After the disappointment of the hot mess HBO show, “Vinyl,” I was skeptical about trying another rock related series. I had no idea this was a Cameron Crowe project until the final credits rolled at the end of the first episode (didn’t read up in advance and wanted to have no pre-judgements.) You know what? Now that I know this a Crowe project, I can totally see it. The stalker/groupie is a sympathetic character, similar to Penny Lane in “Almost Famous,” and there is a brother/sister relationship happening, also present in AF. But what “Roadies” does not have that was present in AF is heart. I don’t know; perhaps it will develop over the next few episodes, but it just felt very flat to me. Rainn Wilson will be joining in, so perhaps he’ll give this show the kick it needs.
You can already see the episodic formula in the works: Road crew arrives in the next city to begin setting up for that night’s show, some drama is introduced, there is a crew meeting, a “song of the day,” things get crossed off the to-do list, more drama, and ultimately, the show happens (YAY, music!), and there is resolution of that episode’s plot, with a continuing story arc of “will they/won’t they” between the major roadie characters (Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino.) It seems tired from the first episode.
There was a little bit of magic, and it winds through the minor characters, particularly a tech named Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots), who seems to be the moral center. (I don’t know, though, since she aspires to be a filmmaker. ) One of the other enjoyable characters, Phil, the gruff, legendary “I know Pink Floyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd” road manager played by comic Ron White, seems to be already gone, damn it. And Luis Guzman’s bus driver is pretty cool, too.
One thing is apparent: there is NOT ENOUGH MUSIC. We get the tease from the opening band, The Head And The Heart, during their sound check and a bit of Pearl Jam in the closing moments, but not much more than that. Seems to me that if it’s a show about roadies, there should be more music in the soundtrack, which was the ONLY thing “Vinyl” had going for it.
Anyway, here’s the trailer. If you get Showtime and you love the idea of a show about behind-the-scenes with a rock tour, check it out. I’m sticking around for Rainn Wilson, now that I’ve seen the entire trailer, so I’ll make my final judgement on the show after his character arrives.
Love and kisses.