Thursday, March 2, 2023



 I don't enjoy writing reviews that are negative. At times, after screening something I didn't like in any way I tend to let it go without posting an opinion. I work in television (I never review anything I'm associated with) and I have had the privilege in life to bear witness to some remarkable projects. 

A few years back I read Daisy Jones & the Six on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. I had been handed the book for free at the time. The premise of the book was interesting - scanning the years of a former rock band via interviews. After the premise - interesting died. The premise was it. Writing fully fleshed out characters is not easy. It's an art and a craft and that is why we all go wild when Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin or David E. Kelley write. They are artists for the page and they have the rare talent of literally creating characters.

Daisy Jones & the Six follows the rise and fall of a fictional band from the 1970's. The original book was written as a series of fictional interviews with the members of the band long after their initial success.    

Taylor Jenkins Reid, the author of the book, Daisy Jones & the Six has made a lucrative life of writing cornball quasi-romantic tales. We now live in a world were 60% of all men between the ages of 18-35 are single. Single in this case means there is no woman in their life in a romantic sense. Well, men aren't the audience for a Jenkins Reid book, but women aren't rushing down the aisle to commit themselves in marriage either. Marriages are down more than 50% since 1976. That's a whole lot of people who either don't want to fall in love, are incapable of falling in love or failing in love. 

Daisy Jones & the Six has no heart, no humor and no charm. For those of us who have spent time either working with or interviewing a large assortment of musicians/singers/songwriters we know these men and women have heart, lots of humor and even more charm.     

Daisy Jones and the Six? A silly and dumb name for a band. The guys in any band that took itself seriously would never have gone along with that. One of the most foolish aspects of non-reality in the whole "process."

This ridiculously vacuous title has managed to develop fan clubs. Yes, I wrote fan clubs. Fan clubs for insipid, self-involved fictional characters. Daisy Jones and the Six is bad story-telling and therefore bad television. Considering the budget for the ten episode mini-series one would have expected something a little more finely tuned (no pun intended) than this downright boring look back at another era in human history. It's a period piece and yet one never feels like they have been transported back to the time. 

The characters in the book, led by Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne are extreme stereotypes, but then in Dunne's case a stereotype that sort of never existed. A story about a short-lived success story in pop music delivers the bell-bottom pants and those drapey, near-blinding bangs, but it doesn't get the reality of the lives of the people who led them. 

We are to believe that a group of talented musicians (that is how they are described) led by Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) are going to take the lead from a selfish, self-involved, self-absorbed, self-centered, intellectually diminished wannabe songwriter named Daisy Jones (Riley Keogh). The Daisy name came right out of the 1960's culture as opposed to the 1970's. For those that know U.S. history one would be familiar with the then famed Daisy ad in the 1964 Presidential election. Look it up. It's quite intriguing. Certainly more intriguing than this mash-up of silliness and boredom.   

The single biggest chuckle in the entire series (ten episodes based on a book with less than 400 pages) comes when the wannabe Daisy states "I'm not the muse. I'm the somebody."  You couldn't get more mundane.  Bette Davis might have been able to pull that off in 1938!  By the way, just as an aside, some gifted musical women have indeed served as muses from time to time, including the supposed inspiration of all of this - Stevie Nicks. Consequential muses in music history are somebodies. We would refer you to Pattie Boyd and Jane Asher.  

Riley Keogh, who happens to be the granddaughter of Elvis Presley has some vocal chops, but ironically enough she is not the woman who Jenkins Reid wrote. Keogh is attractive, but she is not the woman on the original page. Additionally, Keogh is too old for the part - as it was written, but then again so is Claflin. One would have to assume she got this job in large part due to her family legacy. She doesn't have the talent to pull this off. She doesn't have the charisma or the dynamism to grab you and take you on the ride you are supposed to be taken on. You need to be larger than everyone else, not just in your sphere, but in the population at large.  Riley Keogh is not that actor.   

Sam Claflin who is only interesting on-screen when he is playing a bad guy (he is beyond creepy in Every Breath You Take) manages to make Billy Dunne even less appealing on screen than he is in the book and that is saying a great deal.  Dunne is an insecure, yet arrogant jerk; and of course that is always a loathsome personality connection. Arrogant and insecure. You have to be a supremely gifted actor to pull off arrogant and insecure at the same time. Who in their rational way of thinking would find this character worthwhile?  Penn Badgley, Tom Burke and Aaron Taylor-Johnson would all have made a finer Billy Dunne. Dunne should be dynamic and charismatic - even though he is basically a jerk. I could only imagine if one of them had been cast as Billy Dunne. They might have brought a bonus to the series with their presence. There is no charm in this performance. You need charm if you are going to film Billy Dunne, because the character isn't charming, so you need the actor to make it up.  

The big killer is that Keogh and Claflin have zero chemistry together. You don't want them together. You're supposed to want the two leads together. Not that you want them to commit to an adulterous relationship (Dunne's character is married), but at some heart level you might want them together.  I wanted one of them to leave the planet. By the end of the story, Dunne's wife leaves the planet.    

The music is provided by Marcus Mumford and Jackson Browne, among several others. None of it is impressive and it certainly isn't memorable. The series is full of C level (at best) songs. That tells you the bad state of affairs in 21st century music. 

The scripts were written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Both have written feature-length projects together in the past. Other cast members include Will Harrison, Josh Whitehouse, Suki Waterhouse and Sebastian Chacon. 

I love music. I love nearly every genre of music and I have a particular fondness and deep affection for the classic rock era this film attempts to emulate, but this is not the dream project. For reasons that escape most filmmakers it has been intensely difficult to bring the 1970's to life. Unfortunately, this production doesn't do a credible job of transforming the era onto the screen. The concept and the weakness of the characters hinders it from the start.    

Streaming services are becoming creators of drivel. There is so much content out there and a small percentage of it is worth watching. Some of the best series currently on television are in some cases not via a streaming service. Speaking with a friend the other day was interesting. She said her production company received 200 television scripts just last year. Way too much content.   

Do yourself a favor and don't waste ten hours of your life watching Daisy Jones & the Six. Spend time with your family. Take a long walk. Get your bike out. Take a horse out on a trail. Have a long lunch with friends. Hang out with your dog. Go on a date. Enjoy life. The characters in this series certainly weren't enjoying life, but then again people so ill-informed and narcissistic never do. 

The biggest rock bands of the 1970's included Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Chicago, Journey (started in the late 1970's), Lynyrd Skynyrd and several other mighty bands. Daisy Jones & the Six in this mix? Not a smiley face, mood ring wearing, flared pant chance!

The one good thing about all of this is it would be virtually impossible to bring this medley of awful back for another season. 

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2023


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

More Classic and Modern TV Happy Birthdays - January 8th - 1/8

Welcome to more classic and modern TV birthdays!

Elvis Presley - 1935-1977 - One of the most famous people of the 20th Century was born on this day in Tupelo, Mississippi. He would go on to be one of the most successful recording artists of all-time, but he also made several iconic television appearances over the years in three different decades. His appearance in the 1950's on The Ed Sullivan Show (don't show those hips) became one of the most watched programs of the era. His 1968 comeback special still resonates as pure Elvis in his prime and of course, his concert from Hawaii from the 1970's. He died young, but his music lives on.

David Bowie- Another rock star born this date in 1947. Bowie would eventually make multiple television appearances, including a well-known appearance singing with Bing Crosby in a 1977 Christmas special. His appearance in a tribute to Freddie Mercury had Bowie reciting the Lord's Prayer in front of thousands of people -- making it one of the most viewed Bowie appearances from television. From Golden Years to Fame to Heroes - a significant recording career.  A superb and noteworthy artist. 

Larry Storch - Storch gained fame on the 1960's comedy series, F. Troop. He was born in 1923 and lived until 2022. A long life. During his long career he made multiple appearances in television, on the big screen and in theaters. 

Stuart Martin - Martin is a masculine, manly Scottish actor who has gained quite a following with his appearance in the PBS series, Miss Scarlet & The Duke. He's a terrific actor, both skilled in drama and comedy. Born this day in 1986. He normally plays action types, but he is quite good playing the brains along with the brawn. 

Yvette Mimieux - The stunning Mimieux is one of those actresses who should have had a bigger career. She was gorgeous and talented. Her appearances in some 1960's films, Where The Boys Are and The Light in the Piazza proved she could act. Born in 1942 and passed in 2022. After her film career she made several appearances on various television dramas over the years.  

Robby Krieger - Another rock star born on January 8. He was born in 1946. He was the guitarist for the famed American band, The Doors. Krieger was also the songwriter behind many of their biggest hit singles, including Love Her Madly and Light My Fire. The Doors made several television appearances in their relatively short four year career, including a famous one time only appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. They also appeared on American Bandstand

Ron Moody - British actor Ron Moody made many television appearances in his long career. His appearances were all on British dramas and comedies. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1968 film Oliver. Born in 1924. He passed away in 2015.

Bob Eubanks - Easily one of the most famous game show hosts of all-time, including a long run as the host of The Newlywed Game. Born in 1938.

Soupy Sales - Mr. Sales was born in  1926 and he passed away in 2009. He is remembered fondly by many older baby boomers who laughed at his antics on series television from the 1950's and 1960's.

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2023




Thursday, December 15, 2022



Yellowstone One-Fifty is one of the finest documentary series on television this year. Dare I say, it is one of the best of any season. As a lover of nature shows, this spectacular four part series is mesmerizing. Scene after scene. Shot after shot. You just sit there entranced by the sheer majesty of God's creation. Bison, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, Badgers, Birds, Rabbits, Turtles (yes, turtles), Deer, Big Horn Sheep! The long list of mammal and bird biodiversity is extensive and it is all here in one absolutely sensational series.

Much of the drama is delivered by the downright poetic Kevin Costner. Costner, of course is one of the last living actual movie stars. He is currently starring in television's most popular dramatic series (Yellowstone), but his credibility in the arena of loving the land and everything good on it goes way back. Like Robert Redford before him, Costner has a significant history of loving on the land. This time around he hosts and narrates this four part photo journal reflecting back on the 150 years since Yellowstone's founding as a National Park. Famously, Yellowstone became America's first National Park and it remains to this day the most formidable of all the Parks in the system. If you have had the luxury and gift of travelling extensively in life you would have trekked across many of them and Yellowstone manages to be even more fanciful than even Yosemite and that's making a statement. 

Costner takes us on a wild yet subdued journey along the path of history and wildlife for the 150th anniversary of the National Park.  He retraces the steps of the Hayden expedition. Initially, this expedition was sent forth to try to figure out how to capitalize and exploit the park's riches. Once the team arrived in Yellowstone and started their exploration they became lovers of the land, the fauna, the flora and the amazing geological displays along the way. Yes, Old Faithful goes off like clockwork. It did then, it does now and it did so at the creation of it all. 

The series delivers scene after scene of stunning beauty and life in the wild, but no shot is more breathtaking than the one of the young deer hiding from a hungry Grizzly Bear. We know predators have to eat, but the sustained and long close-up of the fawn's one eye as it hides from the bear is a near ache for the viewer. You want this baby to survive. You can almost feel the emotions of the baby deer. Then, in a win for the soul you see and hear the mom calling out for her calf. A mother and child reunion for the ages.  Better drama will not be seen in any fictional storytelling. 

The four part series delivers one of the best on-screen adventures you will witness in a lifetime. This series ranks up there with the great nature specials of the last twenty years. Yes, it is as amazing as Planet Earth, Planet Earth II, Blue Planet, Dynasties, and Life In Color

David Attenborough has hosted most of the best of the nature series in the last forty or so years, but he is 96 years old at this writing. Costner, who is 67 years old as of this writing will hopefully continue down the road of exploring our green and blue worlds. 

We are losing our biodiversity. We are losing our land. We are losing our wildlife. With each passing year, more mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians go extinct. The bottom line is we have too many people on planet earth. The earth now has eight billion people. Where will we get our food and water? Where will wildlife get its water? The current illegal immigration situation is troubling on many levels, but public welfare and open borders are not sustainable. We have allowed over five million to enter the nation illegally since January 2021. Can you imagine what the country's population will be like in ten years? Do the numbers. Bye bye to our national parks and forests. So long to our state parks and state forests. Farewell to public lands and forest preserves. Everyone will not be living in apartments in New York City and Los Angeles. We are projected to go from 333 million in 2022 to 400 million in the next thirty years.       

The episode titles are as follows: Magical Place, Rebirth Winter's Majesty, An Enduring Legacy 

I cannot recommend a documentary with a higher rating than this one. Five Stars are not enough.

Thank you to Kevin Costner for putting your heart, your power, your clout and your influence behind such a gigantic and admirable endeavor.

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2022 


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

More Classic and Modern TV Happy Birthdays --- December 14th - 12/14

Celebrating birthdays of some famous people who have appeared on our television screens over the years. Today, we focus on the birthdates for people born on December 14th.

Frances Bavier - An iconic figure from one of the greatest shows of all-time. Bavier played Andy's aunt and Opie's great-aunt on the The Andy Griffith Show. She was born in 1902 and passed away in 1989.  A wonderful actor who represented the very best of a loving family member. The Andy Griffith Show still works. It is one of the few series from another time that resonates with viewers. It's timeless and so is Aunt Bee. 

Natascha McElhone - British actress, Natascha McElhone was born this day in 1971. McElhone has worked consistently for the last 30 years. McElhone was recently in The Crown.

 Matthew McNulty - The British actor was born in 1982. He's got a killer smile and a downright perfectly featured face.  His meticulously superb performance in The Musketeers Season Three is epic. 

Vanessa Hudgens was born in 1988. Talk about time going by quickly. It seems like yesterday she was in Disney's High School Musical

Tori Kelly was born this day in 1992. Did she really annoy Simon Cowell? We may never know. What we do know is she is a terrific singer. Oh, and she has that sensational head of hair!


Morey Amsterdam - Morey Amsterdam was a comic actor who gained fame on the The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was born in 1908 and passed away in 1996. Trivia: He was a talented cellist! 

June Taylor - One of the most significant choreographers of the 20th century who had her own dance clan on television. Her dancers were featured on various shows, including the 1960's variety series starring Jackie Gleason.  She was born in 1917 and passed in 2004.

                    Taylor (second from left) directing from the control room.  

Don Hewitt - A legendary name in news. Hewitt gained fame as the long-standing executive producer of the longest running series on television, 60 Minutes. Hewitt was born in 1922 and passed away in 2009. 

Charlie Rich- "Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?" What a line! What romance! Rich was a massive country star who crossed over on to the pop charts with several songs in the 1970's. Cool as ice! Rich was born in 1932 and died in 1995. 

Lee Remick - Remick was a lovely woman and a highly underrated actress. She starred in multiple films and television roles throughout the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. She was born in 1935 and passed away in 1991.

Patty Duke - Patty Duke was a young Academy Award winner with her superb performance as Helen Keller in 1962's The Miracle Worker. She went on to star in her own series during the 1960's and then placed her talents in many telefilms until her death. 

Happy birthday to everyone born on the 14th of December!

Copyright The Flaming Nose 2022