A couple of weeks ago I discovered Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime. I was instantly hooked and four seasons with ten episodes a piece later, I’ve officially joined the ranks of fans who still mourn the loss of a season five. The story goes that Prime’s new boss cancelled the show in a move to channel money into attention grabbing blockbusters. That Mozart in the Jungle was a consistent rater, and a multiple Golden Globe winner, didn’t save it in the end. It’s such a shame too, because it could have really done with one more season to tie up loose ends and round things off. You could tell, by the way it finished, that there was meant to be more. But enough about lamenting what could have been. Let’s instead focus on what was!
1. The music. Oh, the music! Yes, it’s classical, but with edgy reinterpretation along with traditional rendering. If you appreciate music at all, you will enjoy this show because essentially, it’s ALL about the music. I’ve since bought the two soundtracks that are available.
2. The places. This show really makes use of its screen time. You might be listening to a symphony but you’re seeing scenes of the streets of New York, Tokyo, Venice, and the cities of South America. Plus, the characters are always out and about, experiencing life and what these places have to offer. It’s a brilliant journey in armchair travel.
3. Life in all its brilliant and disappointing glory. Being a classical musician is a mixed bag. Mozart in the Jungle digs deep into this and doesn’t hold back.
4. Guest appearances of actual musicians. Placido Domingo singing on a barge in Venice, Joshua Bell subbing into a minor ensemble as a favour to a character – next level TV.
5. Rodrigo and Hailey. Not just a love story but a deep connection of friendship, passion, and music.
6. Mozart as Rodrigo’s muse who appears to him as different ages with all sorts of scathing advice and on point career recommendations. THIS!
7. Rodrigo. Passionate and a little unhinged, but a musical genius who is also incredibly funny – especially when he doesn’t mean to be. ‘Play with the blood!’ One of my favourite TV characters ever.
8. The story arc. When you look at where it began and where it ended, the characters evolve so much. It covers a lot of ground and we see people change and grow, so much for the better, over the course of the four seasons. It was never boring, but neither was it overdone. It simply hit the right note, in each and every episode.
9. It’s a rare treat to watch a show that places art front and centre, actively demonstrating, over and over, the importance of art in life.
10. The yerbe mate. I have no idea what it tastes like, but if I’m ever in South America, it’s on my drinks list. In one of those cups, with one of those straws.