Ava’s Column: Daisy Jones and the Six is my morning sun

Recently, the TV adaptation of one of my favorite novels of all time, Daisy Jones and the Six, was released on Prime Video. I have been anticipating its release for weeks, and definitely had high expectations for the show. I am very aware of the phrase “the movie (or in this case the TV show) is never better than the book.” While I do not agree with the “never” part of that statement, nine times out of ten, the book is better than the film adaptation. Daisy Jones and The Six was not that one time out of ten.

The show got off to a rough start. I was questioning a lot of the adaptations that the creators made to the show. Some adaptations that I did not like were minimal, like Chuck not being drafted in the Vietnam War. Chuck being drafted helped the story feel like it was taking place in a different era, and made it feel like historical fiction. The book had a lot of ‘70s references, and the show did not. This made the show feel contemporary, and I hate that. 

Another big issue I have with the show is the casting. All of the actors, especially Daisy’s, did not change at all from the ‘70s to the present. What is so bad about hiring old people to act? The interview is supposed to be seen as recent and “new”, so in the TV show the interview took place sometime in the last few years. All of the characters had to be born in the ‘50s, because the book mentions how all the bandmates were in their 20s when they were performing together, and this also lines up with the timeline of the show. This means that all of the characters had to be either in their late 60s or early 70s when they were being interviewed by Julia… and they’re being played by actors half that age! That angers me even more than the show feeling contemporary. Also, why does Billy’s actor look older in the ‘70s than he did in the present? It threw me off so much because he is only supposed to be a few years older than everyone, but he looks 15 years older than the rest of his bandmates in the ‘70s and way younger than most of them in the present interview clips. 

Billy and Daisy’s actors also had little to no chemistry. When they were performing together on stage, it was super awkward and it felt like they were about to start making out with the microphone. It bothered me how close their faces were to each other and I had to skip so many of the scenes while they were performing. I did not like, either, how Billy fully relapsed. In the book, Billy takes one sip of alcohol and doesn’t finish the drink. His monologue, where he describes how much self-restraint he had to stop at that one sip of beer, is so well-written and makes readers admire and respect Billy. All of that respect is gone when he kisses Daisy multiple times, which he did not do in the novel, and sings “Aurora”, a song that he wrote FOR Camila, to Daisy. Hearing the lyrics “I promise I won’t disappear again” as he is cheating on Camila with Daisy and relapsing is so heart-wrenching. I will say, though, that his relationship with Camila seemed more happy at the end of the TV show than it did in the novel, because he had to truly reflect on his actions and win Camila back. I just wish that reflection could have happened without him fully relapsing and cheating on Camila multiple times. 

My biggest critique, out of all of the critiques I have for this show, is the lack of interview clips used. The show relies solely on flashbacks, which really waters down the story. The interview clips had a lot of humor that made the novel more lighthearted when topics became too dark, and I missed that dearly in the show. So much insight is in the interview clips, because all of the characters are looking at their actions in a retrospective way after learning and growing from those moments. The parts of the story relying on the present retrospection were what I read over and over, not the retellings of the past. The insight is what made me love all of these characters and really connect with them, despite their, at times, unreliable narration and numerous flaws. It made them complex, rather than shallow. One of the biggest examples of this was how Billy’s relationship with his estranged father led to his fear of becoming a father, and played a primary role in his drug addiction. 

I did not completely hate the show. There were aspects I really enjoyed. I liked the emphasis that the show put on Simone’s character and her relationship with Bernie. This highlighted the realities of queer people living in the twentieth century. Camila’s character was beautifully written in both the show and novel, and she is also casted perfectly (I am Camila Dunne’s number one fan). Eddie having romantic feelings for Camila added to the tension between Billy and Eddie, and having Eddie play bass instead of guitar adds to his feelings of being forgotten or excluded by Billy. Graham and Karen’s relationship felt more two-sided in the show. In the novel, Karen practically only shows Graham affection in retrospect. I enjoyed watching her show Graham affection during the past and present in the show. Graham and Karen had way more chemistry than Billy and Daisy. 

The show was, overall, mediocre. I would rate it three out of five stars, and would not re-watch it. If you have watched the show and felt like something was missing, you’ll find that missing piece in the novel. I would recommend the novel to everyone, regardless of if you loved or hated the show.