Drama in Tennessee

by Spencer Doar

Nashville can get hotter than a lion's mouth in August, and the new ABC drama with the same name is just as heated.  Slated to premiere Wednesday, Oct. 10th at 9 p.m.; the network made the "Nashville" pilot episode available online early.  This sneak peek gives audiences a chance to get hooked by the burgeoning feud that pits country music icon Rayna James (played by Connie Britton) against up-and-coming young sensation Julliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere).  The show would be worth watching for just the final, epic performance/montage.  It owns the stage it plays on and then drops the mike before walking off with a sultry saunter.  

James and Barnes’ first interaction is curt and laden with hostility.  Then James is told by her label that due to dropping ticket sales she must either cancel her tour or join forces with Barnes.   To round out the conflict, James’ relationship with her father, sister and husband are far from healthy (she’s all right with her kids though).  Her husband’s running for mayor while his poor business decisions have left the family cash poor. Barnes’ relationship with her drug addict mother is equally strained and she uses sex to fill the void.  There’s a lot happening.  

On a technical note, the show is partially shot in that annoying handycam way that producers probably thought added to the realism of the show but merely succeed in distracting the viewer from the fine acting of the two stars.

But that’s a minor criticism.  “Nashville” is an all-around thoroughly entertaining experience that has sex, drugs and country music among a plethora of plotlines.  You don’t even have to like country music to find this show compelling.