Nashville - Season 1 
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Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) is the established "Queen of Country" music. However, her latest album is not selling well and her tour is playing to half empty venues. Her record label suggests that she open for Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy bestselling singer of ‘bubble gum country.’ However, Juliette, seeing Rayna as washed up, purposefully alienates her. Rayna, who dislikes Juliette's style of music, rejects a joint tour out of hand. The two women come into conflict as both try to get guitarist Deacon Claybourne, Rayna's bandmate and former lover, to sign on to their tour. Rayna's life is further complicated when her estranged father, millionaire businessman Lamar Wyatt, convinces her husband, Teddy Conrad (Eric Close), to run for Mayor of Nashville.
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I had seen Hayden Panettiere ('Juliet Barnes'), in acting roles before (e.g. as Ali McBeal’s long-lost daughter in Series 5 of that programme some years ago) but did not know she could sing; yet it was happening to catch her singing ‘‘Nothing In this World Can Ever Break my Heart Again” at the end of Season 1 of Nashville so movingly on television that made me realise I had to see the rest of the series.
The main actors are pretty well all good to outstanding, so if I do not mention them by name that is not to say they are not good in this.
As one example, who would have guessed just from listening to Clare Bowen playing the aspiring young singer 'Scarlett' that she is actually Australian and not from the southern USA at all?
This series was devised and partly written and directed by Callie Khouri, who in 1991 wrote the script of one of the best films ever, 'Thelma and Louise', but had rather vanished from view for many of the years in between. Her husband T-Bone Burnett is credited as producer of much of the music, although sadly differences with the television network led him to leave after the first Season. The music is written in different styles appropriate for the different musician characters from different generations and is not only good but used effectively to enhance the drama; consequently although I liked much of the soundtrack album the songs on it do loses some impact out of context.
By the end of this Season 1 so many characters have swapped partners both professionally and romantically, and often swapped back again, that you may begin to wonder what is left for the script writers to do with the characters in Season 2. Apparently the series creator Callie Khouri and the television network disagreed as to how much to make ‘Nashville’ a soap opera. However, if you have not yet seen the programme, do not let that put you off from trying it.
Thank you to everyone involved in making this excellent series.
By the way I'm not generally a lover of country music but I loved some of the songs in this series. Highly recommended.
I never realised what a fantastic actress Hayden Panettiere is: at first, I thought Juliette Barnes was a silly, bitchy little upstart, but, as the story has moved on, her character has had some challenging and moving story lines, and Hayden's portrayal of this damaged and vulnerable young woman has been outstanding. She deserves some kind of award for her performance, I feel.
Although she is the stand out actress for me, the rest of the cast are amazing, too.
I really hope the standards of story lines and acting are maintained in the next series. Can't wait!