It's Time For 'Nashville' To Get It Together

by Lia Beck

Along with a slew of other TV shows, Nashville was renewed for a third season over the weekend. If you watch Nashville, you know that it has quite a bit of potential, but that it doesn't always live up to it. The show's premise is fantastic. By focusing on country singers ranging from up-and-comers to full-fledged stars, it gives a look at a number of different backgrounds and personalities while staying in this one microcosm of music in Nashville. It also allows the show to pull off being a musical without characters awkwardly singing at each other because there's always the excuse of having concert performances and practices. While in general this sounds like it should be a success, Nashville definitely has its problems and I'm sure even the biggest fans are well aware of them. With its new season, there are some changes Nashville can make to live up to its full potential.

Here are a few of them:

1. Make More Use Of Rayna Jaymes

Ever since she came out of a coma — which happened far too quickly by the way, but more on that later — Rayna has been dealing with her new job as leader of Highway 65 and her boring relationship with Luke Wheeler. This means we've seen Rayna making decisions about tours and record releases and attempting to put Juliette Barnes in her place, but she hasn't had any of the real drama we know Nashville can serve up. Connie Britton has a lot to offer and we've seen it in scenes like the one where she trashed her father's office following his death. This show has no problem going full soap opera at time and Rayna should be in on that.

2. Stop Using Every Character Every Week

There is no reason every character needs to have a storyline every week. This show has, like, eight lead characters. For instance, if Juliette is having relationship drama with Avery and Scarlett being all dramatic Scarlett-y, we don't also need to hear Maddie whine about Deacon, Gunnar whine about Zoey, and Tandy whine about whatever random reason they have for bringing Tandy back. It's too much. Calm down, Nashville. We'll get to everything eventually.

3. Stop Going Through Storylines So Quickly

Why does everything have to be resolved so fast? (Probably because of point 2, but still.) A classic example of this is Rayna's coma from the beginning of the current season. Rayna came out of a coma and was almost fully back to normal (except for her singing voice, but the resolution of that was too brief as well) in two episodes. If a character goes into a coma, you milk that shit. Let relationships change while she's in the hospital. Let her perspective on life change when she wakes back up. When Rayna woke up, it was as if nothing happened almost immediately after. The same thing happened with Scarlett's breakdown on stage. It was the most dramatic moment of the season, but at the end of the next episode she was up and at 'em again.

4. Stop Forgetting About Storylines

Sometimes things happen on Nashville and are never brought up again. Remember when Layla was a total jerk and her relationship with Will was fake? Now they're married and the relationship is still fake, in a way, because Will is gay, but it used to be fake more on Layla's terms. What happened to bitchy, conniving Layla? Also, and this is my favorite example of everything that is wrong with this show: the pork blood! Teddy's now deceased wife Peggy used pork blood to fake a miscarriage and very pointedly threw the container in a bathroom trashcan where it could be found. Peggy's fake pregnancy was an example of Nashville actually building something up for an appropriate amount of time. Then Peggy was killed off and the pork blood was never brought up again.

The Nashville writer's room needs to have a motto: Remember the pork blood. The pork blood explains the show's successes (building a dramatic plot for a multi-episode arc) and the show's failures (acting like something never happened, moving on too quickly). If they simply remember the pork blood and give Rayna some more interesting stories, the third season will be the best yet.

Images: ABC