Looking at Daisy Jones and the Six: What I Love and What I Hate a Month Later

By: Anna Cox

Last month, on March 24, Amazon Prime aired the final episode of the long awaited new series, Daisy Jones and the Six. The show was a book-to-TV adaptation of the Taylor Jenkins Reid novel by the same name. Fans on TikTok, mainly on “BookTok”, have been making videos about the project before filming began–their excitement building for their favorite book to come to the screen. Now that the show is off of my For You page and no one’s opinion on it is swirling around in my mind, I decided to look back on the show’s highs and lows.

In the book, the titular main character, Daisy Jones, was born into a life of privilege but neglected by her family. The only thing that brought her joy, aside from drugs, was music. Being from Los Angeles gave her the opportunity to see almost any band she wanted. She soon moves in with her new friend and aspiring singer, Simone. At the same time, Graham Dunne, in Pittsburgh, started a band with his group of friends, Eddie, Warren, and Chuck. Graham’s brother Billy eventually took over the band and became their leading man. After they start to see small glimpses of success, Chuck is drafted to the Vietnam war, where he will later die, and is replaced by Karen. While in Pittsburg, Billy meets Camila, who will soon become his girlfriend and eventually his wife. As the band is on the road, Billy becomes addicted to drugs and cheats on Camila, who is pregnant, where she tells him to get it together before the birth of their child. Daisy joins the band a couple years later in order to give them the edge they had been missing with Billy’s stale love songs. Daisy and Billy have a very tense relationship, and, until the end of the book, have an emotional affair which Camila finds out about. The book is essentially one giant interview 40 years later about the downfall of the band, with there being no text outside the characters speaking. 

The first difference between the book and the show that I noticed was Chuck’s character. In the show, Chuck doesn’t get drafted to the Vietnam War, but instead leaves to become a dentist. I think this change, while small, is terrible. In the book, Chuck is still an honorary member, with the band of five calling themselves the Six in honor of him; instead, they make Camila the honorary sixth member. But, Chuck’s death takes such a toll on the characters and is what pushes them to continue with the band when times get hard. Without that, you are left wondering why these people would stay in such a toxic environment.

The biggest and most noticeable difference between the book and show is that the interview format of the book is switched out for a documentary format, which works well for a TV show. Also, the time periods are changed. While the majority of the story still takes place in the 1970s, the interviews are now in 1998 instead of 2018 to avoid heavy prosthetic use on the actors or casting older actors to play them in the present day. And, this was very hit or miss. Some actors, like Camilla Morrone (Camila), Will Harrison (Graham), and Sebastian Chacon (Warren), had very convincing prosthetics and made me believe that they were in their mid to late forties. But, Riley Keough’s (Daisy) lack of any prosthetic, Suki Waterhouse’s (Karen) terrible wig, and the show’s laziness of just giving John Whitehouse (Eddie) and Sam Claflin (Billy) facial hair did not make them look older at all and was kind of goofy to watch. The older version was not the only part where the actors didn’t look the age of their characters. Riley Keough (age 33) and Sam Claflin (age 36) did not look like they were playing characters in their 20s. Keough did as the show went on, but in the beginning, she just looked too mature. Sam Claflin on the other hand looks like the 36-year-old man that he is, not the 20-something year old he was playing. And this is not the fault of the actor, but of the casting crew.

What was the fault of Sam Claflin was his acting. While, I’ll admit that the writing on the show was not amazing and sometimes was just downright bad, other actors made up for it. Riley Keough and Camila Morrone were able to handle some of the more emotional moments and still feel true to their book counterparts. Sam Claflin on the other hand does not have the charisma of Billy Dunne. While charming in a very kind and polite way, Billy is charming in a “I want to punch you whenever you talk” kind of way. So, while both the book character and TV character are not likable in the slightest, at least the book character could kind of make you forgive him for small moments. Claflin did not have that, which is such a bummer because he usually does amazing in book-to-movie adaptations like Love, Rosie, Me Before You, and The Hunger Games. He also paled in comparison to Riley Keough’s voice. Being the granddaughter of Elvis Presley really helped in this show because her voice was the best one, and no one else’s  was able to compare. And, the others are not bad at all, some of them are very good, but Riley Keough made them background noise. Suki Waterhouse was also not as good as the other characters. At times, it felt like they wanted her to be a very ambivalent character that makes you laugh and cry at times. But, when next to Sebastian Chacon in a scene, she is not the one making you laugh, and when next to Camila Morrone in a scene, she’s not the one making you cry. It may be the fault of the show’s writing for making her utterly uninteresting, but Suki Waterhouse’s monotone voice and expressionless face also have something to do with it. 

To me, the standout performances in the show were Camila Morrone, Riley Keough, Sebastian Chacon, and Nabyih Be (Simone). Camila Morrone’s portrayal of Camila was such a refreshing take on a character that, in the book, is given no identity outside of Billy. Camila has some sort of relationship with everyone in the band, which is more heavily explored in the show than the book. The show also allows Camila to make mistakes, such as when she cheats on Billy with Eddie after discovering that he has feelings for Daisy (not yet knowing that he had already kissed her). My only issue with this storyline is that she never faces any consequences. While you may be able to find justification in what she did, a good character is one who has to make up for the bad things they do. So, the show fell short on that aspect, but Camila Morrone was able to pull it off as best as she could. Riley Keoughs’ portrayal of Daisy Jones, while not my favorite, was still great with the material given to her. Daisy in the book and Daisy in the show have never been likable characters, but they are very enthralling. Everything that Riley did, every nuance to the character, just kept you drawn to her. Sebastian Chacon’s portrayal of Warren, while less serious than other characters, was still amazing nonetheless. Serving as the comedic relief, he pulled it off perfectly. My favorite performance by far was Nabiyah Be as Simone. While serving the role of Daisy’s best friend, she also has one of the most interesting storylines. After years of being short sighted by producers she meets Bernie (an addition to the show that wasn’t in the book), a gay club owner that starts to let her perform at night. They start a secret relationship, making them the only gay couple on the show, and Simone’s popularity grows amongst the club. She then becomes a pioneer for the disco genre. The actress does an amazing job at showing just how tired of this industry Simone is and handles  more emotional moments with Daisy better than most of the main cast. 

The fashion on this show is extremely hit or miss. Simone and Warren have the most accurate ‘70s rockstar fashion. Warren sports open vests with matching pants, furs, and leathers. His style feels the most distinctly ‘70s, taking inspiration from David Lee Roth and some of Mick Fleetwood’s more extravagant stage looks. Simone’s wardrobe looks the most researched, with obvious influences from Diana Ross and Gloria Gayner. She shows a side of the 1970s that wasn’t all bohemian fashion, but instead glamorous, sparkly jumpsuits with big hair and loud makeup. Camila’s clothes have their highs and lows, with her looks in the beginning being very clearly bohemian; however, as she gets older, there seems to be a more mature Farrah Fawcett influence. The issue lies in consistency. Sometimes her outfits look like Simone rejects, and not like something that her character would wear. 

My biggest gripe with the fashion on this show is the use of contemporary clothing and brands in a period piece. Why is Karen wearing head to toe Free People? Why are all the men wearing modern Levis instead of vintage Levis? It’s not like these pieces are hard to find. Just go to any vintage shop, estate sale, or ebay page and you’ll find authentic ‘70s clothing pieces. The contemporary pieces are not the only issue with the majority of the fashion on the show. Karen is the biggest offender of the “modern clothes disguised as vintage” crime that this show regularly commits. Her style does not match her character. The actions and intended personality of the character are not very different from the book. She is someone who wants to be taken seriously and leans more towards the tomboy side than the other women in the band. Her outfits in the show look far too polished and put together than they should. She is missing the specific messiness that a lot of ‘70s fashion had. The costume designer, Denis Wingate, said that she referred to photos of Bianca Jagger and Joan Jett when styling Karen. I think that the character would’ve benefited from more inspiration from Patti Smith and leaned more into the Joan Jett inspiration. Billy’s styling is one of the most boring styling I’ve seen on a male character in a while. He almost always sports a chambray shirt and Levis. I feel like the stylist was so focused on the female characters that she just paid dust to the majority of the male characters. I feel like it would’ve made much more sense if Billy was styled after the members of Pink Floyd to show that he had the presence to be the frontman that Claflin was lacking. 

The show’s main character had generally accurate costuming, with the exception of a few Free People kimonos. Most of her styling was done with a majority of modern pieces. But, the inspiration for Daisy is obviously Stevie Nicks, seeing as the book is based off of Fleetwood Mac’s multiple love affairs. Her style is a very generic look into the 1970s, and her casual outfits tend to look more like a costume than the outfits she wore on stage, which I thought looked just like something you’d see on a rockstar from the ‘70s. 

The author of the book and the showrunners have not completely ruled out a second season. But, this comes after season 1 covered the entirety of the book and Taylor Jenkins Reid has never written a sequel. A second season is not needed, and I could totally see a second season ruining the good about this show and making it look like just a cash grab. Instead, Taylor Jenkins Reid should continue expanding this universe that she has written about (she has two other books, Malibu Rising and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, that take place in the same universe) or adapt her other works. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is already being adapted into a movie by Netflix, so I could definitely see a future in Taylor Jenkins Reid adaptations.Daisy Jones and the Six was much better than I was expecting, seeing as adaptations of popular books can be very hit or miss. While there are definitely things I would’ve changed in the show, I would definitely recommend reading the book and watching the show (in that order, too).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s