On The Bandwagon: “Nashville”


In On The Bandwagon, a recurring feature here at Heave, Marissa Morales tells you about all the TV you really should be watching by now.

Why should you be watching Nashville?

I have three words for you: Connie. Fucking. Britton.

Not enough for you? Well maybe you need to rethink some life choices, but fine, I’ll persuade you more.

Nashville takes place in (you guessed it) Nashville, Tennessee, the very heart of the country music industry. Connie Britton plays Rayna James, a Faith Hill-esque country singer doing her best to stay relevant in an industry that focuses less on talent and more on sales. Rayna’s plot goes through a steady roller coaster, but at the core, Rayna is pushing to stay relevant, without sacrificing any integrity.

Enter Juliette Barnes, played brilliantly by Hayden Panettiere, a young country starlet selling records, sleeping around and getting into Trouble with a capital T. Juliette has plenty of problems, a mom with an addiction problem, a free spirit and the awareness that no one takes her seriously as an artist outside of the tween scene. These two really bring the show together, as they have a beautiful rivalry and an open hatred. Even scenes that involve the pair cooperating typically end with mutual “Still hate you, muah!”

I know what you’re thinking: “But Marissa, I HATE COUNTRY MUSIC.” To that I say, join the club, but the soundtrack to the show is actually very solid; don’t expect Glee-style numbers. Every actor that sings on the show has a hefty dose of talent and most of the songs are damn catchy.

Rounding out the cast of characters is Teddy, Rayna’s husband (Eric Close), a man with SECRETS, running for mayor to save face. Also watch for the two actresses who play their children, Maddie and Daphne (Lennon and Maisy Stella), as they do a cover of one of Juliette’s songs that will send shivers down your spine. You also have Rayna’s sister, Tandy Wyatt (Judith Hoag), who really deserves a stronger plot line, and their father Lamar Wyatt (MOTHER FUCKING POWERS BOOTHE) who plays a character you’d expect from Powers Boothe, but of course is awesome.

Deacon Clayborne is Rayna’s guitar man, and oooooooo those two have a HISTORY. He also gets wooed by Juliette (oh the dramz!), but more importantly he’s a recovering addict and may or may not still be holding a candle for Rayna. Deacon’s niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen) is definitely a fan favorite. She dates Avery (Jonathan Jackson; remember him?), a musician seeking money and fame. (Yeah, every show has to have that d-bag boyfriend with the awesome girlfriend.) They are that couple. For a time. And to keep true to a perfect drama, we need a love triangle. Enter Gunnar (Sam Palladio), a talented musician in love with Scarlett. He convinces her to sing some of her poetry with him, and oh my friends, you will get chills every time these two sing together, which is thankfully often.

Yes there’s music classified as country, but it’s not something that’s shoved down your throat at every turn. You’ll get snippets throughout the episode, and then typically a full song at the end. It’s a show with a rapidly growing fanbase, too. Mention Nashville in a crowded room and I guarantee at least four heads will turn and say “OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT SHOW!” Seriously, I’ve seen it happen. It’s hard to delve too deep into it without giving too much away, but I can say it has restored my faith in the network drama. Not since The OC has a show kept me so captivated week after week. And if the cast gets stronger as the show goes on, as it seems to be doing, expect sweeps during awards season.

Give Nashville the chance it deserves, because come on. How else are you going to fill the time until Breaking Bad returns?