In a spectacle that brought the glamorous Croisette to a standstill, The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp took centre stage, showcasing the raw reality of stardom in their riveting new series, The Idol. This star-studded production has already generated significant buzz, fueled by tales of behind-the-scenes drama that pushed the boundaries of creativity to its limits. Whispers of the show spiralling out of control only added to its reputation, but HBO and Lily-Rose Depp herself have fervently refuted these claims, ensuring an uncompromising viewing experience.
Helmed by director Sam Levinson, the controversial series deviates from the teenage realm of Euphoria while preserving its signature blend of gritty realism and breathtaking visuals. Delving deeper into the provocative themes that define Levinson’s oeuvre, which includes the steamy 2022 erotic thriller Deep Water, co-written with Zach Helm and starring Ben Affleck, this series takes audiences on a seductive journey.
The narrative revolves around Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), a pop star on a mission to reclaim her title as America’s sexiest musical sensation, following a tumultuous and widely-publicised breakdown. Enter Tedros (Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd), a nightclub impresario harbouring a chequered past. Their intense and all-consuming affair ignites Jocelyn’s dormant passion and artistic prowess, but the burning question lingers: will it propel her to new heights or plunge her back into the depths of her own personal demons? Prepare to witness the tumultuous, erotic, and psychologically charged relationship between these two complex individuals as they teeter on the edge of their own sanity.
Setting the perfect atmosphere, Britney Spears’ iconic anthem ‘Gimme More’ plays in the background of the teaser, casting an ominous tone as we witness Jocelyn’s descent, reminiscent of the pop star’s infamous 2007 breakdown.
While Depp’s performance has been hailed as “riveting,” some critics have expressed unease with the explicit scenes and graphic content that permeate the series. In response, director Sam Levinson defended the provocative nature of the show, acknowledging its intent to push boundaries while admitting that it may have ventured into uncomfortable territory.
Following its hair-raising Cannes 2023 premiere, which elicited a 5-minute-long standing ovation from the festival-goers, this highly-anticipated series will make its streaming debut on HBO Max starting June 4.
So, as you wait for the arrival of The Idol, watch these six musical TV shows that delve into fame, addiction, industry challenges, complex relationships, and personal struggles.
Fosse/Verdon is a biographical drama that examines the intricate relationship between director-choreographer Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Broadway dancer Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams). It portrays their creative collaborations, personal challenges, and showcases the behind-the-scenes of their legendary productions. The series chronicles the complexities of Fosse’s life and career, from his early Broadway success in the 1950s up until his death at age 60 in 1987. But it also puts Gwen Verdon, his third wife and indispensable creative collaborator, closer to the centre of the narrative. Fosse and Verdon’s turbulent relationship, marked by Fosse’s infidelity and drug addiction, and Verdon’s love for the spotlight, is compelling as they defy odds and continue collaborating even after their romantic involvement ends.
Watch it on Hulu.
Girls5eva is a raucous comedy executive-produced by Tina Fey. The show revolves around a washed-up girl group that gets a chance at a comeback when a rapper samples their ’90s hit. The fictional band boasts a murderers’ row of talented musicians and comedians—singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, sitcom veteran Busy Phillips, Hamilton Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, and former SNL writer Paula Pell. You’ll want to tune in to see who plays an imaginary version of Dolly Parton.
Watch it on Netflix.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies (2023)
The series takes place in 1954, four years before the events of the 1978 film, Grease, and follows four fed-up and misfit students who band together to bring out the moral panic that will change Rydell High forever and become the founding mothers of the first female high school clique, known as the ‘Pink Ladies’. Led by Marisa Davila, Cheyenne Isabel Wells, Ari Notartomaso, and Tricia Fukuhara, the show delves into the creation of an all-girl band, touching on friendship, high school romances, social hierarchies, and damaged reputations. It addresses racism, discrimination, cultural clashes, and other pressing social issues. Additionally, the show features Justin Tranter’s catchy original songs, capturing the essence of the original movie and its era.
Watch it on Paramount+
Daisy Jones & The Six (2023)
Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones & the Six follows the story of an iconic 1970s band fronted by two feuding yet charismatic lead singers, Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. The drug-fuelled disco drama follows a young singer-songwriter named Daisy (Riley Keough) on her journey from a shy girl to a musical icon. Told in flashbacks through a fictional behind-the-scenes interview, the members of the band recount their turbulent rise to stardom as they deal with the immense pressures and conflicts that come with success in the music industry.
Watch it on Prime Video.
The series chronicles the lives of various fictitious country music singers in Nashville, Tennessee, starring Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, a legendary country music superstar, whose stardom begins fading, and Hayden Panettiere as rising young star Juliette Barnes. As they navigate their careers, their paths cross, leading to intense rivalries, collaborations, and complicated relationships. The series explores the personal and professional challenges faced by these musicians, including romantic entanglements, family dynamics, and the constant pressure to maintain their popularity. Against the backdrop of Nashville’s vibrant music scene, the characters must confront their ambitions, sacrifices, and the price of fame while striving to leave a lasting legacy in the world of country music.
Watch it on Hulu.
Smash is a television series that follows the development and production of a fictional Broadway musical called Bombshell, which is inspired by the life of Marilyn Monroe. The show delves into the behind-the-scenes drama, conflicts, and ambitions of the cast and crew involved in bringing the musical to life on stage.
At the centre of the story are two aspiring actresses, Karen Cartwright (played by Katharine McPhee) and Ivy Lynn (played by Megan Hilty), who compete for the lead role of Marilyn in the musical. While Smash explores the theatre industry as a whole, it also delves into the hidden challenges and pressures faced by artists in general, such as financial difficulties, scandals, romantic affairs and addictions.
The series offers a glimpse into the personal lives of the characters, examining their relationships, romantic entanglements, and the sacrifices they make in their relentless pursuit of their dreams. In addition to the compelling storyline, the series incorporates original music, showcasing musical numbers and performances by the characters themselves. The songs cover a wide range of genres, reflecting the diverse styles found in Broadway musicals.
Watch it on Apple TV+