‘Daisy Jones & the Six’: From the paperback to the small screen and beyond

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel was adapted into a new Amazon Prime drama that comes with a whole world of merchandise and music.


Aaliya Luthra

(Illustration by Aaliya Luthra)

Olivia Olson, Contributing Writer

Last month, the miniseries “Daisy Jones & the Six,” adapted from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling novel of the same title, graced the small screen via Amazon Prime. Premiering on March 3, with batches of subsequent episodes releasing every Thursday, the series made March a nostalgic time warp back to the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in Los Angeles of the 1970s. The set of 10 episodes details the explosive rise and fall of the show’s titular band.

With any page-to-screen adaptation, there is often a slew of readers — myself included — on the edge of their seats, ready to determine if their beloved book has been done justice. This is especially true in the case of “Daisy Jones,” which has amassed something of a cult following amongst Reid’s literary universe of historical fiction.

Regularly labeled as a tale inspired by the romance-induced drama that erupted between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of the legendary Fleetwood Mac, the “Daisy Jones” novel is an immersive reading experience itself. Through the storytelling method of interview transcripts, biographical exposition and even original lyrics to the band’s songs, the novel invites the reader to get to know “The Six” on their own terms. And the lack of certainty is what really sets it apart. Throughout the course of the novel, readers are provided with several differing perspectives from the members of the band, their friends, managers and more. It’s an investigative read, making it so entertaining and, at times, quite hilarious.

The limited series is brought to the screen by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, best known for their screenplay of “500 Days of Summer.” The show starts a promising, star-studded cast, including Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough, who leads the show as the titular Daisy Jones, and long-time favorite Sam Claflin, best known for “Me Before You,” portraying her musical counterpart, Billy Dunne. The show’s visuals are beautiful, no doubt. But, the choices Neustadter and Weber made for the adaptation replace the elusive allure of the novel and instead deliver a definitive plot line. The story follows the sketch of the novel’s chronological narrative. However, instead of an oral history, the series frames the story with a tell-all documentary format. The characters comment on their past experiences as a band 20 years later, yet the substance of the show is driven by the real-time drama acted out from one limited vantage point.

Amid all of the rock ‘n’ roll, the themes of “Daisy Jones” in both the novel and the show deal with addiction, dysfunctional dynamics and complicated relationships. The show exaggerates the fighting and twin flame connection between Daisy and Billy up to soap opera level theatrics. Diluting the highlights of the book, the show becomes an altogether different experience to consume. It’s projected as a romantic drama with crossover appeal for the masses. Due to this, the show started as a lukewarm watch for me. Yet, once I accepted the show as an experience altogether separate from the book, it enhanced my enjoyment of the fictional band.

While the reviews of the show’s quality have thus far been mixed, one thing is for certain: The world of Daisy Jones and the Six is brought to life, and bridges the gap between fiction and reality. The series has permeated social media feeds, merchandise stores and even Spotify listening activity with its original music written by big name songwriters such as Marcus Mumford and Phoebe Bridgers.

Shortly after the first episode dropped, the fictional band found itself on real-life playlists after Atlantic Records released “AURORA,” the record that rockets the band to legendary status in the story. The show’s Spotify page also contains even more tunes from it, such as songs by disco pioneer “Simone Jackson,” portrayed by Nabiyah Be, and “The Dunne Brothers,” a pre-Daisy Jones version of the band.

The show’s musical factor has been instrumental in bringing a fictional band to reality. The cast went through an intensive band camp, practicing and filming at the iconic recording studio Sound City Studios. Many of the actors were learning their respective instruments for the first time, which only added to the authenticity of a newly formed band. In particular, Riley Keough perfectly fits the mold of Daisy’s natural-born talent — the actress claims that she had never sang prior to her work on the show. Actress and model Suki Waterhouse, who plays Karen Siriko, is a rising star in the music industry herself. Her portrayal of the sensible yet effortlessly cool keyboardist has boosted her fanbase even more.

The limited series is an addictive, entertaining watch that has brought forth a pop culture explosion through its marketing, hype and high-profile cast. The world within the book is now all of ours to share, for better or for worse. 

Contact Olivia Olson at [email protected].