Wednesday, October 10, 2012

'Nashville' Premiere Review - 1.01 Pilot

        On the series premiere of ABC's Nashville, Rayna James (Connie Britton) learns that her record label wants her to tour as the opening act for newcomer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), and when she refuses, the stage is set for the ultimate power struggle; and to complicate matters, Rayna's father, Lamar's drive for power results in backing Teddy, Rayna's husband, in a run for Mayor of Nashville, against her wishes.

        The pilot for Nashville is the best pilot - from either the new comedies or dramas - that sets up an engaging and visible ongoing series. I already mentioned that I thought Last Resort had the slightly better pilot but at the end of that one it was unclear what that series was. Here, we have a much more precise voice of what this series will look on a week-to-week basis.
        Honestly, I will admit that I went into this show with many reservations because I am not a country music fan and felt like ABC was just trying to jump on the singing bandwagon on the heels of FOX's Glee and NBC's Smash. But I also gave a vote of confidence for the series because I just Connie Britton - her role here made me completely forget about her lackluster arc on American Horror Story. And to my surprise I finished the pilot with a great appreciation with just how the show handled everything and made me desperate to see the next episode (which I unfortunately haven't gotten yet). Unlike the other two popular shows that feature music, the music in Nashville doesn't drive the drama and story forward - except for the closing duet between Scarlett and Gunnar. When it is used, it helps add dimension to all of the characters and adds tension to the overall dynamics. If the show keeps up this structure, it would be the perfect balance of Smash meets Dallas with a little bit of All About Eve thrown in. It may have a little too much going on in terms of plot but I have trust in the series after such an amazing pilot. I just really hope it doesn't follow the Smash trajectory - fantastic pilot, mediocre series.
        Even though, I make comparisons to other shows, there really isn't any other TV show out there like this. Originality is something that viewers look for and for those who turn in to this show should love the refreshing and unique tone that this show overall exudes. The pilot could have a big mess riddled with Southern caricatures and stereotypes and instead comes across as unique and very earnest. All of the characters are multi-faceted and varying degrees of intrigue to them and I want to learn and see more of them. Hayden Panettiere's Juliette Barnes is probably the most lacking in terms of differing characteristics but the reveal with her mother excites me and creates so much story potential and I had she becomes a more well-rounded antagonist.
        By far, the most amount of time is devoted to Britton's Rayna James and deservedly so because so is absolutely fantastic on this show. She is able to bring about enough emotions and great line delivery to make her such a present and likable lead character that we really do care about her more than anyone else by the hour's end. Powers Boothe is also wonderfully pleasant just chewing up the scenery here. The animosity between him and Britton's character is truly dynamic and adds a wonderful spark to make the less exciting political sub-story actually work.
        The presence of a younger love-triangle worried me at the start because so many shows lately have fallen victim to the annoying teenage curse. But much like their older counterparts, Scarlett, Gunnar and to a much lesser degree Avery are multi-layered characters and do add yet another refreshing aspect to the overall series. But keeping this level of freshness up can be quite difficult for an ongoing series and I really, really wish that this show's doesn't also fall victim to that terribly annoying plotting.

So what did everyone think of the premiere? Love the pilot? Which character did you love the most? Share your thoughts in the comments.