HBO shows rarely seem to get canned after only a single season, since doing that undermines the way the network presents itself as an infallible hit-maker, but it’s even rarer that HBO renews a series for a second season, admits it made a mistake, and then cancels it anyway. Unfortunately, such was the sad story of Vinyl, the gritty saga about rock ‘n’ roll in the ‘70s that starred Bobby Cannavale and had both Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger on board as executive producers. Scorsese even directed the pilot, which seemingly backfired by setting a high bar that no other episode of the show could reach.
As Scorsese tells it, that was precisely the show’s downfall, and he thinks Vinyl would’ve had a better run if he had been more involved. Speaking at the Rome Film Festival (via The Hollywood Reporter), Scorsese says the Vinyl team “couldn’t get the creative elements together,” and he has since realized that “in order to make it right,” he “would have had to direct every episode and be there for the three to four years.” Scorsese also highlighted Paulo Sorrentino’s work on The Young Pope, saying that a director has to “do it all” in order to “do it right.”
The Hollywood Reporter points out a big hole in Scorsese’s argument, specifically the fact that he only directed the pilot of Boardwalk Empire and it still ran for five seasons, but it’s hard to deny that having Martin Scorsese direct every episode would’ve brightened the prospects of pretty much any other failed TV show. Scorsese had nothing to do with The Grinder, for example, but people may have actually watched it if he had directed every episode for some reason. Hell, who wouldn’t have watched Martin Scorsese’s Bunheads or Martin Scorsese’s Fish Police?