There's something almost parabolic about Daisy Jones & The Six. Taylor Jenkins Reid's 2019 novel follows the eponymous 1970s band – loosely inspired by Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac – from their roots in Pittsburgh through to their rise to rock and roll fame. While the novel may be a work of fiction, it nevertheless captures the essence of the world in which it is set: reading Daisy Jones, it's hard not to imagine that the characters were once a real fixture of LA's rock and roll scene, in all of its manic, drug-fuelled, bohemian glory. Within this world, Reid carefully unfurls the unexpected love story of two flawed people: singer Daisy Jones and frontman Billy Dunne, whose addictions and passions are as dangerous as they are thrilling.
It's no wonder the novel quickly became a fan-favourite, selling over a million copies and topping the New York Times bestseller list. Now, the novel is coming to the small screen with Prime Video's 10-part adaptation. While fans may feel a little protective of the beloved book, the adaptation is a faithful extension of Reid's world and characters – and early viewings suggest fans will love it. Here are five things to relish about the book-to-screen adaptation:
The structure has been lifted straight off the page
Daisy Jones & The Six is, in a way, a novel that was destined for a television adaption. A novel as oral history, written in a litany of verboten interviews with the band and those close to them, Jenkins Reid’s text reads like the transcript of a documentary.
The adaptation is wise not to stray from Reid's format. The series is structured much like a real music documentary: as the show begins, we see the characters all sitting down to speak, talking-heads style, about the mysterious dissolution of the band. On one level, this structure allows the show to keep many of Reid's remarkable lines, such as Simone's observation about Daisy: "Your eye went right to her. If the rest of the world was silver, Daisy was gold."
Not only does the structural adherence to the novel make for a faithful adaptation that's filled with recognisable phrases, it also means the show manages to capture something of the novel's playfulness with character perspective and narrator reliability.
As in the novel, the series is told through multiple perspectives – some are more reliable than others and often, characters directly contradict each other. We quickly realise that what we are watching is a version of the story as seen through the eyes of multiple people. And so, the characters and the events seem to come together in fragments and we are left with a kaleidoscopic version of the truth that feels just like the novel.
The 1970s bohemian world-building is perfect
Reid's Daisy Jones & The Six drops readers into the evocative world of 1970s rock and roll. The novel is largely free from lingering descriptions of the grimy Sunset Strip clubs or the band's "rickety" bohemian home in Topanga Canyon, which the Prime show relishes in. Nevertheless, Reid builds a vivid world using precise historical detail and touches of colour that seem to spring off the page.
The on-screen manages to bring this gritty, glamorous world to life in astounding detail. Taking inspiration from the novel's approach, the production design team - led by Jessica Kender - were devoted to historical accuracy. Everything from grotty clubs to the giant stadiums feels as disconcertingly documentarian as the story itself. Prepare to dive headfirst into a sea of pills, champagne and cigarette smoke set against a backdrop of wood-panelled jet planes and macrame-covered walls.
We finally get a real Aurora album
One thing that Reid's novel could never do was give us the actual music of Daisy Jones and The Six. The novel revolves around music, with the characters communicating through and growing alongside their songs. When Daisy changes the lyrics to "Honeycomb," for instance, Billy is reminded of the fragility of his relationship with Camila. When the band creates their own arrangements to Billy's song "Aurora," his reaction is visceral disgust. Music affects these characters and vice versa. As readers, it all leaves us desperate to actually hear the songs being described.
The music on the show does not disappoint. In fact, an 11-song album is being released with the show. Written by musicians including Phoebe Bridgers, Madison Cunningham, Marcus Mumford and Jackson Browne and performed by the cast, the Aurora album is actually really good. Although Reid's lyrics have almost all been rewritten, the songs capture their essence and the unique sound of the time period. As Reid said in a statement: "We finally have Aurora. A stunning, nostalgic, timeless album that captures the drama, pathos, and yearning of the band’s zenith and nadir all in one. A snapshot of time, intoxicating and dangerous. That delicious moment that you know can’t last… Daisy Jones and The Six are real. And they are better than my wildest dreams."
The show expands on the novel in the best possible ways
The art of adaptation from page to screen is deceptively complex. A good adaptation should, of course, aim for plot and character accuracy. But ideally, it should also capture something of the feeling and spirit of the novel, too – even if that means making changes and adjustments to the original.
Prime Video's Daisy Jones & The Six stays faithful to the overarching plot of the novel, while making careful, clever tweaks that serve the story and the characters. These adjustments only mean we get to see Reid's world expand.
One of the biggest adjustments in the show is the removal of Pete, the band's sixth member. You remember Pete – Eddie's brother who was always off with his girlfriend Jenny? The truth is, Pete's presence rarely impacted the group. In fact, his only real contribution was a rare comedy moment (many of which are given to Warren or Eddie in the show) and, of course, the logic of the band's name.
Without Pete, the show has more room to hone in on the other characters. Camila, for instance, is fleshed out beyond Billy's stoic, tough-as-nails wife. In the show, she becomes a photographer. She gets her own artistic vision, her own passion and her own career. She also takes Pete's place, becoming the shadowy sixth member of the Six, living with them in LA from the very beginning. As fans of the book will imagine, making Camila more involved in the band's early days adds a new layer of meaning and sorrow to her eventual emotional betrayal.
Other characters like Simone, Karen and Teddy are also fleshed out in exciting ways that fans will undoubtedly love to see.
The characters from the book come to life
A huge part of the novel's success was its characters. Reid's depictions of Daisy, Billy and the rest of the band leave the reader with the impression that they are real, vibrant people.
The impeccable casting on the show means that each character comes screaming into life. As Daisy, Riley Keough is vivid, vibrant and full of life, but, wounded and afraid beneath the bravado. Sam Claflin's Billy is the vulnerable, self-doubting rock star readers fell in love with. Together, their chemistry feels dangerous but also irresistible – their impossible love story is pitch-perfect. Suki Waterhouse is wonderfully fierce as Karen. Camila Morrone brings a gentle strength and a nuanced maturity to Camila. Sebastian Chacon is hilariously eccentric as Warren, the only band member who really takes to the rock and roll life. There isn't one weak link in the cast – it's remarkable to see Reid's characters all come to life in such full colour.
If Daisy Jones & The Six the novel felt eerily real, the show will only make Reid's breathtaking world feel more authentic than ever. Fans of the book: prepare to be blown away.
Daisy Jones & The Six launches exclusively on March 3rd on Prime Video.