During lockdown, like most people, I devoured every series and film on many different streaming services. Once I got through the popular ones (Normal People) and finally watched the ones everyone was talking about but I never got around to watching (yes, I did binge all of You), it was time to explore the content that was less well-known. While High Fidelity had Zoë Kravitz as its star and a famous film and classic novel as its source materials, it somehow seemed to have gotten overlooked by the general audiences resulting in its recent cancellation. However, after watching the entire show in two days (and not just because there was nothing else to do), I believe it deserved better.
The story, follows a woman called Rob, a twenty-something year old record store owner in Brooklyn. After being dumped, yet again, she decides to find out what has been going wrong in all of her past relationships. While the story in itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, the show felt like a refreshingly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be a young woman in a big city. Rob is independent, lives on her own and has her own business. A nice change from the young women in shows who seem to be living off an invisible job and who spend all their time going out for meals and drinks instead of going to work.
On top of that, the shows handling of sexuality felt different as well. While Rob is going through her past relationships, we find out she’s bisexual. However, not once is it explicitly mentioned, does she need to come out or is her relationship between a woman handled any different from her relationships with men. Seeing a bisexual woman portrayed in such a casual sense is sadly still rare in the media, and it makes High Fidelity stand out. Similarly, Rob’s best friend (and ex) Simon (David H. Holmes) is never portrayed in the stereotypical ‘gay best friend’ way. His sexuality isn’t at the forefront of his personality, and he has none of the traits usually attributed to gay men in film and tv. He isn’t into fashion and doesn’t provide the ‘sassy’ remarks: he exist as a full person and not as fractions of a stereotype.
As Zoë Kravitz pointed out herself after the show got cancelled, series still have a long way to go in providing stories for non-white characters in lead roles. High Fidelity features two black women in major roles, and neither are one-dimensional. Where Cherise (played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph) might seem to only serve as the funny best friend initially, towards the end of the season we get new insights into her life and personality, developing her character in unexpected ways.
While High Fidelity is not the only show with queer and non-white characters, it is still rare to see them as fully fledged people instead of stereotypes. And even though it might not have gotten high viewership, it is still far too common for diverse shows such as these to be cancelled so early on (Netflix’s The Get Down another great example) whereas shows like Emily in Paris can continue.
High Fidelity offered something new and exciting and while we sadly might not be able to get a second season, we can at least rewatch season one over and over again. And listen to the amazing soundtrack of course.
High Fidelity is available to watch through Amazon Prime UK.