Did you hear that record scratch? That’s the sound of HBO scrapping plans for Vinyl season 2.
You may recall that back in February HBO renewed the ’70s rock series after its two-hour premiere, much to the chagrin of disappointed viewers who thought this was going to be the next big HBO phenomenon. While most pilot episodes are pretty rough and can be forgiven, Vinyl never got much better beyond that introduction, especially since that first episode delivers hands-down the most hilarious scene of the year.
Vinyl‘s scatterbrained plot could be what did it in. You could tell that it wanted to be Mad Men with its suave, charismatic lead (Bobby Cannavale), female secondary desperate for power (Juno Temple), and hot wife given nothing to do (Olivia Wilde). But whereas Mad Men weaved in mystery with advertising, Vinyl threw everything against the wall to see what would stick.
You want murder? There’s that (see: most hilarious scene of the year). Cool cameos from rock legends that look NOTHING like the real-life icons? There’s that, too (see: Led Zeppelin). Stream-of-consciousness scenes that are supposed to tell us what Richie Finestra (Cannavale) is thinking? Well, I don’t know if anyone asked for that, but Vinyl has it. Don’t adjust your DVRs. There really is a woman playing the tambourine in that pilot episode (believe me, I watched it four times), and no, she’s not connected to the plot. She’s supposed to be the audience’s emotional touchstone to Richie, but she ends up just serving as a nice little interlude between coke binges.
With Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger on as producers, this show had so much going for it by name alone. And then with Terence Winter, the executive producer behind Boardwalk Empire and *gulp* The friggin’ Sopranos, HBO probably thought they had a hit on their hands. But alas, Vinyl was meant to be a one-hit wonder.
So, goodbye, Vinyl. May you enjoy living in HBO’s attic in a box next to John from Cincinnati and How to Make it in America.