TV Report Card | 'Nashville' Season 2A Review

Overview: The second season of “Nashville” finally embraced itself for the nighttime soap, it was always meant to be. Deacon (Charles Esten) and Rayna (Connie Britton) tried to put the pieces of their lives back together after they survived the car crash at the end of last season. Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) continued to lie, cheat and do whatever else she needed, to stay on top. 

Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar (Sam Palladio) are broken up, for reasons that are unknown. All the while, rising star Will (Chris Carmack) is coming to terms with his sexual orientation as his career begins to take flight.

Storyline Direction: This year “Nashville” found a tad of its footing. No more political stories, more character integration and a little more honesty concerning the music industry. The greatest obstacle that has been facing this show is its depiction of the music world. 

The country music industry is the backdrop of the most fearsome battles being waged in the music universe. What a show calling itself “Nashville” has to say, sounds like a show speaking with great authority. Well, if it had anything to say about what is actually happening in Music City, it is not talking. None of the real issues going on are being slightly touched upon and that was frustrating the first season, now; expectations aren’t on the same level.

Rayna continues to be a less than average protagonist. Her yearning for Deacon is apparent, the reasoning behind her feelings are left muddled. Juliette’s storyline with the rich couple did little to enthrall. How are viewers supposed to root for her, and another guy, when she is so despicable by herself? Wishing her on another soul is a cruelty that no other character, has been shown deserving of. 

Not to mention, her self-righteous indignation about her leaked affair when she knew that it was the truth. She is so contemptible that there is nothing to hold onto, redemption wise. 

Her treatment of the people at the mobile home court, that had taken her in, was deplorable. If she doesn’t crawl on glass to make up it to them for the way she treated them, at some point, her character will have a next-to-impossible time finding redemption.

“Aw Shucks” Scarlett continues to parade around as if she is both God’s gift and unworthy to draw breath. The writing of this character is beyond nonsensical. Her uncle was a star, she would know about the star-making process. They need to stop writing her as so naive. It pushes all credulity. 

The breath of fresh air in her storyline was the introduction of her friend Zoey (Chaley Rose). She’s sweet, kind and has a backbone. When she stood up to Scarlett, who was trying to evoke the edict of “girl code”, it was a milestone. Up to this point, everyone has treated whatever Scarlett says as holy writ. We can only hope to see more of this character.

Will (Chris Carmack) continued his struggle with his sexual orientation. It’s been one of the more genuine storylines that’s been explored, not only the personal nature of Will’s coming out but also his reconciling it with his professional life. It’s not been a glossy portrait. It’s been edgy and forthright.

Production Caliber: It felt more expansive this season. The interiors of the homes were better lit and the look of the show, has been more inviting than last season.

Performance Quality: Connie Britton continues to bring her dignified grit to the role of Rayna. Hayden Panettiere’s performance has lacked emotive layers. A greater display of internal conflict would heighten Juliette’s appeal, exponentially. As for the other cast members, they haven’t been given much to work with.

Musical Score: The music has not been on par with last season. This is to be expected though, as T-Bone Burnett stepped away from his position as music supervisor.

Overall Grade: B-, the show is showing signs of equalizing its quality and is integrating its cornucopia of characters with greater success. It feels less disjointed, this season and yet there are scenes between certain characters, where their connection is not emphasized enough to make sense. On the road to recovery, the show is teeming with potential, hopefully they find it.

[Image by ABC]