Making another television series or movie about the music industry, today, can be dangerous. I tried to like "Vinyl," on HBO, until it fumble and went it directionless so badly that executive producer Terence Winter "left" after seven episodes. After announcing “Vinyl” for a second season, HBO promptly cancelled the show.
The new show, "Roadies," is from a different point of view. Showtime unveiled "Roadies," last Sunday, with the tag line, "Without them, there is no show." True, drama focused on roadies can be interesting, but showing what roadies actually do would be good, too.
I found the “Roadies” by accident. As it stars one of my favourite actors, Carla Gugino, as production manager Shelli. So, I gave it a shot. It also stars Luke Wilson, as tour manager Bill. Shelli and Bill once had "complicated" relationship.
Bill and Shelli work for the Staton-House Band. Its lead singer has known Bill since childhood; shades of the Russel Hammond and Dick Roswell friendship in “Almost Famous. Shelli's husband is the tour manager for Taylor Swift; they are apart more than they are together.
If a show has anything to do with music or radio, I'm there to watch it. I figured with this title, the audience would get an interesting look at what happens backstage before and after a concert; load in, set up, load out.
Cameron Crowe writes and directs “Roadies.” He’s behind one of my favourite movies, “Almost Famous.” It’s the story a “mid-level band,” “Stillwater,” on tour, in 1973, “struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom,” says the Lester Bangs character, portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
“Almost Famous” features many roadies. There was Red Dog, number one roadie for the Allman Brothers as well as roadies from the “Who,” “Eagles” and “J Geils,” among others.
The most interesting story lines included a band-stalker having sex with a security guard; a corporate bean counter showing up to save money and one of the crew getting ready to leave for film school after the show that night.
I've read several reviews of the series so far; they were not complimentary. I believe a cable series, such as “Roadies,” which is on Showtime, needs more time to develop. A full season, on cable, isn't like the broadcast networks of twenty-two shows. Cable shows can be anywhere from six to twenty episodes, depending on the network and star count of the show.
One of my favourite cable shows of all time, "Boardwalk Empire," took off in episode one and never looked back. It used some time tricks to move the show along and then cheated us during the last season by making it so short; turning the series into the death-fever dream of lead character, Nucky Thompson.
I want "Roadies" to be the show I can't wait to see every week. I want to be able to talk with friends about the next day. Can it happen?
One of the most interesting characters is Kelly Ann, played by British actor Imogen Poots. She desperately seeks acceptance by the rest of the crew. She also wants a nickname, not just a shortened name, Kel. She is jealous of her twin brother, Wesley, played by Colson Baker. He is the espresso maker and "manny" of the ill-behaved son, of the lead singer.
Wesley is everything that Kelly wants to be, but can't. That infuriates her even further. For twins, they are not very close.
I can only hope that "Roadies" has a successful 10 episode run and does well enough for season two.
Maybe the show runners for "Roadies" can take a lesson from "Vinyl" and not let the show go off in a weird direction. A new show is like a child, it needs nurturing and guidance, as it grows up. If “Roadies” doesn’t make it, there’s always “Ray Donavan.”
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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