Country music fans, you are in luck this fall. ABC will indulge in their country side with “Nashville,” a musical drama that will show the messy side of being a Nashville country star, and “Malibu Country,” a multi-camera sitcom about a woman leaving her country star husband for a new life in California.
Created by “Thelma & Louise” writer Callie Khouri, “Nashville” revolves around Rayna James (Connie Britton), a country legend whose star power has dropped. Rayna’s record label believes opening for rising star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is just what will give Rayna’s career the swift kick it needs to propel her back to the top. However, not only does Rayna resent having to open for Juliette, but Juliette proves to be cunning and ruthless, doing everything she can to permanently steal James’s thunder.
Not only is the world of country music in turmoil, but Rayna’s family life is also in trouble. Rayna’s estranged father Lamar Hampton (Powers Boothe) goes against her wishes and uses his influence in Tennesse politics to back Rayna’s husband Teddy (Eric Close) in a run for Mayor of Nashville.
There is one silver lining to Rayna’s troubles—Scarlett O’Connor (Clare Bowen), an undiscovered songwriter, might be the person who can help Rayna find success again.
It’s possible the show is ABC’s answer to other musical shows, particularly “Smash,” NBC’s musical drama about creating a Broadway show. However, while it’s easy to compare it to “Smash,” there are lots of elements that could make “Nashville” more successful than its NBC rival.
“The Huffington Post” gave Britton praise for her role, and Khouri’s intriguing script is bound to hook viewers. While the writing is what might attract you the show, what you stay for is the juicy warfare between Rayna and Juliette. With fellow ABC show “Revenge” coming back for a second season, ABC is making delicious drama their niche.
“Malibu Country,” on the other hand, is a show the whole family can watch, but might be a little corny for some tastes.
“Malibu Country” stars country music superstar Reba McEntire as Reba Gallagher, a woman who realizes her country star husband Bobby (Jeffrey Nordling) has been unfaithful. In an attempt to reinvigorate her life, she, along with her sassy mother Lillie May (Lily Tomlin) and two children, move to Malibu, California. Of course, comedy is sure to follow.
Like any multi-camera comedy, there’s always a neighbor that gets involved in the main characters’ lives; this time, that neighbor is in the form of open, caring Kim (Sara Rue) and her son, Sage (Hudson Thames). Another character added to the mix is Geoffrey (Jai Rodriguez), a music agent Reba hires in order to become the country star she always dreamed of being.
This comedy is the first time McEntire’s helmed a sitcom since 2001’s “Reba.” If you’re a fan of McEntire, you will love to see her back on television; however, if you are looking for punch with your comedy, you might have to look elsewhere.
“The Huffington Post” has given “Malibu Country” a mediocre review, calling the show is corny, bland and outdated. However, many people tune into inoffensive shows simply to turn their brain off and enjoy themselves, so this sitcom is sure to find an audience; ABC’s other multi-camera sitcom “Last Man Standing” is evidence of that.
In short: If you love country music mixed in with your soapy drama, make sure to catch the premieres this fall. “Nashville” will air on Wednesdays at 10/9 c. Also, if you love seeing McEntire’s acting skills, make sure to tune into “Malibu Country” this November, Fridays at 8:30/7:30c.