Once in a while, a show will come on a network that sets itself apart from others, a more gritty, realistic show that challenges the form. FX is usually the purveyor of such shows, giving a dark feeling to public television. This time they’re breaking into popular music television with “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”, an unconventional show about a broken up rock band who is brought back together for a surprising reason.
The Heathens was the most popular band of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s until they broke up in the late 90’s after their first album. Now, all the members are doing different projects…except the lead singer, Johnny Rock, who is a washed up singer with no prospects except cover bands. That is, until he approaches a girl in a bar, making a move on her before getting kneed in the groin. It turns out the girl is his daughter, and she has one request. Not to form a long lost relationship or get an apology, but have him and his famous songwriting partner and guitarist Flash. She agrees to pay them a great sum of money to write her songs to help her get famous.
Unlike current music television, however, the focus isn’t only on the music, Actually, the music plays a very small role in the show. The show focuses on Johnny, his old band, and his newfound relationship with his grown daughter, Gigi. There are some songs played in the first few episodes, but the dramedy gears more toward character-driven plots. Johnny has to deal with his drug addictions, old feuds with his old members, and building a relationship with Gigi, who he hasn’t known about in all her 25 years.
The show has a star studded cast, headed by Dennis Leary as Johnny Rock, Elaine Hendrix as Ava, Johnny’s wife and former backup singer, John Corbett as Flash,”The Heathens” former guitarist and Johnny’s songwriting partner, and “Victorious” alum Elizabeth Gillies as Gigi, Johnny’s uber talented daughter. Other cast members include Robert Kelly and John Ales as Bam Bam and Rehab, the drummer and bassist for The Heathens. It also features special guest stars like Joan Jett.
There are only four episodes of the show out right now, but it is garnering great reviews from websites like Variety and The Wrap. Dennis Leary bring a very rock-god complex to Johnny, keeping his character the same while allowing him to grow a little bit with each episode while still maintaining his flaws. Elizabeth Gillies brings Leary’s spitfire attitude with a modern, feminine twist as Gigi, giving the character a lovable attitude that lets Gigi prove that Johnny bit off more than he can chew. With just enough hooks and plot spins to keep the audience on its toes, “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” promises to blossom into a killer smash. “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” airs on FX every Thursday at 10/9c. Episodes are available for streaming on the FX website.

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