Vinyl Trailer: HBO rocks us back to the explosive 1970s music scene in NYC

I'm used to seeing Bobby Cannavale as the other guy, the guy that the main characters on a series I'm watching has to confront or evade or out think. On Boardwalk Empire, Cannavale was essentially the Big Bad for a season, playing Gyp Rosetti, an over-the-top psychopath and off-the-reservation psychopath antagonist to Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson. And on Nurse Jackie, Cannavale played Dr. Mike Cruz, the hardass but fair doctor that Edie Falco's Jackie Peyton had to deal with.


When I learned that Bobby Cannavale was to play the lead in HBO's Vinyl (the two hour series premiere debuts Sunday, February 14th, 2016 at 9:00/8:00c on HBO), I wasn't sure what to think. It may have been because on Boardwalk Empire and Nurse Jackie he stepped onto the stage during a particularly flat and unexciting period for the two series, frankly. But after watching the trailer and other previews for Vinyl, I'm starting to get convinced that Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Terence Winter chose just right with a calibration of manic energy, gravitas, and acting chops that fits the edgy and explosive musical era that Vinyl will explore.

But let's stop right there for a minute. Scorsese. Jagger. Winter. Those are some monster names right there, and when you combine them with what is a major new HBO series that delves into the exuberance and energy and excess of the early '70s music scene in New York City, the expectations for quality and execution are going to be ultra-high from the jump.

Will Vinyl meet those expectations? Who knows, but the trailer would seem to meet all of the check marks in terms of exuberance/energy/excess.

"Think back to the first time you heard a song that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up," we hear Cannavale's lead character Richie Finestra tell us. "Made you want to dance or go out and kick somebody's ass! That's what I'm talking about." Then Iggy Pop's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" fires up, and any savvy TV or Scorsese or Winter fan knows exactly what we're going to be in for here.

Richie Finestra is a drugged out and generally manic head of a music studio who is looking for the "next thing" just at a time and place where there are many "next things" around to be discovered, though some musical forms such as hip hop and punk rock wouldn't hit the main stream for some things to come. For any music fan, this is rich territory indeed as you have the popular music of the late 1960s and early 1970s colliding with brash new stylings that would be championed by many cult and popular figures in New York and, soon enough, around the world. Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous and Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas touch on some of these things, and it will be fascinating to see what Scorsese, Jagger, and Winter can do with Vinyl.

"If I believe in this company's future: new, fresh, fast, exciting. That's what I want," Richie says, summing up his vision and view on things. And then, if there's anything that sums up the aesthetic of Vinyl, it's this: "That's rock 'n roll. It's fast and it's dirty and it smashes you over the head."

Here's my personal bias: any opportunity for Scorsese to revisit or take a new spin on territory (read = 1970s crime drama) that he absolutely dominated with masterpieces like Goodfellas and Mean Streets is wildly welcome as far as I'm concerned.

This is all to say: I'm going to be watching for sure and am excited as hell for what's potentially on offer here.

By Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader"

About the author

Eric is the publisher and revered leader of TV Geek Army… at least in his own mind. TV Geek Army is a place for serious TV reviews and news for serious fans of great television. Contact: eric-[at] 

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