10 Rock & Roll series to broadcast – SLUG Magazine
Music documentaries fall in all the time, but musician-centric comedies and dramas are a rarer find than a 311 fan with a GED. Probably because it’s hard to make a convincing version of an already ridiculous job, and you can’t beat the respective television and film zeniths of the genre, Monkeys (1966-1968) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001). Rock movies have set endpoints and are limited to a few hours, making it easy to nail a grand finale. As in the final act of Almost known (2000), when the check from rock journalist William Miller Rolling stone rebounds and he is kicked out of his apartment. Related: I Don’t Miss Rock Journalism. Television, on the other hand, has struggled to support rock & roll stories over multiple episodes, let alone seasons. Here are 10 music-based TV shows that almost hit it off, only to be canceled after a year or two: burn fast, burn bright.
city of paradise (Season 1 on Video premium)
It’s either stupid or stupid to produce a follow-up series for a movie that no one has seen; city of paradise (a sequel from 2017 American Satan) is, at the same time. The story follows The Relentless, an LA rock band on hiatus forced to reunite for the fans and, more importantly, the money (which apparently all goes to Hot topic). Behind the DRAMA group is a goofy supernatural subplot about Heaven vs Hell, making city of paradise a rock & roll fable too sure and ambitious for its own good. Axl rose would be proud.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Seasons 1–2 on Hulu)
Singer Johnny Rock (Denis leary) is in his fifties whose band broke up when their first album was released in the early 90s. When the 21-year-old girl (Elizabeth gillies) he never knew how to come up suddenly with a reform proposal from this group, but with her as the lead singer and him as an offstage songwriter, shit gets weird and hilarious. S & D & R & R gives Leary and his comic book crew the free reign to gut modern music and pop culture to the “OK Boomer” edge – and the songs are excellent, too.
Tenacious D (Seasons 1 to 3 on HBO Max)
Before Tenacious D in fact became the biggest band in the world in the early 2000s, they played it in that gloriously stupid 1997-2000 series. JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass), armed only with acoustic guitars and epic delusions of grandeur, rule the open mic night at the local bar while they wait for their genius to be discovered. In between gigs, JB and KG indulge in misadventures with Sasquatch, annoyed neighbors, lost picks, rage plugging, and a turd-worshiping religious cult (known today as GOP).
Flight of the Conchords (Seasons 1–2 on HBO Max)
On the other end of the vanity spectrum, New Zealand musical duo Flight of the Conchords (Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement) struggle to make it to America, aided / hampered by inept manager Murray (Rhys Darby). The fast-paced, wacky dialogue, imaginative storylines, and the killer original song playlist are ultimately doomed to failure Flight of the Conchords, as McKenzie and Clement burned out after two perfect seasons because writing at such a virtuoso level is grueling (hey, talk to me).
Garfunkel and Oates (Season 1 on HBO Max and Video premium)
Garfunkel and Oates (Riki lindhome and Kate micucci) have been derisively dubbed “the Woman Flight of the Conchords”, but have you ever seen an all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens? They’re better than the real thing, so shut it up with that. Anyway: Garfunkel and Oates is not as inspired as Flight of the Conchords, but Lindhome and Micucci serve silly situations from a female perspective, like when a duo of pornographic parodics (“Garfinger & Butts”) surpass them in fame and John oates happens at random.
Vinyl (Season 1 on HBO Max)
HBO banked large at Vinyl in 2016, believing he had a rock & roll Game of thrones on his hands. Nope. Vinyl, partly a fact-based chronicle of the ’70s music scene, partly a rock fairy tale and cocaine swashbuckler, bombarded louder than the New York dolls (which are hilariously described here as a competent live band). Record label prez Richie (Bobby cannavale) is here to save rock & roll, his label and his own ass like Vinyl struggles like the love child of Almost known and The velvet gold mine– in other words, a mad and fast race.
Roadies (Season 1 on Hulu)
Debuting on Showtime a few months later Vinyl, Cameron Croweof Roadies was a more serious and relaxed love letter for rock, both for the company and for the people. Almost too much laid-back: The 10-episode first (and only) season loosely follows married tour directors Bill (Luke wilson) and Shelli (Carla Gugino) and the motley road crew of the fictional Staton-House group, never reaching any destination. Still, the performances are fantastic, including an incredibly low-key turn of Colson Baker (a.k.a Kelly machine gun).
The Chris Isaak Show (Seasons 1 to 3 on Youtube)
Never properly broadcast on DVD or streaming, The Chris Isaak Show was Showtime’s response to Calm your enthusiasm, with singer Isaak playing a fictionalized version of himself. The 2001–04 series proved Isaak to be a near match for Larry david, but with impassive beauty and whimsical outfits in place of red-faced rage and daddy’s sneakers. The Chris Isaak Show borrowed situational awkwardness from Pavement, but also seasoned with some David Lynch-ian oddity: Chris is talking to a naked mermaid that only he can see.
Major Lazer (Season 1 on Hulu)
Major Lazer is not only Diplo‘s EDM group – it’s also a vivid animated series about a Jamaican superhero with a laser gun arm fighting evil whiteys (namely, President Whitewall and General garbage). Major Lazer looks like a classic ’80s cartoon filtered through an atomic boom, and surreal storylines include’ Rave Rats’, ‘Suckoids’ and a Dr Nerd storyline (Andy Samberg) to steal all the low frequencies in the universe to create a massive bass drop. No recreational drugs are required to watch Major Lazer; it’s her own high.
Yacht Rock (Season 1 on Youtube)
In 2005, webseries Yacht Rock broke the internet with poorly filmed and misinterpreted tales of ’70s and’ 80s soft-rock stars adorning the world with “soft music” – and it’s still as funny as hell. The series of 12 episodes jabs icons like Kenny loggins, Toto, the Doobie brothers, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, the Eagles, and even Van halen in a flurry of terrible wigs, over-the-top acting, and an unlikely cargo of licensed music. A part of Yacht Rock is actually based, but it’s best to take it as seriously as a mustache finger tattoo (“member of those?)