Last night, ABC debuted its new drama, “Nashville.” It’s been filmed around town the last several months, and buzz has been… well… mixed. Some have been excited. It did, after all, bring around 300 jobs to the city. Most have been skeptical. I have been strongly in the second group.
I watch music videos filmed here in Nashville and poke holes in them. (“Come ON! Those two streets do not meet at all! He couldn’t turn from one onto the other. Really!?”) I read news articles about the music industry here, and I cringe. It’s all either “the machine” talking, telling everyone what they want to hear, or people who hate “the machine” bashing the Nashville music scene without ever coming here to see what all it has to offer.
So last night, I set the DVR and went out. I wasn’t sure I was ready to watch it. I wasn’t sure I’d even bother. But when I glanced at my twitter feed not long after the show started, I saw it blowing up with praise… praise from people just as cynical as I am. Hmmm…
I got home, and immediately hit play. My husband and I both ready to poke holes in the plot, in the filming, in the storyline, in the music…
What happened after I hit play really surprised me. I. Was. Impressed. Clearly the writers had done their homework into the music industry. Or, correction, the music BUSINESS — where its less about art and more about money. My husband and I sat in stunned silence. I had goosebumps a couple times. They literally NAILED it.
The shots of the city I love so much were absolutely gorgeous. I have to admit, it was weird to see my city on the TV screen. The streets I drive every day. The skyline I can’t take enough pictures of every chance I get. Backstage of the Opry. I was blown away over and over again.
Finally, I was amazed to see faces I knew in real life. Musicians doing their job, but on the screen… not playing on Letterman or Leno… not playing on an awards show. On a TV drama. They hired real-life musicians right here in Nashville to play musicians! No fake actors who wouldn’t know a mandolin from a steel guitar.
I could only poke a few holes in the show, and they were minor.
One, unless they’ve put some rehearsal spaces on 3rd or 4th that I don’t know about, you’re not going to take a walk on the Shelby Street footbridge after a stressful rehearsal. (The only rehearsal spaces I know of are a few miles away from that bridge.) Oh, and an afternoon beer at Tootsies? Uhm. Doubtful. (Maybe a Tin Roof 2 or Losers… but not at Tootsies. Sorry.)
Another was there not being enough people signed up to sing at the Blue Bird Cafe. I about spewed my drink at that one.
Finally, we don’t all hang out at home in Loveless Cafe shirts. Blatant “product placement” was impossible to miss. I don’t have anything against the shirt! I just… no.
But seriously! These were my only complaints! That’s IT! I’m actually excited for next week, to see what is next to come.
Now, I will respond to a couple comments I’ve seen or heard…
First off, you’re not going to get a full feel for the expansive music scene we have here. This show is focused on the country music industry specifically. And honestly? C’mon. Tell me its not what you think of first when you hear about Nashville. You can call it cliche or you can just say they’re embracing what helped make this city what it is today. (Besides, remember, this is a TV drama along the lines of “Dallas” back in the day. They didn’t follow the stories of other ranches at the same time… )
But the fact does remain, this city is SO diverse… Did you know rock bands like Matchbox Twenty come here to record? Did you know we have a full and rich rock scene? What about Americana, bluegrass, jazz and blues? Because we do. Texas Music fans… you can bash us all you want, but the fact remains many Texas acts record here. And if you would ever bother to come visit and check out some of the writer’s nights here, you’d find a lot of like-minded writers and musicians hanging around.
It’s a Faith vs Taylor storyline… uhmmm… no. I wouldn’t doubt that the characters are loosely based off of the various “country divas” in the industry, but in my opinion they’ve already set their story lines to be totally original, and I can’t wait to see how their personalities and stories flush out.
The show took second in its time slot according to preliminary Nielson ratings (but it lead in the coveted 18-49 demographics).
10 p.m. ET
CBS: “CSI” (10.6 million, 7.0/11)
ABC: “Nashville” series premiere (9 million, 6.1/10)
NBC: “Chicago Fire” series premiere (6.4 million, 4.3/7)
18-49 leader: “Nashville” (2.8)
I’m excited about it! I’m really happy to say that… I just hope they take care going forward to remain true to the city, the industry and the characters they’ve already introduced to us. I know I’ll be tuning in next Wednesday!
Favorite lines from the show:
“I’m just naturally suspicious of anyone that confident.”
“We’ve all had failures. Don’t let yours define you; let them refine you.”
“Thank God for auto-tune.”