographer named Camila (Camila Morrone), he and Daisy wrestle with attraction and hatred in equal measure. Meanwhile Billy’s brother and Six guitarist Graham (Will Harrison) becomes infatuated with their keyboardist Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse, at her most charismatic), adding more tension to the group. 

Riley Keough as Daisy in ‘Daisy Jones & the Six.’ Lacey Terrell/Prime Video

In the novel, Daisy Jones & the Six write and record their debut album, Aurora. Although Jenkins Reid gives a strong sense of the music in the book, watching its creation and hearing the band play it is the highlight of the series. So much so that Atlantic Records is releasing the actual LP, written and co-written by Blake Mills, on the same day the show premieres on Prime Video, with more tracks to following digitally. Keough and Claflin embody rock stars so completely it’s hard to believe neither has really sung or play previously. The directors, who include James Ponsoldt and Nzingha Stewart, give the viewer ample opportunity to enjoy their collaborations, both in the studio and onstage. 

Some of the episodes work better than others, but Daisy Jones & the Six is ultimately a really enjoyable show. It helps that the cast aren’t super famous—Nabiyah Be, playing disco singer and Daisy’s BFF Simone Jackson is a great discovery—because it feels like you are really watching a rock band discuss their actual rise to stardom. The real-life touches, like when the band perform on Saturday Night Live or when the characters visit places like the Troubadour, add to that sense of possibility. Jenkins Reid was inspired by Fleetwood Mac when she wrote the novel and that influence is present in the series as well, especially in Daisy’s look and vibe. 

Not every book-to-screen journey is seamless, but this is a case of the TV version being better than the source material (which is not a knock on the novel). By the end of the series, you believe that this was a real band because you can see and, most importantly, hear them. Fans of classic rock, who perhaps have never heard of the book, will find this just as compelling as those who have wanted to see Daisy and Billy made real onscreen. Daisy Jones & the Six may be fictional, but it’s a delight to see them come to life in this way. 

‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Review: Faux Docu-Series About Fake Band Is Real Good