Mozart in the Jungle is full of beautiful people in a beautiful world, but at times, toward the beginning, this can feel like the only thing the show is about: the superficiality and egotism of it all. Like all of Amazon Studios’ new series, Mozart is made to feel more like a movie than a television show, but it’s too scattered. Hailey’s relationship with a young dancer (played by Peter Vack of I Just Want My Pants Back, a show whose title I will take any opportunity to reference) has no urgency or depth to it. Even if that’s how it’s supposed to feel (millennials in New York and all that), there’s nothing there to care about. The same goes for Rodrigo’s run-in with a woman he left behind when he “abandoned Mexico” and “abandoned integrity.” The “out with the old, in with the new” rivalry between Thomas and Rodrigo is written almost hastily, as if the writers knew they had to put it in there but weren’t interested in the storyline itself.
The series does improve as it progresses, and finally begins to resemble a movie. As with every original series from Amazon and Netflix, Mozart in the Jungle is made especially for binge-viewing (and its release seems timed to capitalize on holiday-season downtime), with important stories that weave in and out through the episodes at a pace that will have you starting the next installment without even realizing it.
By the time Rodrigo’s goals start to become clear (he wants to do something valuable and important, but the ways in which he goes about it don’t fit in with the status quo of the orchestra he took over), and as we develop a deeper understanding of his personality (a key scene includes Rodrigo shutting down classism in a light, simplistic way), the show has truly hit its stride. The seventh episode (the last one sent out to critics) is by far the best of the series by, in terms of writing, directing, cinematography, development and themes. If it’s any indication of where the series is heading, Mozart in the Jungle‘s whole might well surpass its parts.