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Nashville

Nashville Review: Condemned to Repeat It

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There are so many great things about Nashville that it's unfair not to mention the issues that are preventing it from being a great show in its first season. 

Like most hours of the country soap, "Why Don't You Love Me" included wonderful music, fantastic work by Chip Esten and even a few surprisingly interesting moments.

But like any episode that includes political story lines, this 42-minute run time became roughly 34 minutes of plot I could actually pay attention to. The record may be broken, but it's a serious issue that the writers either need to figure out how to work in their favor...or completely drop.

Thankful To Be Nominated

Another problem lies in the fact that even the more engaging stories are struggling these days, mostly due to lack of growth.

Watching Nashville, it feels like Juliette is facing the same issues over and over again. Her rep is a problem, her mom is a problem and she hasn't seemed to learn much over the course of this first season. The more they keep coming back to the same things, the less interesting it becomes.

Similarly, the Deacon/Rayna relationship, while recently taking a slight move forward, still feels like something that can't quite get going as a story arc. Both characters have gone back-and-forth many times on whether or not they could actually settle down on this idea of being together - and it's frustrating to watch.

The history is there for both of them, and they certainly love each other, but I can see this not working out again, and then everything will return to where it was. Only now, Deacon will have ruined everything with Stacy, and the dude will be all alone. 

Unlike our three leading characters, Avery Barkley has traversed so much ground as a character during Nashville Season 1 and it's been fun to watch.

From jealous boyfriend of a talented singer to up-and-coming star, and then down-on-his-luck roadie to band leader for Juliette Barnes, he has had quite a ride. All along the way, Avery has become more and more likeable, and Jonathan Jackson has proven to be a terrific actor.

Also terrific in "Why Don't You Love Me?" Esten as always. His best was definitely that scene in the limo when Deacon decided to tell Rayna that he knew she was hiding something from him and he didn't care. With eyes just on the cusp of tears, Esten is so good at playing the hurt soul.

Not so terrific was Sam Palladio in that morning after scene. I understand it must have been awkward for Gunnar to keep that momentous event from Scarlett, but the acting performance wasn't just awkward by Palladio, it was tough to watch. He does much better with happy scenes, so let's cut him a record and get him moving to bigger and better things.

What did y'all think of "Why Don't You Love Me?" Was it a step in the right direction for Nashville? Or did you have trouble enjoying it like me?

What were your favorite moments? What were your least favorite? Will Juliette's drinking become a problem? When will Rayna's Maddie secret come out? And what are your predictions for the final two episodes of the season?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
  • 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (88 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I LOVE this show and country music. Please renew it for another season. I agree that the writing needs some character adjustments but I know it can be done. Rayna and Deacon need to be together because neither will be happy without the other--they have too much history and are soulmates. The emotions on Deacon's face are priceless. Maybe the writers can get hints from Castle or Rookie Blue to bring out the best of all the actors. There's too much talent to waste. Hey Ho--let's keep this show going!

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I agree with some comments made earlier about how the writers need to stop "hitting for the fences" and instead spend some time developing the characters' motivation. The audience will grow to "care" more about what happens. I started watching Nashville because of Connie Britton and her work on Friday Night Lights. The writers need to watch that show to get some ideas about development. I love the Rayna and Deacon storyline, and Rayna is a strong enough woman to keep the secret to protect everyone involved. I fear that the writers are going to take the soap route and ruin everything. Avery is my next favorite character (and actor). The writers and the actor have a real chance here to create a new Tim Riggins-like character.

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The Rayna-Deacon scenes were just uncomfortable for me. I like Rayna much better with Liam, she seems happier. There is no doubt Teddy loves his daughters and I agree he's always been there for them. I have never understood the fascination for Deacon, he is talented but seems to be a weak person always pining for Rayna. he had a chance for happiness with the Vet and it seemed like Rayna decided to sabotage it. She may not want him but she always wants him available for her. I never cared for Gunnar and though Scarlett can sing, that desperate, hurt look on her face wears thin, plus the voice when she talks is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Avery has had his moments but maybe after his fall he'll come back a better person. I did like his handling of Juliette. Juliette's character can be tiring but I would imagine it's very typical of many singers, especially with an alcoholic Mother for a role model.

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Last night's episode was enjoyable. It would be great if the writers tried to develop Juliette Barnes character. The crash and burn relationships are beginning to be too much even for me. Altho, character hasn't dealt with her issues, maybe can write her in to start soon! Rayna and Deacon have always been complicated but seem to have gained traction - lets see how long that sticks. Lastly, can anyone tell me the name of the song Juliette Barnes sang on stage at the label's CMA nomination party - while drunk? Great song but can't find it on iTunes!

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I agree it's one of the best shows on and definitely needs to be renewed. I just worry that when Rayna tells Deacon about Maddie it will become the plot for the second season of how hurt and angry Deacon is at Rayna for never telling him - but Maddie and Deacon have a right to know please do this with class.

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Well I think Eric Close deserves some praise for Teddy's scenes with Maddy. That was my favorite part of the show last night! It is obvious how much he loves her even though he is not her biological father. Yeah Teddy's got his faults but he is a devoted Dad to BOTH "his" daughters and really has been there for them more than Rayna has and I believe he is right that if Rayna continues to be with Deacon she will be "tempted" to tell him about Maddie. With everything the kids have already been thru with the divorced does Rayna want to put her daughter thru finding out the man she has always believed to be her father is not really her father? It would also be very upsetting and confusing for Daphne to realize she and her sister have different fathers.

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I love Nashville, but......I agree - it is turning in on itself and covering the same ground over and over. We need to move it along. Juliette has almost disappeared into the caricature and Rayna is losing ground every week. It's true that Esten is currently the best one on the show.

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100% agree with the above reviews. The Juliette storyline went so stale. She flung herself into this last relationship and it abruptly ended again. The whole thing happened too fast and lacked depth to believe that she was truly in love and betrayed. And the same goes for really every new relationship in the show - it all lacks development. There's so much potential in this show and that acting and music really is wonderful. I wish the writers and producers would stop trying to swing for the fences and instead try to develop a show that can last seasons. Take a risk here ABC - you have a show that could be something.

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Agree entirely with the review...AND HOW WONDERFUL ESTEN IS in all of this...he is just the BEST...his acting is so top notch in every episode that it is amazing that he has not had his own show way before this series...Nashville is wonderful very much due to this character and to Esten's superb portrayal...
Rayna is really coming out very weak here...and it is not in character, for her to behave this way.... and it is not viable for her to be so wobbly even though we know she is devastated by having to keep the secret about Maddie in view of her new development with Deacon...but ENOUGH ALREADY...WE NEED HER TO BITE THE BULLET AND STEP UP TO THE PLATE, and take responsibility for her past present and future actions and her feelings...otherwise it will be BORING...AND repetitive...
AS Juliet is now so bloody boring.... her character is a caricature and all around her are tainted by it...
But it is still one of the most wonderful shows of the year! IT HAS TO BE RENEWED!!!!