Bobby Carnivale has been killing it on the sidelines for too long now, so it was a relief to see that the big guy had been cast as the lead in one of HBO’s most hotly tipped TV series of 2016.
As soon as Vinyl had Mick Jagger and Scorcese simultaneously to it, all eyes were on the period piece when it launched earlier this year. After a somewhat sluggish start, the hour-long drama is starting to find it’s feet this April as it shimmys its way towards it’s 10th episode this week.
The series’ pilot episode is a long and twisted, overly stylised, fantastical trip of nightmare proportions and it’s painfully boring at times, but don’t be put off. You must persevere!
Carnivale absolutely nails his role as Richie Finestra record label executive of American Century Records, desperately trying to keep his label afloat in the face of a super competitive industry, rampant drug abuse, family commitments and a blimp-sized fucking ego that simply won’t allow him to settle for second best. Olivia Wilde is wonderful as Finestra’s wife, forced to endure his never ending identity crisis while nursing two children and mourning her career as a legitimate artist and muse of Andy Warhol. Ray Romano also shows significant (and surprising) dramatic acting chops as Zak Yankovich, the label’s head of promotions.
The best part about the show though, is admittedly it’s budget, as gross as that sounds. Damn, it looks good. The series is styled to the hilt as you might imagine from a big hitting HBO period-piece. It’s an intoxicating watch for anyone who used to get off on Mad Men’s set decoration as much as they did Don Draper’s downward spiral. It also boasts the guilty pleasure viewing we endured with early Entourage. Marveling at what the music industry resembled in the 70’s is a kickass passtime mostly because it certainly does not look anywhere near as decadent and culturally critical in 2016. And finally, like any great 70’s screenplay, the series has an undercurrent of crime running through it with Richie trying and mostly failing to navigate relationships with the mob to fund his ambitious musical adventures.
So if this crime/culture/cocaine combo sounds like it’ll satiate your tastes in telly, then jump on board Vinyl now.
Vinyl is now airing on Foxtel’s Showcase channel .