Tuesday, August 14, 2018
TV and Media

Review: CMT's 'Sun Records' can't live up to legacy of Elvis, Cash and more

Sam Phillips was an early pioneer for rock 'n' roll and — if you believe CMT's new scripted series Sun Records — the drugs and sex, too.

You know the names: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. And perhaps you already know the story. The four musicians walk into Phillips' recording studio for an impromptu jam session on Dec. 4, 1956, and solidify a new sound of music that still resonates 60 years later. But CMT's eight-part drama based on the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet just doesn't live up to the legends' legacies.

Sun Records sure takes its time introducing each familiar face. It begins in Memphis, Tenn., in 1950, when Phillips (One Tree Hill's Chad Michael Murray) opens his recording studio and begins finding the voices of what would become the early sound of rock 'n' roll. We meet Presley and Lewis as lovesick high school boys who play different games to get the girl, and Cash as he's about to leave to serve overseas. But in the four episodes provided to critics, we still haven't really met Perkins.

While the show mostly focuses on Phillips (and Murray's ridiculously heavy Southern drawl), it's the obviously inexperienced newcomers playing the quartet who unfortunately carry the weight of the show. For example, Drake Milligan, who plays Presley, is more like the John Stamos' Elvis impression on Full House but not as charming.

The show has six years of backstory to get through, and it's severely lacking in musical numbers, which are some of the show's best scenes. Records also stumbles on finding the right tone. It's a wholesome afterschool-special biopic mixed with a soapy night-time drama. And while we need the context of the segregated South, most of the time the overt racism is gratuitous.

However, the show does something absolutely right: adding the influential sounds of artists B.B. King, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters and Fats Domino. But with so many stories to tell, Sun Records loses focus. Hopefully, it's worth all the sloppiness to see the foursome do what they do best: play the music.

Contact Brittany Volk at [email protected] Follow @bevolk.

Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Tuesday, August 14

TODAYBaseballBrewers at Cubs2 p.m.MLBRays at Yankees7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMRed Sox at Phillies7 p.m.MLBMarlins at Braves7:30 p.m.FSFSoccerMexican: Zacatecas at Leon7:50 p.m.ESPNDMexican: Monterrey at Puebla9:55 p.m.ESPNDSoftball, Little League World Se...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, August 13

TODAYBaseballMarlins at Braves, Game 11:30 p.m.FSF, MLBMets at Yankees7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Braves, Game 27:30 p.m.FSFGiants at Dodgers10 p.m.MLBGolfWorld Long Drive Tour6 p.m.GolfSoccer, U-20 Women’s World CupUnited States vs. Spain7:20 a.m.FS2German...
Published: 08/12/18
Idris Elba to star in film based on Tampa author G. Neri’s book

Idris Elba to star in film based on Tampa author G. Neri’s book

Have you heard the latest about Idris Elba?No, not the new round of speculation that the acclaimed actor might be the next James Bond. I'm talking about a role he's actually signed for — in a movie based on a book by Tampa author G. Neri.Elba h...
Published: 08/10/18
ICYMI: Demi Lovato cancels tour, Brad Pitt says he’s given Angelina Jolie millions since split

ICYMI: Demi Lovato cancels tour, Brad Pitt says he’s given Angelina Jolie millions since split

Here's some entertainment (and entertaining) news you might've missed this week.Demi Lovato cancels tour dates to focus on recoveryDemi Lovato has canceled the rest of her fall tour to focus on her recovery.The singer was scheduled to perform in Mexi...
Published: 08/10/18

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, August 10

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Consumer’s Energy 400 qualifying5 p.m.NBCSNBaseballNationals at Cubs2 p.m.MLBRays at Blue Jays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMets at Marlins7 p.m.FSFBaseball, Little LeagueMidwest Region semifinal11 a.m.ESPNNew England Region semi...
Published: 08/09/18
What does John Prine do while living in St. Petersburg?

What does John Prine do while living in St. Petersburg?

Yes, in case you didn't know, Grammy-winning folk-country singer John Prine is a Tampa Bay resident.Prine, 71, was recently featured in the New York Times' Carry On column, which said he and wife Fiona spend time in Nashville and Galway, Ireland, but...
Published: 08/09/18
Brian Kilmeade, ‘Fox and Friends’ host, coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

Brian Kilmeade, ‘Fox and Friends’ host, coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

Maybe the Straz Center should put a hold a couple of presidential tickets on hold for this one.Brian Kilmeade, the co-host of Donald Trump's favorite morning show Fox and Friends, is embarking on his first live tour this fall, and it'll kick off at i...
Published: 08/08/18
Dust off your cloak: Harry Potter series returns to theaters for one week

Dust off your cloak: Harry Potter series returns to theaters for one week

It's time to start practicing those spells — the Harry Potter films are coming back to the big screen.From Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, each of the 141 Cinemark theaters will be showing all eight Harry Potter movies, plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to F...
Published: 08/08/18
Ruby Rose cast as lesbian superhero Batwoman for The CW

Ruby Rose cast as lesbian superhero Batwoman for The CW

NEW YORK – Ruby Rose is making history with her latest role as Batwoman, the first openly gay superhero to headline a TV series.Batwoman will be introduced in a December crossover event between the network's other DC Comics shows, Arrow, The Fl...
Published: 08/08/18

Sports on TV/radio for Wednesday, August 8

TODAYBaseballPhillies at Diamondbacks3:30 p.m.MLBOrioles at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCardinals at Marlins7 p.m.FSFBraves at Nationals7 p.m.ESPNDodgers at A’s10 p.m.MLBBaseball, Little League World SeriesSouthwest Region final1 p.m.ESPNSoutheast Regio...
Published: 08/07/18