FOX's 'Nashville' Premieres Tonight, Brings Docu-Soaps to Network TV
FOX's 'Nashville' Premieres Tonight, Brings Docu-Soaps to Network TV
Nashville, which premieres tonight on FOX, is the first network TV show (as far as I can tell) that is delving into the world of reality docu-soaps.  By the confusing and annoying title “reality docu-soap”, I mean a show like Laguna Beach or The Hills that is technically about real people, but is also mostly staged and shot more like a film (or a film imitating a documentary) that a reality show.  Nashville follows young musicians and singers as they vie for stardom in the famed music breeding ground that is Nashville, Tennessee.  FOX is clearly trying to wrap Nashville into the American Idol niche, telling the true stories of up-and-comers who start in anonymity and move on to bigger things.  It's an interesting experiment, although I'm not sure it's going to work.

For full disclosure, I kind of hate shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills.  It's not reality and it's not drama, but it lies in some weird limbo that defies classification.  Because we're not there while filming, we don't know which parts are real and which are totally scripted.  The contrivance of these shows comes from the fact that they do multiple takes to, I guess, enhance the reality of the situation and create more drama for the audience.  But, what this essentially accomplishes is strip reality shows of what makes them effective while not fully embracing the power of scripted drama. 

Nashville's saving grace could be in the music.  While people on Laguna Beach are merely living a spoon-fed life, the characters in Nashville will, presumably, be striving for something.  THat these people have an ultimate goal could make all the staged drama digestible, in that regardless of how contrived it might feel, the characters still have to succeed on their own merits as musicians and singers.  A Nashville club owner isn't going to give much preferential treatment to a person just because they have a camera following them around. 

With Nashville, FOX is attempting something new for network television.  Hopefully, it will focus on the real stories and drama from these young people's lives rather than fall into the contrived trappings of its MTV brethren.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)