Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll. And what looked suspiciously like a batch of bad wigs.
Trailer: INXS: Never Tear Us Apart - Part 2 Sneak Peek
Watch a sneak peak promo for the second instalment of INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.
The one character who held it all together? Not Michael Hutchence, but an accountant turned wryly self-proclaimed musical genius.
Only part one of Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS has been screened. If it doesn't catch fire pretty quickly in part two, this show is going to fall short a stadium concert or three of the Seven Network's heroic promotional boast of the "TV event of the year".
Or perhaps not, at least in terms of TV sets tuned to it. Almost 2 million viewers assured Seven of a roaring start to the ratings year on Sunday night, beating Nine's Schapelle almost two to one.
It can only be attributed to one apparent stand-out attribute - the enduring power of the late Michael Hutchence, the lead signer whose charisma and magnetic stage presence could blow a concert audience clean out of their seats, and whose death in 1997 - yet to be explored in part two - remains an intriguing and large part of the legend.
And, of course, the music. There are moments when those old songs could very nearly lift TV viewers clean off their lounge chair.
A lot of people watch Home and Away, too. Much of the acting and the production values appear to have been lifted from the Home and Away recipe. This is a remarkably clean-cut bad-boy band, despite the exhausting gigs, the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll and interesting hair.
The problem with Never Tear Us Apart is that in trying to offer the untold story of a band that had a moment when - as the show labours to point out - it was the most popular rock outfit in the world (more than 20 years ago), it tries to tell too much.
What emerges is a confusing melange of old footage spliced with contemporary production and actors who don't always convince, let alone reveal their inner selves. Poor Molly Meldrum is recognisable only by a replica of his hat, and the real Kylie seems unlikely to be entirely thrilled by her screen protrayal.
Still, Luke Arnold looks unnervingly like Hutchence himself, though the singer's famous smouldering appears to have been saved for part two.
Loose ends dangle all over the place. In attempting to portray Hutchence's apparently confronting childhood - the parental split, the mother taking a lover - there is a single perplexing and unexplained shot of him confronted by his nanny in the shower. And no further illumination about what this meant to him, to his music, or us.
We learn he was raised in Hong Kong in a single line when a girl impresses him by speaking Mandarin. Perhaps part two might offer something cogent in yet another flashback. This is a TV event that comes overly replete with flashbacks as it tries to tell the "untold story".
But Hutchence isn't the character that holds together the story. It's Andrew Farriss, played by Andy Ryan, a student of accountancy who is regularly, agonisinly unconvinced of the worth of the rock 'n' roll adventure, but who emerges as the man to find the magic riff.
INXS: Never Tear Us Apart
The concluding episode of this mini-series is worth a look, so the critics say.
The one relatively enlightening moment concerning the creative process is Farriss creating the guitar lines for Need You Tonight. It is often forgotten that it was three Farriss Brothers who established the band in the first place, and that Hutchence was a relatively late arrival.
Apart from Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence - who ended up writing the music and words together for INXS's best-known hits - the rest of the band remains all but invisible, apart from a brief romance/marriage here, a spot of dope smoking, cocaine snorting, bedroom romps and visits by the cops there.
Manager Chris Murphy, played by Damon Herriman, has the potential to become a well-drawn character - the true believer who sees a spark that puts INXS above Cold Chisel, the Angels and other big Australian and is willing to put everything on the line for the band.
Regardless, this viewer found himself flicking during the ad breaks to Schapelle and glimpsing better acting and higher production values, wishing all the while there was time to watch ABC1's Rake. But the audience has spoken two to one in favour of Never Tear Us Apart. And when a TV executive is searching for a TV event of the year, the audience matters.
It's why Home and Away has lasted.