Arts 'Nashville' introduces viewers to trials and tribulations of country music

Published on October 21st, 2012 | by Key Reads


Nashville Airs First Two Episodes, Looks Promising

'Nashville' juxtaposes traditional with new by way of introduces a pop-friendly newcomer into a seasoned singer's country music domain


By Pavithra Mohan


ABC’s latest dramatic undertaking, “Nashville” made waves even prior to its premiere on Oct 10. The network made the shrewd decision to post the pilot online in advance, likely to entice audiences and build hype—and it seems to have worked judging by critics’ reviews thus far.


“Nashville” paints a picture that’s far from uncommon, spinning a musical tale that pits new it girl Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) against Rayna James (Connie Britton), the reigning—but now fading—queen of country music. It’s a power struggle set against the backdrop of a love triangle between the two divas and Rayna’s lead guitarist and former flame Deacon. We’ve heard this saga before, in different incarnations, but here there’s also a budding romance between young singer-songwriters, a thorny backstory for Juliette involving her coke-addled mother, and a political slant at the hands of Rayna’s all-mighty politician father, who twists her husband’s arm into running for mayor.


In just two episodes, “Nashville” seized my attention despite my feelings about country music (disdainful, to say the least) and it’s likely because of the au courant way in which it juxtaposes the pure and traditional with the new-fangled and auto-tuned. And yet, there’s a caveat in that Juliette actually yearns to be a Rayna, not the one-note pop sensation that the powers-that-be have molded her into. Multiple other plotlines are also set into motion by the end of the pilot itself—which is more than can be said for the current meager TV offerings.


“Nashville” introduces a premise that feels fresh in this climate, but some shows have acutely eaten away at me, incurring ulcer after ulcer: CBS’s “Partners”, a terribly unfunny, poor man’s reimagining of “Will and Grace” and “How I Met Your Mother”, the meandering tale that seems to have dead-ended at a yellow umbrella; there’s also the CW’s “Emily Owens, M.D.”, a witless, juvenile version of “Grey’s Anatomy”. Perhaps the deepest cut is the last season of “Gossip Girl”—a show I valued more than Serena prizes her bosom; it fell so far, so fast, spectacularly badly. The only saving grace is “Homeland”, where Carrie’s riveting psychosis keeps me oh-so-sane.


Never though I’d say this, but here’s hoping that “Nashville” and its twangy melodies stick around. I would much rather cheer and jeer Juliette and Rayna in the ring than Blair vs. Serena, round ten.



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