TV Previews

TVSource Fall Preview: ABC's 'Nashville'

Meet my new fall addiction. It’s filled with complex women, family drama, love triangles, and a kickass soundtrack. Let’s get one thing straight. Nashvilleis not like Glee or Smash or any other musical show the TV gods are dreaming up. It’s unique in how country music provides the soundtrack for the entire show. There are no dance breaks or musical numbers and the songs used in the show reflect the current state of the character’s life or add depth to their characters. It’s a brilliant use of one of the best genres in music today.

Meet my new fall addiction. It’s filled with complex women, family drama, love triangles, and a kickass soundtrack.

Let’s get one thing straight. Nashvilleis not like Glee or Smash or any other musical show the TV gods are dreaming up. It’s unique in how country music provides the soundtrack for the entire show. There are no dance breaks or musical numbers and the songs used in the show reflect the current state of the character’s life or add depth to their characters. It’s a brilliant use of one of the best genres in music today.

Music aside, the show is bound to be one of fall’s biggest hits. The cast, the premise, and the stories are off the charts – no musical pun intended. And if you’re looking for a soapy, dramatic show with just the right amount of sexy, this one is for you.

The Cast

Nashville stars Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story) as Rayna, Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) as Juliette, Powers Boothe (MacGruber, 24) as Lamar, Charles Esten (Enlightened, Big Love) as Deacon, Eric Close (Chaos, Without a Trace) as Teddy, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Jonathon Jackson (General Hospital) as Avery, Sam Palladino as Gunnar, and Robert Wisdom as Coleman.

The Premise

Rayna James is a chart-topping, country legend, whose popularity is fading quickly. To reinvigorate her career, her record label suggests a concert tour with up-and-comer Juliette Barnes. She is young, sexy, and the future of country music, but lacks the class of her predecessor and schemes to steal Rayna’s spotlight. What happens when these two begin to struggle for power and the limelight?

Rayna’s father, Lamar Wyatt, also provides a dose of drama with his heavy-handed politics and business power, convincing Rayna’s husband to run for mayor against his wife’s wishes. Will the family survive this? Or end up divided?

Initial Reaction

I didn’t even make it halfway through the pilot before I was in love with this show. By the end, I was absolutely addicted. Rayna reminds me of Faith Hill while Juliette is a bitchier, tougher Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood. The writing and pacing is tight and concise. The acting is perfection. And the soundtrack is amazing. As a country music lover, this is heaven for me. I’m crossing my fingers that ABC is smart and releases the songs on iTunes a la the folks at Glee because they are amazing. I found myself watching those scenes over and over because I fell in love with the songs. It’s also an interesting look at the harsh realities of the country music industry – perhaps the music industry as a whole.

Why You Should Watch

The characters are complex. Juliette could be nothing more than a flat, run of the mill bitch, but she has a complicated past that haunts her and explains her attitude, drive, and overall need to use sex to get what she wants. Can we say major coping mechanism! Rayna has spent her entire life trying to step out of her father’s shadow, but has never been able to, explaining her drive and independence. Both female leads show how you can run from the past yet never quite outrun it. They’ll evoke strong reactions from viewers. You may love them or you may hate them. Either way I guarantee you’ll enjoy them.

The soundtrack is phenomenal, blending classic country like Patsy Cline with the modern pop country sounds of Carrie Underwood. There’s a little something for everyone. And the cast can sing! Connie Britton surprised me greatly – is there anything that woman can’t do?

There’s plenty of love, sex, and relationship drama to go around. Rayna’s marriage is far from perfect, showcasing the realities of being married to a superstar with a difficult family past. There’s also an interesting connection between Rayna and band member, Deacon. It makes you do a double and wonder if there is a past between them or if it was just a chance that was never taken. All the men’s head spin around Juliette, which she uses in favor and will undoubtedly lead to trouble. And there’s the relationship between naïve, little Scarlett and her song-writing boyfriend, Avery. When someone questions whether Avery is good enough for her, you’ll find yourself wondering if he’s a good guy or a heartbreaker.

Is it fall yet? I’m telling you, set your DVRs or better yet, tune in live. You do not want to miss this one. 

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About the author

Amber Cunigan

Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.

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