In May 2022, the FX-produced biographical series, Pistol, debuted and quickly took Hulu subscribers on a thrilling adventure that was one-part crash course in the early British punk rock movement and one-part riveting drama about misguided youth who found their own voices. After checking out director Danny Boyle’s treatment of the Sex Pistols and youth movement in London in the mid to late 1970s, I couldn’t help but start to think about other bands who I think would benefit from such treatment.
That being said, I have put together a list of seven bands whose storied antics (both on and off the stage) would make for great TV, especially if they were told by a group of actors talented as the Pistol cast. We’re short on time and have an abundance of great and notorious acts to cover, so let’s get this show on the road…
Blondie, the iconic American rock outfit that has been popular for nearly 50 years thanks to its blend of new wave, punk rock, disco, and a myriad of other genres, would be perfect for a biographical drama series treatment. Known for chart-topping hits like “Heart of Glass,” “Call Me,” “Rapture,” and “Atomic,” Blondie was founded in 1974 by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, who remain prominent figures not only in the band, but the music industry, decades later.
There are a few different routes you could take with Blondie’s story if it was turned into a multi-part streaming series. First, you could focus on the band’s beginnings and early days playing at CBGB’s in New York City in the mid 1970s and then just go from there with an episode dedicated to each album or major event. If not that, you could pick up with the band following the release of Parallel Lines in 1978, and follow the members and their stories through their 1982 breakup for the first half of the limited series and then have the second half resume with their 1997 reunion.
One of the most iconic and consequential bands of all time, Led Zeppelin’s music and impact can be heard and felt just about anywhere, including Thor: Ragnarok. Over the years, the band and its individual members have been lauded as titans of the music industry for having put out legendary tracks like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Immigrant Song,” a song that would have made Avengers: Infinity War even more epic, but that’s another story.
The music is just one part of the Led Zeppelin story, and the other half of the saga would make more unforgettable TV, thanks to all those sometimes hard-to-believe legends (like the ones fact-checked in a 2019 Rolling Stone article). Some of these stories, specifically those about guitarist Jimmy Page’s alleged behind-the-scenes antics would probably make it hard to produce the series though, either because of legal issues or getting the band to sign off on them entirely.
I have liked Talking Heads ever since I found “Speaking in Tongues” in my dad’s record collection when I was a kid (sorry, I still have it with me). The band, which was active from 1975 to 1991, has since become one of my favorite bands of all time and one whose story I’ve always found interesting. Over the span of 16 years, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tiny Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison (plus various other touring musicians) created some of the greatest songs of all time like “Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Life During Wartime, and “Burning Down the House."
But, if you were to make a show about Talking Heads, it would have to center around the band’s legendary 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, which was directed by the late Jonathan Demme. Getting a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the film shot over the course of two nights would make for some incredible stories, especially when it comes to David Byrne’s iconic oversized suit. Who would play Byrne? Well, that’s for another day…
The Sex Pistols are arguably one of the most important punk bands of all time, and another group that is in that category is the American outfit known as Bad Brains. Formed in the mid 1970s as a jazz fusion band under the name Mind Power, the members would change their lives and the face of American punk rock in 1979 when they adopted the Bad Brains moniker and quickly made a name for themselves as one of the premier bands on the Eastern seaboard.
Over the years, Bad Brains influenced bands like Beastie Boys, The Roots, Rage Against the Machine, and countless others, first in Washington, D.C., and later in New York City after being banned from playing shows in the nation’s capital due to their extremely violent performances and raucous fanbase. I mean, just watch the band’s legendary 1982 CBGB’s set and you’ll quickly find out why the band had and continues to have such a legendary reputation. And then there’s the whole “is that Brooke Shields?” situation that could be covered. Seriously, though, few bands have made a mark as significant as Bad Brains.
Metallica, which has been one of the most popular crossover/heavy metal bands since the early days of the 1980s, continues to reach new fans in 2022 (thanks in part to that amazing scene in the Stranger Things Season 4 finale). That being said, now seems like the perfect time to make a show about the band’s 40-year history.
If given six to eight episodes, a Metallica show would make for a great way to spend a few hours for longtime fans and new devotees at the same time. There’s just so much there, from the release of “Kill ‘Em All” to the 1986 death of bassist Cliff Burton, to the band’s explosive “Black Album” in the early 1990s and beyond. I’m honestly surprised the band’s story hasn’t been covered at this point.
Although Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols are about as far apart sonically as possible, it would be cool to see the legendary British prog rock band get a similar treatment with a streaming series. The band, which started in London in 1965, has long been known as not only one of the most successful bands thanks to albums like Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall, but also some legendary stories… stories that could be told on a show.
Just throw a dart on a random Pink Floyd album and you have plenty to cover for a TV show. There are the band’s formative days in the psychedelic rock scene of the late 1960s, the group’s period in the early 1970 where they recorded multiple albums (and soundtracks) in the span of a couple of years, and then the massive success they experienced in the years leading up to The Wall.
If there is someone who was more punk (or disgusting, broken, feared/respected) than the late G.G. Allin, I would love to meet them. Maybe Iggy Pop? Seriously, no one caused more destruction or controversy in their life (and death) than Allin did in his 36 years on the planet. Allin’s music was one thing, but his on-stage antics were something else entirely, so much so that whenever someone does something like urinate on the crowd it’s considered their “G.G. Allin moment.”
Allin lived such a crazy life that an entire series could be made about his last day on Earth, as covered in great detail by Vice in 2013 for the 20th anniversary of his passing. Wild doesn’t do that story justice.
I hope at least one of these shows gets made in the near future (though it probably won't be the tale of G.G. Allin). While we wait to find out if my dreams will come true, please take a look at all the great 2022 TV premieres heading our way this year.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.