Roadies gives an insider�s look at the reckless, romantic, funny and often poignant lives of a committed group of �roadies� who live for music and the de facto family they�ve formed along the way.
CAMERON Crowe has been off his game.
He may be the man who brought us Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire, Say Anything and the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but his recent work has been, at best, lacklustre. Ahem, Aloha.
So no one will blame you if you approached Crowe’s latest project, TV series Roadies, with some trepidation.
There were reasons to be hopeful. J.J. Abrams and Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life) were involved, and Crowe was revisiting the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of music touring, which he so beautifully captured in the semibiographical Almost Famous.
But all those hopes were dashed within 10 minutes of the pilot.
Unsure of where the tone for Roadies should sit, the episode lurches between crude comedy, mind-numbingly boring exposition scenes and impassioned but uninspiring speeches. In short, it’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
The show is centred on the crew for a fictional and mostly unseen rock band, a collection of music diehards who lives and breathes all things rock ‘n’ roll. But you only know that they do because there’s purple hair and a lot of black clothes involved. Beyond that, there’s no real sense of who these characters are and how they fit into this insular world.
The prodigiously charming Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino (who both deserve to helm a good show) serve as the mum and dad of the crew as the tour manager and the production manager, shepherding this ragtag group and the challenges of the road.
Into their close-knit but not-without-problems community comes an interloper, a finance guy sent by management whose iPod features Mumford and Sons (apparently, this is a bad thing). These are the only “stakes” set up for the series, an external threat (with a British accent, no less) that might get in the way of the authentic rock ‘n’ roll life.
Wilson and Gugino are likeable enough but haven’t been given enough material to really establish their characters, but there is the beginning of what could be some great chemistry. You’d have to tune back in to see if it develops.
Whether you’d choose to give it a chance at a second episode will be a tough decision. The lack of a compelling plot point or characters to invest in will put many off after that flat first episode.
Roadies had all the bones of a great, new series but despite its impressive cast and creator pedigree, it doesn’t come off. For those hoping for more Almost Famous magic, look elsewhere.
For a TV show about music, its rhythm is ironically off.
Roadies is available to stream on Stan from today, June 27. New episodes will debut each Monday on the streaming platform.
Continue the conversation on Twitter with @wenleima.