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Review: New HBO series ‘Vinyl’ is raw and legendary

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Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, Rich Cohen and Terence Winter wrote a show for HBO about the music business in the ‘70s. No, this isn’t a joke.

“Vinyl,” which premiered on Feb. 14, mixes the drama of “Mad Men” with the cinematography styling of an Academy Award-winning film.

There’s a reason the show got renewed after its first episode aired. “Vinyl” pulls its weight in the two-hour season premiere on the same caliber that “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” have.

Currently on its third episode, “Vinyl” doesn’t use Woodstock as a precursor to hint about the rock ‘n’ roll movement. It articulates the industry and the time period as it once was: raw and legendary.

Protagonist Richie Finestra, played by Bobby Cannavale, is the founder and president of the record label American Century. A company that once dominated the charts has become entrenched in the turning market and is having trouble adapting.

In the premiere, within moments of selling his company to a German company to salvage its value, Finestra changes his mind after going to a concert the night before.

This plot twist pivots the story of rock ‘n’ roll and shows viewers Finestra’s passion for music isn’t all embedded in the business aspect of it.

Finestra’s entrepreneurial spirit for music is the essence of the show.

Despite showcasing the ‘70s bluntly, “Vinyl” isn’t a series about social change. “Vinyl” highlights the diversity of the ‘70s. As seen in the show, the ‘70s can be described with Andy Warhol, Alice Cooper, the civil rights movement, punk, the war on drugs, sexual exploration and specifically the tension between the industry as business and the artists as exploits.

In addition to the turbulence of the music industry, Devon Finestra, played by Olivia Wilde, gives a powerful performance of being a wife to a record executive with a family.

Ray Romano and Juno Temple fill out the cast of supporting actors, along with Mick Jagger’s son, James Jagger.

“Vinyl” is different because it gives you the “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” feeling about connecting with others on music, and it’s refreshing.

“Vinyl” airs on Sunday on HBO at 9 p.m. New episodes are available to stream on HBO GO the following day.

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