ABC - Wednesday 10/9c
Nashville is being billed as the show that brings Tennessee into the spotlight, or I also might have made that quote up. But it's hard not to think this show is about more than just the city of Nashville, and more than just the drama of rising starlet vs. classic country.
1. Does it entertain me?
There are a lot of stories going on in the pilot, that's for sure. The main one is Rayna James (Connie Britton) trying to fend off the young Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) as the queen of country. It's hard not to think there is more going on with this story, as Juliette could be said to be the fictionalized version of Taylor Swift, but with a drug addicted mother (note: I don't know anything about Taylor Swift's personal life, and I have no idea what her mother is like, and I have no idea if she is sleeping with her producer) and a habit of jumping into bed with guys she works with.
Rayna could be any combination of Shania Twain, Faith Hill or Martina McBride (is she still around); the point to get across is that she is nice and sweet and wouldn't hurt a fly, but she's old news, and can't sell a record.
On top of that, Rayna's father is Powers Booth, and he is very powerful, because Powers Booth is very powerful in every show he's in. Fantastic. Papa Powers is trying to get Rayna's husband to run for mayor, because he can be manipulated easily, like some sort of Manchurian.
Rayna's guitarist is really good, and Juliette wants him to be hers (guitarist...and possibly more).
While probably not focusing on the corruption and fall of the city of Nashville the way that The Wire focused on Baltimore, it's clear the city is important as a setting.
The show is well-acted, the writing is strong, they mix in some peppy country songs to keep you tapping your foot. But whether or not you stick around or not is going to depend on how much you like these characters, and if you believe that out with the old and in with the new is something that interests you. Or you like the country music scene.
2. Is it realistic?
Again, I have no idea if this is how country music works, or if this is based on reality at all. But they set it up like it could be, and the two female leads do a very good job in both their roles. Even with southern accents. So let's assume this is real, and that this is how the south works.
3. Are immoral actions defended?
Juliette sleeps with her producer and has cut out her mother because she's a drug addict. It's all designed to make her the bad guy, albeit the bad guy with flaws that make her human and make you want to root for her slightly. If only she wasn't going up against country darling Rayna James.
4. Are traditional family values upheld?
It's almost like Juliette Barnes goes in the aforementioned section and Rayna James goes in this one as the defender of the family. She is married to her husband, sticks by him in his political charge, and takes care of the kids on the side. She has never cheated with the handsome guitarist who writes his songs about her, and she even stands by her pops, even though he's a jerk.
That representation of the family will be important to the southern style of the show, I imagine.
Nashville has enough stories and possibilities in it that it could make for an intriguing watch. But I get the sense that the show is directed more towards women, especially those who fear competition from the younger generation, either based on talent or looks. It's a show based on insecurities, and I believe that could appeal to a lot of people. I'm just not sure I'm one of them. Mainly because everyone is more talented and prettier than I am.