Martin Scorsese’s projects since The Departed have seemingly reflected a director who wants to find interesting projects as opposed to blatantly chasing Oscar gold. That’s what finally winning an Oscar will do for your career, it seems, as Scorsese stopped chasing awards and went for projects that pushed his creative powers.
Vinyl is his second project for television, following the critically acclaimed Boardwalk Empire, and so far Scorsese is two for two with his post Departed television projects. Vinyl may not be HBO’s best series right now, and maybe not in the team picture either, but it’s still a perfectly acceptable use of time.
Vinyl focuses on the late 70s/early 80s music scene through the eyes of Richie (Bobby Cannavale), a music record label owner looking to keep the lights on another day. We follow him and the people around him in the world of music during a period of great change for the industry.
It’s the sort of show that should be HBO, allowing us to go fully into the underbelly of music, warts and all, as Scorsese (who directed the first episode) and crew have designed a show along the lines of Treme in that its a good show but not a great one. It finds a way to never be dull … but never great, either.
This is a show that feels like it should have that next level shift into something brilliant but never pulls it; it’s always comfortable in that “good to bordering great” category, and Cannavale is game in a big meaty role, but this isn’t his Don Draper role. It’s one that’ll get him accolades but never awards because while he’s quite good the series never has that extra gear to make his performance feel as special as Jon Hamm’s was in Mad Men
A making of piece and audio commentaries are the main extras alongside a brief EPK piece.
HBO Home Video presents Vinyl (Season 1). Created by Terence Winter. Starring: Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, Max Casella. Running length: 660 minutes. Released: 6.7.2016
Tags: Bobby Cannavale, Vinyl