Unless you've spent the past few months actively avoiding news about what Bobby Cannavale's up to next -- and if so, what is wrong with you? -- you've likely seen or heard something about Vinyl. Well, the HBO drama premieres this Sunday night and it's going to be a huge freaking deal. To prepare you for the onslaught of buzz, here's everything you need to know about the drug-and-nostalgia-fueled musical epic.
Why should I care?
For one thing, it stars Bobby Cannavale. But the 10-episode drama is co-created by Martin Scorsese, who also directed the two-hour pilot. Boardwalk Empire's Terence Winter and some dude named Mick Jagger are also co-creators and executive producers on the project, and, in addition to Boardwalk alum Cannavale, the series stars Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano, Juno Temple, and Mick's son James Jagger.
What is it about?
Set primarily in 1973, Vinyl centers on Richie Finestra (that Cannavale guy), the founder of a struggling New York City record label just as the punk, disco, and hip-hop scenes are preparing to rise up and worry a whole new generation of parents about their kids' deplorable music choices. The show hooks us in with a mystery: why is the formerly recovering Richie suddenly railing eight balls in his green Mercedes while clutching the business card of a homicide detective?
In true Scorsese fashion, drugs, violence, and domestic issues -- particularly Richie's crumbling marriage to former Warhol Factory Girl Devon (Olivia Wilde) -- complicate business matters over the course of the series (or at least the five episodes provided to critics), while our hero attempts to re-invent his flagging label by searching out a game-changing new '70s sound.
So there's lots of cocaine in it?
Oh, yeah; I may have even gotten a contact high just from watching Vinyl. It doesn't help that the camera keeps pulling an OH-FUCK-superspeed-zoom onto Richie's ecstatic, bloodshot face every time he rails a line. Despite the show's assertion that addiction is crippling Richie's personal life and career, the camera simply loves the stuff; at one point, the shot cuts from a pile of blow to icing sugar gently being dusted over a pile of pancakes. Overall, it feels as much like a "coke rules!" story as it does a cautionary tale -- so, yeah, shades of The Wolf of Wall Street.