In its debut season, the CMT series Sun Records shows the early stages of young Elvis Presley's journey to eventually becoming the "King" of rock and roll. The season finale airs April 13, so it's time to start wondering whether or not Sun Records will return for Season 2. Overall, the outlook looks good for a possible new season, but CMT has not announced either a cancellation or a renewal.
The reviews for Sun Records were mixed, with Sonia Saraiya from Variety calling the series "sanitized," but also noting that the the plots centered around artists like Presley, Ike Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash would appeal to "a fan of the era’s music or a history buff." And the ratings for Sun Records started high, per Deadline, improving on the episode of Nashville that preceded it. But according to TVSeriesFinale, Sun Records' ratings dropped about 50 percent throughout the course of the season.
Another element to consider is that Sun Records was conceived as a "limited-run series," according to The Tennessean's December announcement that the show would be premiering on CMT. Does "limited-run series" mean that Sun Records is finished after its first eight episodes? If so, that might be the only thing standing between this series and another season. Because CMT seems devoted to scripted musical dramas right now, especially after bringing Nashville back from cancellation and renewing it for Season 6.
CMT isn't the only network interested in the music business. Here are some other music-themed series to watch while you wait to find out the fate of Sun Records.
It's an obvious choice, considering its place on the same network. This country music drama is like all good soaps: it goes through incredible highs, and occasional lows, but the low periods just make the good parts even more addictive.
Sun Records does suggest that Elvis Presley took most of his musical "innovations" from what black artists were already doing. So watch this show and celebrate the Empire, a hugely successful record company founded and run by a black family. It's got as many soapy antics as Nashville, too.
The Get Down
Another period of wild musical innovation was the late '70s, with the advent of disco and the development of hip hop. The cultural impact of these two genres is dramatized through the eyes of some Bronx teenagers in The Get Down — a series that may be all over the place, but is never boring.
VH1's original series is based on a TV movie of the same name. It's also about the early days of hip hop, albeit ten years after the events of The Get Down. While that series is about the very creation of rap, this one is about a group of young adults who desperately want to become some of the first rap superstars, navigating a business scene looking for artists with the power to innovate.
Mozart in The Jungle
And classical music gets the focus in this half-hour series on Amazon. The members of the New York orchestra featured in the show struggle to pay their bills, compete for rare solos and better wages, but put up with it all for the love of the music and their eccentric Maestro, played by Gael García Bernal.
Still The King
Another CMT original, Still the King stars country star (and Miley's dad) Billy Ray Cyrus as a washed up, scandalized version of himself — a onetime super-successful performer with one big hit. The series doesn't revolve around the music industry since Cyrus' character pretends to be a preacher, but it is about a country artist returning to his roots.
Sun Records may be finished after one eight-episode season, but music business drama of every genre is being explored in several other shows.