When Hulu set out to remake High Fidelity, it forgot the risk involved in taking on a story already cemented in collective consciousness. Sadly cancelled after just one season, the show was a nice ride, but it didn’t get the chance to show its B-side.
The story follows Rob, a recently heartbroken record shop owner who revisits her past relationships to figure out where she has failed in love.
Rob spends most days at the shop, compiling Top-5 lists on every aspect of life with her two employees and best friends. They are bound by a shared love of music – that verges on snobbery – which they impose on customers and acquaintances with the same passion.
Adapted from Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel of the same name, the show initially drew a lot of hate for presenting an edgier reimagining of the now cult 2000 film.
The narrative was moved from London, where the book is set, to Chicago for the 2000 film, to a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn for the 2020 TV show.
With a diverse cast and Zoe Kravitz as a gender-flipped Rob, the show gives the story a 21st century upgrade where the analogue world of vinyl clashes with the internet and influencer culture, but characters remain as obnoxious as ever.
The plot is driven by Rob’s long, self-important monologues, which, along with the philosophy that “what really matters is what you like, not what you are like,” make it hard to have any sympathy for the character. For many, this is also the story’s appeal.
Fans of the film adaptation were quick to dismiss the show, with some critics calling Kravitz’s performance too put on, and the hip setting and obscure music references pretentious. But hasn’t that always been the point?
For those who – deliberately or not – have built their personalities around what they like, watching High Fidelity feels like being in on the joke.