TV Review: “Nashville” – Non-Country Music Lovers Allowed

Written by Hana Elniwairi March 17, 2013

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“Nashville” is a TV show that premiered in Fall 2012, to great reviews. It takes a look at the music scene in its namesake city, and explores the lives of musicians and artists at all levels of the industry, from aspiring songwriters, country music legends, and even those working behind the scenes, as producers, managers, etc. “Nashville” particularly centers around two country singers, the legendary Rayna James (Connie Britton), and rising star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), as they compete for the spotlight, while dealing with their separate lives at the same time. However, country music is only the backdrop for this drama that features so much more than what its name suggests.

“Nashville”‘s strength defintely lies in its characters. From the trailer, I never would have guessed that the characters of this show would be as complex and compelling as they are. None of them are the classic archetype they may appear to be (except for Rayna . . . maybe). There is not one specific ‘bad guy’ per se; the conflict and issues that arise are all a product of different people clashing, without there being one person to blame, which, let’s be real, is what happens in every day life. Yeah, it’s blown up in “Nashville”, as these are celebrities and whatnot, but the idea is there. No one is out to purposefully get anyone without legitimate reasons, even if some characters in the show believe otherwise.

“I wanna leave it all in my rearview mirror.”

While all the performances on the show are quite good, the most impressing has been Hayden Panettiere’s portrayal of Juliette Barnes. The character appears to be a mean-spirited, spoiled brat with no talent outside of her sex appeal, but the creators of “Nashville” have cleverly given us insight into the trials that produced this girl. Her history and relationship with her mother is one of the most heartbreaking things about this show, in its depiction of addiction and the effect it can have on family dynamics.

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“My boat’s just me. At the moment it’s just a kayak.”

One thing that works especially well in “Nashville” is that none of the romantic relationships established takes precedent over each other, or anything else. Yes, there are certain couples, and possible couples, but I enjoy the fact that the show focuses much more on the characters, not the relationships solely. Also, it’s refreshing to see that said relationships aren’t set in stone, and dependent on where the show goes.

The relationships in “Nashville” are also incredibly interesting, in that almost all of them seem to tie back to one character: Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten). It seems that without this character, the show would have been quite a disaster, but so far, it’s not destructive. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t get boring as time goes by . . .

“Think of Edgehill like your marriage. The only way to get through it is to fantasize about someone else.”

The biggest issue that “Nashville” faces is the fragmentation that sometimes happens with its storylines. All those great characters mentioned above are working well, but at times, it feels like you’re watching two or three different shows in the same 42 minutes. Often, the youngsters, Scarlett, Gunner, and co. have their storyline, Rayne and her family and crew have theirs, and Juliette has her own. Deacon is there to hold it all together, but he’s not always enough.

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Admittedly, the show has gotten better about bridging the gaps, but they’re still there. And now Avery Barkley seems to have broken away from Scarlett and co., with his own storyline, which is often quite boring, to be frank. His character seems to have served its purpose. I’m not sure why they keep pushing him on us. The whole youngsters’ group really needs to be incorporated with the big guys soon, or else interest in them will most likely completely fade away.

“Music’s all I got. It’s the only part of my life that I ever seem to be able to do halfway good.”

So far, I haven’t said much about the music, and frankly, that’s because I’m not an expert when it comes to country music. To me, nothing in the music sounds terribly scarring, and some of the songs have actually made it to my iPod, but the point is, even if you don’t find country music to be the most appealing of music genres, you will most likely still be able to enjoy the show regardless.

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If you’re looking for an interesting show, with compelling characters, and less-than-utterly-predictable storylines, give “Nashville” a chance. It hopefully will not disappoint you, and it might convert some of you out there into country music fans! “Nashville” returns to TV on March 27th.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Hana Elniwairi

Hana is a student at UWO, studying Psychology and Creative Writing. She enjoys watching movies and TV, no matter how much she complains about them or claims otherwise.

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