Vinyl: Season 1 Recap of the Full Season of Vinyl Season 1
April 19, 2016 11:42 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The launch of Alibi Records and their lead act; friction between Zak and Richie; and the ever-present threat of Scorsese stuff.
posted by sylvanshine (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was almost indifferent at the beginning, but the show grew on me, with episodes 7 and 8 being my favorites I think. Zak and Richie's personality dynamics grew, especially during their interesting trip to Vegas. I enjoyed the time they spend on new acts, including the boy wonder Xavier. The overall use of music is great. I would like the show to be smaller and more personal, for example by excising the crime elements. The heart of the show is stuff like Lester schooling his band (ep 8), the mailroom dude grinding his way to a friendship with the other mailroom dude and consequently 'discovering' a new scene, and the music montages.
posted by sylvanshine at 11:56 AM on April 19, 2016

I enjoyed the season although I absolutely agree with cutting back on the whole crime thing (although the loan from the bad guys would be hard to hand-wave away). The music should definitely be the focus, particularly the A & R side of things and the rise of different musical genres within the same time period. I'll watch the next season.
posted by h00py at 7:59 PM on April 19, 2016

This was hard to post about every week, but overall I'm glad I watched.

I don't think Richie's bad times were convincing or useful when he's at a Bad Don Draper level without the benefit of seasons of development. Zak was backgrounded a little bit through all of that and I really really like the Zak thing.

I bet the crime stays, because a) Marty; b) that stuff was really going on that much. That's why they keep mentioning Tommy James, he was on Roulette Records, the very archetype for this aspect of the music biz.

I think Jamie's arc could have been written better, from disowned to basically homeless and it's like "huh, more shit for Jamie." She must have really been shirking in her offscreen life. I s'pose it's good they allowed her to persist through the politics of the three-way and not have her cast off even further.

I'll keep watching, but it feels like they were cramming like 12 episodes into the 10 we got.
posted by rhizome at 11:06 PM on April 19, 2016

Yup. There's a good show here somewhere, but it got in a lot of sidetracks.

Season 2, starting with what's carried from this season, should be mostly about the Nasty Bits fragile balance, tensions mounting because Clark and Jorge have discovered a huge untapped market the heads were willing to drop, Zak trying to keep up with Xavier's increasing demands (while, maybe, taking too long before releasing something when he does, he's already an act on a washed-out genre, although that happened around 76 or 77), Lester arm-wrestling with Richie about money and control and with young, dumb musicians, Julius being overwhelmed by disco and electronic musicians, Also something with Jamie, although she's going to stick around she needs a new story, not a rehash on the threesome thing.

Storywise the biggest problem is the show started a bit too early, guessing because those were the stories Jagger had to tell - 1973 is a good year and all, but setting it a few years later, and you could still have punk/garage and disco, as well as those things mentioned above - disco peaking with SNF (and then the backlash), the transformation of Glam, new wave musicians inspired by punk, disco, reggae and dub, hip-hop transitioning to recorded form, foreign electronic musicians (Eno, Jarre, YMO), etc.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:53 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Can anybody tell me what's the purpose of Skip Fontaine?
posted by rhizome at 10:25 AM on April 20, 2016

Sales. Or, huh, dumping stock in the Hudson.

Narratively, I guess he was underused. He had a big plot point early on about cooking the books with Donny Osmond (?) record sales, but since then he just kind of hangs around the madness.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:40 AM on April 20, 2016

Maybe initial reviews and ratings caused them to retool and focus on the drugs/mob/divorce angle, with some music stuff sprinkled about the perimeter. I wonder if that's why the Hannibal thing seemed like, "Hah, just kidding. Also you won't be seeing CeCe much anymore."
posted by rhizome at 12:18 PM on April 20, 2016

The showruner (Terence Winter) was let go/quit his duties, so there was certainly something off going on between what was imagined and the end result.

Hopefully they'll do an HCF and salvage the series by focusing on the strongest points.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:38 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ah thanks, I hadn't even noticed he was gone.
posted by rhizome at 12:43 PM on April 20, 2016

It was announced last week, and the finale had his hand, so that wasn't likely a factor. But for HBO and Winter (Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos) to go in separate directions, there were certainly some issues with the direction it was taking. I doubt anyone will be spilling the beans, so we'll only see what direction will prevail next year.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:19 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Gosh, you know, compare this season with the first season of Boardwalk, and...
posted by rhizome at 4:37 PM on April 20, 2016

The last couple of episodes suffered from the lack of wacky coke-snorting faces from Bobby Cannavale. (We call this show 'Coke Face' at home. Can't wait for the super-cut of all of those moments.)

With the whole mob thing, I like how Richie is the only one who seems to know what he has gotten himself into and how to manage it, whereas both Zak and Joe Corso act like all they know about mobsters is what they saw watching The Godfather.
posted by jimw at 2:40 PM on April 21, 2016

On the one hand, I find the whole music side of the show feels like a big, cheap, nostalgia hook for boomers and older gen-xers. I may be in the minority, but I think that pop-music-as-mood-setter was played out after Scorsese did Mean Streets. And snippets of simulated pop performers singing their hearts out just seem so cheap and unnecessary. I get this feeling like I'm watching an insufferable aging has-been doing his best at name dropping. Kip's sneering lethargy doesn't convince me much. The female characters seem meh to me so far.

On the other hand, the music business/gangster angle actually feel like a compelling enough story. Finestra's father, Zak, Lester are such a joy to watch. The presentation of historical music figures are better when they're not lip synching in imaginary music videos. The art director's (?) angry magic spell when he got sacked was amusing for its naive sincerity, even among the recipients.

In the end, it's entertaining enough, even if I get some good eye rolling action out of it.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:17 PM on April 23, 2016

I've enjoyed Vinyl tremendously. I think I found out about it through fanfare. So tx for that.
posted by joost de vries at 11:30 AM on April 25, 2016

posted by lmfsilva at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2016

Too many cooks.
posted by rhizome at 2:39 PM on June 22, 2016

It may have been more of a "what are we cooking, exactly?" case.

Unlike HCF, who also started a bit slow but tweaked the show heavily for the second season (as a result, Kerry Bishé or McKenzie Davis might get an Emmy nomination), I don't think the new show runners provided any path forward HBO was confident with. Didn't help this show might be at Mad Men level of production cost.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:28 PM on June 22, 2016

That story said the season cost $100MM with the first episode taking $30MM of that! Insane.
posted by rhizome at 5:30 PM on June 22, 2016

That would put the show at around $145/viewer (excluding foreign markets). Not a good deal for HBO
posted by lmfsilva at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2016

(By comparison, AMCs Mad Men on the first season was from early on a critical darling, and ran, at worst, at a $40/viewer cost).
posted by lmfsilva at 6:00 PM on June 22, 2016

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