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“Nashville” Strikes The Right Chord
Posted by LaDale Anderson on Oct 9, 2012 - 5:33:20 PM

HOLLYWOOD—I will be the first to admit it; I’m not a fan of country music, but its amazing how quickly that idea can change with a TV show. There has been so much buzz surrounding ABC’s drama “ Nashville” I couldn’t help, but take a peek at the show.   I’ll be the first to say it, its one of the juiciest shows on TV right now.  As a pilot it hits all the right notes, introducing an eclectic group of characters whose lives all intertwine. 


However, it’s the powerhouse female leads that drive this show.  Connie Britton portrays Rayna James, a country legend that has roots growing up in Nashville, but her reign on the top of the charts is slowly falling, as country starlet Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is vying for the coveted seat. While watching the episode you cannot help, but begin to think just which country superstar does Rayna represent if any.  Could it be Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Reba McEntire or someone else?  The same applies for Juliette Barnes; is she a splitting image of Leann Rimes, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood or someone we just haven’t thought about?  Those are answers we’ll never know, but Britton and Panettiere play their roles so effortlessly.


Britton is strong minded, blunt and doesn’t take anything from anybody including her own father portrayed by the wicked Powers Boothe.  The two have a fractured relationship; the audience does not know much about it just yet, but it all goes back to her childhood.  The irony in that situation is that Juliette has a fractured relationship with her mother, who is a drug addict.  When we’re first introduced to Juliette, she is a diva; she literally blows a casket when she receives a call from her mother after getting a new cell phone. It’s later revealed that she is yearning to have that mother-daughter bond and it’s eating her inside that her mother has hit rock bottom. 


The show is so much more than just country music though; politics plays a big role in “ Nashville” as well. Rayna’s father is a powerful politician with money; money that he uses that to get people to do his dirty work, including Rayna’s sister, Tandy (Judith Hoag).  In her eyes, her father can do no wrong; I’m just waiting until the moment that he double crosses his own daughter.  He has devised a plan to get Rayna’s husband, Teddy (Eric Close) to run for Mayor; there’s just one problem a close friend of Rayna’s is also running for the coveted position.  She is now forced to choose between a dear friend and her husband. “Oh what will she do?”  Of course she stands by her husband’s side, but at what cost?

The cast of "Nashville."


Other notable characters to be acknowledge is the sweet-hearted Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen) who is an aspiring songwriter and singer, who just happens to be the niece of Deacon Clayborne (Charles Esten).  Deacon is a songwriter who catches Juliette’s eye early on.  Perhaps I forgot to mention he’s also Rayna’s former flame. 


The series was created by Callie Khouri who wrote the 1992 hit “Thelma & Louise.”  The writing for the series is impeccable.  You almost feel as if you have been placed directly into the city of Nashville.  The dialogue is poignant, clever and deliciously good.  What works so well is that our primary characters Rayna and Juliette appear worlds apart, but they are so much alike it’s scary.  Panettiere is stunning in the role; she gorgeous, devilish and above all cunning to the core. She will go to great lengths to get the things she wants even seducing Rayna’s former flame.  I just loved the moment when Juliette and Rayna meet each other for the first time; Juliette screams diva and is so coy about the comment that Rayna makes about her clothing, it sends chills down the spine!


Britton infuses an instant likability about Rayna; she’s that person that is loved by everyone.  She sees her career is on a downward spiral, but she is not about to give into the demands of the backstabbing music industry. She has no plans to open a tour for another singer, if anything that singer should be opening for her.


It’s difficult to hook an audience on a series with just one episode, but "Nashville” does so without trying to hard.  The reasoning behind that success is authenticity. The audience is immediately drawn to these characters; we get slices of their lives, but not the whole story.   Britton and Panettiere are the driving forces behind the series, but the supporting characters are icing on the cake.  Nashville” airs Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC. So which singer do you expect to stay on top?


Cliffside Malibu




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