Fans of Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Friday Night Lights and I Love You Beth Cooper rejoice! Nashville is here and it's a battle of the hair for Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. The new drama is one of the most-talked about series this season and for good reason. All the things you love about a good country singin'/beer-drinkin'/floozy-hating' show are here... and the first episode starts off with a loud glittery bang. Of course, it's been scrutinized for being nothing new, and so I'm diving deep into cliché history to rank the moments (from 1 to 10) that deserve an eye roll, and those that actually stand out. Let's get started. Shall we?
Welcome to Nashville: Big Fancy Homes
We start off with a panoramic view of Nashville's fancy green pastures and straight into the fancy-schmancy home of our beloved Tami Taylor Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton). Paintings on the walls, football on the big-screen, two little girls running around like adorable animals, kisses all around! How fun it is to set the scene of a drama -- we all know s**t's about to get cray, but for now things are nice. Really nice. Rayna's husband, Teddy Conrad (Eric Close), who we learn is a stay at home dad (for now), even takes some time to teach his kids about the family's assets. "We're a different kind of rich, called 'cash poor,'" he proudly says as they all hug and play in the narrow hallway. He is no coach Taylor (moment of silence, please). Not at all.
Rating: 5, because family life of a country star is quirky, Rayna doing her own hair in her room(?!?), lessons about money.
Bright Lights, Shiny Clothes
Connie hits the stage decked in so much glitter she looks like a Powerpuff Girl. Her voluptuous wavy locks bounce to the beat of her catchy tune as she gives a soft nod to her band leader, Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten). Bingo. We've got a new man one minute in and he seems like the perfect smoldering hunk for our dear Rayna. "Thank y'all!" she hollers to the crowd, and we fade to black.
Rating: 9, because sparkles, potential lover, a blessing on stage.
Backstage, a doll-like creature who goes by Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) comes running over to her uncle Deacon with her boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson), and she genuinely praises the show and the goodness that is Rayna Jaymes. We quickly find out Scarlett works at the Bluebird, the town's honky-tonk, and that she's not a songwriter (she just writes poetry, okay). Scarlett is all doe-eyed and dying for a shot! But she can't, because she's scared. She only writes poetry! It's not her time… yet.
Rating: 7.5, because innocent young girl who doesn't know the force of her talent, clueless boyfriend, Deacon connection.
The Competition: A Pretty Young Sassy Thing
We're introduced to Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the twentysomething country hit who's bound to take Rayna's hair by storm. She's trouble, all right. More trouble than Leighton Meester in Country Strong, that's for sure. All glittered up and popping out, Juliette makes some demands concerning testing her new fragrance and spirals into total diva mode when a phone call comes through from her mother. She's asked to introduce herself to Rayna and to "be nice" but this sassy-act wouldn't dare do such a thing. Juliette doesn't know how to fake it, apparently, which could be detrimental in the country world. "I'm always nice," she shoots back, puffing up her hair-sprayed bird's nest. Walking over to Rayna's dressing room, she sees Deacon and must, JUST MUST introduce herself by giving him intoxicating come-hither eyes. And he's hooked. Lord help us. She's on a mission to show everyone she's not to be messed with, and she makes that very clear to Rayna when she says her mom used to listen to her music before she was even born. Burn.
Rating: 10, because a PYT with an attitude with a mission to seduce and take on a legend.
Trouble for Rayna
It has come to the country Queen's attention that she may not still be, in fact, the Queen. Her new tour isn't selling half as well as her last one and her music isn't grabbing the attention of enough younger things. According to her managers, she is left with the option of collaborating with Juliette on a joint tour of sorts, or shutting down her current one. The words "co-headline" has her in a furry, and she really goes mental when she finds out she wouldn't just be combining acts with Juliette, she would be opening for her! Blasphemy! Will she sell her soul to the minx or stand her ground as a class act? Welp, she has a few days to decide. The suspense, it's killing us all!
Rayna confides in her husband about this mess and he thinks the whole thing would be GRAND. Go ahead, lie about liking Juliette, he insists, "You've lied about much worse!" He apologizes for letting the family down, not sure what that's about yet, but says if worse comes to worse they can always borrow money from her dad. Now, this really gets her goat. Rayna would rather wait tables than be like her sister. Hell, she'd sell her damn soul on the street! They're clearly on different pages, but ultimately she says she's just going to have to figure something else out. With that, she runs to her producer Randy's (Burgess Jenkins) house and asks if there's a way to get her a new hit song. There, she bashes the young Juliette, only little does she know the vixen is wrapped in silk sheets like an oil painting on his bed, hearing every scorn-laced word. "It sounds like feral cats to me! Why do people keep pretending she's good," a fiery Rayna shouts. Game on.
Rating: 7, because the career problem, husband's unsupportive nature, family resentment, sex.
Nashville has a wealthy, powerful local politician who seems to rule everyone and, of course, that man is Rayna's father, Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe). Rayna comes running into an event that's proclaiming "Lamar Wyatt Day." (No, that is not a joke. Her dad is such a big deal, apparently, that there is no other way to convey this except for giving him his very own day!) Her sister Tandy (Judith Hoag) sits by his side, clearly the more-loved daughter. Ah, the family drama is a-brewin'.
Later, Lamar has a manipulative sit-down dinner with Teddy, where he suggests he run for mayor. What a fabulous idea! Teddy has no political background — according to Rayna he doesn't even like politics! — but it's a way for him to get back in the spotlight and take control of his family. Teddy is totally drinking the Kool-Aid his opposite-of-cash-poor father-in-law is feeding him. Lamar says something about destiny and fate and makes passive aggressive digs at Teddy's submissive father/husband current status. Just days later Teddy makes the announcement he'll be running, with Rayna next to him smiling widely at the crowd.
Rating: 6, because controlling father, easily convinced husband, supportive wife.
Every good country tale has its bar. You know, the one bar that exists in all the land, where everyone comes to drink and sing and stir drama and find love. For Nashville that bar is the Bluebird. And no surprise here, Deacon finds time to sing some of his sweet tunes on the mic amidst touring and being all famous and everything. His niece Scarlett waits tables and Oh! Wait! There's Juliette! She may have a No. 1 hit song, but she can also casually sit back and listen to her biggest crush (apparently) strum the guitar like she's got nothing else on the agenda. (By the way, Juliette cries REAL TEARS while watching him play so we know she's not actually Satan.) After his mini-performance, Deacon finds Juliette standing up against his car, working her seduction magic. She asks him with heavily glossed lips to record a song with her, batting her brown eyes and assuring they could have "a lot of fun on the road." It's safe to assume she means sex.
Rating: 10, because the bar provides exactly what it always does: a thickening plot line and the best music.
The One That Got Away
Here we have it, people. It's become crystal clear that Deacon and Rayna used to have something. Who am I kidding, we all know they still have something and it's about to get sticky, but for now we'll just have to live with a bit of the backstory. The two walk slowly and intensely over a bridge, rambling about their hopes, dreams, failures, the whole deal. Deacon tells Rayna that Juliette gave him a job where he'll get to write, and when her asks her why she never played more of his songs. Rayna replies by saying she was worried they were all about her. DING DING DING! Of course they're all about you, silly! He loves you! Country love! As if she needs more assurance, he confirms, "They are." Plain and simple. He seals his forlorn fate by saying he lost the one thing that could make him happy a long time ago. Oh this love runs deep, deep within his stubbled cheeks and distressed flannel. Rating: 9, because the love that could have been and maybe, just maybe, still might be. Family Secrets
It wouldn't be a country show without some more family drama. We already know that Rayna and her dad aren't exactly pals, but this is about Juliette. Juliette and her strung-out druggie mom. Yep! The reason her mom keeps calling is for more cash money to support her drug habit. This is a sad turn of events. Juliette perches in a storage closet or something and cries and cries about her sad momma. Just then Randy appears as if from nowhere and that's enough to turn Juliette on. Randy is all like, HELL YEAH! as she quickly conceals her tears by thrusting her tongue in his mouth. Just when we were starting to feel sorry for the girl. Oh well, baby steps. Rating: 5.5, because showing the young star acting her age, using sex as a manipulative tactic. Game-Changer
Rayna has her meeting with the label and they resurface the ultimatum. She almost begs, going through her resume and allegiance to the record company, but to no avail. And that's simply not good enough for the queen. After 21 years, she stands up, swings her strawberry blonde strands and sways out of the office. Sorry, fellas. WILL RAYNA FAIL? IS SHE DONE? Nope, we find out she is not. Because this episode has enough story lines for 45 Country Strongs. Back at the Bluebird, Scarlett's new local kind-hearted guy friend, who also just so happens to be a wonderful musician, insists they sing her poems on stage. Something they apparently practiced, for hours, because they are damn good. Of course, Scarlett has never sang on a mic. She sings like no one could possibly be watching, because Juliette wasn't just hanging out there or anything, and OF COURSE old-man legendary producer guy Watty White (J.D. Souther) is creepily sitting at the very back of the bar. And he hears something he likes. Oh he likes it, all right. He hears dollar bills and sold-out concerts. He quickly gets Rayna on speakerphone because she can so clearly hear every note that way. It looks like Scarlett's going to have to get over her stage fright because it seems she'll be joining the big leagues very very soon. OH, and I almost forgot, Juliette and Deacon are about to do IT. YES. Ugh, so very disappointed in him. Rating: 9.5, because the sweetest voice is always heard from the underdog and there's always always someone listening. Thoughts on the premiere? Was it everything you dreamed it would be? Will you keep watching? Sound off in the comments below. [Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thorton/ABC/KATHERINE BOMBOY-THORNTON] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl More: Meet 'Nashville,' Y'all: Country's Strong With Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere TCA 2012: 'Nashville' Stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere Talk Music (City) ABC Debuts Trailers for 'Nashville' and More -- VIDEO
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Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shoremadness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we're going on down to Nashville to determine if Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are tens to see in Tennesee. Series: Nashville Premiere Date: Wednesday, October 10 at 10 PM ET on ABC. Cast: A veritable who's who of actors with a rich TV history. There's the aforementioned Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story) and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), as well as Eric Close (Without a Trace, Suits), Charles Esten (Big Love, The Office), Jonathan Jackson (General Hospital), and Powers Boothe (24, Deadwood). Synopsis: Country music superstar and the daughter of a prominent Tennessee business man, Rayna James (Britton) is struggling to stay relevant in an evolving industry overrun by up-and-coming pop princess crossover stars who rely on autotune and Daisy Dukes rather than genuine talent. Enter Juliette Barnes (Panettiere), Nashville's version of Taylor Swift gone very, very bad. When Rayna's album and tour sales flounder, her record label suggests she go on tour with the young country diva. As Juliette, who is dealing with some familial demons, plots and schemes to take away Rayna's band leader — and ex-boyfriend — Deacon (Esten) and just about every other man in Tennessee, Rayna must choose whether she is willing to save her career by opening for her new rival. She must also decide whether to save her marriage as her husband, Teddy (Conrad) is persuaded by her father whom she has a troublesome relationship with (Boothe) to step out from her spotlight and run for mayor. There's some major drama, y'all. Key Soundbite: "Why do people listen to that adolescent crap? It sounds like feral crap to me!" Rayna's musings on popular stars like Juliette, who, unbeknownst to Rayna is within earshot. You'll Like It If: You like Connie Britton. Which, assuming you are not a cyborg, you do. You Won't Like It If: You don't like Connie Britton. Which can only mean...everybody run! The cyborgs have taken over! Who To Watch It With: Your country music-loving friend/relative/coworker you didn't have a damn thing to talk about with. Until now. Who NOT To Watch It With: Your younger or older rival. What To Wear While You're Watching: Rayna isn't ready to hang up her rhinestones, and let's be honest, neither are you. Plus, you can finally wear those red cowboy boots that you are totally pulling off. Do the Math: Country Strong - Gwyneth Paltrow suicide plot twist x Crazy Heart / (alcoholism and Maggie Gyllenhaal) + even more slide guitars = Nashville Build a Playlist: Nashville has some wildly catchy and beautiful original tunes of its own, but take Rayna's cue and give a listen to her classic picks like Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and John Conley's "Rose-Colored Glasses". Characters to Watch Closely: Gunnar (Episodes' breakout star Sam Palladio) and Scarlett (Home and Away beauty Clare Bowen). Sure, all the big drama that gets our pulse racing will revolve around Rayna and Juliette, but expect a slow burn from these sexy, soulful singers to be the will they/won't they couple that keeps our hearts fluttering. In addition to giving each other the googly eyes, their voices will make you yearn for a Nashville soundtrack or tour ASAP. Who To Follow on Twitter: Hayden's bratty, flirty character may seem insufferable, but in real-life the actress is anything but on Twitter. The starlet has been sharing a ton of on-set pics and scoop before the show has even premiered, so imagine how many juicy details we'll get throughout the season. What You're Most Likely To Yell at the Screen All Season: "Come on, y'aaaaaall!" If You Like This, Netflix These: Friday Night Lights complete series, Dallas, Austin City Limits, Nashville Star, Shut Up and Sing Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran [Photo Credit: ABC] More:
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NBC recently announced its lineup of shows for the 2012-2013 season, and now ABC is unveiling its nine new shows getting the green light. The shows, which are set to air on the Walt Disney Company's network, include everything from a comedy starring Reba McEntire to a drama series from The Shield's Shawn Ryan. Here is a rundown of what you can expect.
Malibu Country Starring Reba McEntire
Sounding very similar to her 2001 CW series, Reba, Malibu Country stars Reba McEntire who is left to raise her kids after her husband turns out to be cheating on her. In the ABC comedy, she leaves behind her hometown of Nashville and takes her kids and her mom, played by Lily Tomlin, to California where she will attempt to resurrect her signing career. McEntire is executive producer of the series which also features Sara Rue, Julietta Angelo, Justin Prentice, Jai Rodriguez, and Owen Teague.
Last Resort Starring Andre Braugher
From The Shield's Shawn Ryan comes a nuclear drama series about a U.S. submarine crew who are on the run after refusing orders to launch their missiles. The team takes refuge on an island where they try to declare themselves as a nuclear nation. Felicity's Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser, Daisy Betts, and Daniel Lissing also star.
How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life Starring Sarah Chalke
In a show that should have been called TMI, Sarah Chalke plays the lead in the comedy about a recently divorced single mom who moves back home to live with her mother and father — two people who don't know the definition of the word boundaries. The series is based on the life of creator Claudia Lonow (of Accidentally on Purpose) and features Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett as Polly's parents.
Nashville Starring Connie Britton
Not to be confused with Malibu Country, this hour-long series centers on Connie Britton, who plays a Nashville music star whose career is on the decline, and Heroes' Hayden Panettiere as an up-and-coming singer. The two battle it out on and off the stage in a series of schemes and backstabbing so cruel it would make Taylor Swift cry. Eric Close, Powers Boothe, Jonathan Jackson, Robert Wisdom, Sam Palladio, Charles Esten, and Clare Bowen also star.
Family Tools Starring Kyle Bornheimer
In Family Tools (previously Comeback Jack, Red Van Man, White Van Man) Kyle Bornheimer plays Jack Shea, the unluckiest guy you'll ever meet. After a string of failed careers — he left the Army after accidentally shooting someone, and left the Police Academy after accidentally shooting himself — Shea heads home to take over the family handyman business after his dad is diagnosed with a heart condition and forced to hang up his tool belt. Offering advice from a safe distance is his Aunt Terry (played by Leah Remini). The ensemble comedy is from Bobby Bowman (Raising Hope, My Name Is Earl, Year Dear, Family Guy) and Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds).
Zero Hour Starring Anthony Edwards
ER's Anthony Edwards returns to the small screen to star as Hank Foley in this thrilling series. He plays a man who spent 20 years solving conspiracies as the editor of Modern Skeptic magazine, only to find himself in the middle of one of the most intriguing conspiracies in human history. His wife — who gets the drama started when she is kidnapped from her antique clock shop — is played by The Real World's Jacinda Barrett.
666 Park Ave.
Based on the book by Gabriella Pierce, this sci-fi drama takes place in an apartment building most New Yorkers would die for. Though careful what you wish for. This Upper East Side building features a string of real-life characters, played by Dave Annable, Rachael Taylor, Lost's Terry O'Quinn, and Vanessa Williams — as well as a cast of supernatural forces, which endanger the lives of everyone in the building. This sure-to-scare series is from Alloy Entertainment (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl).
In a new twist on The Sopranos, Red Widow (previously Penoza) features an ordinary California housewife (played by Radha Mitchell) who enters the family business of organized crime after her husband is brutally assassinated. No longer able to deny what her family does for a living, she delves head-first into the risky business in order to protect her family. The hour-long thriller is penned by Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of the Twilight franchise.
Everyone's neighbors are a little weird, but the residents of this gated New Jersey community are out of this world. Literally. When the Weavers (played by Jami Gertz and Lenny Venito) move their three kids to an exclusive part of town, they quickly realize that their fellow residents are actually aliens. This new comedy costars Isabella Cramp, Clara Mamet, and Max Charles.
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This smart remake/update of a 70 year-old play and movie may not win any Oscars but it turns out to be as gorgeously entertaining as its title indicates. Based on the play and 1939 movie of the same name that skewered upper society women of the era writer/director Diane English has kept the bones intact but updated it all to include women of various places in life. Women who are still trying to find love and happiness and above all else female friendship. In their world life seems to revolve around Tanya (Debi Mazar) the gossipy manicurist at the Saks Fifth Avenue Beauty Salon who spills the beans to magazine editor Sylvie (Annette Bening) that her best friend Mary’s (Meg Ryan) Wall Street tycoon husband has been catting around with voluptuous perfume “spritzer girl” Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes). Deciding in tandem with Mary’s other pals--the housewife Edie (Debra Messing) and writer Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith)--to tell Mary Sylvie sparks an incident that sets off fireworks in all their lives with betrayals career crises pregnancy retreats revenge and forgiveness all figuring into the male-less proceedings. The Women’s entire ensemble cast is pure pleasure and it’s exclusively made up of some of the best comedic actresses around. Even all the extras are women but then that’s sort of the joke of the whole premise. Estrogen flows freely in this group led by Meg Ryan as the victimized wife and mother whose husband plays around on her and whose own father fires her from her job. Talk about a tough week! With money lines like her declaration of sexual prowess “I can suck the nails out of a board ” Ryan has some of her best moments in recent years playing nicely off co-star Bening. As Mary’s best friend she’s the workaholic but aging editor of a women’s magazine that’s on the edge of change she can’t seem to keep up with. Bening beautifully reflects the quandary of a career woman who has to watch her back at every moment. Messing and Pinkett Smith round out the fearsome foursome and each gets some choice comic material to play particularly Messing’s histrionics as the pregnant Edie. Suffice to say the inevitable but riotously funny delivery scene is well worth waiting for. Mendes plays the vamp bit for all it’s worth stunning in all her cunning. Mazar though is a bit too laid back as the manicurist with all the secrets. Cloris Leachman delivers some prize one-liners as Mary’s loyal housekeeper and Tilly Scott Peterson is very funny as the Uta the nanny. Carrie Fisher as a gossip columnist and Bette Midler as a tough-talking Hollywood agent make the most of their brief screen time as well but it’s English's Murphy Brown star Candice Bergen who steals the show as Mary’s wise but plastic surgery-addicted mother. A post face-lift scene with Bergen counseling Ryan is priceless stuff. Writer/director Diane English says she spent 14 frustrating years trying to bring this sassy update of Claire Booth Luce’s creation to the screen. Timing is everything and now with female bonding films all the rage The Women circa 2008 could be just the ticket. Certainly it’s strength is the comic savvy of English who spent several seasons on Murphy Brown honing her skills. It pays off here with a talented cast delivering her snappy lines with expert comic timing. Sure even updated as it is The Women still has the creakiness of a vehicle that peaked in 1939 but for whatever reason the old-fashioned craftsmanship still works even in an era where women have gone on to achievements not dreamed about when Luce wrote the play. As a director English is all about protecting her script and it’s the tight pacing of one amusing sequence after another that makes this little trifle sail by right down to the final sight gag. See it.