Edgy comedy drama Youngers, now available on SBS On Demand,follows two teenagers, Yemi (Ade Oyefeso) and Jay (Calvin Demba) as they attempt to make it in the UK urban music scene. It’s the latest in a long line of TV shows set in the world of music. Here’s our pick of the best of the rest.
It may not have been as rapturously acclaimed as expected but Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s HBO drama nonetheless vibrantly captures the headiness of rock n’ roll in the 1970’s. Its coke snorting charismatic leading man Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) describes rock n’ roll as “fast, it’s dirty, it smashes you over the head.” The same might be said of the show.
Empire (2015 to date)
Shamelessly soapy, this drama has tapped an under represented vein on TV, the world of hip-hop. Following the power plays and turbulence of a music dynasty - Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and their son. Co-creator Lee Daniels has a major hit on his hands.
For some this comedy about a glee club was a joyous piece of pop cultural fluff, for others like fingernails on a chalkboard. But whatever your stance, you can’t deny its infectious energy, chart topping covers and cultural influence.
“Fame. I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly – high!” So rang the iconic theme song for one of the defining music-centric shows of all time, that followed the ambitious music, singing, dance and acting students at the New York Art School. The series sprung from the Oscar winning 1980 movie.
Nashville (2012 to date)
Country music proves to be surprisingly cutthroat in this soap set in the genre capital. Even if you’re not a country music fan, there’s some resonant, impressively voiced songs from the cast to enjoy. The show was axed by the ABC Network recently but fans don’t despair - it will rise again for a fifth season on the Country Music Channel.
Mozart in the Jungle (2014 to date)
A comedy set behind the scenes of the fictional New York Symphony might seem like a tough pitch but the rewards are bountiful in this Amazon Studios production. Charming, sexy and edgy with exquisite classical music performances, it follows the arrival of charismatic maestro Rodrigo (Gael García Bernal), mentor to spirited young oboist Hailey (Lola Kirke).
The most critically acclaimed of the bunch, this HBO drama co-created by The Wire’s David Simon is set in a New Orleans community of musicians just months after the devastation of Cyclone Katrina. The show was praised for its depth of character and plotting and it’s rich soundtrack which included Louisiana-based performers.
Series 1 and 2 of Youngers are available on SBS On Demand. Watch the first episode right here: