Review: Nashville Season One DVD
Nashville is an American drama that centres on the lives of two big country singers – the established older singer Rayna Jaymes, played by Connie Britton, and the young tween-age idol Juliette Barnes, played Hayden Panettiere – who I’m sure most people remember as the cheerleader from Heroes.
The series kicks off with Rayna and Juilette being asked by the record label they are both signed too, if Rayna can join Juilette’s tour, as her records aren’t selling to well – both course are horrified at the idea, and Rayna refuses. However, their lives end up crossing over anyway, when Juilette decides she wants Deacon Claybourne, played by a rugged Charles Esten, to join her backing band – despite the fact that he used to be Rayna’s lover and is still the guitarist in her band.
That’s basically the set-up for the first few episodes.
Nashville is a bit of a soapy drama. Some of it felt a bit melodramatic,and despite all the drama, I still felt the characters lacked a little depth – they never quite managed to surprise me. Some of the characters also felt rather stereotypical, and I was able to predict the entire story arc of one character within the first episode.
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed Nashville. Despite all the drama, the serious issues that are touched on, the show is still gives you a lot of glamour and gloss. The show doesn’t disappoint on the music side, and there is a load of fantastic original songs in the series, which are performed by the characters, with at least two or three in each episode.
Out of the two main characters, Juilette and Rayna, I found Juilette’s painful development over the series the most interesting. I liked Connie Britton’s presence on screen, but though Rayna is meant to be strong, I found she was sometimes all over the place, especially with Deacon, which was a little wearing. Whilst with Juilette I felt that, though her flaws could be just as annoying and she kept making mistakes too, she was very slowly learning. Rayna however never quite seems to learn with Deacon – who though a nice guy, has a lot trouble trying to get over her – and alot of drama comes just from her dithering over her feelings for him.
On top of the two female stars, their families and lovers, there is also a group of younger characters in the series. Scarlett O’Conner, a waitress who is also Deacon’s niece, who is so honest and sweet you can’t help rooting for her. Along with Scarlett are her boyfriend Avery Barkley and friend Gunnar Scott – both of whom want to break into the music scene and both of whom like Scarlett. Another young character called Will, who also wants to be a star, turns up later. He’s a fun character with an interesting background, but I wish he hadn’t been introduced so late and so abruptly. If he’d come in a bit earlier we could’ve learnt about him more slowly, but instead it feels rather rushed.
In summary, I’d say Nashville is one of your typical, big, glossy American dramas, but its a brilliant one. It’s strength is in the music and its likeable characters that you want to see overcome their mistakes and flaws – and that’s where I think this series message lies. It shows us that changing, overcoming an addiction or a flaw is hard. There are no magically transformations in the series. The characters do not experience one accident, have an epiphany and become better people in an instant – because its not that easy. Fortunately though, there is country music to help sooth the soul…
Nashville Season One is available on DVD from 15 July.