Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling 2019 novel, Daisy Jones & The Six, presents an imagined oral history of a fictional 1970s band, based in Los Angeles, that released hit singles and one legendary album before acrimoniously parting ways. The bandmembers include Daisy Jones, a fiercely independent singer/songwriter who joins The Six late and turns them into hitmakers; Billy Dunne, the arrogant founding frontman and primary tunesmith; Graham Dunne, Billy’s sentimental guitarist brother; Karen Sirko, an unsentimental keyboardist; and three other musicians of varying levels of prickliness.

The novel is framed as a series of interviews with the band members; their loved ones, including Billy’s long-suffering wife, Camila; and various managers and others in their orbit decades after the fact. They paint a picture of a group grappling with such issues as creative control, sexual fidelity, addiction, and romantic longing; specifically, the book lingers on the intense creative relationship between Daisy and Billy, which is always on the verge of becoming a full-fledged love affair.

It's a familiar story, to be sure—one that immediately calls to mind the fraught history of the real-life band Fleetwood Mac. Indeed, now that band’s classic “Gold Dust Woman” unadvisedly appears on the soundtrack, inviting comparison with all the Daisy Jones & The Six songs that aren’t up to its level. Neither the book nor its new Prime Video miniseries adaptation, premiering March 3, transform their sincere flattery into something more worthwhile.

The story leans on music-biography tropes that have been creaking along since at least the advent of VH1 Behind the Music: Scrappy kids from troubled homes in the sticks play proms and weddings until a music-industry luminary spots their all-too-obvious talent; fame comes quickly, and the band can’t handle it. They channel their angst into drug and alcohol abuse, petty arguments, and occasionally, their music—eventually producing an ostensibly amazing album. Then they bust up, because it’s allegedly better to burn out than to fade away.

All of this might have worked out if Daisy Jones & The Six songs were high-quality, but—despite what all the characters seem to think in this fictional world—they’re just passable pastiches of West Coast pop-rock of the era. “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb)” is an okay swipe of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” for instance, but the regrettable “Regret Me,” Daisy’s kiss-off song to Billy, doesn’t get better with repetition. In addition, most of the main characters aren’t very pleasant to be around. Billy (Enola Holmes’ Sam Claflin, a Jackson Browne lookalike here) is a smug jerk who struggles over remaining faithful to his loving wife; Daisy (The Lodge’s Riley Keough) initially comes off as a serious-minded artist (“I’m not interested in being anybody’s muse….I’m not the muse, okay? I’m the somebody”), but later, rather depressingly, becomes swept up in her misguided love for Billy.

Suki Waterhouse, as keyboardist Karen, is a more relatable character. She shows up at the studio, and at shows, to work—she’s not interested in her colleagues’ relationship drama, including the annoying expectations of her bandmate/lover Graham. However, Karen gets far too little to do—either on the page or the screen.

That also goes for disco singer Simone Jackson, Daisy’s longtime friend: One of the most compelling storylines in the miniseries involves her, and it doesn’t appear in the book at all. Simone (played by the excellent Nabiyah Be) falls in love with a female DJ named Bernie (Ayesha Harris), whose remix of Simone’s song catapults the singer to club stardom. Along the way, Simone struggles with anxiety about going public about her sexuality. Both actors deliver compelling performances during their relatively brief screentime; in addition, their story allows the show’s creators—The Disaster Artist’s Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber—to portray the disco music scene, which is vastly underrepresented in historical dramas.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a story about ‘70s New York music, despite the welcome inclusion of Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” and Television’s “See No Evil” on the soundtrack. It’s the tale of a white-bread SoCal scene in which musicians mock Olivia Newton-John (in the book) and Barry Manilow (on the show) while producing songs with such deathless lyrics as “She’s blues dressed up like rock ’n’ roll / Untouchable, she’ll never fold” (in the book) and “I don’t know who I am / baby, baby, baby / Do you know who you are?” (on the show). Viewers and readers would do better to just put on Rumours again and go their own way.

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.