'Nashville': 10 Ways to Resuscitate the Show
'Nashville': 10 Ways to Resuscitate the Show
Cassie L. Damewood
Cassie L. Damewood
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
I kept waiting for Nashville to get better with each episode but it's still a real yawner, which is rather shocking considering the show's creator, writers and cavalcade of seasoned actors. Making Nashville a star could easily be accomplished with some basic, easy revisions.

1. Cut the cast. Juliette has a bigger entourage than Mike Tyson during his heydays. From the very first episode, she's been surrounded by more paid sycophants than Lady Gaga. Sure, she needs a personal assistant and wardrobe coordinator (maybe a better one) but a gaggle of bimbos shadowing her every move is overkill. They could use the extra money to...

2. Show more of Nashville. Nashville is a gorgeous city, full of real culture and impressive vistas, but all we get to see are tacky little saloons, massive stages, dressing rooms and rich folks' homes. Nashville also has its trashy side, perhaps where Juliette's drug addled mother hangs out to get high. Give viewers a complete picture of the city for some much-needed perspective.

3. Add professional realism. With the exception of Rayna's all-business, no bullshit agent, all the other management people are way too down-home and hands-off. For instance, when Rayna and Juliette were bickering over who would sing first, that sort of thing would be dictated--or at least overseen--by handlers, managers and agents, not the two singers themselves.

4. Back-stories. No matter how juicy the current plot lines (and some have about as much juice as a cheap, well-done steak), they would all benefit from some back-stories. How drunk or deluded was Rayna when she married that worthless husband of hers? He's not particularly handsome, they have no chemistry between them and he's weak. Juliette didn't get where she is or have such a piss-poor attitude without being raised in an lousy environment that included more than a strung-out mother. And where's Juliette's dad? Why has Deacon hung around for all these years drooling over Rayna? Surely he had a few affairs along the way that went awry or a kid or ex-wife in his past.

5. Don't include characters ripped from the headlines. The virginal football player character Juliette has her sights set on is a mirror image of NFL player Tim Tebow; the only thing he's lacking is a Bible verse written on his forehead. Just like Tebow, Sean is "saving himself" for his wedding night, despite Juliette's overt advances. At least make the guy a Mormon or a Scientologist or just a guy who's not ready to sleep with a slut who's bedded half of Nashville. It's also odd that Sean doesn't care that Juliette is "used merchandise" but only that he is the pure one on his wedding night.

6. Add more classic music. While it's nice that new singers and songwriters are getting exposure by having their creations showcased on Nashville, the way to attract viewers is by throwing in a vintage country song by Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, etc. on every episode.

7. Add some reality. The pictures taken of Teddy supposedly cheating on Rayna were very weak, yet she just accepted that they were proof of infidelity. Rayna is normally not that gullible. What is Lamar's agenda? It has to be more complex than what we've seen so far. Develop him as a character and give us some detailed background on how he and Rayna became so estranged.

8. Throw in some twists. Instead of watching Rayna and Juliette butt heads week in and week out, really piss off Juliette by having Rayna invite Scarlett to the stage to showcase her emerging talents. How about throwing Avery into the mix and having him open (or close) on the tour? Make one of the characters (male or female) come out of the closet to show us how all those good ol' boys and gals in Nashville welcome a gay/lesbian star to the music community.

9. Show some family/home moments. No one ever eats, drinks, bathes, watches TV or has a family crisis that doesn't involve music. I don't mean everyone should cuddle up with a bucket of chicken to watch American Idol but even rich, famous, miserable music stars have some sort of family life fraught with problems like bad grades, life threatening illnesses, bullying, bed wetting--the list of possible and viable family traumas is endless.

10. Add humor. The most successful TV shows have at least a modicum of levity in the scripts. I don't mean cute, catty comments made in the midst of seduction scenes or snarky remarks aimed at rivals. With so much melodrama and unrest woven into the music and family storylines, there are endless opportunities for the characters to lighten up. How about Juliette asking Rayna if she's ever really listened to herself sing without wincing, or someone asking Deacon if he's ever embarrassed by slobbering over a married woman for decades.

I really want Nashville to succeed but one trick ponies are soon sent out to pasture and replaced by a nag who may not be the prettiest or flashiest but has a repertoire that pleases the masses.

Nashville returns to ABC January 9 at 10pm. Get a sneak peek of "Be Careful of Stones that You Throw."

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(Image courtesy of ABC.)


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