Nashville Season 5: Is the Revamped Series Worth Your Time? (Rayna/Deacon Fans, Listen Up)

We’ve seen Nashville‘s Season 5 premiere: Let’s talk, y’all.

ABC’s Nashville was a rollercoaster: Often fun, but with dips and curves that came outta nowhere, leaving you a little woozy in their wake. CMT’s version of the country-music drama, on the other hand, is like lazy river tubing on a summer afternoon: not much happens — and for the most part, you’re OK with it.

Moments are allowed to bloom. Songs are allowed to play out. Emotional beats are allowed the time they need to hit home. On the whole — and particularly when characters we’ve known for years are given the space to work through some Big Stuff — it’s a welcome change.

Which isn’t to say that the new iteration of the series, now under the showrunning auspices of thirtysomething‘s Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, is perfect. The abrupt switch from breakneck plot-jumping to take-your-time storytelling is jarring, particularly for those of us who’ve watched the show from the pilot. (Here’s hoping that will smooth out, feeling more normal as the season rolls on.)

Similarly, some of the choices the show has made regarding character development don’t exactly track with what we know about the Music City denizens. We won’t spoil you, but Rayna, for instance finds herself having an existential crisis that feels a little manufactured. Yes, she’s shaken by Juliette’s barely surviving her plane crash, and Highway 65’s prospects aren’t great… but hasn’t the First Lady of Country Music faced far worse in previous seasons without it mussing a hair on her pretty red head?

Meanwhile, the Juliette story that Nashville has set up for Hayden Panettiere’s return has a ton of potential: Can a character who routinely believes the worst about life and herself pull herself out of a very dark place and grow along the way? Will this be the season that Ms. Barnes overcomes her tendencies, accepts the good things she’s got (cough Avery cough) and matures in a way we haven’t yet seen?

Speaking of good things, here are a few other premiere tidbits that feel like positive changes:

* Rayna and Deacon’s relationship has never been in such a good place. Ever.
* At an important moment, Scarlett draws from her life experiences to act as a wise woman, and it’s very believable.
* The much-discussed slower pace of the action is a boon to the show’s central relationships. Can’t be said enough. Avery and Juliette, Deacon and Rayna — they finally have time to talk!
* Music moves the story along and has a prominent place in the narrative in a way that’s been missing from recent seasons.

We’ll be back with a full recap after the premiere sneak peek airs Thursday (CMT, 9/8c). Until then, hit the comments with your thoughts, hopes and predictions!

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. Shira says:

    Personally I’ve been waiting for a Rayna existential crisis since season 1 but guess the reason it happens now is to set up the background for Connie’s departure.
    I love everything I hear (for the love of Dolly Parton, even if they just sit on the edge of the Cumberland River and play songs for 2 hours after last season.. I’m good). My only concern and what prevents me from being fully excited is…Rayna’s future. As a fan of the show and someone who loves her character I can’t (and don’t want to) imagine a Rayna-free Nashville. As a feminist, I get a bit nauseated by the possibility she’ll not only leave by end up in a body bag because that’s what the world needs – another great female characters that “pays the price/sacrifices herself” and ends up dead….NOT.
    Sure hope, if she’s really leaving, that this existential crisis will lead her to retreat to Deacon’s cabin or something and write sad country songs with occasional visits to/from the family and not to some violent death and a statue of ‘Saint Rayna’ at the Bluebird.

    • IceTear1 says:

      The thing is they seem to be filming a lot hospital stuff now regarding spoilers. Really hoping that it’s just injury and they send her to rehabilitate somewhere if writing out and not kill away.

      • Shira says:

        Yes, me too. Sure, as a viewer I don’t want Connie Britton to leave and not sure I’ll even tune in to watch a show without her, but I can stomach it more if she just goes away.
        Connie Britton has the right to leave the show (like we all have the right to quit our jobs). I don’t like it but definitely respect it and it’s not like she needs my permission.
        But a dead Rayna is just WRONG. On so many levels!

        • I agree with you completely Shira. I can respect her leaving if that´s what see wants. But I rather see Rayna go somewhere than getting killed. Newest spoilers though doesn´t sound promising :(

  2. ToyCannon says:

    It is worth my time as long as they are not killing off Rayna ten episodes into the season. Hopefully, the “Is Connie Britton leaving?” is just a mid-season cliffhanger plot to add some suspense.

  3. webly3 says:

    Rayna having an existential crisis = leaving the show + also not being killed off

  4. Mary says:

    I’m excited for the new season! I hope Rayna’s daughters are featured more this season. And I’m glad Will is still on the show.

    • Ben says:

      I think one of the best things that season 5 should usher in is those girls going back to being sweet girls with amazing voices. That’s where they should be.

  5. IceTear1 says:

    Just hoping this isn’t just teasing us with happiness until all goes to hell 😢 Hoping for a miracle to keep Rayna alive!

  6. Jason says:

    It was a given that the shift in pacing would take a moment of adjustment but I, for one, am more than ready for it. I’ve never been a big fan of soap opera antics (I quit Grey’s Anatomy long ago for such reasons) but I stuck with Nashiville because I loved the music and the characters. Hopefully now it can become the show I hoped it would be when it first premiered.

  7. makparis says:

    Glad to hear it. Some of the plot twists and just idiotic character choices left a bad taste in my mouth, especially last season.

    I know I’m in the minority, but I’m glad Connie’s leaving. She’s a great actress and can sing, but I hate the character of Rayna so very, very much. Personally, she can take Maddie with her and I wouldn’t complain a bit. Everything Rayna and Maddie last season was just terrible.

  8. Degra says:

    Frankly I’ve been waiting over a decade for television to get back to take-your-time storytelling. It’s a lost art if the last decade has taught me anything when it comes to tv shows

    I’ve personally hated the way writers have gone to excess in cast size, pacing, plotlines etc. they seem to think more is more–increasing the number of scenes and plotlines which reduces time spent on a scene when show running time haven’t gone up but rather down dramatically. It leaves unfortunately up to the viewer to pretty much full in the scenes with the kind of depth and involvement that years ago would have been provided dramatically by the writers.

    And I don’t advocate glacial
    Pacing but a return to more modest pacing is welcome. I’m so tired of things flying by as you say at a breakneck speed. How can that possibly be satisfying for a viewer when you barely can take what just happened in fully before jetting off to the next scene or plot point

    Give me a modest ensemble that can be properly serviced with a manageable handful of season long arcs fully developed proceeding at a modest pace and I’ll be happy. And if Hollywood has to bring out of retirement members of that old guard to find writers capable of restoring this traditional storytelling approach to television once again I say do so since I find the current crop of writers sorely lacking on what it takes to be good storytellers

    • Ben says:

      Not entirely lost. Just rare. Worth grabbing hold of when you find it.

      Actually, I felt like Season One of Nashville was a bit like that. It’s gotten faster and faster over time. And to me that hasn’t been a good thing.

  9. Jpcricket says:

    Looking forward to the outcome of that Scarlet/Gunner on stage kiss…

  10. Carol Tolbert says:

    I don’t really care if connie leaves or not. There are characters on the show that are more talented musically and can carry the show just as well as she does. She made statments when ABC cancelled that she was really to move on so her heart will not be in it I don’t think. I love the show Nashville and have never missed it. I for one hope they do not change it too much I sure don’t like the idea of bringing in more characters and different styles of music.

  11. D- says:

    I love the show, except for Lexington; he adds nothing to the series, and should be killed off. Shame that Audrey Peebles and Will Chase are no longer series regulars; I really liked the juicy drama with their characters. Rayna, Maddie and her sister are an integral part of the show, in my opinion, and hopefully won’t leave.

    • I see also that in show´s world Rayna is the heart that keeps all else working around. So killing her would be terrible for whole show… Not to mention I don´t want to see drunk Deacon with random girls or something like that :(

  12. Boiler says:

    Looking forward to this “new” Nashville. If Connie Britton is leaving the show, still have seen no real proof, I hope they do not kill her off. I really wish they would have brought back Chaley Rose as Zoey. There seem to be a couple new characters but she had the best voice on the show.

  13. Allison says:

    Definitely worth my time if Rayna stays. I won’t be watching without her. She is the show for me.

  14. Léa says:

    Kimberley, any news if the new season of Nashville will be broadcasted in Canada? I’ve heard nothing and I’m getting anxious.. :(
    Thank you!!!

  15. Jerri Pierson says:

    I have loved this show from the pilot right on . I never can wait until the following week to watch what happens next. I love rhat Rayna and Deacon are married and are together, without them i would be disappointed

  16. Ed feinhals says:

    Show is much better know, when does new season start