A decent (if slightly overlong) series exploring the birth of a music label in 60s Madrid.
In a weekend of diverse offerings on Netflix, the Spanish-language series 45 rpm — known in its native language as 45 Revoluciones — doesn’t do much to stand out. The thirteen-episode season details the formation of a new rock ‘n’ roll label in 1960s Madrid, offering a vibrant snapshot of period culture that affectionately speaks to the time and place without necessarily speaking to modern audiences who want something they haven’t seen before.
Guillermo Rojas (Iván Marcos) is the entrepreneurial music producer who, along with aspiring singer Robert (Carlos Cuevas) and producer Maribel Campoy (Guiomar Puerta), attempts to establish a subversive sub-label in conservative 1960s Spain. 45 rpm, as is clear from the title, is a series about music, but it’s also a series about culture, changing attitudes, the power of art, and the three-way dynamic at its core, which incorporates romance, shady pasts, and many ill-advised mistakes.
There’s a lot of drama in 45 rpm, some of it less interesting than it thinks. But a well-chosen cast helps it along. Marcos is a well-established, more classical actor operating in a comfortable range, but he’s really good; Carlos Cuevas looks like a heartthrob musician and convinces in that role, and Guiomar Puerta has a real screen presence — she’s an international star in the making, and a platform like the one Netflix offers might help her along in that regard.
45 rpm feels like an actor’s show, really, even though a lot — perhaps, arguably, too much — happens in the plot. Guillermo, Robert, and Maribel encounter many obstacles throughout their endeavors, some of their own doing and some not, but at the heart of it, beyond its obvious appreciation for music and the culture it has painstakingly rebuilt, this is a character-driven story and relies on their relationships and dynamics. It isn’t always as successful as it could be in developing dramatic stakes and keeping its turns naturalistic, but it certainly isn’t off-putting in its attempts. It’ll find an audience, but its size and devotion remain to be seen.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.