As I write this, we’re a few days from the first hour of the season premiere of Nashville, now on its new network, CMT. Sure, I may be a little biased as I’m “only” a fan and I do consider this as my favorite show on television right now, but there are reasons I’ve enjoyed watching this show since it began in 2012. I believe these are very good reasons.
Sometimes, when I speak about the show to other people, some have never watched and they ask me more about it. Naturally, I begin talking about all the reasons I love the show and frankly, all the reasons I feel they should start watching it also.
Some of the reasons are as follows:
It’s a drama. A good enough reason, right? Drama is a genre that never gets old. Many of us just can’t get enough of it. No matter what you like to watch on television, dramas are somewhere near the top of that list. I honestly don’t know too many people who don’t like to watch drama on television (or pretty much anywhere, for that matter). Many of the most successful shows in television history were dramas. They didn’t get that way by accident.
You don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy the show. I am a black man in my mid-30s who is from Baltimore City, I’m NOT a hardcore fan of country music and I absolutely love this show. Why? What about the preview of the first season could possibly attract a city boy to watch and follow this show for the next three seasons and beyond? Country music is its theme, but it’s still a drama. My wife and I decided some years ago that we would move to Nashville once we both retire from the Army in a few years, mainly because we got married back in 1999 in Clarksville, Tennessee, when we were stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. So when we first saw the preview for this show, we definitely wanted to check it out just for that reason.
So what if you’re not looking to move to Nashville as we are? Don’t be turned off by the country music theme. It blends in very well with the show. What I mean by that is, do you know how sometimes, you will watch a show with a certain theme and you feel insanely ignorant, because it deals with topics you know next to nothing about? Well Nashville doesn’t make you feel that way, at least as far as I’m concerned. You don’t have to know country music or be an “expert” in any way. Most of what happens are things that anyone can follow. They don’t beat up on one topic that is strictly in the area of country music that it will cause you to feel lost. Yes, they deal with certain issues in that area, but you’ll be able to keep up.
The actors weren’t super familiar when the show began. If you’ve ever watched Spin City or Friday Night Lights, then you know who Connie Britton is. If you were a fan of Who’s Line Is It Anyway? you’re familiar with Charles Esten. Other than that, if you’re like me and did not watch those shows, then you wouldn’t know them. I didn’t know anyone else on the show, either. However, I think this could be a very good thing.
When you are not familiar with certain actors, I believe you have less tendency to be biased and “expect” this or that from them on the show. In other words, let’s take Chris Rock, for example. Now if you see him on something, what do you sort of expect? Some form of comedy, right? Even if the show/movie is GREAT, if Chris Rock isn’t funny in some way, it’s a bit of a letdown, right?
Many times, we become attached to certain actors when they play certain roles. That’s the good part, because that means the actor is doing his or her job and in many ways, a very good one. The “bad” part is that again, we get so used to those characters that we have a hard time seeing them doing other roles. Jaleel White is a great example. He is the one who played “Steve Urkel.”
Since most of the actors on Nashville were relatively unfamiliar, it was basically like sort of a “fresh start” for them. You can watch with a wide-open mind. It’s kind of like meeting new people.
They don’t shove sex down your throat. This is a big one for me, especially in this day and age where it seems this is everywhere. Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t exactly complain when I see a sex scene on television or in the movies. But we all can probably think of examples where it’s grossly overdone. The sex scene either doesn’t fit or is just way more than we need. Almost unnecessary. Nashville has never been that way. There have been sex scenes, but they’ve always fitted and flowed perfectly with the show. When it’s not an “all-out” sex scene, they start off with a kiss and the rest is left to the imagination. Call me old-fashioned, but I like that. You get too used to sex scenes and then the show becomes more about that than what’s actually going on in the program.
If you’re NOT a fan of country music, this is a good place to get just a little “taste” of it to see what it’s about. As I said above, I’m not a “hardcore” fan of country music. However, after Nashville, I’m more of a fan of it than I was before. I didn’t listen to it growing up, but not long ago, I began to listen to it a little more. My wife being from the country had a little influence on that as well.
I’m not on here to try and convince anyone to like country music. But if you’re one of those who’s a little curious about it, then Nashville is a good place to start. They don’t often play whole songs, so you get just a little of it at a time.
What I like about it also is that it’s ORIGINAL music. Think they sing all songs that have already been done by country music stars? Nope. Everything is brand new. Again, you don’t have to LOVE it, but my goodness…you can surely appreciate that this is the effort they’ve put into the music of the show for us each week.
They don’t ram “country” down your throat, either. This is my favorite aspect of the show. There are people out there who have never visited certain southern cities and really think that people walk around all day wearing cowboy hats, cowboys boots and say “HOWDY” and “Y’ALL” every five minutes. I actually thought this when I grew up in Maryland. However, there is a good mix of characters on the show. Many of them speak with LIGHT country accents. It’s a little heavier in others and some don’t speak with it at all. This is very indicative of the city of Nashville, at least from what my wife and I have noticed. When you hear “Nashville,” you’re not wrong to think “country.” But there’s an amazing mix of people there. It would be very easy to just make all the actors speak with a country accent, but it’s great that this isn’t the case.
I honestly think they do this so well that you can’t tell they’re speaking with country accents intentionally. They add just enough twang so you can hear it, but it’s not overbearing. It sounds very natural. You almost think that’s really how the actors speak until you hear them in interviews. In fact, two of the actors who speak with country accents (Clare Bowen, who plays “Scarlett O’Connor” and Sam Palladio, who plays “Gunnar Scott”) are Australian and British, respectively. Not bad at all.
Nashville’s creator, Callie Khouri, once worked as an actress, lecturer and waiter in the city of Nashville. This is what I feel allows for some authenticity in the show. So much to the point that the show is a big reason my wife and I love taking trips to Nashville (we live 12 hours away in Texas.) From what I understand, Nashville’s population has grown and it’s largely because of the show. I guess great minds think alike.
I could probably list more reasons, but you get the idea. I think Nashville is a fantastic show with amazing actors and the writing is outstanding. My wife and I plan to one day make the city of Nashville our home, and Nashville does a great job in making us feel like we’re there already. But even if you don’t plan on moving there, one thing I’m very certain of is that you will like the show if you approach it with an open and honest mind. You will not be disappointed.
That is, if you ask me…
Thanks for reading.
(Nashville can be seen this Thursday (December 15th) night at 9/8 central on CMT and every Thursday, same time, beginning January 5th. WATCH IT!)
Bloggers note: I was mistaken to have left out Jonathan Jackson (who plays “Avery Barkley”) who began his career on “General Hospital” and also is part of a band called “Enation,” and Hayden Panettiere (“Juliette Barnes”) who has been on several shows as well.