Nashville‘s one of those shows that I was kind of interested in when I first saw commercials for it, but it fell to the wayside by going on opposite my beloved The Challenge. However, this weekend, we found ourselves visiting the inlaws who have On Demand. While flipping through available TV shows to watch, we stumbled upon Nashville and gave the first two episodes a watch. For the most part I dug it, but did have a few problems.
First, though, the positive stuff. I love how complex this show is. Sure, it leads very easily and quickly into melodrama, but I love playing catch-up with such a large cast, the connections between the characters and their deep dark pasts (which everyone seems to have). I also like how the series doesn’t take the easy way (at least so far). The main point of contention in the first episode is whether Connie Britton’s Rayna Jaymes, an aging country star, will go on tour with hot young thing Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Instead of saying yes, which I kind of expected, she makes the hard and possibly suicidal decision not to. I like that kind of bob and weave storytelling.
I also think Panettiere is wonderful in her role. Yes, she has the bitchy star thing nailed, but how hard can that be? Then you start to see what else is going on with her: her mom’s a meth head, she’s clearly addicted to sex and the power that comes from it and she wants to prove to the world that she’s a legit musician and not just a pop starlet. There’s a lot going on with her character and she conveys that when it makes sense, but not always because that would betray her inner self.
I’m a little less impressed with Britton. I haven’t seen her in anything since Spin City (I know, I know, Friday Night Lights is awesome, I just don’t want to watch it right now), but I thought her delivery betrayed a more comedic sensibility than a dramatic one. There was something about her that I wasn’t liking throughout the first episode and a half and then I realized what it was: her eyes do like four things every time she’s thinking about something. It’s never just a quick glance to the side while lying or avoiding the truth, it’s like, up, down, left, right, blink, talk. It’s nuts! I also laughed out loud when Barnes sent a guitar to her guitar player/former boyfriend and she spreads a line like “What the hell is that” out like peanut butter on Wonder Bread.
But that’s not such a big deal to me, really. For the most part, I dig Britton and the rest of the cast. My bigger problem is a general sense of unbelievability with the story. If my wife had such a terrible relationship with her father — who is the most obviously evil person in the history of history — there’s no way I’d get in his pocket as a mayoral candidate, especially after telling her that we can leave this rich person lifestyle behind and go do something else with our lives. I also think there’s no possible way a political candidate for anything would be able to make it past the fact that his wife had a very public romance with the guy she still works with, not to mention the fact that they wrote beloved love songs that they’re about to go out on tour to sing again.
I try to suspend my disbelief when it comes to these things, but if the basis of the story is shaky, I have trouble coming back and enjoying the series on a regular basis. I think I can get past it though. I mean, this show is about music and people at different stages of creating music and the fame that can come along with it. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing and will come back for more if the show proves successful and sticks around.