Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Why Is No One Watching ABC’s Critically Acclaimed Drama Nashville?"

Nashville is one of the fall season’s few critical sensations. So why is no one watching? I explore the reasons why ABC’s country music drama isn’t a ratings success—yet.

Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Why Is No One Watching ABC’s Critically Acclaimed Drama Nashville?" in which I offer praise of ABC's Nashville, and ponder why more viewers aren't watching this fantastic drama.

The fall television season has been largely disappointing. Few new shows have captured the passion or imagination of viewers, and the war of comedies on the broadcast networks—with no less than three separate comedy blocks on Tuesday nights!—has turned out to be little more than a minor skirmish.

So it’s all the more disheartening that one of the few bright spots on the fall schedule, ABC’s Nashville—which was picked up for a full season earlier this week—seems to be suffering as much hardship as a heroine in a country song.

Despite overwhelming critical praise—a Metacritic score of 84, signifying “universal acclaim”—and glowing reviews, Nashville launched with an audience of 8.9 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18–49, numbers that dipped in subsequent weeks. (The Nov. 7 broadcast, however, showed an 11 percent uptick, which brought the show back to hovering around the 2.0 mark.)

The show, from Thelma & Louise writer Callie Khouri and starring Friday Night Lights’ Connie Britton and Heroes’ Hayden Panettiere, revolves around the often cutthroat musical and political scenes of Nashville, Tenn., centering on a troika of talented women during the ebb and flow of their country music careers. Britton’s Rayna James was the reigning queen of country, but she has discovered that consumers’ tastes have changed, and her stardom long ago stopped burning white-hot. Panettiere’s brash young upstart Juliette Barnes is the latest pop sensation, but she yearns for legitimacy and creative freedom. And then there’s Clare Bowen’s naive songwriter Scarlett O’Connor, who is plucked from obscurity when she duets one night with her fellow Bluebird Café waiter Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio).

Under the watchful eye of Khoury and her writing staff, Nashville is more than just a Glee clone in cowboy boots. The show skillfully explores the cost of living in the public eye, the lengths one has to go to in order to hold onto precarious financial success, the often incestuous Gordian knot of relationships in the country music capital, and the bitter pang of love lost. One subplot has Panettiere’s Juliette dealing with her junkie mother, a meth addict who careens from caterwauling to begging for forgiveness. Indeed, while Britton as always impresses with a lithe naturalism, Panettiere’s performance is surprisingly one of many reasons to watch. She infuses Juliette with a rare sympathetic streak despite her awful behavior, whether she’s trying to steal Rayna’s bandleader (and ex-boyfriend) Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) or a bottle of nail polish from a pharmacy. Her caustic exterior and slutty ways belie a wounded soul in need of salvation.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...

Comments

Anonymous said…
I thought it was a reality show from the title. I avoid those like the plague. Will try it out.

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have

"Gilmore" Guy: Who is New Showrunner David Rosenthal?

A few days later and I am still processing the news that Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino--and her exceptionally talented husband, writer and producer Daniel Palladino-- announced their departure from the whip-smart drama after six seasons. The news wouldn't be such a blow, save for the fact that Gilmore Girls is as much about Amy and Daniel as it is about Lorelai and Rory. In their capable hands, the show explored a supremely complicated family dynamic through the beautiful friendship of mother and daughter Lorelai and Rory... and did so with smart dialogue usually found in a Nick & Nora film rather than on television. Zany subplots abounded as did quirky, beloved supporting characters. And now, after six seasons (including this most recent--and very shaky--season where Amy and Daniel wrote less episodes than usual), Amy and Daniel are passing on the showrunning torch to... Dave Rosenthal?!? For those of you in the audience unfamiliar with David Rosenthal ,