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Romance and Records on 'High Fidelity'
February 14, 2020  | By Mike Hughes
 


High Fidelity
 keeps marching across the media landscape.

It was a 1995 Nick Hornby novel, a 2000 John Cusack movie, and a 2006 Broadway musical. Now it's a streaming series – a good one – arriving Friday on Hulu.

In each version, we meet Rob, a young record-store owner who composes top-5 lists while facing romance setbacks.

Details have changed along the way. Rob was originally white and male, and now the role is beautifully played by Zoë Kravitz (top) – who is neither.

But rippling through this new version is something more – a nostalgic fondness for record stores.

"Just being in the record store," said Da'Vine Joy Randolph (who plays Cherise) during a session for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour in January. "You're just looking through…When you're submerged in music, it's natural to pick up new styles and stuff."

She discovered Paul McCartney's Arrow Through Me; David Holmes, who plays another store worker, Simon, found Stevie Wonder's I Believe (When I Fall in Love).

And Kravitz, who also produces the series, shares their passion.

"I've always loved record stores…. I used to go to Virgin Records, Tower Records," she said. "When a new album came out, you'd wait in line, and you'd go stand, and you'd go talk to people, you'd go listen to things. It was a way to connect with people, and you had to physically go get something."

That notion began to fade. Today, there are fewer bookstores, much fewer record stores, and almost no video stores. "You talk to someone younger than me," said Kravitz, 31, "and they don't even know what a Blockbuster is. And that's crazy."

Now such places are making a modest TV comeback. In Katy Keene (8 p.m. ET, Thursdays, CW), Josie – of Pussycats fame – works at a record store, and in High Fidelity, the store contrasts with some of its newer neighbors. "There's the coffee shop…that sort of represents what our characters hate about gentrification," said producer Veronica West.

Much of the show happens in the store or Rob's apartment. In the opener, she describes her five worst breakups, and we see one of them close-up.

This isn't what we expect from a show debuting on Valentine's Day, but there are ample humor and humanity, and all of it is boosted by Kravitz, who fits the music/acting blend perfectly.

Her dad (Lenny Kravitz) is a rock star; her mom (Lisa Bonet, of Cosby Show fame) is an actress who was in the original High Fidelity movie.

"I didn't go to the (set)," Kravitz said. "It was in Chicago; I think I was in school here in LA, and I probably stayed with my grandmother or something."

Now she's on the set every day, absorbing humor, heartbreak, and the nostalgia of a store that sells real records.

 
 
 
 
 
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