09 October 2012

First Thoughts: A star is born in NASHVILLE

Connie Britton is someone I will always adore as an actress and I expected nothing less from her for headlining Nashville, the latest musical drama to hit television (ABC, Wednesdays 10 PM beginning Oct 10th).  Her performance in the pilot episode was impeccable. I wasn't aware she could sing like that, but she was believable as the award-winning country singer (Rayna James) with 20 years to her name.

Hayden Panettiere plays the young, up-and-comer (Juliet) the record producers want to support because she brings the audience and their spending money. But her character is a bit reckless and troubled. A Lindsay Lohan waiting to happen.  I'm not necessarily fond of Panettiere, but she is suited for the role and plays it decently. It's clear her character is complex and viewers will be divided about loving or hating Juliet.

These two leads anchor Nashville solidly. But the show itself has a really interesting storyline, which is treated by way of Dallas or something similar.

There's rivalry.
There's money and power.
There's blackmail.
There's lost loves, past loves.
There are secrets.
And there's family you can't weed out...because, well... they're family.

The series also boasts of an equally solid supporting cast from seasoned actors, down to new faces I'm just now seeing on TV. Even the young girls playing Rayna's kids are talented!

But the real surprise for Nashville for me, though, is this fresh talent, Clare Bowen (playing Scarlett):

Where they found her, I wouldn't know (googling her afterwards!). But she is Nashville's little (not so secret) weapon and I'm guessing someone like Rayna James would gladly hand down her reign for.

This is what I'm talking about:

I have to admit, I wasn't too keen on the show's concept because country music, in its basic and most organic form (think Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton), is the least of my favorite.  I wasn't sure I'm going to like this one, save for Connie Britton.

But the pilot --- which is arguably the best pilot for a drama show I've seen this season so far --- showed that it was more than the music and the singing. I dare say this one is a potential hit, in both the ratings and at the charts.

Nashville is created by Callie Khouri who wrote the movie Thelma & Louise.