Fall TV Preview

Did ABC's Nashville Hit the Right Notes?

Will you be making regular trips to Nashville?

ABC’s new country-music drama, which premiered Wednesday at 10/9c, follows Rayna Jaymes (Friday Night LightsConnie Britton), a once-hot singer whose career has stalled. In order to stave off huge financial losses, her record company (nicely) orders her to ditch her upcoming solo tour and instead open for Juliette Barnes (HeroesHayden Panettiere), a sexed-up younger artist with crossover appeal. Barnes also has a bitchy streak, an addict mother, a tendency to hit sour notes and her own interpretation of friendly behavior. “I’m always nice,” she purrs to a member of her entourage moments before acting quite the opposite in Rayna’s presence.

Rayna hates the idea of touring with Juliette, but husband Teddy’s past financial failures (“We’re just a different kind of rich called ‘cash poor,'” he tells one of their young daughters) coupled with her refusal to accept any help from her domineering dad Lamar (Powers Boothe) makes the “co-headlining” gig seem inevitable.

Meanwhile, against Rayna’s wishes, her powerful father coaxes her husband into a mayoral run (“How about letting me step into the limelight for a change?” Teddy spits at her during an argument) and her bandleader Deacon (Charles Esten) – with whom she has a romantic past – is mulling a job offer from Juliette. But the hour ends on an up note when Nashville newbies Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) take the stage at an open mic night and perform an original song that just might revive Rayna’s career.

The music is fantastic, the relationships intriguing (what, exactly, was Lamar alluding to when he mentioned one of his granddaughters?) and the y’alls a welcome treat for anyone missing FNL’s Mrs. Coach.

That’s what we think, but what’s your take? Grade Nashville via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Emgee says:


  2. Tom says:

    Amazing amazing amazing in every way possible. Amazing! Can’t say enough good things about it.

  3. Robin says:

    I had to rewind the argument she and her dad had….b/c I was trying to catch what was being said. Intense. I have been looking forward to this pilot since I read about it first right here on tvline, and I have to say…it lived up to my expectations. Actually surpassed them! Not sure what the ratings will say but I think they should be pretty darn great…(truth be told I did dvr Chicago Fire and I plan to watch it very soon) but I honestly think this show could be another ABC hit! :)
    Also the last song sang by Scarlet & Gunnar was the best performed during the whole show!

    • Emgee says:

      I DVRd CF as well. Looking forward to seeing Jesse Spencer in that but Nashville will be my Wednesday night fare.

    • TheBeach says:

      Oh Man, that last song (and both singers) was absolutely beautiful…one of the best I’ve heard in a while. Does anyone know if it’s available for download?

      • Doug says:

        It is on iTunes

      • kjh says:

        It’s a cover of a song by The Civil Wars. You can download a whole album of their live performance at Eddie’s Attic at their site which includes “If I Didn’t Know Better”

        • Carly says:

          Love the Civil Wars. Love, love, love. Such an awesome band, and love seeing their music featured on such a great show!

      • soxfan says:

        @TheBeach -I read that this song has been sung & recorded by the Civil Wars – (a gal/guy country duo – not married to each other though) their music is awesome. Sorry, not sure if the song that was sung last night is available for download – practically everything is – but again, not sure.

      • TheBeach says:

        Thanks everyone for the input. I really like The Civil Wars and didn’t realize it was a cover of one of their songs.

        • Robin says:

          I didn’t realize it either. Thanks for the info! Also I think a potentially cool thing Nashville could do, would be to have country stars or others music stars as guest stars on the show. Featuring their music is great but it would also be cool to have them be on the show briefly.

  4. Brandon says:

    Loved it! Both Connie and Hayden were great and they both have great singing voices

  5. Leah says:

    That. Was. Awesome. I’m so ready for the next one!

  6. The best new show of the fall by far.

  7. David says:

    LOVED it! Didn’t want to, but I did (I watch too many shows)!

  8. Erin says:

    I liked it, I think is has some real potential. I was a little worried because it basically just looked like a TV version of the movie Country Strong, but so far I’m impressed with the cast.

  9. Den says:

    Loved this!!!
    Every time Connie Britton says Y’all an angel gets its wings.

  10. VACastlefan says:

    Loved every minute of it! Tuned in because Connie Britton is just fabulous in every role she plays, but was happy to find that i enjoyed all of the characters and their story lines. Will definitely continue watching–and I’m not even really a country music fan!

  11. Heather says:

    This is the one that I have been waiting for and I am not disappointed! I am hooked Already! It almost felt like a movie!
    Juliet has slept with 2 guys already… This will be interesting :)
    LOVING the Drama!
    Is it next week yet?

  12. Eliza says:

    Yup. Loved it! That closing song by Scarlett and Gunner was beautifully performed.

  13. Marissa says:

    I’d definitely turn the volume up if I heard that last song on the radio. In one word, I’d call it sultry. So good. On another note, it’s weird seeing Charles “Chip” Esten do some real singing for a change. I remember watching him play second fiddle to Wayne Brady during the singing games on Whose Line. He was great tonight; I like him in a more serious role.

  14. Ana says:

    Pardon the French but this was freaking amazing!!! Best thing I’ve seen in years and I’m a Revenge and Good Wife fan. I have never seen Friday Night Lights but Connie Britton has my vote and my attention. And the music was fantastic. Especially that last little diddy that was all kinds of sexy. I hope this gem puts ABC back on the map. Kudos!

    • Watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix. You will fall in love with Connie Britton

      • Tom says:

        I agree with this wholeheartedly. Connie in FNL is everything and Nashville is the perfect vehicle for her to be in a one hundred percent starring role. I also love the fact that Connie is a New Englander all the way but is most well known for playing hardcore Southern women. Shows how much more awesome she is!

  15. Mark says:

    I like it a lot except the politics stuff is a little bizarre? I don’t really get it. The country music stuff is great though and I really like Hayden and Connie’s characters.

  16. Really??? I guess I was the only one who could not get into it, and I was really looking forward to this show, idk i guess I will give it another chance but I will DVR it and watch CF live or AHS live.

    • Jill says:

      NO i felt the same way, until the duet at the end and the phone call. That is the only reason I’ll watch next week.

    • A says:

      In my opinion, it wasn’t as good as all the TV critics are saying it is.

      • Lola says:

        Yeah, I felt similarly. It was fine and it held my interest well enough, I guess. I really like some of the actors like Connie Britton and I’ve always liked Eric Close well enough. It just seems to have a lot of disparate things going on, like it’s not entirely sure what it wants to be yet. It was one of the stronger pilots this season, for sure, but this is an extremely weak season in my opinion. I still liked Last Resort a lot more than this. My biggest issue is that it feels like a lot of things I’ve seen before, just combined into one. Big, powerful daddy that has issues with his sweet, well meaning daughter. Marital issues because one person is checked out and in love with an old flame. Down home, classic artist versus newbie diva bitchy upstart. Young woman with issues who sleeps her way to the top and has Family Problems, including an addict mom. The biggest issue for me was that there were several times I finished a line in my head before the character said it, which usually is an indicator to me that cliches abound. All that said, I expect that this will be the buzzy hit of the season – it may not have the highest ratings of all new shows, thanks to Revolution’s plum position behind the Voice, but I think it will get all the buzz and very, very strong demos.

        • Kim says:

          I felt the same way Lola, been there, seen that. Like Country Strong meets Smash and probably a bunch of other been there done that plot devices. Next.

      • TheBeach says:

        Overall, I liked it a lot. I’m ok with the All About Eve/Country Strong dynamic of the two leads. but I did think the Big Daddy storyline veered a little too much into “Dallas” territory (i,e soapy). It was great when it stuck to the country music scene plot.

    • Locke says:

      Better to watch American horror in this time slot

  17. Jared says:

    The amount of potential this series has is undeniable. Loved how the characters showed depth..had interesting back stories and its only the pilot. I can only imagine where the writers will go. Needless to say Nashville is my new guilty pleasure.

  18. J says:

    It was pure soap and I loved every minute of it!

  19. Candice says:

    i already watched the pilot online since it was released it earlier but i remember thinking “wow, i did not expect to like this” when i first watched it. i hate country music with a burning passion but oddly, i liked all the songs. I was even more surprised by connie’s perfomance. i liked her character after 10 minutes of screen time.

    • Mo says:

      Agree with all of this. I was expecting to be disappointed because of all the buzz, but I was very pleasantly surprised. We’ll see if it keeps surprising me in a good way, because there is definitely a lot of potential here.

  20. dude says:

    LIKED it. It didn’t live up to my expectations but it has potential. Was hoping more would happen in the pilot instead of pure set up. As amazing as Connie Britton is, a show can’t coast on her charm alone. After the scene with her mom, definitely leaning toward Team Juliette.

  21. yall says:

    If I read one more tweet about Juliette being Taylor swift or Connie’s character being Faith Hill I was gonna…do something bad. Jeez. And who picks teams after the first episode? Anyways, I liked it and will watch it again. The snide insults were flawless.

  22. A says:

    I didn’t like Rayna’s holier-than-thou attitude, she was the “new thing” once too.

    • Candice says:

      it isn’t holier-than-thou attitude. its realistic. of course she was the new thing once but i think her irritation towards juliette has more to do with the fact that her music isn’t really country and its more teenage-boppy.

      • Emgee says:

        Oh great, now you’re the expert on what is and isn’t country.
        Yes, country has changed, but that is part of the story of the show. The break between the old and the new,

        • lol says:

          Just because you have a twang doesn’t mean it’s country. And they did NOT say they were an “expert” as you put it. That was you putting words in their mouth. It’s a matter of opinion.

  23. Terry says:

    Wanted to like it and I will give it another chance, but other than Connie and J.D. Souther, and the last song from the Bluebird, I found it just another prime time soap. By the way, that’s not how we talk in Nashville.

    • TheBeach says:

      The accent thing didn’t bother me. I grew up about 45 minutes from Nashville but because it’s the mecca for all things country music, it draws folks from everywhere and one hears many different accents.

  24. Heather says:

    I loved the entire show (Connie Britton is sublime!) and holy cow, I knew Chip Estin from Whose Line was in this show but it didn’t hit me until reading these comments who he actually plays in the show! =) So nice to see him in something that isn’t just being funny and he has a fantastic voice. Nice to see Jonathan Jackson in this show too (grew up watching him on GH and have always loved his acting) and the supporting cast in general seems quite strong. I’m very interested in seeing where things go from here and hopefully ABC has another hit on it’s hands! =) (BTW-Count me as another who recorded Chicago Fire and while I enjoyed that show for the most part, Nashville will be the one I watch live every week.)

    • tiffanie says:

      Count me as another that dvr chicago fire, and as a longtime gh/jj fan and hopefully get to hear him sing soon. Hope they move one of the shows to another night so neither get canned too soon. I like both and they are totally different dramas so waiting to see how the ratings come in later today.

  25. Shaun says:

    Connie Britton isn’t so hot a singer,but the others were good expecially that duet.

    • lara says:

      Agreed. It’s kind of hard to be rooting for her to get her stardom back when she seems very mediocre, both in singing and performance.

  26. Miffy says:

    Connie Britton is a genuine TV star and the show is worth watching just for her. I liked a lot of it. Eric Close seems like an odd fit, though, and the political storyline seems like it will be a bit of a bore. And I would have held off a bit before making the Juliette character an all-out villain.

    That said, I’ll be tuning in again next week. From what I understand, a new showrunner (Dee Johnson from “Melrose Place” and “The Good Wife”) takes over beginning with episode 2, and the network hasn’t sent out any further screener episodes. I hope that’s not a bad sign.

  27. Marissa says:

    Random thought here, but I thought it was funny to see Hayden sleep with the manager/producer guy, considering their previous roles in Remember the Titans. Of all the characters from that movie to eventually hook up with one another…

  28. MK says:

    I liked most of the pilot, but thought Rayna’s Dad was a little too much of a caricature. Hoping they turn down the stereotypes a bit, especially in the political storyline. They need to focus on the music side of the stories. And the more Jonathan Jackson, the better.

  29. Alex says:

    Rough start… But the last half was infinitely better than the first half. The songs are all pretty great, which is a huge plus. It definitely has major potential, if ABC doesn’t water it down like they do with a lot of their dramas.

  30. adam says:

    Beyond Perfect! I don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet but it reminds me so much of the film Crazy Heart. I can’t wait for next episode!

  31. lara says:

    The comment about Maddie – it was pretty obvious that she’s not her husband’s child, but Deacon’s.

    I liked it – it’s pretty soapy, but that’s kind of my style. I do think that HP’s character having such old love interests (40+ it seemed like) seems a bit strange.

  32. Frankie says:

    I did not like it. Watched it when they put it online and I was really disappointed. Really not as good as critics said it would be. Fail!

  33. anna says:

    hayden is fabulous i just watch for her :-D hayden had a phenomenal presence is undoubtedly the best actress in the show

  34. Mel says:

    So many characters and different character histories….loved it, slightly confused, but i will defs be back :D

  35. TV Gord says:

    I loved it, but if I had to pick out one criticism, it’s that Juliette doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. Did she have to be SO transparently evil? Why are so many people around her putting up with the behavior, if she is such a queen bitch? There has to be something more to her than we saw on the first episode.

    Still, I love it. The cast is great, the writing is great, the music is great! I’m completely on board!

    • lara says:

      I’m guessing that they are going to focus on the fact that she had a tough childhood, with a drug addict mother and an absent father. Also, people put up with MUCH worse divas if they cal sell albums.

  36. sara says:

    I don’t even give a damn if it’s good or bad, I’m watching because Connie’s hair is frickin awesome.

  37. greysfan says:

    This is the best new show of the new season by far. I feel this show is only going to grow and get bigger. This all star cast is amazing. The only downside for me was there was a lot of music in it. I hope it doesn’t go down the Glee and Smash path with TOO MUCH music because the acting was actually the highlights for me not the music.

  38. amy says:

    Loved Chip Esten! I could listen to him sing all night!!

  39. Kathy says:

    Loved it !! Always been a Connie Britton fan and she never fails to deliver. Hayden’s character is great too, she’s got that “angel’s face with a devil’s soul” thing down pat. I loved her on “Heros” initially until they ruined that show so by the end of last night’s episode all I could think was “Smack the b*tch, save your career” for Rayna….the previews for uncoming episodes look great !!

  40. Hope says:

    Liked it. Refreshing to watch a show without a murder, or crisis etc.. The music and acting was very good. I have seen Connie Britton and Eric Close, and like them both, but didn’t know anybody else. Seems like the pilot was a bit busy setting up the storylines, but nonetheless it kept my interest. Will watch again next week. Hope it doesn’t get too “soap operish” though, it has much more potential to become a good drama.

  41. Angelique says:

    How many other people had the weird voice over stage direction? Was it just U-Verse in the SF Bay Area? I couldn’t get into the episode at all because it was constantly “Rayna looked away,” “Juliette smiled,” or “Rayna put the back of her hand on his chest.”

  42. intelliwoman says:

    Would have gotten an “A” from me instead of a “B” if it didn’t have all that horrible country music. I’ll either watch and mute or DVR and skip.

  43. sladewilson says:

    It gets an A- from me. Very good pilot episode plus any show that properly utilizes Powers Boothe will be a hit, period. That last song was the best song of the night. I still got Last Resort as the best new show of the season with Nashville and Arrow running a strong second and third place…

  44. Joe says:

    Best pilot of the Fall Season hands down.

  45. susela says:

    In truth, I kept missing Coach every time Eric Close showed up, but otherwise loved the show. My take is not that Rayna will be getting new songs from Scarlett & Gunnar, but rather will arrange to tour with them. This way, they can become a new hot thing and attract ticket-buyers, but she stays the headliner.

  46. hru says:

    lord!! another musical… country Glee

  47. Caro says:

    Deacon sleeping with Juliette right away was too slutty and cheap. And of course what Lamar holds over his daughters head is the fact that his eldest granddaughter is fathered by that same Deacon. But if they indeed share such a rich past with much feelings in between them I can’t imagine him sleeping with this awful Juliette. Too soapy!

    • lara says:

      I mean, Rayna has obviously been married for 10+ years….I doubt he’s been celibate since then. But, I do agree that having them sleep together right away wasn’t the right move.

  48. Elyse says:

    just bought the song at the end of the episode off itunes… literally amazing.