ABC’s ‘Nashville’ a welcome addition to music show lineup

"Nashville" stars Connie Britton as Rayna, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette, Powers Boothe as Lamar, Charles Esten as Deacon, Eric Close as Teddy, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Jonathan Jackson as Avery, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Robert Wisdom as Coleman. FIle photo
"Nashville" stars Connie Britton as Rayna, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette, Powers Boothe as Lamar, Charles Esten as Deacon, Eric Close as Teddy, Clare Bowen as Scarlett, Jonathan Jackson as Avery, Sam Palladio as Gunnar and Robert Wisdom as Coleman. FIle photo

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a country music fan. I would say, however, that I’m a mild appreciator of the genre. But even with my tendency to be open, I was still a little hesitant about watching ABC’s new show, “Nashville.” My first impression was that it is just ABC’s attempt to compete with other networks that also have musical series like Fox’s “Glee” and NBC’s “Smash.” It didn’t seem to catch my eye in any way but I watched it nonetheless. I can say with confidence that this show is entertaining and will probably only get more compelling with time.

The show “Nashville,” unsurprisingly, is about the country music industry and politics of Nashville, Tennessee. Connie Britton stars as Rayna Jaymes, a country superstar who is forced to face the reality that her fame and success is fading. She has no option but to team up with a younger, rising star, named Juliette Barns (Hayden Panettiere) in order to save her tour. Now if that doesn’t sound interesting enough, there are about a dozen other characters, each with their own compelling story, issues and skeletons.

Connie Britton is fantastic. If you have ever seen Friday Night Lights, you know just how talented she is. Her acting is raw, never forced; it’s refreshing. Panettiere also does a fantastic job playing the bratty girl you love to hate. The rivalry between the two is tense and it’s entertaining to watch them butt heads throughout the episodes. Buzz Sugar’s Becky Kirsch describes the situation perfectly.

“If you’re a fan of American Horror Story or Friday Night Lights, you know what a joy it is to see Britton in action,” Buzz Sugar’s Becky Kirsch gushes. “She’s a perfect fit for Rayna, whom you root for but never pity … To that point, Panettiere is well cast as Rayna’s biggest threat, and the tension between the two is fun to watch.”

But by far, the highlight of the show is the music. Again, let me stress that I’m not a country music lover although I do respect it. But this show has some fantastic songs. One in particular was sung at the end of the pilot by two of the supporting characters, played by Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen. The song, “If I Didn’t Know Better,” was, according to an article on the Hollywood Reporter, written by half of the Civil Wars’ John Paul White. It was so chilling and catchy that after the pilot ended I immediately bought it on iTunes and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. Even Hayden Panettiere’s character resembles a more scandalous and more country-sounding Taylor Swift. Her songs have that same pop-country crossover feel that Swift is so popular for. All the songs are really well written and well performed.

If for some reason the music aspect doesn’t appeal to you, the show really does have much more to offer. The storyline is compelling and acting is great. Like Tim Goodman wrote for the Hollywood Reporter,

“All in all, it’s an entertaining hour of fine acting, writing and ambition,” writes Tim Goodman for the Hollywood Reporter. “Even if you’re not a country music fan, the rest of ‘Nashville’ is singing a different, intriguing tune.”

Watch Nashville, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

About the Author

Sierra Savela

Sierra Savela is the Chimes local news editor for the 2014-2015 school year. She is a junior from Huntington Beach, CA studying film and minoring in both journalism and gender studies. If you love equality, hummus or Bruce Springsteen, she believes you could be great friends.

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