High Fidelity Review: Crank Up the Volume and Hit Repeat

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Finding the right person to call your lover is tough.

Hulu's High Fidelity zeroes in on that sentiment, and it's just in time for Valentine's Day.

The Zoe Kravitz-fronted comedy debuts Friday, February 14, but you will be sorely disappointed if you're looking for a rom-com series to binge on the big day.

Trio on High Fidelity

High Fidelity plays with the conventions of romantic comedies, solidifying itself as a fresh attempt at a show about relationships.

We are introduced to the world through Rob's (Kravitz) eyes, and how music is so therapeutic to her during the tough times in relationships.

She is a self-loathing record store owner obsessed with the world of pop culture and Top Five lists. She's the type of person you would expect to read listicles like they are going out of fashion.

Rob on the Phone - High Fidelity

The premise may not sound all that appealing, but Kravitz delivers an immersive performance as the struggling record store owner who wants to find love despite sucking at relationships.

Rob is a flawed young woman, but she's also the first person to hold her hands up and admit her shortcomings. She's unapologetic, hilarious, and smart.

She also breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience in a similar vein to Fleabag, which only adds to the connection between Rob and viewers.

Not many shows can pull off actors speaking to the audience, but High Fidelity does so with such vigor that it becomes clear early on that it's the best way to structure the series.

Rob's life is filled with comical occurrences. From trying to bail on a date to debating with customers who like a genre of music she doesn't, she has an answer for everything.

Scooter Time on High Fidelity

Music is an integral aspect of the show, and there are several moments I cranked up the volume because the soundtrack is just so darn good.

It's rare for a series to get the acting, the script, the direction, and the music right, but Hulu's cover of High Fidelity is a cut above not only the novel but also the movie.

Gender-swapping the lead is a big part of the show's success. It changes things up enough to make this a worthwhile watch.

We watched Kravitz kill it on Big Little Lies, and High Fidelity gives her a different type of role to deliver her finest work to date.

The supporting cast is also strong, with Da'Vine Joy Randolph playing Cherise and David Holmes as Simon working in the record store alongside Rob.

Much like Rob, they have distinct views on the music industry and, some of their conversations touch on important subjects.

Walking in NYC on High Fidelity

It's hard to believe such a small and quiet record store requires two staff members in addition to the owner, but both characters add to the humor and act as a support system for Rob.

They understand her on a level many don't and are fully aware that she makes impulsive decisions based on the way she is feeling.

Anyone suffering deserves to have a Cherise and Simon in their life. There's something about Randolph, Holmes, and Kravitz on-screen together that is satisfying. There's an aura of fun that surrounds the trio wherever they go.

The casting directors for High Fidelity deserve a lot of praise here.

Jake Lacy is another standout as Clyde, a potential love interest for Rob.

He's the polar opposite of anyone she's ever dated, and despite there not being an immediate connection in the romance department, they get a lot to work with in the drama department. 

Zoe Kravitz on High Fidelity

Thomas Doherty is also on board in a recurring role as a Scottish musician named Liam. You will likely recall him from The CW's Legacies or HBO's Catherine the Great.

Doherty's character is great, and I only wish he got some more screentime. He gets to use his Scottish accent on the series. I had no idea he was Scottish before I complimented the accent and took to Google to find out more.

After watching all 10 episodes, it's clear the creative team wanted to be faithful to the novel, while also leaving their own mark on the franchise. The subtle changes allow this series to offer something for old and new fans, meaning that it is a worthwhile watch.

Hulu has struggled in the comedy department, with many shows that straddle the fine line between watchable and unwatchable, but High Fidelity is a resounding success from the first episode all the way to the last.

Whether the series will return for a second season is unclear, but spending time with Rob in her record store and her merry band of friends for an ongoing series sounds like a good idea.

Zoe Kravitz, Thomas Doherty

Even if you're not a fan of comedies that focus on relationships, you should give the series a chance. It breathes new life into the romantic comedy genre and proves that playing with expectations is a good thing when it comes to keeping viewers interested.

There's something here for everyone to like, and it will be remembered for years to come as a TV adaptation that was worth the time.

Okay, TV Fanatics.

You've read our take, but will you give the series a shot?

Hit the comments below with your thoughts.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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