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Nashville Thoughts: Why Can’t I Quit This Show? 

Photo Credit: ABC
Photo Credit: ABC

I watch an unhealthy amount of television. I don’t know how I started or why I continue to do so, but somehow I continue to accumulate shows on my DVR and it just won’t stop. There’s a lot of good television out there, with new networks popping up what seems like everyday with their own original programming, and sometimes a show is too good not to watch. For instance, Sundance (now Sundance TV) began its foray into original programming in 2013 and they knocked it out of the park with Top of the Lake, Rectify and The Returned (too early to tell on The Red Road). This is all a way of saying that I should stop watching ABC’s Nashville — but I won’t. It’s one of many shows that I watch even though it’s not must-see TV, but I’ll admit it has those moments that pull you deeper into its world.

The one thing that drew me to the show when it first aired was the music element; not necessarily the singing aspect, but the music industry dynamic the show was introducing, especially the fact that the music was country, which I knew little about. Nashville also stars Connie Britton (Mrs. Coach) and Hayden Panettiere and that’s hard to walk away from. Putting the cast aside, I wanted to get a peek into the world of music even if it was just focused on the Nashville setting. But I know what network Nashville is on and I know there isn’t a chance in hell a bit of soap opera wouldn’t seep into the DNA of the show. It’s not that bad, but do we have to have eye rolling character deaths and poorly written (and unnecessary) political plots?

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

I sometimes picture a timeline where Nashville aired on cable and its focus was mainly on the industry aspect that I find fascinating. Nashville isn’t perfect in this regard, but it does produce some catchy songs and a fun depiction of the country music lifestyle. This depiction is what draws me to the show, but what also draws me in is the character of Juliette Barnes. She started as a rival to Rayna James and has turned into the driving force of the series. Whatever story she is involved in is a marvel to me because of how many different directions the character is pulled towards in any given episode. These are crazy situations of course, but Panettiere somehow brings it down to earth, even if there are times when it’s impossible to do so.

But why can’t I quit watching Nashville? Beats me. In all seriousness, the show is good fun and the expectations I used to have for this show no longer exist. I used to think this show could be an authentic portrayal of the country music scene, but instead it’s become a soap opera with some singing on the margins. It’s still entertaining, but it’s not what I thought it could be. I don’t even think I changed my personal expectations for the show as much as the show changed its expectations of itself; I just happened to go along with it. ABC is the network Nashville airs on, so I guess I was a fool for thinking something different would occur.

I don’t think I’m insulting the show for saying this, but it’s never going to be highbrow television. Very little is considered highbrow television on the broadcast networks these days and Nashville is nowhere close to being that. It’s fun to watch though, mostly because you can’t wait to see what craziness will ensue. It’s nothing like Scandal, which knew from the beginning what type of show it was and what it was ultimately going to be. Nashville is just a show that will put the foot to the gas one week and then prolong the inevitable because it’s run out of ideas. But I still watch it and will probably see it through to the rest of the season because I’m a sucker for the two leads and the world of the show. It’s like the show has put me in a trance that I could easily break out of from under, but wouldn’t dare try to.

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.

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