Can a TV series adaptation of a film based on a book reignite the same sparks as its source material? With a lead as strong as Zoë Kravitz, the answer would seem to be yes.
Hulu’s High Fidelity series released on Friday (all 10 episodes) and it’s the perfect counter-programming for a month filled with candy hearts and mushy rom-coms. Developed for TV by Bull‘s Veronica West and Sarah Kucserka, with Questlove on as an executive music producer (the music’s obviously dope), the series tells the story of Rob (played by Kravitz), a record store owner and Brooklynite who’s trying to get over her past relationships through the lens of her favorite records. At the top of the premiere episode, Rob wastes no time, teasing us through tears: “My desert island all-time top 5 most memorable heartbreaks in chronological order are as follows….”
Throughout the course of the episode, Rob breaks down her love life à la John Cusack in the 2000 movie. No. 1 was Kevin Banister, a boy from her youth; the love was unrequited when he started dated another girl in school. No. 2 was a woman named Kat Monroe who was “real cool, like true cool,” but that ended after Kat cheated on her. No. 3: Simon Miller. The two bonded over Radio Stars’ “The Real Me” and their love of music. (“The things that you like are as important, no, more important than what you are like,” he regaled.) Simon turned out to be gay, but the two remain friends and he now works in her record shop.
No. 4 was Justin Kit, a stand-up comic and fan of Eminem, Linkin Park and Dave Mathews Band, which causes Rob to retort: “…so yeah, he was kind of an asshole.” He had a girlfriend, so while everything done in secret was exciting, it became less so when the two officially got together. “In retrospect, we were both kind of assholes,” admits Rob.
And coming in at No. 5, the guy Rob is currently spilling tears over: Russell “Mac” McCormack. “Congratulations, you’ve made it to the Top 5, Mac. No. 5, with a bullet,” she utters.
Rob convinces herself that dating is what she should do, that she’s totally fine. Yet when we cut to an actual date, she deadpans to the camera: “I’m not fine, I’m not ready, this is totally f–ked.” She tries to ghost the poor guy, Clyde, only she forgets her phone at the table. Begrudgingly, she goes back inside the bar, where she accidentally knocks over her drink and Clyde adorably, purposely knocks his over too, to settle her nerves. The two discuss the importance of Fleetwood Mac, weighing Rumours against Tusk (bless them), and wind up going home together: Rebound Achievement, Unlocked!
They agree to go to breakfast in the morning only he’s nowhere to be found when she gets up. (“And this, ladies and gentleman, is why you don’t get back on the f–king horse.”) Clyde comes back later to find his phone he left at her place. Turns out, he chased a tow truck and had to go to work, and couldn’t call to explain.
Rob then explains how not to plan a career. “1. Split up with girlfriend. 2. Ditch college. 3. Go to work in struggling record shop. 4. Become owner of said record shop and stay there for rest of life, and 5. Well, there is no five.” We also get the low-down on the store’s only Yelp review (“Decently curated cuts, unpretentious location, owner’s a little rude — 2.5 stars.”) while Rob says half the neighborhood thinks they’re washed-up relics, while the other half thinks they’re nostalgic hipsters. “They’re both kind of right,” she supposes.
Before the premiere wraps up, we finally get the skinny on Mac as we’re serenaded by Darondo’s “Didn’t I.” (Seriously, you guys, the music!) Rob and Mac were set up by her brother and it was “lightning bolts, fireworks, electricity, magic, the whole thing,” she says. The two clicked hard and were going to move to London together… until he went without her. But one night, while en route to her date, she runs into Mac. He’s back in town and wants to talk, but a bike messenger runs into her, interrupting their stop-and-chat.
“The ugly truth of the matter is this: If we suddenly heard the world was going to end in 24 hours, the people I would call in the first hour are the obvious,” she says. “I’d be calling them all to apologize for the fact that I would be choosing to spend the next 23 hours with Mac… who’s back.”
The episode ends with Rob reveling in her strange headspace, while jamming out to Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain.”
What did you think of Kravitz and this High Fidelity redux? Grade the premiere below, then tell us your thoughts!