Boardwalk Empire fans, too, will recognize some familiar holdovers (and hangovers) from the world of Nucky Thompson: the pilot's flashback structure is similar to that of Boardwalk's first episode, and the episodes share that show's deliberate pacing and frequent run-ins with real historical figures, this time with famous musical acts: Led Zeppelin, the New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, and others.
While Scorsese and Winter are indisputable pros, the show doesn't exactly feel radical or new. I felt some prestige TV ennui, too: yet another show that feels like a pastiche of many dramas that came before it.
Will it scratch your Mad Men itch?
The characters on Vinyl aren't as well drawn as the gang on Matthew Weiner's AMC period piece -- yet. But Mad Men did come to mind as I watched Vinyl, both with the internecine office politics at American Century, and in the suburban war of attrition taking place between Richie and his wife. (The spirit of Betty Draper looms large over his unhappy household.)