The Staff

To give credit to this three-episode documentary series, it succeeds in presenting a dynamic, three-dimensional portrait of ’80s hair metal beyond the scene’s glamour, guitar solos, and yes, all that hair. And it’s certainly interesting to think about such lively, over-the-top music and visual aesthetics from the perspective of musicians and executives who struggled in the sidelines for so long, or who were only ever seen as replacement artists or female versions of more popular bands. But aside from a number of enlightening stories (mostly from Vixen vocalist Janet Gardner and record exec Vicky Hamilton), the series is just too simplistic and conventional an oral history that also never establishes the foundation of what hair metal is in the first place, and how the genre is unique from other styles of metal. It feels like the story of any other genre of music, which it absolutely shouldn’t be.

1. You can watch
I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream

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Paramount Plus Essential is a video-on-demand service that replaces its predecessor, CBS All Access, and is currently available in the US, Canada, and parts of Latin America. This ad-supported tier costs $5.99, while Paramount’s premium, ad-free tier costs $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year, with an optional 7-day free trial. 

Essential subscribers used to have the option to bundle the service with Showtime, but ever since the Paramount-Showtime merger in June 2023, the latter is now only available to Premium subscribers. But to its credit, Essential still has 40,000 episodes and movies to its name, plus live feeds on NFL on CBS and the UEFA Champions League. 

You can access Paramount Plus Essential via web browser, while the app is supported on a wide range of TV and mobile devices.

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