Networks have had mixed ratings success with musical TV series. Some people still joke about Cop Rock but Glee and Smash have both been keepers. Will ABC’s Nashville be a big success as well or end up cancelled after one season? Is it worth watching?
Nashville follows the story of country music’s Rayna James (Connie Britton), a legendary superstar whose popularity is starting to fade. Her producers offer her a joint tour with an up-and-comer, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music. The cast also includes Powers Boothe, Charles Esten, Eric Close, Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio, Robert Wisdom, and Judith Hoag.
Is the TV series worth your time? The critics seem to whole-heartedly agree on this one:
Washington Post: “A duet involving Scarlett and Gunnar provides both the music for the episode’s ending montage and the best example of how the show uses its soundtrack to fit the mood of every scene — no surprise, considering the show’s executive producer in charge of music is Academy Award-winning musician T Bone Burnett. (He’s married to the show’s creator, Academy Award-winning writer Callie Khouri.) That level of attention to detail is no doubt an agonizing process, though certainly worth it, already putting the show a step above its musical brethren.”
LA Times: “Nashville is big, bold, wildly ambitious and great fun, with top notes of Robert Altman’s Nashville, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and All About Eve. More important, for all the plaintive twangs and knowing references to the Bluebird Cafe, there are moments of bare-naked and universal truths. Art, no matter how folksy, is power, demanding a single-mindedness that easily slides into cruelty, and when we chose to live among the people who know where the old breaks and soft spots are, even unintentional cruelty can prove lethal. But if the music lasts and the show is this good, what does that matter?”
Kansas City Star: “You don’t have to be a fan of country music to like Nashville. Then again, you don’t have to be a fan of country music to like country music these days, either. ABC’s gripping, soapy new musical drama is one of the best new shows of the season. It pits an old-school purist against the kind of overproduced crossover act responsible for watering down the genre while taking it mainstream. The battle for the heart of the city will be waged in dressing rooms, bedrooms, recording studios, voting booths and the parking lot of the famous Bluebird Cafe.”
USA Today: “It’s a sprawling story, held together with music — though unlike Glee or Smash, most of the songs are presented on this night in truncated bursts. The test going forward will be whether the show can keep those plotlines spinning without having them spin out of control — as happened on Smash, another show created by a well-regarded writer without a lot of TV experience. While that could mean trouble, set worries aside for one night, and simply enjoy the season’s best, most enjoyable new hour. You’ve waited long enough.”
Salt Lake Tribune: “ABC’s Nashville (Wednesday, 9 p.m., Ch. 4) is, in my estimation, the most promising show of the fall season… Nashville has all the makings of a really good prime-time soap that get a lot of things going in its first hour. Yes, it’s set in the capitol of country music. And, yes, it revolves around country music. But you don’t have to be a country music fan to fall for Nashville – as I can tell you from personal experience.”
Newsday: “The hype is justified. Nashville’s terrific.”
What do you think? Have you seen Nashville on ABC? If so, will you watch again?